On appeal from the New Jersey State Parole Board.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted August 24, 2011
Before Judges Lihotz and Baxter.
Jalani A. Bakari appeals from an April 28, 2010 decision of the State Parole Board (Board) that denied his parole request and established a twenty-seven-month future eligibility term (FET). We affirm.
On May 5, 1988, following a trial by jury, Bakari was sentenced to a thirty-six year term of imprisonment with a sixteen-year parole ineligibility term on charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, third-degree criminal sexual contact, third-degree unlawful possession of a handgun and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. The State's proofs at trial established that Bakari and an accomplice pointed a gun at a couple sitting in a car, robbed them at gun point, ordered the male out of the car and drove away with the female still inside the vehicle. During the incident, Bakari fondled the female's breasts and pulled down the zipper on her slacks.
On May 10, 1990, while Bakari was before the Superior Court on an unrelated matter not explained by the record, he became enraged and kicked the counsel table, flinging it five feet across the room while using loud and abusive language. Not until sheriffs physically restrained him did the incident come to an end. For this outbreak, Bakari was convicted of fourth-degree contempt of court and sentenced to a six-month term of imprisonment, consecutive to the sentence he was already serving.
On July 11, 2006, after serving twenty years of the thirty-six year sentence, Bakari was released on parole. In February 2008, Bakari was taken into custody for violating parole and remained incarcerated until June 2008, although his parole was not formally revoked. A year later, on March 27, 2009, Bakari's parole officer issued a second parole violation warrant, this time based upon Bakari's failure to report as instructed, failure to obtain approval prior to changing his residence, failure to participate in random urine monitoring, refusal to complete substance abuse counseling and failure to remain drug-free. On April 6, 2009, Bakari was apprehended and returned to custody on the parole violation warrant. Ten days later, on April 16, 2009, a Board Panel revoked Bakari's parole and imposed a nine-month FET.
Following his return to custody, Bakari became eligible for parole for the first time on October 28, 2009. An initial hearing was scheduled before a hearing officer, but the hearing officer referred the matter to a Board panel pursuant to N.J.A.C. 10A:71-3.15(b), which requires such a referral when an inmate has sustained a prior parole revocation or has committed certain enumerated violent crimes.
On September 24, 2009, after interviewing Bakari and considering his record, a two-member Board Panel (Panel) denied parole and established a twenty-seven-month FET. The Panel based its decision on the following factors: the extent of Bakari's prior criminal record, which included not only the matters we have already described, but also a juvenile adjudication of delinquency for unlawful possession of a knife and an adult conviction for hindering apprehension; his criminal convictions had become increasingly more serious; Bakari was presently incarcerated for a multi-crime conviction; his current opportunity on parole had been revoked for technical reasons, including a failure to report, an unauthorized change in residence, a failure to submit to urine monitoring and a failure to refrain from drug and alcohol usage; his prior opportunities on probation had failed to deter him from engaging in further criminal behavior; and he had failed to sufficiently address his serious substance abuse problem.
The two-member Panel also relied on the results of a December 26, 2005 psychological exam, which revealed that Bakari had scored 24 on the LSI-R psychological test, which put him at "medium" risk for recidivism with a twenty-eight percent chance of re-arrest and a twenty-one percent chance of reconviction within two years of release. Last, the Panel noted that Bakari demonstrated insufficient problem resolution, specifically, he lacked insight into his criminal behavior and had failed to sufficiently address his serious substance abuse problem.
As a mitigating factor, the Panel noted that Bakari had remained infraction-free since his return to custody on the parole violation.
Bakari appealed the Panel's decision to the full Board, which on April 28, 2010, affirmed the denial of parole and the ...