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Name: In re Burdan
Case #: C056099
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/12/2008

In reversing the Parole Board’s finding that a life prisoner is suitable for parole, the Governor must be able to point to some evidence in the evidence considered by the board that indicates that the prospective parolee’s release unreasonably endangers public safety. Following the granting of petitioner’s petition for habeas corpus by the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court granted review and then transferred the matter back with directions to vacate the original decision and reconsider the matter in light of the high court’s ruling in In re Lawrence (2008) 44 Cal.4th 1181, and In re Shaputis (2008) 44 Cal.4th 1241, which clarified the standard for reviewing a parole decision of either the board or the Governor. Once again, the appellate court found that the Governor’s focus solely on the commitment offense did not support the finding that petitioner represented a threat to public safety. Although the commitment offense can negate parole suitability, it must be established that the circumstances of the crime reliably indicate that the petitioner will present an unreasonable public safety threat. This was not shown in petitioner’s case.