Early Prison Release Decision Reversed After District Attorney Uncovers Error By State Board Of Parole

Press Release

(Woodland, CA) - October 3, 2016 - District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on September 28, 2016, the Board of Parole Hearings reversed an earlier decision to release convicted felon Christopher Bloxham early under the Non-Violent Second Striker release program. Bloxham, 34 years age and from Modesto, pled guilty to possession for sale of heroin and admitted he had a previous strike for robbery. A Yolo County Superior Court judge sentenced Bloxham to 10 years in state prison on August 29, 2012.

On July 13, 2016 the District Attorney’s Office received an initial notification from the Board of Parole Hearings that Bloxham would be considered for early release under the Non-Violent Second Striker release program. The District Attorney’s Office submitted a written opposition to his release detailing the reasons why Bloxham still posed an unreasonable risk of violence to the community. In its opposition, the District Attorney focused on the facts that Bloxham had previously been convicted of the violent felony of robbery with a firearm and had also engaged in a conspiracy to possess a firearm near a school. In addition, he was later convicted for possessing heroin for sale, which arose from a fact scenario where he was located by police officers passed out in his car, in the presence of his wife and child, while also in possession of a replica firearm.

Despite the District Attorney’s written opposition, the Board of Parole Hearings approved the early release of Bloxham, but mistakenly cited the wrong offense as the reason for his current incarceration. As a result, the District Attorney’s office requested another review, arguing that had the Board of Parole reviewed the correct facts from the Yolo County commitment offense, the Board would have denied Bloxham's request for early prison release. After reviewing the District Attorney’s second objection, the Board acknowledged an administrative error in considering the wrong conviction and reversed its decision, thereby denying Bloxham early release at this time.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig stated: “Early release of violent criminals threatens public safety. We remain vigilant in examining the reasons for the early release of violent offenders and will not hesitate to appeal when we are able to identify errors by the Board of Parole or other legitimate issues that weigh against the early release of violent offenders. However, the bigger issue that this case highlights is the risks of allowing these parole boards the enormous power of granting early prison release prison through a sterile paper-review process. These parole boards are not compelled by law to conduct an evidentiary hearing where victims and prosecutors have an opportunity to speak in person to ensure the accuracy of the facts and the record. Moreover, when mistakes are made, the Parole Board is not accountable to the public. It is a recipe for some very bad outcomes for public safety.”

For more information regarding the Non-Violent Second Striker Release Program, including the District Attorney’s opposition letters and the Board of Parole Hearing’s release decisions, visit the Yolo County District Attorney’s website at https://yoloda.org/media/early-prison-releases/.

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