On November 2, Michel and Ellen Shane attended the first parole hearing of the man who intentionally and deliberately murdered their precious 13-year-old daughter, Emily. Notably absent from the parole hearing was a prosecutor from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. This void meant that no one was there to represent Los Angeles residents’ public safety. More important for Emily’s parents, they were deliberately kept in the dark about the information that would be presented at the parole hearing of their daughter’s murderer, causing them undue grief and anxiety. This injustice was compliments of George Gascon.
Defendants convicted of murder receive a “life” sentence. However, defendants sentenced to “life” are entitled to a parole hearing in front of the Parole Board to decide if they are “suitable” for release.
Victims and their families (referred to in the parole hearing system as victim’s next of kin, or “VNOK”) have an absolute right to attend and meaningfully participate in parole hearings. Cal. Const., Article I, Section 28(b)(15) and (16); Penal Code Sections 3043(b)(1) and 3043.6. Victims and VNOKs should receive notice of the parole hearing three months before the hearing, although sometimes they receive notice only days before the hearing. Often, they experience anxiety such as depression, uncontrollable crying or insomnia, as soon as they get the notice until the conclusion of the parole hearing.
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