California Gov. Jerry Brown is letting convicted killers leave prison on parole at a far higher rate than previous governors, only rarely using his power to block decisions of the parole board.
Early in his term, Brown has let 106 of 130 convicted killers' parole releases stand — about 82 percent, according to Brown's office and records provided in response to a California Public Records Act request.
Brown's deference to the state Board of Parole Hearings is in contrast to his predecessors, who more aggressively used their power to overturn parole grants.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger let stand only about 27 percent of parole decisions. Gov. Gray Davis was even less lenient, letting only nine of 374 paroled killers out of prison while he was governor.
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"If you take someone else's life, forget it," Davis said shortly after he took office in 1999. "I see no reason to parole people who have committed an act of murder."
A spokeswoman said Thursday that Brown is basing his parole decisions on public safety concerns and a 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that a governor may not deny parole based solely on the gravity of a prisoner's crime, but requires some evidence that he or she remains dangerous.