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Name: In re Lazor
Case #: H032842
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/07/2009

In review of the Board of Parole’s denial of parole, the relevant inquiry is whether some evidence supports a finding that the prisoner represents a current threat to public safety of the community. The Board of Parole Hearings denied parole to petitioner who was serving a life sentence from a 1983 conviction for second degree murder. Petitioner’s petition for writ of habeas corpus was granted by the trial court which directed the board to conduct a new hearing but that it could not use the committing offense to deny parole. The trial court had reviewed the committing offense and determined it was not so exceptional as to justify denial of parole. The appellate court ruled that the trial court erred in substituting its assessment of the committing offense for that of the Board of Parole’s and restricting the board/s future exercise of discretion in assessing parole suitability. It also found that the board failed to relate the factors it cited in the denial of parole to circumstances that would make them probative of petitioner’s current dangerousness. The trial court’s order directing the board to conduct a new parole-suitability hearing was modified to omit any restrictions and to consider suitability under the permissible standard (In re Lawrence (2008) 44 Cal.4th 1181 & In re Shaputis (2008) 44 Cal.4th 1241).