LOS ANGELES — An appeals court refused Friday to reverse a judge’s ruling granting parole to a gay man who gunned down his boyhood friend 16 years ago.
The state immediately appealed to the California Supreme Court.
In ordering Robert Rosenkrantz’s release from prison, Superior Court Judge Paul Gutman had ruled Thursday that Gov. Gray Davis has an unlawful blanket policy of denying parole to murderers.
Rosenkrantz’s supporters say he has rehabilitated himself during his time behind bars, but Davis maintains he remains a threat to society.
“We don’t think Mr. Rosenkrantz should be given parole,” Deputy Attorney General Robert Wilson said of the state’s reason for appealing.
It wasn’t immediately clear how soon the California Supreme Court would act on the case after the 2nd District Court of Appeals’ rejection. If the state loses again, Rosenkrantz’s attorney said he expects his client will be freed.
“We hope he will be released, we’re demanding it and there is an order,” Donald Specter said.
Rosenkrantz, 33, was sentenced to 17 years to life for the 1985 murder of a boyhood friend who had revealed his homosexuality to Rosenkrantz’s father. He shot 17-year-old Steven Redman 10 times with a semiautomatic weapon.
Rosenkrantz has been a model prisoner and become an expert with computers during his years in prison. Several lawmakers and even the judge who sentenced him have lobbied for his release.
In his ruling Thursday, Gutman said there was no evidence to support Davis’ contention that Rosenkrantz is a threat.
“While the governor is entitled to express his opinion, the opinion itself must be factually supported and it is not,” the judge ruled.
Gutman further found that Davis denies parole to murderers “regardless of any extenuating c