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California: Condition of Parole Restricting Parolee from Residing Near Victim’s Next of Kin Held Invalid

The California Court of Appeals has held that Penal Code section 3003(f), which limits a parolee convicted of certain offenses from living within 35 miles of the victim or witness to the crime – if, among other conditions, the victim or witness has requested the physical separation – may not be invoked when the victim’s next of kin (as opposed to the victim) makes the request.

Terrance R. David was convicted in 1989 of second-degree murder for killing two people while driving under the influence. Paroled in 2010, he was subsequently restricted from living within 35 miles of the sister of one of the victims, pursuant to her request.

David wanted to live with and care for his sick mother, who resided within 35 miles of the victim’s sister, and he filed a habeas petition challenging the residency restriction.
After initially ordering a stay of the restriction, the Superior Court ultimately denied habeas corpus relief, finding that the word “victim” in section 3003 was defined expansively by California’s Constitution to include the next of kin of a decedent victim. David appealed.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, held that as a matter of statutory construction, the word “victim” in section 3003 was unambiguous and did not include the victim’s next of kin. Thus, in the case of a murder where there is no witness, section 3003 simply does not apply.

The appellate court noted that while Article I, section 28, subdivision (b) of the California Constitution – part of a voter initiative known as the “Victims’ Bill of Rights” – did define “victim” expansively, that definition, by the constitutional provision’s express terms, extended no further than “this section.”

The Court of Appeal further held that while the parole board could impose a reasonable residency restriction as a condition of parole, because such a condition had no relationship to David’s crime and would not deter future criminality, doing so in David’s case would violate his due process rights. See: In re David, 202 Cal.App.4th 675, 135 Cal.Rptr.3d 855 (Cal.App. 2 Dist. 2012).

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Related legal case

In re David