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Name: In re Honesto
Case #: H027337
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/09/2005

Honesto, who was charged with capital murder, entered into a plea agreement in 1987 under which he pleaded no contest to second degree murder with the use of a firearm, and kidnap and robbery counts, as well as the special circumstance previously alleged, were dismissed. He was sentenced to 17 years to life in state prison. Following his third denial of parole in 2001, he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging that the denial of parole was a violation of his plea agreement, and unsupported by some evidence. The superior court granted his petition and ordered BPT to hold a new hearing, restricting the factors it could consider. BPT appealed, contending that the denial of parole was not a violation of the plea agreement and was supported by some evidence of his unsuitability for parole. The appellate court agreed and reversed the superior court’s order. There was no evidence in the record that the plea agreement was anything other than the exchange of a plea for dismissal of the other counts and special circumstance allegations. A plea agreement violation depends on the actual terms of the agreement not the subjective understanding of the defendant. Here, Honesto agreed to a bargain which subjected him to a life sentence, which rebuts his claim that the bargain granted him a right to parole as soon as he reached a certain point on the statutory matrix. The bargain spared him his life, which belies his claim that the sole benefit of his bargain was understood to be parole under the second degree murder matrix. Further, all of the board’s reasons for deeming Honesto unsuitable for parole are supported by some evidence.