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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Parole board to set minimums for life-term inmates

KCRA 3California has settled legal action by a convicted killer who said his parole applications were unjustifiably denied for a decade, an agreement that could bring about earlier releases for inmates who have been sentenced to terms of up to life but remain eligible for parole.

Under the settlement, the state Board of Parole Hearings is required to establish the minimum time that should be served before an inmate is released, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Those sentences are to be based on the circumstances of the crime, so that killers convicted of torture, for instance, would draw the longest terms, according to the newspaper.

For inmates to be held beyond that minimum sentence, a parole board would have to demonstrate why they are a danger to the public.

State Court of Appeal Justice J. Anthony Kline in San Francisco approved the settlement Monday. It stems from a claim filed by Roy Butler, a 46-year-old Salinas Valley State Prison inmate who was sentenced to 15 years to life for a 1987 murder. He said his applications for parole were unjustifiably denied over 10 years.

"For decades, the Board of Parole Hearings has left these guys completely in the dark as to when they might ever have a chance of getting out," Jon Streeter, Butler's court-appointed attorney, told the Times. continue reading...

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