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California Parole Official Demoted

The vice chairman of the California parole board, Jones Moore, was recently demoted after board Chairwoman Carol Daly received what she termed "an unacceptable number of complaints" about Moore's behavior from numerous attorneys representing prisoners at their parole hearings.

In an August 27, 2002, letter to State Senate leader John Burton, Daly referred to Moore's "reputation as having an arrogant demeanor and questionable work ethic" as being part of the reason he was demoted. However, Daly further stated that she "clearly does not acknowledge conduct rising to a level of concern." The LA Times reported several instances of Moore's disparaging remarks and unprofessional behavior during hearings.

Attorney Stephen Pearcy claims that in a January, 2002, parole hearing Moore was reviewing other files as Pearcy was presenting his case as to why his client, who had spent the last 23 years in prison, should be paroled. When Pearcy complained, Moore responded that "he was listening to every word."

"It's like a juror reading a newspaper while you're making your core legal argument in court," said Pearcy.

In June, a female attorney representing a prisoner at Folsom State prison commented that the hearing room was stuffy and hot, to which Moore responded, "That sounds like a personal problem." Marcia Huff, the victim of the prisoner being reviewed, wrote to Daly and complained saying she interpreted Moore's "body language, as well as verbal comments, to be arrogant and degrading."

In another June incident, Moore began prisoner Judy Bell's parole hearing with "Here we have the drug baby," said Edwin Caldwell, one of the two lawyers representing her. The comment apparently referred to the fact that Bell was born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Appointed by Gov. Gray Davis last year, Moore's term does not expire until 2004. However, Daly said in her letter to State Senator Burton that she would "take appropriate action" if required.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

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