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.

We are VERY happy and proud to announce that two more of our clients were have been freed from life sentences after serving a combined 40 years behind bars! 

Yvette Brown and Jimmy Gaffeney were both sentenced under the Three Strikes law twenty years ago—and both had their life sentences vacated by Superior Court judges who determined that their continued incarceration was “no longer in the interests of justice.”

Jimmy was originally sentenced to 63-years-to-life for a robbery and burglary he committed 20 years ago while deep in the throes of a decades-long drug addiction. He won release after prison authorities recommended that his sentence be reevaluated. Kern County Superior Court Judge Michael Bush vacated Jimmy’s life sentence, praised him for his extraordinary accomplishments at rehabilitation despite no realistic hope he would ever be freed, and ordered Jimmy released based on time served, proudly concluding: “I don’t think I’m ever going to see you again.” 

Jimmy walked out of Kern County Jail and was met at the gates by Carlos Cervantes, the founder and original driver for the Ride Home program. After enjoying breakfast and hugging his mom for the first time in over a decade, Jimmy said he “feels like a new man” and looks forward to building a new life, beginning at the Amity Foundation residential reentry program in Los Angeles. 

Yvette was sentenced to 35-years-to-life in 2000 and, like Jimmy, walked out prison with the blessing of authorities, including the Secretary of the Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, who recommended her release. During Yvette’s twenty years behind bars, she accumulated an overwhelming record of rehabilitative programming, including over 80 commendations and certificates of recognition praising her work and self improvement. She was released from the California Prison for Women in Chowchilla and reunited with her longtime friend Tara and is now living Sacramento.

We couldn’t be happier for Yvette and Jimmy, nor prouder of our whole team. Thank you all for your continuing support and encouragement!

– Mike

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