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Gould v. New Jersey State Parole Board

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


April 8, 2010

TODD GOULD, APPELLANT,
v.
NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD, RESPONDENT.

On appeal from a Final Agency Decision of the New Jersey State Parole Board.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 18, 2009

Before Judges Graves and J.N. Harris.

This is an appeal by a state prison inmate, Todd Gould, from a final administrative decision of the State Parole Board (Board) denying parole and establishing a fourteen-month future eligibility term. We affirm.

On July 19, 2007, Gould pled guilty to two counts of third- degree theft by unlawful taking, third-degree resisting arrest, fourth-degree purposeful injury to animals used for law enforcement, and a disorderly persons offense for failing to properly dispose of a controlled dangerous substance. According to Gould's presentence report, he was born on May 22, 1964, and his prior criminal history included "35 arrests with 21 prior convictions" (seven in Superior Court and fourteen in municipal court). On October 12, 2007, Gould was sentenced to a five-year probationary term, on condition he successfully complete a long- term inpatient drug treatment program at Damon House. However, Gould did not successfully complete the Damon program and on May 9, 2008, he was sentenced to a four-year prison term for violating a condition of probation.

In determining there was a reasonable likelihood that Gould would violate the conditions of parole if he were released on parole, the parole panel that initially denied parole relied on the following factors: Gould's prior criminal record was extensive and repetitive; he was serving a sentence for multiple convictions; prior opportunities on community supervision (probation and parole) failed to deter criminal behavior; prior opportunities on community supervision (probation) were violated in the past; he was discharged from an inpatient drug treatment program; he lacked insight into his criminal behavior and minimized his conduct; his substance abuse problem had not been sufficiently addressed; and a risk assessment evaluation score of 35 indicated a high risk of recidivism.

In affirming the parole panel's decision, the Board stated:

The full Board found that you have not supported your claims that [the] Panel's decision is contrary to written Board policy or procedure, [and] that the Panel failed to consider material facts and considered inaccurate information.

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). Also, the full Board found that the Adult Panel's decision is based upon a determination that a preponderance of the evidence indicates that there is a reasonable expectation that you would violate the conditions of parole if released on parole at this time.

Accordingly, the full Board has elected to affirm the Adult Panel's August 7, 2008 decision to deny parole and establish a fourteen (14) month future parole eligibility term. You will be scheduled for a subsequent parole release hearing when it is appropriate.

On appeal, Gould presents the following arguments:

POINT I

THE DECISION TO DENY PAROLE IS A VIOLATION OF DEFENDANT['S] 14TH AMENDMENT CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW. (Not Raised Below)

POINT II

THE PAROLE BOARD ACTED CAPRICIOUSLY AND ARBITRARILY IN DENYING PAROLE. (Not Raised Below)

We conclude from our review of the record that these arguments are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). The Board's decision properly considered all relevant factors, correctly applied the governing standard, and is rationally supported by sufficient credible evidence in the record. "Administrative actions, such as parole decisions, must be upheld where the findings could reasonably have been reached on the credible evidence in the record." McGowan v. N.J. State Parole Bd., 347 N.J. Super. 544, 563 (App. Div. 2002). Applying this standard, we discern no valid basis for disturbing the Board's determination.

Affirmed.

20100408

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