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Name: In re Montgomery
Case #: C068098
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/02/2012

An inmate’s lack of insight into the causative factors of the life offense and his addiction may be some evidence to support a denial of parole. During a routine traffic stop in 1999, Montgomery shot and critically injured a sheriff’s deputy. At the time of the offense, he was under the influence of methamphetamine and had “unfinished” methamphetamine, equipment to manufacture the drug, and a loaded rifle in the car. He was convicted of attempted first degree murder, and other crimes, and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. In 2009, the Board of Parole Hearings, finding current dangerousness, denied parole. In a habeas action, the trial court held that the denial was not supported by some evidence and remanded for a new suitability hearing. The Warden appealed the ruling. In the meantime, a second hearing was held in 2011, and the Board again denied parole. Despite the 2011 Board action, the court found the question as to the 2009 order was not moot as the determination of the trial court governed Montgomery’s future suitability hearings. The court then found that the Board’s 2009 denial was not arbitrary. There was some evidence that Montgomery lacked insight into the factors leading to his life offense. He minimized his culpability for the offense by blaming it on a drug-induced paranoia rather than acknowledging that he ambushed a deputy while on probation and admitted that he was seeking to avoid arrest on outstanding warrants and other offenses he was committing at the time of the stop. The circumstances surrounding a rules violation for possession of tobacco indicated that he lacked insight into addiction issues, which was a large part of his violent conduct in committing the life offense. There was a rational nexus between the evidence and a finding of current dangerousness. The court ordered reinstatement of the Board’s 2009 order and vacated the 2011 order. This served to benefit Montgomery by providing him with a parole hearing three years from the 2009 hearing date, rather than from the 2011 hearing.