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Name: In re Sena
Case #: H040564
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/20/2015
Summary

After a superior court reverses a gubernatorial reversal of the Parole Board’s decision to grant an inmate parole, the superior court should direct the Board to resume parole proceedings, not set a release date itself. Sena was convicted of second degree murder in 1992. On November 29, 2011, the Board granted him parole. The Governor reversed the Board’s decision. The superior court, in turn, reversed the Governor’s reversal and ordered Sena released by September 23, 2012. Sena was not released. While incarcerated after that date, he committed a rules violation by masturbating in front of a female correctional officer. The Board then rescinded Sena’s parole grant, finding that the rules violation demonstrated he posed a danger to society if released. Sena filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which the superior court granted on the basis that the rules violation occurred while Sena had been “illegally confined.” The Governor appealed. Held: Reversed. When a superior court reverses a gubernatorial reversal of a parole decision, it should direct the Board to resume proceedings rather than set a release date itself. (In re Lira (2014) 58 Cal.4th 573, 582.) Once the Board resumes proceedings, it can rescind a parole grant for good cause. (See In re Caswell (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 1017, 1026.) A rules violation, like masturbating in front of a female correctional officer, amounts to good cause. Here, the superior court’s September 2012 order improperly directed that Sena be immediately released from prison. Additionally, the superior court’s rejection of the Board’s determination regarding Sena’s current dangerousness was misguided and the writ should not have been granted.