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Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyers » Application Interviews
A parole application interview is a question and answer session between an inmate and the parole board. The interview is part of the parole process and helps the board determine whether or not to grant release and under what terms.
In this article, our Denver Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
An “application interview” for parole is an interview of an inmate to determine whether the inmate will be paroled, and the conditions of parole. The interview is conducted by at least one member of the Colorado Board of Parole. The interview can be a face-to-face interview, a live telecommunication interview, or a telephonic interview, at the discretion of the board.1
Application interviews are generally conducted before only one board member. The majority (more than half) of interviews are conducted by video conferencing. Video conferencing interviews are typically held at larger correctional institutions, including:
Face-to-face application interviews generally take place in the Denver metro area at local jails and probation offices. Telephone interviews are generally for smaller correctional institutions in rural areas.2
After the interview is over, the interviewing board member will make a recommendation to either defer the inmate’s application for parole or release the inmate on discretionary terms. A second board member will review the recommendation. If the second board member approves the recommendation, the decision is final.
In most cases, the State Parole Board will conduct a parole application interview within 90 days of the inmate’s first Parole Eligibility Date (PED). Eligibility is based on a number of factors, including the type of criminal offense and the defendant’s criminal history.3
Any inmate sentenced for a crime with a mandatory parole will receive an application interview. This will provide for the destination, duration, and conditions of release. An interview is generally set before release; however, for a crime with mandatory parole, the inmate can be released on parole without an application interview.45
As part of the application, an inmate must have a parole plan, which says where they intend to live, work, and the individual’s employer or sponsors, or who will be responsible for the individual once they are released.
Individual board members do not have the authority to grant parole for violent crime convictions in Colorado. Violent crimes include any crime involving:
All cases involving a violent crime have a full board review. Instead of a single board member application interview, a violent crime review has to have at least 4 board members. In order to be granted parole, the petition has to receive at least four votes in favor of parole.6
The State Board of Parole is to conduct an application interview within 90 days prior to the inmate’s first parole eligibility debate.7
Any following request reviews may be conducted by file review without a face-to-face, telephonic, or video conferencing interview.
Your attorney may be present during an application interview with proper clearance. However, your lawyer does not have specific legal authority during an application interview. Your lawyer can observe the interview but cannot speak on your behalf.
Parole revocation hearings in Colorado are different than application interviews. Lawyers can be present and advocate for their clients during revocation hearings.8
Supporters, members of the public, and victims of the crime can attend an application interview. Opposing parties (supporters and victims) shall be separated. Any disruptive demonstrations are cause for removal from the application interview.9
For application interviews, members of the public can only attend a hearing at the facility where the offender is assigned.10
Anyone who wants to attend an application interview must submit a request to the correctional facility a minimum of 10 working days before the interview. Members of the public must be cleared through the Administrative Head of the facility before the date of the interview. The correctional facility is to coordinate access with the visitor.11
Victims of the crime and individuals in support of the victim can attend an application interview. Victims have broader access to the application interview. Victims can attend the interview at the facility where the offender is assigned or at the location where the board member is conducting the interview.12
Victims can also testify at an application interview. Other individuals can also speak on behalf of the victim, where:
Friends, family, and other supporters of the inmate can attend the application interview hearing. However, supporters in attendance are limited to five (5) people. Offender supporters can only attend the application interview at the facility where the inmate is assigned.14
Like other members of the public, supporters need to submit a request to attend at least 10 days before the hearing and have to obtain clearance. If a supporter wants to speak in support of the inmate, he or she will only have an opportunity to speak if the presiding board member allows it.15
Supporters can also send a letter of support. A letter of support for the offender can be sent to the offender’s case manager online, through uploading the letter into the “Offender Portal.” Any letters improperly sent to the parole board will be routed to the offender’s case manager.
Any final decision on the application for parole does not need to be made during the application interview. The board can make one of four decisions on whether someone will be paroled:
The board members can consider a number of things in making their parole decision, including:
The state board may grant parole when the inmate:
The board considers the “totality of the circumstances,” in deciding parole. The totality of the circumstances includes a number of factors. This includes:
Aggravating and mitigating factors are taken into consideration when the board makes parole decisions. Aggravating factors are negative things that make the crime worse. Mitigating factors are things that are in the defendant’s favor or make the offense less severe. The board can consider these, and any other relevant factors in making these decisions.2021
Extraordinary aggravating factors include:
Extraordinary mitigating circumstances include:
If the board denies parole after an application interview, the application interview decision is not appealable.22
Similarly, if a victim is notified that the individual is going to be paroled, the victim cannot appeal the board’s decision.
Unfortunately, for most inmates, there is no appeal for an application denial. However, if the board did not follow the proper state regulations, you may have grounds to appeal the board’s decision. For example, if a board member has a conflict of interest, they should not be responsible for deciding whether the inmate gets paroled.
If the board decides to defer parole, the inmate may be able to request a reconsideration of the decision to defer release. Prior to the completion of the deferral, the inmate may request reconsideration which will be granted or denied at the discretion of the chairperson.23
If the board makes a decision to revoke a parolee’s parole, the individual can appeal the parole revocation hearing decision. The parolee or parolee’s lawyer can appeal the revocation decision within 30 days of the revocation hearing.
The board can also rescind or take back a decision granting parole to an inmate. However, the inmate is entitled to a recission hearing at the Colorado Board of Parole before this can happen.
If you are ready to apply for parole or are awaiting an upcoming application interview, talk to your lawyer. Your Colorado criminal defense attorney can tell you more about the process and what options you have.
If you have been a loved one in jail awaiting release, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group.
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