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 extremely happy and proud of our client, Danny Raviart, who had his life-sentence vacated and walked free from prison yesterday morning for the first time in 20 years!
Danny was sentenced to 151-years-to-life under the Three Strikes Law for two counts of robbery and possession of a controlled substance. Despite no realistic hope that he would ever be freed, Danny dedicated himself to rehabilitation and so impressed officers at all levels of the Dept. of Corrections, that Department Secretary Ralph Diaz formally petitioned for his release in 2019. Finally, after months of briefing, at a hearing (via Zoom) two weeks ago in Sacramento Superior Court, the prosecution concurred with the Dept. of Corrections and conceded to releasing Danny for time-served, noting his contributions to others behind bars: “It’s one thing to get up in the morning and make your own bed, but if you make everyone else’s, too, that’s something to consider.”
Danny was released from Mule Creek State Prison yesterday morning and met at the gate by Antonette Borquez, from our friends at the Ahimsa Collective. Their first stop was to visit Danny’s daughter to surprise her, shed happy tears, and celebrate a special moment together. (Danny made Susan promise not to tell her he was getting out!)
When Danny found out he was being released, he told us, “Sometimes we have that hope and we don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, and then we get that letter from you guys…” Every release shows us why we do what we do, and we are so happy that Danny held onto that hope!
MORE GOOD NEWS!
We are also beyond thrilled to announce that our former client, and former employee, Stanley Bailey was married to his high-school sweetheart Brenda this weekend in Durango, Colorado! Stanley was sentenced to life under the Three Strikes law for possession of drug paraphernalia in 1998 and released in 2014 under Proposition 36. (At the time, The New York Times ran a wonderful short documentary about Stanley’s release and the work of the Ride Home Program.) Stanley went on to earn a commercial drivers license, run several marathons, and he eventually came to work for us and Ride Home Program. Later, in partnership with the U.S. Dept. of Justice and Obama administration, Stanley traveled the country to pick-up and provide immediate reentry assistance to federal prisoners freed by executive clemency. Stanley and the Ride Home team were eventually honored as a “Champion of Change” by the Obama White House. All of us at the Three Strikes Project, sheltering-in-place in California. were sad to miss the celebration, but we send all of our love and couldn’t be happier for the newlyweds!
Stay safe everyone!