Dave was sentenced to life under the Three Strikes law for a nonviolent crime he committed in 2009. We’ve represented him for over 5 years in numerous venues, as his case bumped up and down the court system, between the trial court and courts of appeal, including unsuccessful litigation before the California Supreme Court in 2017.
The following year, a court confirmed that Dave committed a non-serious, non-violent crime and that he no longer posed a threat to public safety, but that for procedural reasons his life sentence should remain intact. We appealed (and lost) that decision.
Finally, last year, Dave was given an opportunity for early parole under caselaw and regulations we helped establish in 2018. Dave impressed the parole commissioners with the volume and depth of his prison programming and his almost spotless disciplinary record—and he was ordered released. But before that decision became final, the governor intervened and ordered that Dave’s case be reheard by the Parole Board sitting en banc. On April 19th, the en banc Parole Board reconsidered Dave’s case. Project Deputy Director Susan Champion appeared argued on Dave’s behalf, and the en banc Board ultimately reaffirmed the initial parole determination and finalized Dave’s release order.
It’s been a long fight, and we couldn’t be prouder of the team that worked on Dave’s case, including our former student Skylar Brooks. We’re also proud and in deep admiration of Dave’s persistence, for taking his rehabilitative efforts so seriously over the years, and for his superhuman patience as his case rollercoastered up and down the legal system—where form and process seemed to trump rationality and justice.
Dave finally walked free from Valley State Prison in Chowchilla and was met at the prison gates by the Anti-Recidivism Coalition Ride Home driver and mentor Moses Gallegos. They enjoyed a first meal of freedom together, and Moses brought Dave to his long-term reentry program, Options Recovery Services in Berkeley.
Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement!