Two important recent New York State judicial decisions in Article 78 parole denial appeals help to expose the lawlessness of the Parole Board in denying parole with no justifiable reason. Here are excerpts from those decisions.
Alejo Rodriguez v. NYS Board of Parole, Supreme Court Orange County, Justice Sandra Sciortino, February 25, 2016: “The instant matter, like so many others, arises from the Board’s failure to abide by statutory mandates. The Board is without authority to ignore the command of the Legislature. In continuing to issue such manifestly inadequate decisions despite a clear Legislative mandate, and in the face of so many cases in the courts of this state which reinforce that mandate, the Board is essentially thumbing its nose at the Legislature and the courts. Such behavior cannot be condoned… The Board’s failure to provide detailed, non-conclusory reasons for its denial of release cannot continue.”
John Mackenzie v. Tina Stanford, Supreme Court Dutchess County, Justice Maria Rosa, October 2, 2015: “A parole board is not entitled to rely exclusively on the severity of the offense to deny parole, as such a determination contravenes the discretionary scheme mandated by statute and constitutes an unauthorized resentencing of the defendant… To the extent that the board’s determination here is based upon letters of community opposition, respondent has failed to demonstrate a rational basis for the challenged determination… Petitioner suggested at his parole hearing that the letters were written by police benevolent association groups who did not know the victim or petitioner and have no first-hand knowledge of the facts underlying his conviction. Accordingly, any such letters would reflect opposition to release based on penal philosophy, namely that individuals convicted of killing a police officer should never obtain release. That is not law and members of the parole board are not permitted to apply their own penal philosophy in determining whether release is appropriate. Thus, it is beyond cavil that members of the parole board may not deny release based solely on letters from unknown third parties expressing their penal philosophies.”