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Name: In re Tapia
Case #: G046142
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/25/2012

Petitioner’s failure to divulge the identity of his accomplice until the parole hearing was some evidence of parole unsuitability, so as to justify the Board’s decision to deny parole. Appellant was convicted of first degree attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and kidnapping, and sentenced to 26 years to life in state prison. At his parole hearing, he divulged the identity of his accomplice for the first time. The Board found that failing to provide the identity of a violent criminal for 17 years after the crime occurred constituted an ongoing threat to the public. Petitioner’s writ of habeas corpus was granted by the trial court but reversed by the appellate court. The Board of Parole Hearings is responsible for setting a date for the inmate’s release after the parole hearing unless it determines that public safety requires further incarceration. Under current authority, if “some” evidence considered by the Board justifies its decision, the decision will be upheld on review. In reviewing a parole-suitability determination, the essential question is whether the inmate currently poses a threat to public safety. Here, the court agreed with the Board that petitioner’s failure to identify his accomplice for 17 years might have allowed a dangerous criminal to remain on the streets and neglected petitioner’s societal obligation to protect the public by reporting criminal activity. As such, this factor is some evidence of petitioner’s unsuitability for parole. There was also some evidence that appellant downplayed the planning elements of the crime, which also justified the Board’s conclusion that he was unsuitable for parole.