To: Friends and Supporters
From: Jalil A. Muntaqim
Re: Denial of Parole
Date: September 20, 2012
As many of you know, I sat before the parole board on August 21, 2012 for a de novo (re-do) hearing of the 2010 denial that was appealed and reversed. The reversal was based on not having on the record any statements from the defense attorney from trial and no trial record. Upon obtaining these records, a new hearing was conducted resulting, again, in a denial with the boilerplate language that, due to the nature of the crime and criminal history, I am not worthy to be released on parole.
On September 18, 2012, I again went before the parole board for the original scheduled parole hearing. Once again, I was denied release by two parole commissioners, Mr. Walter Smith, a former Senior Investigator for the State's Crime Victims Board, and Ms. Sally A. Thompson, a 20-year NYPD veteran, a cop and detective, and presently a member of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Detective's Endowment Association.
Naturally, on the record, I raised my concerns regarding the conflict of interest. Yet, Commissioner Thompson proclaimed that she could be fair and impartial. Commissioner Smith, as the primary interrogator conducting the hearing, offered in defense of Commissioner Thompson that the majority of parole commissioners have a background in law enforcement, and all are expected to do their jobs with fairness and impartiality.
Nonetheless, despite a thorough examination of the record finding absolutely nothing objectionable to my release on parole, release was again denied because of the nature of the crime. In essence, nothing I could present would persuade them to grant parole. In fact, during the hearing, I explained that at my previous parole hearing I was denied for the nature of the crime. I read from the August 21, 2012 denial that it was stated my "release is incompatible with the public safety and welfare of the community." I then asked Commissioner Smith exactly what in my record indicates this conclusion.
Commissioner Smith said, "that's a good question," but was then unable to provide a single specific issue or thing in the record that supported that conclusory statement.
However, in Commissioners Smith and Thompson's denial, they concluded: "The panel has concluded that your release to supervision is not compatible with the welfare of society and therefore parole is denied."…"To grant your release at this time would so deprecate the seriousness of your offense as to undermine respect for the law."
What must be noted as part of the record are two independent psychological reports that state emphatically I am not a threat to society or at risk to become a recidivist. Furthermore, their own COMPAS risk assessment evaluation conducted by DOCCS analysis concludes I am "low risk" to be a recidivist or to engage in future acts of violence.
Obviously, the parole denial is a subjective political decision by law enforcement-influenced parole commissioners, void of objective reality or material facts to support their conclusory statement for denial.
This denial will be appealed. The process will probably take at least one year. In either case, I am scheduled to go before the parole board in June 2014. It is my sincere hope that by that time we can collectively create a new political environment substantial enough to challenge and change the composition of the NYS Division of Parole and to ensure that the voice of the community is respected.
Jalil A. Muntaqim