Summary of Significant Litigation Pending in State and Federal Courts Potentially Impacting Discretionary Parole in California

California Supreme Court

In re Palmer III; California Supreme Court No. S256149
Issues presented are: 1) Did this life inmate’s continued confinement become constitutionally disproportionate under article I, section 17 of the California Constitution and/or the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution? 2) If this life prisoner’s incarceration became constitutionally disproportionate, what is the remedy?

In re Gadlin; California Supreme Court No. S254599
Issue presented is: Under Proposition 57 (Cal. Const., art. 1, §32), may CDCR categorically exclude from early parole consideration all prisoners who have been previously convicted of a sex offense requiring registration under Penal Code section 290?

In re Mohammad; California Supreme Court No. S259999
Issue presented: Proposition 57 amended the California Constitution to provide for early parole consideration for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies. Does the text of Proposition 57 both preclude consideration of the ballot materials to discern the voters’ intent and prohibit CDCR from enacting implementing regulations that exclude inmates who stand convicted of both nonviolent and violent felonies from early parole consideration?

People v. Williams; Case: S262229, Supreme Court of California
Issue presented: Does Penal Code section 3051, subdivision (h), violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by excluding young adults convicted and sentenced for serious sex crimes under the One Strike law (Pen. Code, § 667.61) from youth offender parole consideration, while young adults convicted of first degree murder are entitled to such consideration?

Appellate Court Cases:

In re Canady; Third Appellate District No. C089363
This is a habeas appeal. The trial court found that post-conviction credits earned by inmates must be applied toward the Nonviolent Parole Eligibility Date.

In re Flores; Third Appellate District No. C089974
This is a habeas appeal. The trial court concluded that determinately-sentenced nonviolent offenders are entitled to the same process and protections provided to life inmates under In re Lawrence, including the right to attend a live hearing.

In re Kavanaugh; Fourth Appellate District, Division 1 No. D076500
This is habeas appeal. The trial court found that due process requires that determinately-sentenced nonviolent offenders be provided an attorney and a hearing before two hearing officers when they are considered for parole release.

In re Moreno; Fourth Appellate District, Division 1 No. D076821, SD Super. No. HCN 1586; SCN 367442-1 consolidated with Kavanaugh. In re Smith; Fourth Appellate District, Division 1 No. D077003; SD Super. No. HC19685; SCD208823 consolidated with Kavanaugh

In re Michael Williams; Second Appellate District, Div. 5 No. B303744
Original habeas petition in court of appeal. Williams alleges it is an equal protection violation to treat him differently from persons sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for offenses they committed as a juvenile because he is denied parole consideration. Williams was 21 when he shot two men during a robbery, killing one, for which he was subsequently sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Federal Litigation

Jones v. Diaz; N.D. Cal. No. 3:19-cv-7814
Possible class action civil lawsuit challenging delayed implementation of nonviolent parole consideration for indeterminately-sentenced nonviolent inmates.