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Name: In re Stoneroad
Case #: A132591
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 04/18/2013

Board of Parole Hearings’ (BPH) decision to deny parole was not supported by substantial evidence of current dangerousness. Petitioner was a life-term inmate serving a sentence for second degree murder. He sought review of BPH’s denial of parole. Held: Petition granted; case remanded. A reviewing court is required to affirm the denial of parole unless BPH’s “decision does not reflect due consideration of all relevant statutory and regulatory factors or is not supported by a modicum of evidence in the record rationally indicative of current dangerousness.” Here the BPH ignored not just several of the relevant factors, “but virtually all of them.” The BPH had available reliable information indicating that almost all of the regulatory factors favoring a grant of parole applied to petitioner, yet its decision denying parole mentioned virtually none of these factors. Further, the BPH disregarded favorable psychological evaluations. The gravity of the commitment offense is one of the factors relevant to deciding whether the inmate is suitable for parole insofar as there is a nexus between the offense and current dangerousness. That nexus did not exist here. The BPH’s conclusion that petitioner’s inability to recall the commission of the life offense reflected he could not understand the factors that caused him to commit it, was not rational in view of his acceptance of responsibility and remorse for the crime, and other evidence demonstrating petitioner’s insight into his offense.