BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 487


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          Date of Hearing:  April 7, 2015
          Counsel:               David Billingsley



                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                                  Bill Quirk, Chair





          AB  
                   487 (Gonzalez) - As Introduced  February 23, 2015


                       As Proposed to be Amended in Committee


          SUMMARY:  Requires that when an inmate requests to advance a  
          parole hearing, notice be sent to the district attorney of the  
          county in which the offense was committed, in addition to the  
          victim.  Failure to notify the district attorney or victim of a  
          request to advance the hearing shall postpone any action being  
          taken on the hearing advancement until the notice is properly  
          made. Specifically, this bill:

          1)Requires that when an inmate requests that the parole board  
            advance a parole hearing to an earlier date, by submitting a  
            written request to the board, notice be sent to the district  
            attorney of the county in which the offense was committed and  
            to the victim, if the victim requested notification.

          2)Requires notice of the inmate's request to advance the parole  
            hearing to be forwarded by the parole board to the district  
            attorney and the victim, if the victim requested notification,  
            no less than 30 days before the board may grant the inmate's  
            request.

          3)Specifies that a failure to notify the district attorney or  








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            the victim, if the victim requested notification, of a request  
            to advance the hearing shall postpone any action being taken  
            on the hearing advancement until the notice is properly made.

          EXISTING LAW:  



          1)Provides guidelines for the Board of Parole Hearings to  
            schedule parole hearings for prisoners in California  
            Department of Correction and Rehabilitation for whom they are  
            appropriate. (Pen. Code,  3041.5.)





          2)Requires the board set a date to reconsider whether an inmate  
            should be released on parole that ensures a meaningful  
            consideration of whether the inmate is suitable for release on  
            parole. (Pen. Code,  3041.5.)





          3)Requires that within 10 days following any meeting where a  
            parole date has been set, the board shall send the prisoner a  
            written statement setting forth his or her parole date, the  
            conditions he or she must meet in order to be released on the  
            date set, and the consequences of failure to meet those  
            conditions. (Pen. Code,  3041.5, subd. (b)(1).)





          4)Requires that within 20 days following any meeting where a  
            parole date has not been set, the board shall send the  
            prisoner a written statement setting forth the reason or  
            reasons for refusal to set a parole date, and suggest  
            activities in which he or she might participate that will  








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            benefit him or her while he or she is incarcerated. (Pen.  
            Code,  3041.5, subd. (b)(2).)








          5)Specifies that the board shall schedule the next hearing,  
            after considering the views and interests of the victim, as  
            follows:





             a)   Fifteen years after any hearing at which parole is  
               denied, unless the board finds by clear and convincing  
               evidence that the criteria relevant to the setting of  
               parole release dates enumerated in subdivision (a) of  
               Section 3041 are such that consideration of the public and  
               victim's safety does not require a more lengthy period of  
               incarceration for the prisoner than 10 additional years.  
               (Pen. Code,  3041.5, subd. (b)(3)(A).)





             b)   Ten years after any hearing at which parole is denied,  
               unless the board finds by clear and convincing evidence  
               that the criteria relevant to the setting of parole release  
               dates enumerated in subdivision (a) of Section 3041 are  
               such that consideration of the public and victim's safety  
               does not require a more lengthy period of incarceration for  
               the prisoner than seven additional years. (Pen. Code,   
               3041.5, subd. (b)(3)(B).)











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             c)   Three years, five years, or seven years after any  
               hearing at which parole is denied, because the criteria  
               relevant to the setting of parole release dates enumerated  
               in subdivision (a) of Section 3041 are such that  
               consideration of the public and victim's safety requires a  
               more lengthy period of incarceration for the prisoner, but  
               does not require a more lengthy period of incarceration for  
               the prisoner than seven additional years. (Pen. Code,   
               3041.5, subd. (b)(3)(c).)





          6)Allows the Board of Parole Hearings discretion, after  
            considering the views and interests of the victim, advance a  
            parole hearing to an earlier date, when a change in  
            circumstances or new information establishes a reasonable  
            likelihood that consideration of the public and victim's  
            safety does not require the additional period of incarceration  
            of the prisoner. (Pen. Code,  3041.5, sub. (b)(4).)





          7)Allows an inmate to request that the board exercise its  
            discretion to advance a hearing set pursuant to paragraph (3)  
            of subdivision (b) to an earlier date, by submitting a written  
            request to the board, with notice, upon request, and a copy to  
            the victim which shall set forth the change in circumstances  
            or new information that establishes a reasonable likelihood  
            that consideration of the public safety does not require the  
            additional period of incarceration of the inmate. (Pen. Code,  
             3041.5, sub. (d)(1).)













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          8)Mandates that the board shall have sole jurisdiction, after  
            considering the views and interests of the victim to determine  
            whether to grant or deny a written request to advance the  
            hearing, and its decision shall be subject to review by a  
            court or magistrate only for a manifest abuse of discretion by  
            the board. The board shall have the power to summarily deny a  
            request that does not comply with the provisions of this  
            subdivision or that does not set forth a change in  
            circumstances or new information as required. (Pen. Code,   
            3041.5, sub. (d)(2).)





          9)Specifies an inmate may make only one written request to  
            advance a hearing during each three-year period. Following  
            either a summary denial of a request to advance a hearing, or  
            the decision of the board after a hearing to not set a parole  
            date, the inmate shall not be entitled to submit another  
            request for a hearing pursuant to subdivision to set a parole  
            date until a three-year period of time has elapsed from the  
            summary denial or decision of the board. (Pen. Code,  3041.5,  
            sub. (d)(3).)





          10)Specifies that within 10 days of any board action resulting  
            in the postponement of a previously set parole date, the board  
            shall send the prisoner a written statement setting forth a  
            new date and the reason or reasons for that action and shall  
            offer the prisoner an opportunity for review of that action.  
            (Pen. Code,  3041.5, sub. (b)(5).)





          11)Requires that within 10 days of any board action resulting in  
            the rescinding of a previously set parole date, the board  








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            shall send the prisoner a written statement setting forth the  
            reason or reasons for that action, and shall schedule the  
            prisoner's next hearing as specified. (Pen. Code,  3041.5,  
            sub. (b)(6).)





          12)Requires the board conduct a parole hearing as a de novo  
            hearing. Findings made and conclusions reached in a prior  
            parole hearing shall be considered in but shall not be deemed  
            to be binding upon subsequent parole hearings for an inmate,  
            but shall be subject to reconsideration based upon changed  
            facts and circumstances. When conducting a hearing, the board  
            shall admit the prior recorded or memorialized testimony or  
            statement of a victim or witness, upon request of the victim  
            or if the victim or witness has died or become unavailable. At  
            each hearing the board shall determine the appropriate action  
            to be taken based on the criteria set forth in Penal Code  
            Section 3041. (Pen. Code,  3041.5, sub. (c).)



          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  

          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "AB 487 is a way  
            to ensure that all victims are notified when an inmate files a  
            petition to advance their parole date. By requiring that the  
            Board of Parole Hearings also notify the District Attorney of  
            the County in which the offense was committed, there will be  
            no doubt that a representative advocating for the victim's  
            interests will be available for comment in those situations  
            that merit such involvement.

          2)Marsy's Law (Proposition 9, 2008):  Proposition 9 was passed  
            by the voters of in 2008.  Proposition 9 included a victims'  
            bill of rights.  Among the protections in the victims' bill of  
            rights, was the right for victims to be noticed of criminal  
            proceedings in which they were a victim.  Proposition 9 also  








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            provided victims with the right to be heard at criminal  
            proceedings.  Victims can express their views personally, or  
            through a representative.  Criminal proceedings where victims  
            have a right to notice and expression of views include parole  
            hearings for inmates serving indeterminate life terms in the  
            California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation  
            (CDCR).

          California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has an  
            Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) that  
            provides assistance to victims surrounding issues involving  
            inmates in CDCR.  OVSRS handles requests by victims for  
            notification regarding inmates involved in their crime.  OVSRS  
            currently handles requests by victims for notification  
            regarding parole hearing dates for offenders sentenced to life  
            imprisonment.
          

          3)Argument in Support:  According to Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego  
            County District Attorney, Notes that California voters passed  
            the Victims' Bill of Rights Act(Marsy's Law) in 2008, which  
            amend the state's Constitution and certain Penal Code sections  
            to protect and expand the legal rights of victims of crime to  
            including (among 17 others) the right to be noticed and to be  
            heard, upon request, at any proceeding, including  
            post-conviction release decisions.

          "Unfortunately, existing law only requires that the Board of  
            Parole Hearings notify the victims or next of kin if an inmate  
            files a petition to advance the their parole date, and omits  
            the District Attorney in the notification process.  Moreover,  
            it has come to our attention that some victims are not getting  
            notified in a timely fashion.  Assembly Bill 487 would provide  
            a safety net to ensure that when an inmate files such a  
            petition, the district Attorney of jurisdiction will also be  
            notified.  Failure to notify the victim and the district  
            Attorney of record will make void the requested petition and  
            reinstate the original hearing date.

          "Our office is a significant stakeholder in parole hearings, and  
            our prosecutors appear at about 45 hearings each year and  
            advocate the State's position with respect to public safety,  








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            and sometime serve as the voice of crime victims and their  
            next of kin.  This bill would fix a large omission in the  
            hearing advancement process, consisting of notice of potential  
            hearing advancements, and an opportunity to be heard, after we  
            have expended significant time and resources to convict this  
            inmate.

          ". . ., AB 487 would give the District Attorney the opportunity  
            to immediately notify victim and extent of kin upon learning  
            of a hearing advancement.  Marsy's Law advocated  
            predictability and promised to eliminate endless and repeated  
            parole hearings which re-traumatize crime victims and their  
            families.  Currently, victims are being re-traumatized and  
            have no one to turn to, as the District Attorney is  
            circumvented in the entire process.  Ab 487 does not take away  
            any power or authority from the Board of Parole Hearings, as  
            it will still decide the matter of advancement as it see just  
            and fit.  There is no downside to simply providing significant  
            stakeholders with an opportunity to weigh-in before that  
            decision is made."

          4)Argument in Opposition:  According to The California Public  
            Defenders Association, "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 parole proceedings and would require  
            nullification of action taken on the hearing advancement if  
            the district attorney of the county in which the offense was  
            committed, or his or her designee, and the victim are not  
            notified.
            
            "This bill requires prior notification of the committing  
            county's district attorney.  It does not affect the rights of  
            victims.  Under current law, district attorneys are notified  
            of parole hearings in cases where the inmate was convicted of  
            an offense carrying a life term (So called "Lifer Hearings").  
            AB 487 expands this notification requirement to situations  
            where an inmate is requesting an earlier parole date. A  
            failure to so notify the District Attorney requires  
            postponement of the hearing.

            "This bill simply adds a possible impediment to a timely  








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            hearing through no action of the inmate."

          5)Related Legislation:  SB 230 (Hancock), of this legislative  
            session, would specify that the purpose of the meeting between  
            the Board of Parole Hearings and an inmate during the 6th year  
            before the inmate's minimum eligible parole date is to review  
            and document the inmate's activities and conduct pertinent to  
            parole eligibility.  The bill would require a panel of 2 or  
            more commissioners or deputy commissioners to meet with each  
            inmate one year before the inmate's minimum eligible parole  
            date in order to grant or deny parole, as specified.  The bill  
            would prohibit an inmate from being released before reaching  
            his or her minimum eligible parole release date unless the  
            inmate is eligible for earlier release pursuant to his or her  
            youth offender parole eligibility date.

          Existing law authorizes the Governor to request a review of a  
            decision by the board to grant or deny parole to an inmate up  
            to 90 days before the inmate's scheduled release date.

          The bill would authorize the Governor to request a review of a  
            decision by the board to grant or deny parole at any time  
            before the inmate's scheduled release. The bill would make  
            conforming changes.

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:

          Support
          
          Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs 
          Association of Deputy District Attorneys
          California College and University Police Chiefs Association
          California Correctional Supervisors Organization
          California District Attorneys Association
          California Narcotic Officers Association
          California State Sheriffs' Association
          Chief Probation Officers of California
          County of San Diego
          Crime Victims United of California
          Los Angeles Police Protective League
          Riverside Sheriffs Association
          San Diego County District Attorney








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          Opposition
          
          California Public Defenders Association
          Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety


          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              David Billingsley / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744