On appeal from a Final Agency Decision of the New Jersey State Parole Board.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Skillman and Gilroy.
Appellant Louis Watley appeals from the December 17, 2008 final decision of the New Jersey State Parole Board (the Board) that denied him parole and established an eighteen-month future eligibility term (FET). We affirm.
On October 6, 2001, a jury found appellant guilty of first- degree aggravated sexual assault, fourth-degree kidnapping, fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, and third-degree terroristic threats. On March 9, 2001, the trial court sentenced defendant to an aggregate term of eighteen years of imprisonment. On October 21, 2004, a two-member Panel of the Board denied appellant parole and set a twenty-seven month FET.
The Board affirmed on March 30, 2005. In an unpublished opinion, we affirmed. Watley v. N.J. State Parole Bd., No. A- 4558-04 (App. Div. January 13, 2006).
Appellant became eligible for parole again in June 2006. On May 18, 2006, a two-member Panel conducted a parole hearing that included an interview with appellant. After the hearing and a review of appellant's parole file which included a mental health evaluation report of May 4, 2006, the Panel issued its decision denying parole and establishing an eighteen-month FET, finding that "a substantial likelihood exists that [appellant] would commit a new crime if released on parole at this time."*fn1
The Panel stated the following reasons for denying parole: the nature of appellant's record was becoming increasingly more serious, appellant's prior incarcerations failed to deter his criminal behavior, and appellant's insufficient problem resolution, specifically, his lack of insight into his criminal behavior and minimization of his criminal conduct. In a handwritten note, the Panel further explained: "No Insight"; "No Focus On Victim," and "Blames [the] State for his Incarceration." On January 10, 2007, the Board affirmed the Panel's decision.
On appeal, we determined that the first two factors for denying parole were supported in the record. However, as to the third factor, insufficient problem resolution, we were not able to ascertain from the record whether the three reasons of "No Insight," "No Focus on Victim," and "Blames [the] State for his Incarceration" were considered by the Board in weighing the likelihood of another offense, or whether they were considered for the improper purpose in punishing appellant. Accordingly, we vacated the Board's decision and remanded for reconsideration. Watley v. N.J. State Parole Board, No. A-3455- 06 (App. Div. June 25, 2008) (slip op. at 11).
Following our remand, appellant again became eligible for parole. On April 24, 2008, the Board Panel denied parole and established a twenty-seven month FET. On November 26, 2008, the Board confirmed the Panel's decision. That decision is also the subject of an appeal which we are affirming in a separate, unreported opinion simultaneously filed with this opinion, Watley v. New Jersey State Parole Board, No. A-2550-08 (App. Div. 2010).
On July 25, 2008, the Panel reconsidered the matter on the May 18, 2006 record, including listening to the sound recording made of the hearing that day, and issued a seven-page written decision addressing the issues for which the matter had been remanded. On reconsideration of the matter, the Panel denied parole and established an eighteen-month FET. On December 17, 2008, the Board affirmed. In so doing, the Board reasoned in part:
The Adult Panel's Notice of Decision specifically cited as a reason for denial that you exhibit insufficient problem resolution, specifically, that you lack insight into your criminal behavior and minimize your conduct. The Adult Panel clearly articulated your lack of insight and minimization of your criminal behavior in its narrative Notice of Decision.
The Adult Panel specifically noted the minimal description you provided of your commitment offenses and your failure to mention your state of mind at the time of the offenses or what you believe to have been the causes for your deviant and violent behavior. The Panel noted that you repeatedly stated during your hearing that you should be paroled, but in no way did you elucidate any substantive insight into your maladaptive behavior. Furthermore, the Panel noted that you distance yourself from accepting true responsibility for your criminal conduct and that you are unable to verbalize your criminal actions. Your lack of insight is supported by the excerpts of your discussion with the Panel, which is detailed ...