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Name: In re Dannenberg
Case #: H030031
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/23/2009

The Governor’s denial of parole was not justified by the nature of the commitment offense where there was no evidence that the parolee was currently dangerous. Dannenberg has been incarcerated since 1986 for second degree murder. In 2005, the parole board found him suitable for parole and granted parole, but the Governor reversed the board’s decision. The Governor conceded that every factor other than the gravity of the offense favored a finding of suitability, but concluded that the gravity of the offense alone justified an unsuitability finding. In this habeas petition, Dannenberg challenges the Governor’s decision. The appellate court here held that the decision was not supported by some evidence, granted the habeas petition, and reinstated the board’s decision. No evidence in the record supports a conclusion that due to the nature of the commitment offense, Dannenberg currently poses an unreasonable risk of danger if released. Dannenberg’s spotless record of outstanding conduct for the last 23 years, coupled with the absence of any negative factors and the presence of every conceivable favorable factor combine to eliminate any modicum of predictive value that his commitment offense once had.