Parole board can’t require admission of guilt
This is part of an article published in SF Gate, 04/01/11:
A murder convict who appears to be rehabilitated after decades behind bars can’t be denied parole merely because he continues to declare his innocence, a state appeals court has ruled.
California law prohibits the parole board from requiring an inmate to admit guilt to be found suitable for release, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said Wednesday.
The three-judge court unanimously ordered the Board of Parole Hearings to reconsider Kevin Jackson’s case and decide whether there are any other reasons to keep him in prison for the 1981 murder of his ex-girlfriend.
As long as a prisoner’s denial is not clearly contradicted by the evidence, the board cannot take it as an indication that he is still dangerous, Justice Patti Kitching wrote.
Jackson’s lawyer, Nancy Tetreault, said Thursday the ruling was an important statement of the limits of the board’s authority. The state’s lawyer declined to comment.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/31/BALE1ING7F.DTL#ixzz1IZtzO8Bs
As a point of advice concerning this published decision, do not presume its holdings will prevent the Board from denying parole to an inmate who does not take responsibility for the crime committed that resulted in their indeterminate term imprisonment.
In this case, the court de facto separates the requirement to admit guilt from taking responsibility for the crime. Inmate Jackson was very clever in his approach to the crime. He made certain that he took responsibility for the murder. The Jackson court did not relieve inmates appearing before the Board (or Governor) from taking responsibility for the offense.
The news article is somewhat misleading and the attorney’s comment is either edited or does not go far enough. Always find the negative that accompanies the positive, else you will not have the full picture and failure awaits you–to paraphrase the words of a once famous business consultant.
In my opinion, having once written many writs against the Board and legally engineered my own Appellate Court success against the Board resulting in my being released, the above caveat should be added to any presentation concerning the legal impact of the above case, else harm could occur to anyone presuming it is of a blanket nature. It it not, by a long shot!