After being sentenced to life under the Three Strikes law for stealing clothes from a shopping mall in San Diego, Rodney Riggins is finally a free man!
In 2010, Rodney faced a series of personal tragedies that left him deep in the throes of addiction. Having burned through his savings and abandoned his job, he begged his parole officer for help getting into a rehab program. After being told there was no funding for a treatment program for him, he turned to crime to feed his addiction. Rodney took over $500 of merchandise from a clothing store and when a security guard tried to stop him on his way out, he pulled a knife. This decision cost him dearly. Despite taking responsibility for his actions, he was sentenced to 42-years-to-life.
Rodney knew he had to change and dedicated himself to addressing his drug addiction and examining his decisions in life that led him to prison. He became extremely active in various drug treatment programs while in prison and eventually became a facilitator and mentor. His transformation drew the attention of prison officials who recommended him for early release due to his exceptional efforts at rehabilitation.
After reviewing the case, the San Diego District Attorney agreed with the recommendation of prison officials and joined in asking the court to resentence and release Rodney. The court eventually did so, wishing him luck.
Rodney was met at the prison gates by his two sisters, two brothers-in-law, his niece and nephew with much joy and excitement. After catching up with his family, Rodney hit the road with Moses Gallegos from the Ride Home program, who drove him to his reentry program in San Diego.
As always, this was another team effort and victory. Our amazing staff attorney Milena Blake represented Rodney in San Diego Superior Court, but none of it would be possible without the help of our entire staff, our students, and supporters. Most of all, this victory belongs to Rodney who was sentenced to prison with little realistic hope that he would ever be freed, but turned his life around, dedicated himself to personal transformation, and earned another chance at freedom and a life with his adoring family!
Thank you all!