DENIAL OF PAROLE PROPERLY ANNULLED, NEW HEARING BEFORE DIFFERENT COMMISSIONERS ORDERED.
The First Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Gesmer, affirmed Supreme Court’s annulment of parole denial and ordered a new hearing before different commissioners. Petitioner shot and killed her husband. Evidence presented at trial indicated she had been abused by her husband for many years and her husband was threatening severe abuse at the time of the shooting. Petitioner earned two college degrees while in prison, participated in every available rehabilitation program, taught other inmates, served on a grievance committee, successfully worked for the Department of Motor Vehicles and testing indicated it was highly unlikely she would re-offend. Yet she was denied parole three times:
Based on the record before us, we conclude that the motion court correctly determined that the Board acted with an irrationality bordering on impropriety in denying petitioner parole. The Board focused exclusively on the seriousness of petitioner’s conviction and the decedent’s family’s victim impact statements (which it incorrectly described as “community opposition to her release”) without giving genuine consideration to petitioner’s remorse, institutional achievements, release plan, and her lack of any prior violent criminal history.
The Board’s statement that, “[d]espite your assertions of abuse being rejected by a jury after hearing you testify for eight days, and having no corroboration on record of the abuse, you continue to blame your victim for his death,” disregards petitioner’s testimony accepting responsibility and expressing remorse for her actions. It also fails to recognize that petitioner may legitimately view herself as a battered woman, even though the jury did not find that she met New York’s exacting requirements for the defenses of justification (Penal Law § 35.15) and extreme emotional disturbance (Penal Law § 125.25[a]). * * * …[W]e agree with the motion court that apologizing for the shooting while steadfastly maintaining that she was an abuse victim does not indicate a lack of remorse for her actions. Matter of Rossakis v New York State Bd. of Parole, 2016 NY Slip Op 07415, 1st Dept 10-10-16
CRIMINAL LAW (DENIAL OF PAROLE PROPERLY ANNULLED, NEW HEARING BEFORE DIFFERENT COMMISSIONERS ORDERED)/PAROLE (DENIAL OF PAROLE PROPERLY ANNULLED, NEW HEARING BEFORE DIFFERENT COMMISSIONERS ORDERED)