Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Bobby Gives Up
I remain deeply grateful for the support I’ve received from all of you, in all the various ways each of you has given it. Some of you have written letters to the Chairman of the California parole board, and I decided to write one to him as well. You can read what I wrote to him below.
With this I am letting go of all this parole hearing business. In the letter I said what I felt there was a need to say regarding the circumstances and fairness (or lack of it) in the hearing, while being fully aware that fairness has become severely marginalized in the justice system of today.
I am fully aware, moreover, that all of this arises out of past actions. Blaming my circumstances will only imprison me in them. The hearing decision is due to become final in April. Resources required for appealing the hearing procedure violations in the courts are unavailable to me, and even if they were there is only a slim chance that such litigation efforts would produce beneficial results. The obvious course, therefore, is to cut my losses and sweep the parole hearing baggage out of my path so I can move ahead with the work there is to be done.
Of course, if there are any significant developments in any of these areas you will hear from me. Thanks again for your love and support.
Here is what I wrote to . . . .
Robert Doyle, Chairman
California Board of Parole Hearings
Dear Mr. Doyle,
This letter is in regards to my most recent parole hearing, which took place on December 13th 2010.
What occurred in this hearing has deeply troubled me and the people who care about me. While I understand, and fully accept, that the Board of Parole Hearings no longer has a formal appeal process, I feel compelled to bring to your attention the abnormalities that arose in the hearing. In your capacity as the Chairman of the BPH, you may have reasons to share my concerns.
As you probably know, I have been continuously incarcerated for a life crime since August of 1969. Since then I have had about twenty parole hearings, so I’m very familiar with the hearing procedures.
In earlier hearings I was always permitted to make statements relevant to the events and circumstances of the crime, and what significant developments have occurred since that tend to demonstrate acceptance of responsibility and changes in personal orientation. In my hearing this past December I was on several occasions prevented from making statements pertinent to the hearing process. Most egregiously, I was not allowed to finish making a closing statement I had prepared for the hearing. This statement was intended to relate, in terms leaving no uncertainty, my acceptance of responsibility to the victim and remorse for my participation in actions directly resulting in his death.
This dismaying development is inconsistent with my experiences in prior parole hearings. I am unaware of any changes in lifer hearing procedures that would support disallowing an inmate from making statements pertinent to the hearing process.
During his remarks in the decision phase of the hearing, the presiding Commissioner put a great deal of emphasis on crimes I did not participate in, and could not have participated in due to my imprisonment at the time they occurred. Despite there being no allegations ever brought to suggest my involvement in these other crimes, they seem to have been a primary justification for a 5-year denial. In no hearing previous to this one has it been suggested that I should be held to account for crimes I could not have been involved in committing.
I understand that prison inmates with life-top sentences have no entitlement to being granted parole. However, it is also my understanding that inmates appearing before the BPH are entitled to a fair hearing. In light of the foregoing, which is plainly evidenced in the transcript of the hearing, I fail to see how my hearing last December meets even the minimum standard for fairness by any reasonable measure.
March 23rd 2011