On appeal from a final decision of the New Jersey State Parole Board.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted December 6, 2010 - Decided Before Judges Lisa and Reisner.
Mariano Carrion-Collazo appeals from an October 28, 2009 final decision of the Parole Board, affirming the Adult Panel's April 9, 2009 decision to deny parole and establish a thirty-six-month future parole eligibility term (FET). We affirm.
Appellant was convicted of murder and is serving a term of life imprisonment with a twenty-five-year parole bar. He was sentenced in 1983, and thus his parole eligibility is controlled by the standard set forth in N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.53(a) (whether he is substantially likely to commit another crime if released). See also N.J.A.C. 10A:71-3.11. When he first became eligible for parole in 2007, the Board imposed a thirty-six-month FET. The order currently on appeal imposed a second thirty-six-month FET.
Before the Board, appellant argued that he was a first offender at the time he committed the murder and that he had an infraction-free prison record for the past several years. He had also completed some therapeutic programs while in prison. The Board acknowledged those factors in its decision, correcting several omissions in the Adult Panel's factual findings. However, the Board also concluded that appellant lacked insight into his crime; sought to minimize the crime; showed no compassion for the victim during his interview with the Panel; and was likely to commit another crime if released.
On this appeal, appellant contends that he presented a low risk of recidivism; that he took responsibility for the crime; that he was a first offender; and that the Board should have sent the matter back to the Panel to re-evaluate his application based on the Board's correction of the applicable factors that the Panel overlooked.
In response to defendant's argument that he was a first offender, the State points out that defendant shot his victim in cold blood in front of a crowd of witnesses. The State also argues that appellant has a history of violent infractions while in prison, albeit no recent violations. Moreover, as the State contends, appellant's brief offers an inaccurate description of the crime. In his submission to this court, appellant contends that he stabbed the victim. In fact, as documented in Judge Schroth's statement of reasons for imposing a life sentence, defendant walked up to the victim, shot him, and continued to shoot as the victim tried to run away.
Our review of the Board's decision is extremely limited. We must affirm the agency's decision so long as it is supported by sufficient credible evidence in the record. Trantino v. N.J. State Parole Bd., 166 N.J. 113, 172 (2001). Based on our review of the entire appellate record, we find no basis to disturb the Board's decision. Although defendant appears to have made progress while incarcerated, even now, he does not seem willing to fully acknowledge his horrendous crime. We cannot conclude that the Board's determination was arbitrary or capricious. See Bowden v. Bayside State Prison, 268 N.J. Super. 301, 305 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 135 N.J. 469 (1993).
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