October 19, 2012
HECTOR FIGUEROA, 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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION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 October 3, 2012
Before Judges Ashrafi and Hayden.
Inmate Hector Figueroa is serving a life sentence for a 1975 conviction for murder and a thirty-year sentence for a 1994 conviction for aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a weapon. He appeals from the December 22, 2010 final decision of the New Jersey State Parole Board denying him parole and fixing a 120-month future eligibility term (FET) for parole. We dismiss the appeal as moot.
Appellant contends that the 120-month FET violates N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.56a, which for a brief time period set a maximum of three years for FETs.
On January 18, 2010, an amendment of the cited statute added the following language: in no case shall any parole eligibility date scheduled pursuant to this subsection be more than three years following the date on which an inmate was denied release.
[L. 2009, c. 330, § 6.]
This amendment took effect on August 1, 2010. Id. § 12.
On May 9, 2011, however, the quoted amendment was repealed and the statute was restored to its previous language without a three-year maximum for FETs. L. 2011, c. 67, § 1 (effective May 9, 2011). Thus, there was a statutory prohibition in effect against an FET longer than three years from August 1, 2010, to May 9, 2011. The Parole Board's decision in this case came within that time period and was, therefore, subject to the restriction of the amendment. The Parole Board was not authorized to set a 120-month FET while the amendment was effective.
By order dated December 27, 2011, this court remanded this and several other matters to the Parole Board for recalculation of FETs. On February 8, 2012, the Parole Board issued a written decision modifying appellant's FET to thirty-six months. Because appellant has been granted the relief he was seeking, namely, restriction of his FET to the statutory maximum of three years, his appeal is now moot.
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