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In re LeBlanc

California Court of Appeals, First District, First Division

April 30, 2014

In re CHESTER N. LeBLANC on Habeas Corpus.

Alameda County Super. Ct. No. 70098

Page 453

COUNSEL

Jonathan Soglin and Frances Marie Tenuis, under appointments by the Court of Appeal, for Appellant Chester N. LeBlanc.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Jennifer A. Neill, Assistant Attorney General, Claudia H. Amaral and Amanda Lloyd, Deputy Attorneys General, for Respondent the People.

OPINION

Margulies, Acting P.J.

Petitioner Chester N. LeBlanc challenges the Governor’s denial of his parole. Petitioner received a life sentence for the 1980 fatal stabbing of his domestic partner’s two-year-old son. The Governor denied parole because he found petitioner’s explanation for the crime to be

Page 454

superficial and was concerned about petitioner’s continuing mental health problems. Because we find some evidence to support the Governor’s conclusion that petitioner continues to present a risk of danger if released, we deny the requested writ of habeas corpus.

I. BACKGROUND

Petitioner, 24 years old at the time, pleaded guilty in 1980 to second degree murder after he fatally stabbed a two-year-old boy. Petitioner was living with Brigid Williams and her two children. He was the father of the younger child, a daughter, but the older child, the stabbing victim, was not his child, despite being named Chester LeBlanc, Jr. (Chet, Jr.). Domestic violence was a regular feature of the relationship; petitioner later acknowledged abusing Williams “on a weekly basis.” Less than a week before the murder, he had thrown Williams into a closet, nailed the door shut, and “hidden” their daughter, before eventually releasing Williams.

Late in the afternoon on the day of the murder, petitioner and Williams were in their bedroom. Defendant, who had been drinking, demanded to have sexual intercourse with Williams. When she refused, he threatened to “ ‘get a knife and cut your vagina out.’ ” Afraid, Williams submitted to rape. Afterward, defendant accused Williams of infidelity. He pulled a butcher knife from his sock and began cutting off her hair, in the process leaving large gashes in her scalp. After a struggle, Williams escaped upstairs to her sister’s apartment, where her sister then called the police. When the officers arrived at petitioner’s apartment, he refused to admit them. In response to their inquiry about the children, he said, “ ‘They won’t be okay, if you come in.’ ” By the time the officers forced open the locked door, Chet, Jr. had already suffered the fatal wound. At the time of his conviction, petitioner claimed the stabbing was an accidental result of the police action, but by the time of his most recent parole hearing in 2012, he acknowledged intentionally stabbing Chet, Jr. in the chest as the police were banging down the door. For this crime, petitioner was sentenced to a term of 15 years to life in prison. He has been incarcerated ever since.

By the time of his appearance before the Board of Parole Hearings (Board) in October 2012, petitioner was nearly 57 years old. He suffered from a number of health problems, including heart and lung conditions that had required surgical intervention. For the prior several years, he had been a ...


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