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Apr 30, 2018

Habeas Corupus Filed by Stanford Three Strikes Project

Kim Pollak

keywords: three strikes, proposition 57

Stanford University Law School’s Three Strikes Project recently filed a habeas corpus petition in the California Supreme Court, over the unconstitutionality of the implementation of Prop 57. The petition is on behalf of five prisoners serving third strike sentences for nonviolent offenses, who are being denied eligibility for early parole consideration. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Prop 57 regulations deny the intentions of California voters who approved Proposition 57 by a margin of 2 to 1, in November 2016. Californians spoke loud and clear in their desire to lower California’s prison population, by giving more of our imprisoned community members the opportunity to show the California Parole Board that they are no longer a threat to the society they seek to reenter.

Proposition 57 amended Section 32 of the state Constitution to read “any person convicted of a non-violent felony offense shall be eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term for his or her primary offense.” CDCR regulations eliminate third strikers, despite Section 32. According to Michael Romano, director of the Three Strikes Project, CDCR’s regulations are in direct conflict with the California Constitution.

The petition also argues that the regulations contradict the state high court’s ruling in Brown v. Superior Court (2016) 63 Cal. 4th 335, which attempted to block the measure from the ballot, claiming that it would endanger public safety.

Nevertheless, prosecutors challenging the petition, claiming they are concerned that the initiative’s definition of “nonviolent” does not include crimes such as arson and certain sex offenses. But the regulations ignore the fact that nonviolent third strikers have the lowest recidivism risk. They are older, more mature, and many have long-since made the type of personal transformations that the parole board is looking for. Excluding third strikers in parole consideration is not only counter-intuitive, counter-productive, and counter the wishes of California voters, it is also cruel to those who have done their time, done the work and are ready to return home to their families and communities, where they once again, will have the opportunity to give back, as so many people languishing inside US prisons today, can only dream of.

California Prison Focus will be sure to follow and report on the progress of this petition.●

Apr 30, 2018

Substantial Justice: The use and Misuse of Confidential Information

Big Smiley, Pelican Bay State Prison

keywords: prisoner letter, ashker, confidential information, debriefing, parole, informants

Justice fairly administered has been forgotten in my situation (last of the dinosaurs still in Restricted Housing, new SHU “RCPG”) and in the situation of many others who fall under similar circumstances.

Ashker vs. Brown has recently filed motions to United States District Court Northern District of California, Oakland Division Case No. 309-CU-05796-CW. One of the motions covered confidential disclosures, which are affecting prisoners who appear before parole board committee’s DRB; Ashker covered this, focusing on BPH confidential disclosures etc. Related, “the confidential memorandum” is the most damaging because this document is not disclosed to you or your attorney before our BPH. If it is disclosed, it’s redacted. This document has the debriefer confidential informants full statement debriefing info against you, which for the most part is fabricated and intentionally misstated and outdated. Still, document remains in my confidential file for new BPH commissioners to read and continues being rubber stamped to deny our parole. We are unable to challenge it, because it’s not disclosed. In 2016, BPH made some modifications to this confidential information policy.

If the Ashker motion is granted, this will change this continued due process violation that keeps myself and many others from obtaining a parole release date or release to a mainline.

Remember this vital point, for some of you new generation prisoners. Even when confidential information is not fabricated or misstated, it is frequently not disclosed in full or is disclosed in too vague a way as to allow for its reliability to be tested. This information could significantly aid prisoners in arguing - but because it was not disclosed you cannot mount a defense. So, bottom line...Make sure you cover these points as it relates to your situation.

I have been trying to get to Salinas Valley mainline to be near my family, my mom and dad, who are old, so I could receive visits. My dad tried to hold out but recently passed away.

Every debriefer prison informant has, in my circumstances, given the same information against me and lied, fabricated, magnified information to turn me into something more than what I was. For the benefit of IGI Reviewer, a brand name holds more ear weight, leaving me a victim of circumstances. Tell a lie, tell it often enough and it becomes truth. Now in 2018, still the same old outdated memorandums from these prison informants.

These actions also contribute to the overcrowding of prisons. The confidential information overrides any good rehabilitation accomplishments you may have. This continues to be a clear violation of due process and equal protection of constitutional laws under the 8th and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution.

This is why the Ashker vs. Brown legal team has filed this motion, among other motions for RCGP prisoners who are held wrongfully in RCGP (some).

This motion is on confidential informants’ information and related “motion for extension of settlement agreement based on systemic due process violations.” Prison activist and legal eagles should capitalize on this moment and file your documents and appeals on confidential information, related especially to the confidential memorandum in C-File.

I give thanks to Ashker vs. Brown legal team for including my (BPH) transcript parts on the confidential disclosures and the wrongful denial of parole for being in RCGP etc. and for including my declarations to get out of RCGP to a mainline.

Injustice is relatively easy to bear; What stings is NO justice. ●

Apr 30, 2018

LETTER: Realignment: A Cruel Recipe for Disaster


keywords: prisoner letter, realignment, AB109

The manner in which society has dealt with mass incarceration in California can be compared to how someone deals with cleaning a dirty room. When someone is expecting company and doesn’t want their guests to view them critically, they abruptly stuff all their mess of disorganization and neglect into a closet. This is always just a quick fix. The problem doesn’t go away, it’s just temporarily out of view. By doing this, society creates an illusion that we are dealing with issues pertaining to mass incarceration. The truth, however, is that all we’re doing is putting the problem out of view. We’re beating around the bush instead of addressing it head on. Rather than dealing with the social issues that have brought us to this ever flowing cup of misery, we exacerbate the problem.

Through the realignment program, California sends non-violent offenders to serve their time at local jails instead of state prisons. Places like the L.A. county jail have become a type of closet where society is attempting to hide from view its giant mess of social injustice. Here, we’ve attempted to deal with the overpopulation of California’s massive prison system by merely shifting the burden from state to local law agencies. By doing this we shoot ourselves in the foot.

When we implement policy like that of the realignment policy, it brings to light the effects of a program where non-violent offenders do state time in local jails. We deny not only the person who is incarcerated, but society as a whole, the opportunity to heal and progress.

When we acknowledge that we’ve taken a wrong step, we’ve taken our first step in the right direction. The illegitimacy of the realignment policy brings to light the broader problem of a greater lack of access to things that would work to rehabilitate a person in the LA County jail system. We must acknowledge that the majority of people who find themselves in the county jail system are there for grasping for something that was out of their reach. Whether they’re reaching for stability or comfort, almost all of the people who pass through these doors are in a desperate need of help.

In a place like the LA County jail system, with so many people trapped in a perpetual merry-go-round through its doors, Los Angeles has a huge opportunity to heal and to grow. Instead of embracing fear politics and our knee-jerk reaction to punish, let’s exercise compassion and work toward certain understanding on a social problem that affects us all. At the local level we can take the initiative to provide rehabilitation to those who most need it. If we’re taking on the burdens of the state, we might as well make the best of it. Instead of waiting for the state to take action, the community of Los Angeles must take the initiative to reform. This issue is interrelated to many other pressing social issues, like homelessness. Let us not simply stuff all these issues in a closet. If we do, we’ll regret it once we smell the stench of our indifference.

Apr 30, 2018

LETTER: Doing Prison Time in a County Jail

Fabio Soto, El Dorado County Jail

keywords: prisoner letter, realignment, AB109

Good afternoon. I'm doing an 11 year AB109 sentence in the county jail of El Dorado. Due to my classification I'm segregated in there. Max-pod, where I'm not allowed to work or participate in any educational programs, depriving me of my equal protections of the federal and state constitutions; of my conduct credits, milestones, my rehabilitation, work, unlimited visitations, all things that keep an inmate focused on his or her rehabilitation. Without these things it cruel and unusual punishment and mental abuse.

Some of the many issues are noted below:

1.Downgrading of mental health diagnosis after meeting for only minutes with no records.
2. Discontinuation of medication by a doctor who does not know the prisoner's diagnosis, and has not obtained their medical records but only read a summary.
3. Seeing the mental health doctor through a computer screen instead of in person.
4. Not allowing northern Hispanics to work but all other races can.

Overcrowding. Facility is too small for AB109 cases. This is just the start of many violations.

Thank you! Just trying to be heard.

Dear Advocates,

For more than three decades, the California Board of Parole Hearings, formerly the Adult Authority Board of Prison Terms, acting as the arm of governors past and present, have continuously operated in practice, policy and procedures to circumvent the law and [so] deny parole to indeterminately sentenced persons in the State of California.

Now, under the newly enacted Proposition 57, all prisoners/persons committed to the charge of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation must face some form of Board recommendation and approval for early release. Under this law, the fox has been given charge of the whole damn chicken coop.

Due to the recent deluge of litigation against the Board through federal civil rights suits as well as individual federal and state habeas corpus petitions, there now exists a mountain of evidence that can finally be used to bring the Board’s practices out of the dark and into the light of public scrutiny. Through a 42 USC § 1983 suit, I propose to seek injunctive relief to:

CONDUCT all hearings and en blanc reviews through audio/visual recordings.
CONDUCT all comprehensive risk assessments through audio/visual recordings.
MANDATE that all Board personnel adhere to the law and not arbitrarily interpret any law or attorney general opinions of California penal statutes.
MANDATE that the appointment of commissioners and deputy commissioners follow State law and reflect California’s racial, cultural, religious, and professional population demographics.
MANDATE that any commissioner or deputy commissioner whose hearing decision, direct action or conduct that has been determined by any judicial decision to violate a prisoner’s Constitutional right(s) in two separate hearings shall be permanently prohibited from conducting or participating in parole consideration or related hearings.
MANDATE that the Board’s Chief Counsel and his/her staff review all parole suitability hearing recordings for compliance with due process and relevant law and provide written summaries of the Board’s conduct of the hearing, including whether the Board complied with all relevant law, and forward such summaries to all concerned parties.
MANDATE that any forensic psychologist who prepares or causes to be produced three separate comprehensive risk assessments containing inaccurate factual statements, misrepresentations, misleading criteria, prognosis, or diagnosis be prohibited from conducting any future comprehensive risk assessments for Board use.
MANDATE that any attorney appointed to represent a prisoner before the Board to do so in a zealous manner so as to equalize the adversarial process.
MANDATE that any attorney who represents prisoners before the Board who has not achieved a normal grant of parole success rate as defined by the statistical definition of “normal” within one calendar year shall be prohibited by the Board from any further prisoner representations and from holding office as a commissioner or deputy commissioner of the Board.
MANDATE that all attorneys appointed to represent prisoners in parole consideration hearings shall inform the prisoners represented of the total number of parole consideration hearings he or she has participated in and his/her rate of grants of parole at their initial client meeting.

My goal is to bring about positive change to the Board through a 42 USC § 1983 suit by utilizing all State and Federal judicial orders and decisions as exhibits for injunctive relief. While unpublished rulings can’t be cited as authority, they certainly can be used as evidence in exhibits showing a systemic pattern of practice by the Board to deny eligible prisoners parole. To this end, I’m seeking all decisions, orders, opinions, and rulings where the Board’s decisions were vacated for failure to follow regulations and/or pertinent law.

I am also intending to allege collusion between the Board, Attorney General’s Office and California Governor’s Office from the 1979 Morrisey 8 memorandum to present. I hope to create a conflict of interest between the State’s chief law enforcement officers (whose duty it is to uphold the law and protect citizens from arbitrary treatment by the government) and the Board. Help me make a change.

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