A judge has ordered the state parole board to retroactively apply a new provision requiring it to consider the rehabilitation of an inmate and not base a denial of release on an offense that may have occurred decades in the past.
The decision, if upheld, could entitle scores of inmates to new parole interviews.
Orange County Supreme Court Justice Lawrence H. Ecker, in what he says is a case of first impression, reviewed a recent revision of Executive Law §259(c), and held that a man who came up for parole before a change in the law is nonetheless entitled to benefit from that law.
The revision requires the parole board to look beyond the instant offense and consider whether the applicant for parole has been rehabilitated.
In Matter of Thwaites v. New York State Board of Parole, 2011 NY Slip Op 21453, Justice Ecker said the board, in denying the inmate's release, relied on "past-focused rhetoric, not future-focused risk assessment analysis." He directed the parole board to afford Douglas Thwaites a new interview ...
... Justice Ecker said there is no question the board did not apply in Mr. Thwaites' case standards that had yet to take effect. Regardless, he said the "remedial" objective of the legislation requires reconsideration of the inmate's parole bid.
For complete article, see:
Parole Board Ordered to Apply Retroactively Rehabilitation Factor, by John Caher (New York Law Journal, 27 December 2011)
In a new decision on January 26 2012, Judge Lawrence H. Ecker handed down an almost identical ruling in the case of Newlly Velazquez as he did for Douglas Thwaites, one month previously. See:
An update on the Thwaites case, 20 September 2012: the New York State Attorney General's Office is appealing Justice Lawrence H. Ecker's ruling to the Second Department in Matter of Thwaites v. New York State Board of Parole, arguing that the ruling "stands to wreak havoc on the parole system" and that the "Legislature cannot plausibly have intended to apply the changes to parole practices to past parole board decisions". See:
A.G. Urges Court to Upset Parole Interview Decision, by John Caher (New York Law Journal, 20 September 2012)