“Life” prisoners face judicial anarchy

Inmate B-54054, CA Men’s Colony-East, San Luis Obispo
The news media has, for at least nine years, followed the situation regarding the “no parole” policy of the Board of Prison Terms and governors Wilson and Davis. But what the citizenry does not know is the reluctance and even refusal of judges to uphold the laws and correctly rule against the “no parole” policy that everyone, including law professors, say is illegal. I’ve authored at least 30 litigations in the past six years for myself and other lifers on this issue. I’ve taken the “no parole” policy to the state Supreme Court where I received a one-line denial from Chief Justice George, who denies all prisoner petitions himself. I’ve brought the policy to the U.S. Supreme Court and been rejected.

My petitions are always correct in facts, form and law, but the judges summarily deny these petitions because it is not “politically correct” to grant petitions that would release “life” prisoners, even though the prisoner is, by law, entitled to relief. Judges summarily deny petitions as the easiest and safest means of clearing a potentially unpopular controversy off their desks.

Pro se prisoners, those without lawyers, must file in the county of their confinement. In counties with prisons, the Superior Court judges apparently view unrepresented prisoner petitions as unwelcome intrusions on the court’s time, so these judges simply summarily deny these petitions with a short, usually inaccurate statement, thus clearing their desk.

So, faced with a legislature that refuses to take action to pass laws that stop the executive branch from its “no parole” policy, we find ourselves seeking judicial remedy before judges who simply refuse to do their jobs and strike down the illegal executive conduct.

It’s a terrible injustice to be incarcerated in a state where all three branches of government engage in or condone this unlawful conduct and oppression. In a most fundamental sense, we lifers are political prisoners.

To date, the only individual cases that have won at some level have lawyers representing them. Two are only Superior Court decisions. The California judiciary has made it abundantly clear that only those with money are entitled to justice. This is an unconscionable condition in our “land of the free.”

If the citizenry, and lawyers, simply disregard the injustice that is now visited upon the unpopular offenders constituting the “lifer” population, then they are operating on uninformed bias and closed-minded perceptual animus. Many of these prisoners have been imprisoned five, 10, even 20 years beyond their lawful time. This is costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

I believe the legal community must come together and demand an end to this judiciary anarchy in California. I am not advocating a remedy that releases still-dangerous prisoners. But deserving prisoners should, by the law, be released. If their court petitions are meritorious, the courts should uphold the law and do justice in their cases.