In re McGhee

McGhee pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary. He received a four-year prison sentence. In 2016, the electorate passed Proposition 57, amending the state Constitution, “[a]ny person convicted of a nonviolent felony offense and sentenced to state prison shall be eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term" for his primary offense.” The Department of Corrections created regulations, including Section 3492, “Public Safety Screening and Referral,” which provides that eligible inmates will be screened by the department and referred for parole consideration only if the inmates satisfy eight criteria that require the absence of serious or multiple disciplinary violations while in prison. In 2017, McGhee was advised that although “eligible,” he would not be referred for parole consideration because he did not satisfy the criteria, having, during the past five years, served a Security Housing Unit term that was not “solely for the inmate’s safety” and been found guilty of a serious rule violation (possession of an inmate-manufactured weapon). The court of appeal granted McGhee habeas corpus relief. Creation of a screening and referral process that excludes from parole consideration more than a third of otherwise eligible inmates based on their in-prison conduct is inconsistent with the language of the constitutional amendment. Despite the department's policy considerations, the amendment mandates that these prisoners receive parole consideration if they were convicted of a nonviolent felony and have served the full term of their primary offense. View "In re McGhee" on Justia Law