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Smith v. New Jersey State Parole Board

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 14, 2013

CURTIS C. SMITH, Appellant,
v.
NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD, Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 6, 2013

On appeal from the New Jersey State Parole Board.

Curtis C. Smith, appellant pro se.

Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Melissa H. Raksa, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Christopher C. Josephson, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Before Judges Ashrafi and Espinosa.

PER CURIAM

Curtis Smith appeals from a final agency decision of the New Jersey State Parole Board denying him parole following his second review and imposing a sixty-month future eligibility term (FET). We affirm.

Smith presents the following arguments for our consideration in this appeal:

POINT I
THE PAROLE BOARD RELIED ON AN EXTRAJUDICIAL STATEMENT THAT CONSISTED OF HYPNOTICALLY REFRESHED TESTIMONY IN VIOLATION OF NEW JERSEY RULES OF EVIDENCE 702 VIOLATING CURTIS C. SMITH'S DUE PROCESS RIGHTS TO A FAIR HEARING.
POINT II
THE NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD'S DECISION TO DENY PAROLE RELEASE TO CURTIS SMITH AND IMPOSE A SIXTY-MONTH PAROLE INELIGIBILITY TERM IN EXCESS OF THE 10A:71-3.21(a)(1) GUIDELINES IS ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS AND A CLEAR ABUSE OF THEIR DISCRETION.

Our review of the Board's decision is limited. The Parole Board's decisions are highly "individualized discretionary appraisals." Trantino v. N.J. State Parole Bd., 166 N.J. 113, 173 (2001) (Trantino V) (quoting Beckworth v. N.J. StateParole Bd., 62 N.J. 348, 359 (1973)). Although there is an "inherent difficulty in gauging whether a parole determination constitutes an abuse of discretion[, ]" the judicial review of Parole Board determinations "does not engender a more exacting standard of judicial review than that applicable to other administrative agency decisions." Trantino v. N.J. State Parole Bd., 154 N.J. 19, 25 (1998) (Trantino IV), modified in part, aff'd in part, 166 N.J. 113 (2001). Parole Board decisions should not be reversed unless found to be arbitrary or an abuse of discretion. Id . at 25; Monks v. N.J. State Parole Bd., 58 N.J. 238, 242 (1971); State v. Lavelle, 54 N.J. 315, 322 (1969); Pazden v. N.J. State Parole Bd., 374 N.J.Super. 356, 366 (App. Div. 2005). Because the offense here was committed in 1980, the standard applicable to the parole determination is contained in N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.53(a), which provides that the inmate shall be released unless ...


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