Amended in Senate June 30, 2015

Amended in Assembly April 16, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 487


Introduced by Assembly Member Gonzalez

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(Coauthor: Senator Anderson)

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February 23, 2015


An act to amend Section 3041.5 of the Penal Code, relating to parole.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 487, as amended, Gonzalez. Parole hearings: notification of district attorneys.

Existing law provides that, one year prior to the minimum eligible parole release date of an inmate serving an indeterminate sentence, a panel of 2 or more commissioners or deputy commissioners of the Board of Parole Hearings shall meet with the inmate and set a parole release date, as specified. Existing law, as amended by Proposition 9, the Victim’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law, at the November 4, 2008, statewide general election, establishes procedures at all hearings for the purpose of reviewing a prisoner’s parole suitability, or the setting, postponing, or rescinding of parole dates, and provides prisoners and victims specified rights at these hearings.

This bill would require notification of the district attorney of the county in which the offense was committed, or his or her designee, to receive notification of specified parolebegin delete proceedings and would require, if notice is not provided, any action on a hearing advancement to be postponed until notice is properly made.end deletebegin insert proceedings.end insert

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 3041.5 of the Penal Code is amended to
2read:

3

3041.5.  

(a) At all hearings for the purpose of reviewing a
4prisoner’s parole suitability, or the setting, postponing, or
5rescinding of parole dates, with the exception of en banc review
6of tie votes, the following shall apply:

7(1) At least 10 days prior to any hearing by the Board of Parole
8Hearings, the prisoner shall be permitted to review his or her file
9which will be examined by the board and shall have the opportunity
10to enter a written response to any material contained in the file.

11(2) The prisoner shall be permitted to be present, to ask and
12answer questions, and to speak on his or her own behalf. Neither
13the prisoner nor the attorney for the prisoner shall be entitled to
14ask questions ofbegin delete anyend deletebegin insert aend insert person appearing at the hearing pursuant
15to subdivision (b) of Section 3043.

16(3) Unless legal counsel is required bybegin delete some other provision ofend delete
17begin insert anotherend insert law, a person designated by the Department of Corrections
18and Rehabilitation shall be present to ensure that all facts relevant
19to the decision are presented, including, if necessary, contradictory
20assertions as to matters of fact that have not been resolved by
21departmental or other procedures.

22(4) The prisoner andbegin delete anyend deletebegin insert aend insert person described in subdivision (b)
23of Section 3043 shall be permitted to request and receive a
24stenographic record of all proceedings.

25(5) If the hearing is for the purpose of postponing or rescinding
26of parole dates, the prisoner shall have rights set forth in paragraphs
27(3) and (4) of subdivision (c) of Section 2932.

28(6) The board shall set a date to reconsider whether an inmate
29should be released on parole that ensures a meaningful
30consideration of whether the inmate is suitable for release on
31parole.

32(b) (1) Within 10 days followingbegin delete anyend deletebegin insert aend insert meeting where a parole
33date has been set, the board shall send the prisoner a written
34statement setting forth his or her parole date, the conditions he or
P3    1she must meet in order to be released on the date set, and the
2consequences of failure to meet those conditions.

3(2) Within 20 days followingbegin delete anyend deletebegin insert aend insert meeting where a parole date
4has not been set, the board shall send the prisoner a written
5 statement setting forth the reason or reasons for refusal to set a
6parole date, and suggest activities in which he or she might
7participate that will benefit him or her while he or she is
8incarcerated.

9(3) The board shall schedule the next hearing, after considering
10the views and interests of the victim, as follows:

11(A) Fifteen years afterbegin delete anyend deletebegin insert aend insert hearing at which parole is denied,
12unless the board finds by clear and convincing evidence that the
13criteria relevant to the setting of parole release dates enumerated
14in subdivision (a) of Section 3041 are such that consideration of
15the public and victim’s safety does not require a more lengthy
16period of incarceration for the prisoner than 10 additional years.

17(B) Ten years afterbegin delete anyend deletebegin insert aend insert hearing at which parole is denied,
18unless the board finds by clear and convincing evidence that the
19criteria relevant to the setting of parole release dates enumerated
20in subdivision (a) of Section 3041 are such that consideration of
21the public and victim’s safety does not require a more lengthy
22period of incarceration for the prisoner than seven additional years.

23(C) Three years, five years, or seven years afterbegin delete anyend deletebegin insert aend insert hearing
24at which parole is denied, because the criteria relevant to the setting
25of parole release dates enumerated in subdivision (a) of Section
263041 are such that consideration of the public and victim’s safety
27requires a more lengthy period of incarceration for the prisoner,
28but does not require a more lengthy period of incarceration for the
29prisoner than seven additional years.

30(4) The boardbegin delete mayend deletebegin insert may,end insert in its discretion, after considering the
31views and interests of the victim and the district attorney of the
32county in which the offense was committed, advance a hearing set
33pursuant to paragraph (3) to an earlier date, when a change in
34circumstances or new information establishes a reasonable
35likelihood that consideration of the public and victim’s safety does
36not require the additional period of incarceration of the prisoner
37providedbegin insert forend insert in paragraph (3).

38(5) Within 10 days ofbegin delete anyend deletebegin insert aend insert board action resulting in the
39postponement of a previously set parole date, the board shall send
40the prisoner a written statement setting forth a new date and the
P4    1reason or reasons for that action and shall offer the prisoner an
2opportunity for review of that action.

3(6) Within 10 days ofbegin delete anyend deletebegin insert aend insert board action resulting in the
4rescinding of a previously set parole date, the board shall send the
5prisoner a written statement setting forth the reason or reasons for
6that action, and shall schedule the prisoner’s next hearing in
7accordance with paragraph (3).

8(c) The board shall conduct a parole hearing pursuant to this
9section as a de novo hearing. Findings made and conclusions
10reached in a prior parole hearing shall be considered in, but shall
11not be deemed to be binding upon, subsequent parole hearings for
12an inmate, but shall be subject to reconsideration based upon
13changed facts and circumstances. When conducting a hearing, the
14board shall admit the prior recorded or memorialized testimony
15or statement of a victim or witness, upon request of the victim or
16if the victim or witness has died or become unavailable. At each
17hearing the board shall determine the appropriate action to be taken
18based on the criteria set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 3041.

19(d) (1) An inmate may request that the board exercise its
20discretion to advance a hearing set pursuant to paragraph (3) of
21subdivision (b) to an earlier date, by submitting a written request
22to the board, which shall set forth the change in circumstances or
23new information that establishes a reasonable likelihood that
24consideration of the public safety does not require the additional
25period of incarceration of the inmate. The board shall provide
26notice of the request to the district attorney and the victim, if the
27victim has previously requested notification of all board actions,
28no less than 30 days before the board may grant the inmate’s
29request. Notice shall be satisfied by mailing copies of the inmate’s
30request to the office of the district attorney and, if applicable, to
31the last address provided by the victim to the Office of Victim and
32Survivor Rights and Services.

33(2) The board shall have sole jurisdiction, after considering the
34views and interests of the district attorney of the county in which
35the offense was committed, or his or her representative, and the
36victim to determine whether to grant or deny a written request
37made pursuant to paragraph (1), and its decision shall be subject
38to review by a court or magistrate only for a manifest abuse of
39discretion by the board. The board shall have the power to
40summarily deny a request that does not comply with the provisions
P5    1of this subdivision or that does not set forth a change in
2circumstances or new information as required in paragraph (1) that
3in the judgment of the board is sufficient to justify the action
4described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b).

5(3) An inmate may make only one written request as provided
6in paragraph (1) during each three-year period. Following either
7a summary denial of a request made pursuant to paragraph (1), or
8the decision of the board after a hearing described in subdivision
9(a) to not set a parole date, the inmate shall not be entitled to submit
10another request for a hearing pursuant to subdivision (a) until a
11three-year period of time has elapsed from the summary denial or
12decision of the board.

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13(4) Failure to provide notification as required in paragraph (1)
14shall postpone any action being taken on the hearing advancement
15until the notice is properly made.

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