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Ali v. New Jersey State Parole Board

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 19, 2013

ABDUL SALAAM ALI, Appellant,
v.
NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD, Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 16, 2013.

On appeal from the New Jersey State Parole Board.

Abdul Salaam Ali, appellant pro se.

Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Melissa H. Raksa, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Shirley P. Dickstein, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Before Judges Lihotz and Mantineo.

PER CURIAM.

Appellant Abdul Salaam Ali, who is currently confined in South Woods State Prison, appeals from a June 29, 2011 State Parole Board (the Board) decision denying parole and issuing an eighteen-month future eligibility term (FET). Ali argues the Board's decision is arbitrary and capricious. We affirm the denial of parole but remand for review of the imposed FET.

These facts are taken from the administrative record. Ali was convicted of murder in 1977. After being incarcerated for seventeen years, he was released on parole. Ali's parole was revoked and he was again paroled on May 22, 2001. However, he was convicted for violating parole and confined, then again paroled, subject to an electronic monitoring system. On February 21, 2008, Ali was arrested for the manufacturing, distributing, and dispensing of heroin. He pled guilty pursuant to a negotiated agreement, and on July 10, 2009, was sentenced to four years imprisonment with a two-year period of parole ineligibility.

After an initial parole hearing on January 4, 2010, parole was denied and a fourteen-month FET was imposed. Parole eligibility was again reviewed on February 14, 2011. An adult panel denied parole and recommended an eighteen-month FET.[1]

Ali appealed, alleging a member who participated in the February 14, 2011 deliberations demonstrated a personal interest, prejudice or bias in the case, which adversely affected the outcome. He also asserted the FET imposed exceeded the parole guidelines for his current third-degree conviction, making the decision arbitrary and capricious.

The full Board reviewed Ali's case on June 29, 2011, and affirmed the adult panel's denial of parole and imposed FET. In its final agency decision, the Board cited the following reasons warranting denial of parole:

prior criminal record noted; presently incarcerated for a multi crime conviction; nature of criminal record is increasingly more serious; current opportunity on parole revoked for the commission of a new offense; prior incarcerations did not deter criminal behavior; and since your last Panel hearing you committed an institutional infraction on January 4, 2010[, ] in violation of *.306, conduct which disrupts, which was found to be serious in nature, [and] resulted in a loss of commutation time, and [a]dministrative [s]egregation. Furthermore, based on your responses to questions posed by the Panel at the time of the hearing and documentation in the case file, the Panel appropriately determined that you exhibit insufficient problem resolution, specifically, that you lack insight into your criminal record and have not sufficiently addressed your substance abuse problem. The Panel noted, "Inmate's murder took place on juvenile parole and his 2008 drug charge was committed on parole on the homicide. This and other [parole violations] . . . keeps concerns high for further violations or crimes." The Panel also considered your risk assessment evaluation and score of 26, which indicates a medium risk of recidivism.

The Board also acknowledged the Panel's consideration of mitigating factors based on the ...


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