FOR HELP WITH PAROLE HEARINGS, CALL DOUG MANER'S OFFICE AT 209-581-2985 CELLPHONE: 209-315-5898
“Doug was instrumental in helping me get parole,
I recommend him to everyone who needs him. Can’t sing his praises high enough. I even passed out his business card to other inmates coming eligible for parole.” — Effa House, Former Lifer paroled in November, 2014 after 22 years,
11 months and 10 days in CA State Prison
FOR UP TO THE MOMENT NEWS AND ARTICLES ON PAROLE ISSUES, YOU CAN ALSO HEAD ON OVER TO OUR BLOG PAGE.
According to the Los Angeles Times*, nearly 2,000 inmates have been paroled under the Brown Administration after 10 years or more behind bars. But life on the outside can be filled with unforeseen stressors and temptations and a growing number have been returned to prison.
FOR FURTHER READING Los Angeles Times Articles
* "As more inmates are released from prison, more parolees return", Los Angeles Times, Paige St. John, Dec. 27, 2014.
* "Lifers: Voices of Parolees Returning to Prison," Los Angeles Times, Paige St. John, Dec. 27, 2013
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU ARE CLOSE TO IS FACING CHALLENGES AS A PAROLEE, FIND SUPPORT AT LIFE SUPPORT ALLIANCE. (lifesupportalliance.org),
IF DOUG MANER WORKED WITH YOU TO SUCCESSFULLY WIN PAROLE AND YOU ARE FACED WITH LEGAL CHALLENGES ON THE OUTSIDE, PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE AT ANY TIME AT 209-581-2985 or 209-315-5898 (mobile). WE ARE HERE TO SUPPORT YOU.
CDCR to finalize and implement an expanded parole process for medically incapacitated inmates. The procedures for the new Expanded Medical Parole process will apply to medical parole hearings conducted on or after July 1, 2014. (MORE INFORMATION, PDF)
Inmates who are 60 years or older and who have been incarcerated for 25 years or more are eligible for the Elderly Parole Program. Eligible inmates may be serving an indeterminate or a determinate sentence. Hearings to be scheduled on/after Oct. 1, 2014 (MORE INFORMATION, PDF)
In July, Doug received online training on the latest changes in how the Parole Board handles the Parole hearings of elderly and seriously ill inmates. Juvenile Offenders, Elderly Inmates and those who can document that they will reside in a Health Care Facility upon release are the newest categories of inmates currently benefiting from the parole Board's early Release policies. Please contact Doug to see if your loved one may qualify for an early out date.
FACT: In the United States, youth as young as 13 can be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Currently, over 2,500 youth in the US are serving this sentence. In the rest of the world, there are NONE. In California alone, over 250 young people have been sentenced to die in prison.
SB 260 was designed for people who committed a serious crime before the age of 18, acknowledging that youth may not have mature decision-making skills or the ability to make clear judgments and that this ability may be something that grows as an individual becomes more mature.
A person may be eligible for an SB 260 Suitability Hearing as a youth offender IF (1) they were under the age of 18 when the crime was committed; (2) were tried as adults and given life or determinate sentences; and (3) are not excluded for one of the following reasons.
1. Sentenced to Life without the possibility of parole
2. Convicted on a "one strike" law for certain serious sex offender crimes, and
3. "Three Strikes" life sentence based on two or more prior serious or violent felonies.
THERE IS A CURRENT BACKLOG OF CASES PENDING. Cases will be heard beginning in Fall, 2014
You need to know that preparing for an SB 260 Parole Board Hearing is every bit as rigorous as preparing for an adult hearing. Marsy's Law also applies. Please read the section to the right on this page about Parole Hearings.
TO LEARN MORE: please downloard this excellent pdf.
- Parolee Rights Manual by the Prison Law Project (8/13)
Also in Spanish --
If an incarcerated individual is serving a sentence of 15-years-to-life, he/she will be eligible for a Parole Suitability Hearing in Year 14 of the sentence.
YES. If you can possibly afford to hire a private attorney, do so. Do not hire an attorney who your family likes but has no Parole or Criminal Court experience. You want an attorney who has extensive Criminal Trial experience as either a Defense Attorney or as a D.A. and preferably has comprehensive experience with Parole hearings.
There are only a few attorneys in the State of California with as much experience as Doug Maner. Doug was a District Attorney for over 20 years before going into private practice as a criminal defense attorney. He has tried over 100 criminal cases in court and has served on California Deputy District Attorneys Association Lifer Committee and the California Deputy District Attorneys Parole Committee. He is a recognized expert in this special field.
At a Parole Suitability Hearing, you will meet with the State Parole Board. The Parole Board is comprised of a Commissioner, appointed by the Governor, and a Deputy Commissioner who is a civil servant. Your attorney will be there with you and there will be a District Attorney, who 99% of the time, would like to use the hearing to attempt to retry your case and keep you incarcerated. The victim or victim's next of kin (VNOKs) will also likely be there.
You will have the opportunity to present to the Board convincing evidence that you are no longer a threat to society, that you are rehabilitated, and that, once released from prison, you are ready, willing, and able to become a productive member of society and exemplary citizen .
IT IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE THAT YOU ARE IMPECCABLY PREPARED FOR YOUR HEARING. Preparing for the hearing is an overwhelming process and can be very intimidating. Your attorney (provided he/she has parole expertise - a rare specialty), and your friends, family and supporters on the outside will be invaluable resources to help you through your preparation with things like phone calls, photocopying, etc. and provide emotional support and help with post-parole planning arrangements that you might not have access to in prison. AND YOU? WALK THE WALK. TALK THE TALK. Keep your eye on the prize and make sure your behavior in prison is beyond reproach. At your hearing, tell the truth, make eye contact, stay calm, and don't forget to breathe.
"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Mahatmas Gandi
The passage of Prop 9 (also known as Marsy's Law) in 2008 dramatically changed the landscape of parole. If you are denied Parole at your hearing, it will be a term of either 3 or 15 years until you may apply again. Prior to Prop 9, an inmate could apply again in 1, 3, or 5 years. For someone who was convicted prior to 2008, this is a sea change. Currently, there are legal arguments being heard by the 9th Circuit Supreme Court arguing that this dramatic increase in time before trying again for eligibility is unconstitutional and a violation of the civil rights of those convicted before these rules were changed in 2008.
THE PASSAGE OF PROP 9 MAKES IT EVEN MORE PRESSING TO PRESENT THE BEST POSSIBLE CASE AT YOUR SUITABILITY HEARING. BE PREPARED. HAVE AN EXPERIENCED LIFER PAROLE ATTORNEY BY YOUR SIDE. PREPARATION AND A GOOD FRAME OF MIND ARE CRUCIAL TO YOUR SUCCESS.
PAROLE SUCCESS STATISTIC: During the Davis and Schwarzenagger Administrations, parole was granted to only 1/2 of 1% of those who applied in California. THE GOOD NEWS: Under the Brown administration, 1/3 to 1/2 of those who apply are granted parole. THE BAD NEWS: 1/2 to 2/3 of those who apply are NOT granted parole and now must wait another 3 or 15 years before they can apply again.
At your hearing, your file will be thoroughly reviewed and you will be asked questions about it's contents. Make sure that all of your supporting documents are in order. Your attorney can help review your file to make sure nothing is missing or inaccurate. REMEMBER, your #1 job here will be to make a favorable impression and convince the Parole Board that you are ready to succeed in society and feel deep remorse regarding your crime.
Practice your answers ahead of time so you can speak with self-confidence, not nervousness that might be misinterpreted as attitude. Tell the truth. Stay calm. Be respectful.
PRE-HEARING WORK WITH YOUR ATTORNEY. WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO DO.
• Write a self evaluation of your lifestyle at the time of your lifecrime emphasizing how your life choices placed you in that situation. Be honest with yourself, and work on developing insight and understanding into the factors that contributed to your choices. Be prepared to take responsibility for what you did, and to explain what this means to you.
• Prepare to explain how you have developed remorse and empathy for the victim(s). Write a letter to the victims expressing your remorse. Be yourself, open, honest and sincere. Each sincere expression of remorse is different, so there is no one correct way to do this, . Please resist the temptation to copy or mimic someone else’s thoughts or writings. Make it your own. Discuss this letter with me, or mail it to me in advance. Once you are satisfied with it, send it to the lifer desk at your prison for the Board to read at your hearing. Be prepared to see the victims next of kin at the hearing.
• Develop viable parole plans and document them. This should include stable housing, with at least one back-up if the first option fails. Consider transitional housing. Maximize your educational and vocational skills and opportunities. Be prepared to tell the Board how they will help you get work and integrate back into society. Do your best to get a verifiable job offer. If you do not have a solid offer, prepared a resume and show concrete plans on how you’ll find work.
• If you have a substance abuse issue, be prepared to tell the board how you will seek help with your substance abuse problem if/when you are released. Do you have a Sponsor? Think about what are your triggers. Have a personalized relapse prevention plan.
• Contact as many people who will be able to help you integrate yourself into society as possible. Obtain letters documenting your housing, employment plans, family support and , if necessary, substance abuse counseling and support.
• Get an Olson review. Make sure all the information in your C-file is accurate, and take steps to correct any errors. Check to see if there is any confidential information.
• Review transcripts of previous hearings if this is not your first hearing. How would you answer those questions better today than you did previously? Anticipate additional questions and be ready with replies.
• Prepare a closing statement for the Board. Be brief, sincere and honest. Explain how your choices caused you to commit the lifecrime and what steps you have taken, and what you will do in the future to avoid placing yourself in a similar situation. Explain how your parole plans will prepare you for success in today’s world and how you will integrate yourself into society after spending so much time in prison. Document educational and vocational training you’ve undertaken, GED or above earned, correspondence courses, etc. Write book reports on books you are reading/have read that inspire you to be a better person.
1. Papers You Should Have Ready For Your Attorney at the Interview:
Parole Plans, Support Letters, Resume, Book Reports & Budget
Letter of Remorse
Relapse Prevention Plan (Substance Abuse and/or Crime)
List of Self-Help, Education, Vocations, and other Achievements while in Prison
List Of Past Issues At Hearing(s)
Copy Of Last Hearing Transcript / Other Previous Transcripts from Previous Hearings
Copies of 115s – Whole Document Including Hearing/any proof of 602 and Writ
2. Important Topics to Discuss with Your Attorney:
Is a Waiver Appropriate?
Should You Discuss the Crime; Any Problems With the Facts; Your Statement
of the Facts and Any Corroboration
Version of the Crime in the Record to Be Used at the Hearing
Strong/Weak Areas of Your Case – Include: Psych Eval, History of VNOKS
Parole Plans, Letters Verifying Plans, Housing Plans and Documentation
115s/128s – Whole Record & What You Have Done To Challenge Them
or to Correct the Behavior
What You Have Accomplished Since Your Last Hearing
3. Parole Packet to Bring to the Hearing for the Commissioners
Parole Plans, Support Letters, Resume, photos of residence/family
Letter of Remorse (written with sincerity and sensitivity)
Relapse Prevention Plan (12 step programs, sponsor, etc)
List of Self-Help, Education, Vocations, and other Achievements – (The Board will usually only review what you've done since your last hearing, but your attorney should have this list which he can add to closing statements.
4. Papers to Have at the Hearing for You/Attorney NEATLY ORGANIZED
Copy of packet you gave to Commissioners
Previous Hearing Transcripts
Copies of 115s – Whole Document Including Hearing/any proof of 602 and Writ
ALL OF YOUR CHRONOS, CERTIFICATES, MEMOS ORGANIZED BY TYPE OF PROGRAMS IN DATE ORDER
SAMPLE QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT BE ASKED BY THE PAROLE BOARD AT YOUR HEARING. Every case is different and there’s no guarantee what you’ll be asked. Please consider this a guide to the self-analysis necessary to maximize your chance for a successful hearing.
1. Why did you commit this crime? (the heart of this question is how you were
capable of murder or some other serious crime)
2. Did you have any other options? Why did you ignore them?
3. Where did you get the gun? (more questions about details of the weapon)
4. Why did you shoot more than once?
5. Do you or did you have anger issues? Why?
6. What have you done to address your anger or other problems?
7. What are the most important things you learned in self-help programs?
8. Have you written a letter of remorse? When?
9. What is the victim’s name? What do you know about the victim?
10. Who are all the victims in your case?
11. How do you feel about what you did?
12. What has changed about you? Why/when did you decide to change for better?
13. How do we know you will not commit any more crimes if released?
14. Who visits you in prison and how often?
15. Did alcohol or drugs play a role in your crime?
16. How much did you drink or use each day (many questions about specifics of substance use)?
17. How did you support your habit?
18. Were you committing crimes to support your habit?
19. Did you ever drive while under the influence?
20. Are you an addict or alcoholic?
21. How did you get clean and sober? How do you stay clean and sober?
22. Do you have a sponsor or list of AA meetings in your area?
23. Name some steps, how you use them; which are most important to you & why?
24. Have you ever made a list of the people you harmed and made amends to anyone?
25. Who is on that list?
26. Name some of your triggers: (things that might lead you to drink or use)
27. How do you plan to cope with triggers on the outside?
28. What is your relapse prevention plan?
29. How will you stay clean and sober so that you do not reoffend?
30. Are any of your family members in prison?
31. What are your children doing and do they keep in touch with you?
32. Why did you get divorced?
33. What crimes have you done for which you did not get caught?
34. Is your sentence fair?
35. How long do you think you should have to do for this crime?
36. Did your trial attorney do a good job?
37. Did you enter this country illegally; # of times? Why don’t you speak English?
38. What is an average day in prison for you?
39. What books have you read and what books are your reading now?
40. Why haven’t you done any vocations or recent vocations or more self-help?
41. Why didn’t you do what the last Board asked you to do?
42. Why are you suitable for parole?