Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on Thursday turned aside a plea by California officials, and cleared the way for the release of a state prison inmate who was convicted of a 1982 murder in Los Angeles. Kennedy had blocked a federal judge’s release order in the case of inmate Fred McCullough last Sunday, but on Thursday nullified his stay order and denied the state’s application “in all respects.”
McCullough has twice won rulings by the state parole board that he was suitable for release after becoming rehabilitated in prison. Both times, however, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger overruled the board, and found that the nature of the original crime justified McCullough’s continued imprisonment.
Kennedy’s order on Thursday can be found here. The Justice gave no indication of his reasoning.
McCullough is thus eligible for release while the state appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court a federal judge’s release decision.