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Name: In re Casey (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 1265
Case #: B321709
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 09/28/2023

The trial court’s order granting defendant’s habeas petition was improper where the Governor’s decision to reverse the parole board’s decision to grant parole was supported by “some evidence.” Defendant is serving a life term for the murder of a 15 year old girl when he was 17. After defendant served 23 years and three months, the parole board granted him parole. The Governor reversed the parole board’s decision and denied defendant parole on the ground that defendant lacks insight into his crime. The trial court granted defendant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus finding the Governor’s decision was unsupported by the evidence. The People appealed. Held: Reversed and remanded. The power to grant or deny parole is vested exclusively in the executive branch. (Cal. Const., art. V, § 8, subd. (b); Pen. Code, § 3041.2.) The Court of Appeal’s review of a Governor’s parole denial is limited to whether “some evidence” supports his conclusion that the inmate currently poses an unreasonable risk to the public. Here, the aggravated circumstances of the crime coupled with what the Governor could reasonably conclude is inadequate insight, justify denial in this case. [Editor’s Note: Justice Baltodano dissented, stating he would affirm the trial court’s order upholding the parole board’s grant of parole as “there is no evidence to support the Governor’s conclusion that [defendant] lacks insight into why he murdered [the victim],” citing ten pages of a statement to the parole board discussing the factors that led to the murder, and defendant’s responses to the parole board during the hearing.]