Parole Revocation Hearings

Parole revocation hearings determine whether a preponderance of evidence is present to show a good cause finding that the parolee has violated any law or condition of parole. Parolees may be returned to custody for up to 12 months with a good cause finding. Typically, the hearing is presided over by a deputy hearing, and is considered administrative by nature. Present at the hearing are the agent of record, the parolee, a hearing agent, requested witnesses and an attorney for the parolee.

In November, 2003, the Board of Parole Hearings (formerly known as the Board of Prison Terms) and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (formerly known as the Department of Corrections) reached a court-approved settlement to resolve a decade-long class action lawsuit brought by inmates against the State of California. The suit alleged that the state’s parole revocation process violated the inmates’ constitutional rights to a timely hearing.

The settlement, approved and monitored by the U.S. District Court, requires the BPH to administer a Remedial Plan to ensure that parole revocation proceedings are conducted within legally established time limits, while preserving the due process legal rights of inmates.

The Remedial Plan streamlines the parole revocation process, including consolidating some existing procedures, so that all cases will be adjudicated within 35 days. Changes began July 2004 and the plan was fully in place by July, 2005 to comply with the court.

Among the changes:

All alleged parole violators will be assigned an attorney at the beginning of the hearing process after being apprised of the charges against them and a settlement offer. This will consolidate some procedures that are now administered separately and to protect parolees’ legal rights, including protections called for in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

All alleged parole violators will have a probable cause hearing within 10 days to determine whether or not there is sufficient justification to proceed to a hearing, unless the parolee waives that right or asks for a continuance.

All parole revocation cases will be adjudicated within 35 days, unless the parolee requests a continuance.

The complete settlement document (Valdivia v Schwarzenegger) is available here.

The Victim and Witness Handbook for Adult Offender Parole Revocation Hearings may also prove useful.