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 proud to announce SIX huge victories!

First, we are incredibly happy that our client Ronald Medel was re-sentenced and released from prison after serving over 20 years for 2nd degree robbery of a Home Depot.

Ronald was sentenced to life under California’s Three Strikes Law in July 2000. Last year, he was recommended for a new sentence by the Department of Corrections based on his exceptional record of in-prison rehabilitation. After significant delays due to COVID-related court closures, the District Attorney agreed with the Dept. of Corrections, and Ronald was re-sentenced to time served and he walked out of prison on Friday morning!

Ronald was greeted by Jacob Brevard from the Ride Home Program. They enjoyed a steak breakfast before heading over to his long term residential reentry program at Amity Foundation

We are also extremely happy to announce the first victories from our our pro bono “pop up” project, as FIVE participants—all serving life sentences (for a combined 150 years-to-life)—were granted clemency by Governor Newsom! The pro bono program launched this summer with over 30 lawyers throughout California who have volunteered to represent people in prison identified as excellent candidates for release. 

The pro bono program is directed by our amazing Project Manager Andrea Deleon, and we all send our heartiest congratulations to the clemency recipients and appreciation to their attorneys!

•Sandra Castaneda represented by Rochael Adranly from Ideo.

•Enrique Cristobal represented by Michael Kwun from Kwun, Bhansali, & Lazarus.

•Tyler Lord represented by Alan Pomerantz from Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw & Pittman.

•Chan Saeteurn represented by Michelle Kuo from the American University in Paris (yes, one of our volunteers works from Paris!)

•Anna Villa represented by Michael Amster.

We hope to have more good news from the pro bono program soon.

While we are very proud of this work for our clients’ newfound freedom, we recognize that people who are awarded clemency by the Governor or identified for new sentences based on rehabilitation (like Ronald) did the hard work of personal growth, change, and rehabilitation on their own—often over decades and without any hope of ever being rewarded for the effort. We are proud to stand alongside them and help them through their journey to freedom. We also recognize that there are too many others like them still in prison and equally deserving of a new chance at freedom.

It’s what keeps us going.

Thanks for all your support and encouragement!

– Mike

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