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Name: In re Mims
Case #: E051622
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 02/09/2012

The Board of Parole Hearing’s (BPH) decision to deny parole was supported by some evidence, requiring reversal of the trial court’s granting of habeas relief. A jury convicted appellant of the 1981 first degree murder of her fifth husband. She was sentenced to 26 years to life for the murder and use of a knife. At a 2009 parole hearing, the BPH found Mims unsuitable for parole based on her past and present mental state and attitude towards the crime, her lack of insight into causative factors for the crime and the cruel nature of the murder. The trial court granted Mims’ habeas petition. The Court of Appeal reversed. A superior court’s review of a decision to deny parole is deferential; the BPH’s decision must be upheld if there is some evidence to support its decision. The trial court’s finding there was no evidence to support a lack of insight finding was improperly based on reweighing the evidence regarding Mims’ history of abuse as a causative factor for the crime. BPH’s determination was based on some evidence Mims altered her personal history to minimize her culpability. The trial court also erred in finding the evidence lacked a nexus between the egregious nature of the murder and current dangerousness. Given the fact that the beaten and stabbed victim had multiple sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair, there was some evidence to support a finding the murder was particularly egregious. In addition, despite her lengthy incarceration, Mims failed to participate in mental health counseling, which supported one doctor’s opinion that she has failed to address the causative factors for the crime and the conclusion she remains a danger if released.