David Faulkenbery is finally free! After being sentenced to life under the Three Strikes law, and serving over 20 years, David walked out of Folsom State prison into the arms of his loving family.

In 2000, David was 58 years old and got in a fight with a neighbor. He was eventually convicted of assault and sentenced to 28-years-to-life under the Three Strikes. Given David’s age, this was essentially a death sentence, and he would likely never see the outside of the prison again. 

Many people would have given up, but David didn’t. He worked hard every day to improve himself and help those around him. He was particularly active in the Military Veterans Group of Folsom working to address his own experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome from his multiple tours in Vietnam and took a special pride in helping younger veterans. 

His dedication and hard work earned the respect of prison officials who recommended David’s early release based on his exceptional accomplishments in prison over the past two decades. Unfortunately, last November, a Lake County Superior Court judge denied the prison’s release recommendation and found that David deserved to serve the remainder of his life behind bars, despite the victim in his case supporting David’s release.

Determined to secure his release, our amazing staff attorney Milena Blake petitioned the court to reconsider its decision in light of a law passed by the legislature last year, which adopted a proposal from the Penal Code Revision Committee to give more weight to re-sentencing recommendations from prison officials. Based on Milena’s renewed pleading, the Lake County Superior Court reversed itself and re-sentenced David to time served, and ordered his release.

David’s daughters were 9 and 10 years-old when he was arrested—and 22 years later they were at the gates of Folsom Prison to pick him up. After a huge breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and hash browns they headed home. 

David will have the support of reentry programs through the Veterans Administration, as well as the Inter-Tribal Council of California. When Milena spoke to him on his first day of freedom, he said he was eager to spend time outdoors, where he can see more than 10 feet in front of him, watch cartoons with his grandson, and gain a few pounds from eating good food!

This is yet another tremendous team effort—led by David who for decades put in the hard work of personal growth and rehabilitation on his own—plus Milena and our entire team of students, staff, and supporters who never gave up litigating for his freedom!

Thank you all so, so much!

– Mike 

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