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Name: In re Burdan
Case #: C056099
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/24/2008
Subsequent History: review granted 7/9/08 S163311

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 considered by the board that indicates that the prospective parolee’s release unreasonably endangers public safety, and not whether some evidence supports the reasons cited for denying parole. In 1983, petitioner Burdan shot and killed his wife. The two had experienced marital difficulties and appellant had discovered that his wife had been involved in a sexual affair with a female coworker. Petitioner pled guilty to second-degree murder, and in 1984 was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. He adjusted well to prison and led a productive life. On February 9, 2005, the Board of Parole Hearings conducted a parole-consideration hearing and found petitioner suitable for parole. However, the Governor reversed the board’s decision, concluding that petitioner’s release would pose an unreasonable risk to public safety because of the “grave” nature of the offense of conviction. The Court of Appeal granted petitioner’s habeas corpus petition, agreeing that the record did not support the Governor’s decision reversing the board’s grant of parole. 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.