Friday, July 15, 2005

In Re Michael Lowe (Cal. Ct. App. - July 8, 2005)

Michael Lowe has been in prison for 20 years after pleading guilty to second degree murder for shooting his homosexual lover in his sleep. Lowe is now 55 years old. He has no prior criminal record, and at his parole hearing, the district attorney's office has no objecting to granting parole, and states that they do not believe that Lowe is a threat "to his country or the People of the State of California." The Board of Prisons grants Lowe parole. And Governor Davis -- and, I know, this will come as a total surprise -- reverses this decision. 'Cause God forbid anyone -- anyone -- ever convicted of murder should ever get parole. Right, Gray? Why take even the slightest risk of a political hit just because someone's rotting in prison and everyone concedes that he's already paid his debt to society. Nah. Let 'em rot some more.

Anyway, Lowe files a habeas petition, and it's granted by Judge Hastings in Santa Clara. But the appeal goes to the exact same panel (about which I've posted here) whose willingness to affirm parole denials is evident. And the panel doesn't disappoint: in this case, they indeed reverse the grant of parole. So Lowe gets to say in prison.

At least the panel's consistent. Whether it's a discovery order or on the merits, in a case from one judge or a different one, they're not going to let you out. But rest assured, it's not results-oriented. That's just the way the law reads. Consistently. Right?