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Name: In re Hunter
Case #: A131580
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/18/2012

The lack of “some evidence” that a lifer would pose an unreasonable risk to public safety requires a reversal of the denial of parole. Habeas relief was sought after a denial of parole and the initial decision in December, 2011 found the denial was not supported by any evidence and directed a new parole hearing. Rehearing was granted to consider supplemental briefing on In re Shaputis(2011) 53 Cal.4th 192 (Shaputis II). The restatement of governing principles of review did not change the outcome in this case. There was no rational nexus between the life crime offense and the Board’s conclusion that the inmate would present an unreasonable risk of future violence.

A habeas petition challenging the denial of parole is not required to follow the deadline for capital habeas petitions in order to be timely. A capital habeas petition is untimely if not filed within 180 days after the date for filing a reply brief in the direct appeal. Here the superior court writ petition was not filed for more than 11 months after the Board’s decision was final. Unlike the petitions filed to challenge a criminal conviction, the Board denial is contained in a paper record, typically well preserved, and with delay only prejudicing the inmate. There was no basis to apply the habeas rules relating to direct appeal and to deny the petition as untimely.