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Name: In re Miller
Case #: A114585
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/19/2006

A parolee has a constitutional right to confront and cross examine adverse witnesses at a parole revocation hearing unless the hearing officer specifically finds good cause for not allowing confrontation. Under United States v. Comito (9th Cir. 1999) 177 F.3d 1166, as subsequently applied to California hearings, the parolee’s right to confrontation is balanced against the good cause the government must show to excuse the confrontation, with the test hinging on the importance of the hearsay evidence to the ultimate finding and the nature of the facts to be proven by the hearsay evidence. As the significance of the evidence increases, so does the parolee’s right to confrontation. Here, the parolee was accused of sexual crimes against a woman he met through a telephone dating network. The hearing officer permitted hearsay evidence from investigating police officers and a medical report to establish the violations despite the lack of evidence that the prosecution attempted to compel the victim to testify and the lack of justification for her absence. Without same, there was no indication that the commissioner conducted the requisite balancing test.