The thing is, a judge doesn't decide. An "examiner" presides over the hearing (with only a lawyer allowed to be present), and then the examiner makes a recommendation to the parole commission. No commissioners are exposed to the testimony or evidence directly. And in this case, the ultimate decision is made by Trump appointees, answerable ony to Trump and Barr. Most inmates would prefer an actual judge.

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Rob Barton has been incarcerated for 25 years. Pam Bailey is his collaborator/editor. Learn more at

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