January 7, 2009
JUAN RIVERA, APPELLANT,
NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD, RESPONDENT.
On appeal from the New Jersey State Parole Board.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted December 17, 2008
Before Judges C.L. Miniman and King.
This is a pro se appeal from denial of parole by the State Parole Board (the Board). Appellant was serving a life sentence for murder committed in 1981 while on parole from a manslaughter conviction in 1975. He had been serving a ten-year term on the manslaughter conviction. Appellant had been reviewed for parole on the murder conviction four times; the last review was in September 2007. Because of the seriousness of this matter, it was presented to the full Board which denied parole on December 20, 2007 and imposed a future eligibility term of thirty-six months.
On this appeal the inmate raises several claims of error:
POINT I-THE PAROLE PANEL CONSIDERED INACCURATE INFORMATION WHEN THEY DENIED APPELLANT PAROLE RELEASE.
A. Inaccurate information the Adult Panel Considered concerning Alleged letter from Appellant Wife.
B. The Adult Panel used an interpreter who did not properly Interpret Appellant's Answers from Spanish to English or Adult Panel Questions from English to Spanish.
In view of the inmate's serious and escalating past criminal record, spotty institutional record, and psychological evaluations, we find the Board's decision fully supported by the record. There is a substantial risk of reoffense, as observed by the Board.
The Board did not consider any inaccurate information with respect to a letter from the inmate's wife to the Essex County Prosecutor's office at the parole hearing concerning the murder charges. There is no evidence to support the claim of inaccuracy of the interpreter of the Adult Panel's hearing.
We affirm for the reason explicated in the full Board's written opinion by William Curry, Deputy Executive Director, where he said, in pertinent part:
The full Board found that the Adult Panel appropriately considered your prior criminal record, noted it is repetitive, its nature is increasingly more serious and now includes a Murder. In addition, the Panel noted that you are presently incarcerated for a multi-crime conviction. It was also noted that your current opportunity on parole was revoked for the commission of a new offense and your prior incarcerations have failed to deter your criminal behavior. The Panel also noted your insufficient problem resolution, specifically your lack of insight into your criminal behavior and minimizing your conduct as demonstrated by your Panel interview, documentation in the case file and confidential material and professional reports. In addition, the Panel noted that you have received institutional infractions, which are serious in nature, with your last infraction occurring on September 21, 1992 for Use of any Narcotic Paraphernalia or Drugs. Finally, the Panel noted "inmate seems to jail well, but his street behaviors are quite different." "After an incarceration for a homicide he got into an incident in which he assaulted a girlfriend and fought with a neighbor resulting in the neighbor's murder." "While he may seem to have progressed in his thinking, he presented similarly before his last parole." "It is troubling that his version of events is at such variance with the official version, and even his own prior statements."
Based upon consideration of the facts cited above, the full Board has determined that the Adult Panel has considered the aggregate of information, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 10A:71-3.11, and fully documented and supported its decision for denying parole, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 10A:71-3.18(f). The Board also found that the Panel's decision is based upon a determination that a preponderance of the evidence indicates that there is a substantial likelihood that you would commit a crime if released on parole at this time.
These conclusions are amply supported by the record and are well within the highly individualized discretionary appraisal of the Board. Trantino v. N.J. State Parole Bd., 166 N.J. 113, 173 (2001); Beckworth v. N.J. State Parole Bd., 62 N.J. 348, 359 (1973).
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