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Name: In re Arroyo
Case #: G056020
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/25/2019

Proposition 57 addresses an inmate’s eligibility for early parole consideration but does not dictate the timing of the actual parole suitability hearing. Arroyo was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of 35 years to life under the Three Strikes law. He filed a habeas petition in superior court challenging CDCR regulations that, at the time, made three strike offenders serving an indeterminate sentence for a nonviolent offense ineligible for early parole consideration under Proposition 57. After his petition was denied, Arroyo filed a similar habeas petition in the Court of Appeal. An order to show cause issued. Held: Petition denied as moot. Proposition 57 added a provision to the California Constitution providing: “Any person convicted of a nonviolent felony offense and sentenced to state prison shall be eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term for his or her primary offense.” (Art. I, § 32, subd. (a)(1).) Thereafter, In re Edwards (2018) 26 Cal.App.5th 1181, held that the provision of CDCR’s regulations that made inmates like Arroyo ineligible for early parole consideration relief was inconsistent with section 32(a)(1) and therefore void. After Edwards, CDCR adopted emergency regulations providing that an indeterminately sentenced nonviolent offender (like Arroyo) shall be eligible for a parole consideration hearing. Thus, under the current regulations, Arroyo is eligible for early parole consideration, and CDCR records showed Arroyo had been placed into the queue to receive a parole hearing “no later than December 31, 2021.” Because Arroyo received the relief he requested, there was nothing left for the court to decide. The court disagreed with Arroyo’s argument that he was entitled to an immediate parole suitability hearing. Section 32(a)(1) provides only that the inmate “shall be eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term for his . . . primary offense.” It does not address when the actual parole suitability hearing must occur and, in any event, the timing of the suitability hearing was not encompassed in the order to show cause.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: