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Name: In re Moses
Case #: A124814
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/16/2010

The Governor’s reversal of the BPT parole release was reversed where it was unsupported by evidence of current dangerousness. Moses was sent to prison in 1980 for second degree murder. Since that time, his behavior in prison was exemplary, he was involved in rehabilitation programs, and he expressed remorse for his offenses. After 29 years, 13 parole hearings, and 3 decisions to grant parole by the BPT which were reversed by the Governor, he remained in prison. The appellate court reversed the Governor’s reversal of the BPT’s decision to release Moses on parole and granted his writ petition. The Governor found that Moses’s release on parole posed an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety because the crime was “especially atrocious,” that although he claimed to accept responsibility for his actions, he maintained that he shot the victim in self-defense,” and that Moses had a history of violence at the time of the offense. The appellate court found the first reason unsupported by the evidence, and the second two simply not accurate. The Governor’s analysis mentions without discussing other suitability factors, such as Moses’s exemplary behavior in prison. The appellate court found that the Governor’s reasoning relied heavily on immutable factors, at times unsupported by the evidence, and amounted to little more than the “rote recitation” of only those factors suggestive of risk. The Governor did not articulate any rational nexus between his decision and any risk of danger to public safety posed by release.