75-year old’s prior criminal history was insufficient to prove he presented an unreasonable risk of danger and therefore was unsuitable for parole.
The Attorney General appealed from a superior court order granting a petition for writ of habeas corpus, filed by 75-year old Roderick. The superior court found that the BPT’s denial of parole was not supported by some evidence. The appellate court affirmed the superior court order. Of the five factors relied upon by the BPT in denying Roderick parole, only one, Roderick’s past criminal history, constituted some evidence to conclude that he would pose an unreasonable risk of danger if he were released. Roderick served 20 years of a 16 years to life sentence, the last twelve of which were with a perfect disciplinary record. Although he had a lengthy rap sheet, the record showed that he had done quite well while incarcerated, and had “slow(ed) down” considerably due to aging. To continue to deny him parole due to the immutable factor of his past criminal history would be a denial of due process.