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Parole Activists started this petition

California's Governor has the authority under Penal Code 3041.2 to reverse parole decisions made by the Board of Parole Hearings, (BPH) which creates a politically burdensome and time-intensive review process. By self-imposing a moratorium on his exercise of this law, Governor Newsom could fully delegate parole decisions to his Senate-confirmed parole commissioners, who are trained to consider all relevant, reliable information [1] and who meet with parole candidates personally and evaluate credibility first-hand. The Governor would retain the power to trigger review by the BPH in cases of particular concern under Penal Code 3041.1. With these protections, a moratorium would pose no harm to public safety.

At the same time, a moratorium would offer many benefits: it would allow the Governor to conserve executive resources and focus on an affirmative agenda. It would make the parole review process more efficient, with fewer redundant hearings. It would conserve judicial resources statewide, insofar as parole reversals create a basis for litigation. It would spare the Governor from being caught between constituencies in opposition or support of parole in individual cases, allowing him to remain above the fray and place responsibility for such decisions with the BPH. And it would bolster public confidence in the rule of law, insofar as politics should not influence the public safety decisions meant to govern parole suitability. [2] In light of these considerations, we urge Governor Newsom to announce a case-neutral moratorium on his exercise of the parole reversal power in line with his moratorium on the death penalty.

[1] Including the committment offense, criminal history, and evidence of rehabilitation, among other factors. Cal. Code Regs., tit. 15, 2281, subd. (b)

[2] Only a handful of states currently allow this type of Governor's action, and in December 2021 the Democratic legislature of Maryland eliminated its governor's authority to reverse parole grants, citing the same concerns about politicization.

Authored by: Laura Sheppard, Esq


Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, activist, author, founder: Ministry Against the Death Penalty

Father Gregory Boyle, SJ, activist, author, founder: Homeboy Industries

Robert Price, Chairman: Price Philanthropies

Scott Budnick, film producer, activist, founder: Anti-Recidivism Coalition

Justin Brooks, Director: California Innocence Project

Don Specter, Executive Director: Prison Law Office

Heidi Rummel, USC Clinical Professor, Director: Parole Justice Works

Vanessa Nelson-Sloane, Director: Life Support Alliance

Karen Fleming, former Deputy Commissioner, Board of Parole Hearings


ACLU of Northern California, Executive Director: Abdi Soltani

San Francisco Public Defender's Office, Public Defender: Manohar Raju

San Diego Public Defender's Office, Public Defender: Randy Mize

Initiate Justice, Executive Director: Taina Angeli Vargas

UnCommon Law, Executive Director: Keith Wattley

Redemption Row California, Executive Director: Jen Baptiste Abreu

Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, Executive Director: George Galvis

Community Advocates for Just and Moral Governance, Executive Director: Genevieve Jones-Wright


Brian Parry, Assistant Director of CDCR (ret), FBI Contractor (ret)

Peter Bollinger, Santa Ana Police Dept Sergeant (ret)

David Contreras, San Diego Police Dept. Detective Sergeant (ret)

James W. Spertus, Assistant U.S. Attorney (ret) now of Spertus, Landes & Umhofer, LLP


Rachelle Addair, Michael Beckman, Liz Burner, Jeff Champlin, Elizabeth Comeau, Michael Dykstra, Ellen Eggers, Maya Emig, Karen Fleming, Marc Gardner, Joseph Haytas, Kony Kim, Diane Letarte, Tracy Lum, Joseph Magazenni, Rich Pfeiffer, Kathy Richards, Heidi Rummel, Marco Saldana, Benjamin Schiff, Laura Sheppard, Peraya Siriwong, Angela Berry



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