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Name: In re Davidson
Case #: B239385
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 07/20/2012

Some evidence supported the Board of Parole Hearing’s (BPH) denial of parole because appellant’s history with alcohol presented an unreasonable risk to public safety. The BPH denied release on parole based on the commitment offense and lack of insight. The trial court granted habeas relief, ruling that the BPH’s decision was not supported by some evidence that Davidson is currently dangerous. Reversed. Davidson was convicted of second degree murder after he drove while intoxicated and collided with another car, killing the driver. Prior to this incident, Davidson had numerous DUIs. He acknowledged that he is an alcoholic but stated that had not consumed alcohol since the commitment offense. He had abstained from alcohol in the past only to relapse. The nature of Davidson’s alcohol problem and the record supported the BPH’s conclusion that his release now would pose too great a risk to the public. He had been in the controlled environment of prison but once he is released he will face the pressures of ordinary life and will have access to alcohol. It was for the BPH to decide whether Davidson would be able to carry out his good plans and expressed good intentions. The BPH’s decision to deny parole for a term of only three years as opposed to five, its recommendation that Davidson update his parole plan to include a relapse plan, and its recounting of favorable information about Davidson extends the hope that he will be suitable for parole at his next hearing. As to “lack of insight,” the BPH noted several factual matters and the appellate court found “little . . . of moment” while applying the deferential standard of review to this portion of the BPH’s decision. The court found it difficult to conclude that Davidson minimized his crime or tried to excuse it in light of his repeated expressions that he was the sole cause of the homicide.