CRIME STORY has received permission to re-print Michael Romano‘s newsletters from Stanford Law School’s Three Strikes Project whose mission is to reverse the most unjust criminal sentences. Romano and his colleague Susan Champion were interviewed by Amanda Knox for CRIME STORY and you can find the podcast and the transcript of that interview here. You can find a story about Romano’s participation in a U.S. Congressional field hearing on criminal justice reform here. You can find past issues of Romano‘s newsletter here.
We are so happy and proud to report that client, David Flores, recently won a reversal of life sentence and was released from prison on Tuesday!
David was sentenced under the Three Strikes law for attempted robbery in Los Angeles. While incarcerated, David committed himself to his education and earned his GED and THREE associate’s degrees. He also participated in numerous rehabilitative and mentorship programs, and his commitment to bettering himself and helping those around him were what ultimately gained him his freedom.
On Tuesday, David was greeted at the prison gates by Yjah Jorden from the Ride Home Program (and a former lifer himself). Yjah was able to welcome David to a new world of freedom, grab a meal together, and purchase some essentials before dropping David off at WestCare, a residential reentry program in Fresno.
We couldn’t be happier for David, and as always, we are thankful for our whole team—our students, attorneys Milena Blake and Susan Champion, project manager Andrea Delone, and our reentry partners—who all worked to secure David’s freedom this past year. It is great news, especially in these difficult times.
Some other news:
• Our summer pro bono ‘pop up’ program is off to a great start. We are extremely grateful for 35 attorneys who independently volunteered to assist deserving inmates who don’t have access to counsel. This work is needed more urgently than ever, and we hope to have some good news to report from this group soon.
• The California Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code will hold its next hearing later this month (July 23-24), concentrating on punishments for the most common crimes in California. It’s open to the public via Zoom, including opportunity for public comment. Please click here for more info, full agenda, witness list, and Zoom instructions.
• Finally, while we love to report our victories, we also need to note our losses. Last week, a judge in Los Angeles reaffirmed our client’s sentence of 175-years-to-life for a string of robberies decades ago where no one was hurt. The court ignored a formal request from the Dept. of Corrections that our client be released and that he would be an “asset” to the community if released. Incidentally, at this client’s original trial many years ago, the judge was so appalled by defense counsel’s performance that he sent a letter complaining to the state bar. But that didn’t stop him from sentencing our client to spend the rest of his life in prison.
We will keep on fighting.
Thank you all for your support.