Administrative Rule 20.25.401

HEARING PROCEDURE.

  1. An eligible offender may apply and come before a hearing panel or an out-of-state releasing authority for nonmedical parole consideration within two months of time fixed by law as calculated by the prison records department.  During the parole hearing the hearing panel will consider all pertinent information regarding each eligible offender, including the factors set forth in ARM 20.25.505(2).
  2. The presiding hearing panel member shall conduct hearings informally and shall have discretion to allow or not allow any proposed testimony.  Board staff shall make a video and audio record of all hearings.
  3. Interested persons who wish to appear before the hearing panel must:
    1. notify board staff not less than ten working days prior to the regularly scheduled hearing; and
    2. inform the board staff of the reason they wish to appear before the hearing panel and the relationship of the person to the offender at whose hearing the person intends to appear.
  4. Criminal justice authorities or any other interested persons may submit written comments about an offender's possible parole to board staff at any time before the hearing.
  5. A victim may present a statement regarding the effects of the crime on the victim.  A victim's statement may also include but is not limited to:
    1. the manner in which the crime was committed;
    2. the circumstances surrounding the crime; and
    3. the victim's opinion regarding whether the hearing panel should grant the offender parole.
  6. At the presiding hearing panel member's discretion, the victim's statement and testimony will be kept confidential if the presiding member finds the victim's privacy interest outweighs the public's right to know.  A recording of the hearing will not personally identify the victim without the victim's written consent.
  7. The presiding hearing panel member may close a hearing to hear or consider confidential information. 
    1. Information is confidential when the presiding member finds a person's privacy interest outweighs the public's right to know.
    2. When the hearing panel has finished hearing or discussing the confidential information, it shall reopen the meeting and complete the hearing in public. 
  8. When the hearing panel denies an offender parole, it must give the offender written notification of the decision and include reason(s) for the decision and when the offender may reapply for parole consideration.
  9. A hearing panel will consider an eligible offender for parole release even if the offender does not submit an application for parole.  A hearing panel will render a decision based on the written record and on the fact that the offender did not apply for parole.
  10. A hearing panel may conduct hearings via two-way interactive video teleconferencing and may conduct administrative reviews by means of telephone conference.
  11. Board hearings are open to the public; however, all persons attending hearings that take place in a secure facility must gain approval to enter the facility from the facility's chief of security or designee as required by the facility's policy.  While at the facility, persons must comply with the facility's policies including applicable security policies.  The facility may exclude or escort from the facility any person who fails to gain approval to enter the facility or fails to comply with the facility's policies.  At the discretion of the hearing panel additional witnesses may be heard outside of the secure facility.
  12. Offenders who appear for parole hearings may have a representative, including an attorney, present with them.
  13. At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing panel will either notify the offender of the panel's decision and the reasons for the decision or the hearing panel may take the decision under advisement.  (History: 46-23-108 and 46-23-218, MCA; IMP, 46-23-204, MCA; Eff. 12/31/72; AMD, 1978 MAR p. 1552, Eff. 12/1/78; AMD, 1993 MAR p. 297, Eff. 2/26/93; AMD, 1994 MAR p. 168, Eff. 1/28/94; AMD, 1999 MAR p. 290, Eff. 2/12/99; AMD, 2010 MAR p. 2816, Eff. 12/10/10; AMD, 2012 MAR p. 1619, Eff. 8/10/12; AMD, 2016 MAR p. 139, Eff. 1/23/16)