Sacramento murderer’s parole board challenge locked up in court rulings

Published: Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013 - 12:54 am

Robert Morales, who has had some success in court challenging his ongoing incarceration for a brutal Sacramento murder, won’t be free in the foreseeable future.

Morales, 43, has been in prison 22 years for fatally stabbing one man and critically wounding another when his attempt in 1988 to steal a car outside a Watt Avenue apartment complex was interrupted.

An 18-year-old high on booze and marijuana at the time of the incident, Morales was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury and sentenced to 36 years to life. He is serving his time at the California State Prison, San Quentin.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet ruled last year that factors cited by the state Board of Parole Hearings in 2010 to deny Morales parole were either unsupported by the record or lacked any substantive suggestion of current dangerousness.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento voted 2-1 to affirm Sweet’s decision.

But, even though the state appealed Sweet’s ruling to the 3rd District on June 1, 2012, the Board of Parole Hearings, in accord with Sweet’s order, went ahead with another parole suitability hearing three months later.

Again, the board rejected Morales’ bid for parole and, again, Morales took his case to Sacramento Superior Court. This time, Superior Court Judge Steve White upheld the board’s unsuitability finding.

An appeal of White’s ruling was filed at the 3rd District last month.

Thus, Morales is seemingly looking down a long road to possible release.

Call The Bee’s Denny Walsh, (916) 321-1189.

Read more articles by Denny Walsh

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