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Name: In re Lowe
Case #: H027521
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/10/2005

Lowe was sentenced in 1985 to 15 years to life for second degree murder. In 1988, the law was changed to allow the Governor to reverse parole determinations by the Board of Prison Terms (the Board). In 2002, Lowe was found suitable for parole and the Board set a release date. The Governor reversed the Board’s decision, and Lowe filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus. The superior court granted the writ, and the Governor appealed. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s order granting Lowe’s release and reinstated the Governor’s decision reversing the Board’s parole decision. The Governor’s act did not violate Lowe’s plea bargain, the Contracts Clause nor the Due Process clause of either the state or federal constitution. When Lowe entered into his plea bargain, the bargain did not include a promise of a specific release date. That the identity of the decision maker was altered from the Board to the Governor was a procedural rather than substantive change. Further, Lowe failed to make a showing that there was no evidence to support the Governor’s decision, or that he was acting arbitrarily.