Charles Riley case depublished by the California Supreme Court
Dear friends, I return with this new edition to update you with some important developments. To begin, the In re Charles Riley case that contained that beautiful biography of this crooked “lifer” policy they have us chained to, that is essentially a “Life Without Parole” sentence, was DEPUBLISHED by the California Supreme Court. You remember them, right? The ones the Governors hand-pick to do their bidding? Well, that’s not the shocking news. What really stunned me was WHO asked the CA Supreme Court to have the Riley Case Depublished. It read like this: 7/21/2014 Request for depublication filed (initial case event) //Non-Title Respondent: Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Attorney: Brian Campbell Kinney//. On 8/20/2014 the CA Supreme Court docket read: //Depublication ordered (case closed)//.
So, the case of In re Charles Riley that USED to be available for the public and reviewing courts to cite and find guidance in is no longer available in the Official Reports (law books). However, not to worry, first thing is, I’m going to find a way to have a link created so that if YOU FEEL like reading Riley to see what all the fuss was about, you will be able to. You see, this action did not erase the truth like they had hoped to do. It only obscures it a little. But one thing is for sure: it proves my point that the fix is in. There is an awesome conspiracy, and you the Public need to pay attention. You need to vote, and you need to Tweet your Assembly persons and Senators to express your discontentment with what the State lawyers are wasting their time fighting. They’re basically arm-wrestling me now. And I’m just little ol’ me. It’s the truth that’s really stinging them at this point. Ask yourself this: WHY would the California Department of Corrections [and Rehabilitation] (CDCR) be the agency to request the depublication of a case that has NOTHING to do with them? Like, literally, NOTHING . They are in fact a “NON-TITLE RESPONDENT”. Their only interest is whether lifers fill their prisons or go home finally. OH, WAIT A MINUTE, THAT’S IT!!! Lifers go home, and the CDCR stops collecting one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) annually for just 1000 of us. Since lifers recidivate at a rate of less-than one percent, once we’re out, it ‘s sayonara to the prison system forever. We’re not repeat customers. What’s more, all the mentoring and counseling programs going on out there right now that lifers are doing with youth, means that those kids likely won’t be providing or justifying CCPOA (California Correctional Peace Officers Association) jobs for the future. Oh yeah, it’s a good investment for CDCR to stifle any progress Aubrey and I make on this Butler lifer issue.
It’s not rocket science. In fact, what the CDCR did here only proves to you what I’ve been telling you all along. I promise, if you go read Riley right now, and you find one good reason the CDCR should file a depublication for, I’ll shut up. The proof is in the pudding. It should be a MAJOR concern to you that our jailers are litigating to keep us in here. They are supposed to do one job: provide security, and rehabilitative programming. Nothing more. In fact, they are supposed to be what umpires are to baseball or judges are to trials: IMPARTIAL. That means they show no favor for either party. Their job is not to punish. The sentence does that. “Time served”; not “officers served”. They truly had no business going to court to stick their nose in Riley. Really, if you asked Dr. Jeff Beard, the Secretary of the CDCR, what he thinks of the Riley opinion, he would likely answer: “the wha- ?”. Go ahead, send him an email and ask him: “Excuse me Sir, what is the purpose of requesting the Riley depublication?” — see what he says, IF he even answers.
NO joke– this is some heavy stuff. You know, I’ve been privy to lifer family visiting litigation for a long time . Those visits went away for lifers when Pete Wilson was governor. I happen to know the real reason they were taken. There are a lot of rumors, but the fact is, a coalition of angry victims’ rights people hooked up with a go-getting Assemblyman, and they attacked what was known as the “Inmate Bill of Rights.” That title is what offended most, although it was no such thing. The stigma attached to such a thing would set anyone off. Thus, it was easy to attack and destroy it. Pete Wilson was more than happy to bury it. To such people, anything pro-inmate is offensive. But that mentality is PRECISELY what has contributed to increased crime rates, because penal issues are never as straightforward as they appear. For every action, there is a consequence. If one mistakenly believes that taking away family visits from a lifer is good punishment, have they considered the child who does not get to see his father? OF COURSE the prisoner did not think of that when they committed their crime. But does the State now have to compound the child’s problems? A child without a positive male role model in their life will end up in prison or gangs at a rate of 60%. Did I not state that in my previous articles? Well, not only are paroled lifers now the strongest youth mentor contingent working with DAPO (Division of Adult Paroles), but in every transitional home, there are more and more programs being created for that purpose.
This weekend, Valley State Prison hosted the First Annual SAR (Substance Abuse Recovery) Weekend Event. Sister Mary Sean Hodges of PREP (Partnership for ReEntry Program) was there; reps from HealthRight 360 Transitional Home (formerly ”Waldenhouse”); Delancey Street; CGA (Criminals and Gangmembers Anonymous) rep and parole attorney Tracy Lum was there; Criminon; even Walkenhorst’s sent a rep to provide snacks and refreshments for our sponsors. It was a rehabilitation event , where the focus was on opportunities for change. The gym was packed with lifers, and it was amazing. Every one of those outside people support family visits for lifers, because they deal with our families and those children out there directly. They see the impact we have on our children with their own eyes. So ask yourselves: why is the CDCR still not allowing lifers to get family visits, when all other non-sex offender prisoners that aren’t lifers get them? I can also answer this question with facts no one else has. I have the documents to prove it, which I’ve mailed home and abroad. I have Governor Wilson’s words on paper, which no one can refute. I also have the State ‘s court responses to the lifer family visit litigation. They are as sneaky and ridiculous as they have been with this Butler litigation. The CDCR’s response was that lifers present an “escape risk” because family visiting bungalows are usually outside yard perimeters, although still inside the electric fence. But when the CDCR needed to change those classification standards to move lifers to lower security levels pronto to comply with the federal court orders on overcrowding, they recruited UC Irvine and Berkeley to study escapes, and it was determined escapes by ANY prisoner from inside an electric fence were almost a zero-percent chance/risk. Result: “Level 4” inmates were allowed to go to 3; “3”s could go down to 2; “2”s down to 1; and Level ones were allowed to go to camps. So when lifers asked: “now that escapes are no longer a factor for us, can we get family visits?”, the response was typical: “STILL no.”
Yes, I have the documents for all to see. I want to create a space online where I can dump every single document my friends and family have out there, so that it becomes a little archive. I’ve told you before: the flow of information is the biggest threat to tyranny. THAT ‘S why the CDCR asked to depublish Riley. I was told by a good outside friend who I saw at the SAR Rehabilitation Weekend event that ‘they’ have been studying these articles and what I’ve posted about Riley is what spurred them to act hastily to have it depublished. It’s really not a secret though.
The question is what you the readers are willing to do. Every single event the BPH holds is worth paying attention to. All you have to do is start bugging your Assembly members and Senators . These people honestly think they’re above you, as if they are doing YOU a favor. YOU elected them to serve YOU, and YOU pay their salary. Don’t let them pull that same sleight-of-hand trick the CDCR and BPH are so good at. They like you uninformed. But there’s no way you’re uninformed, as long as you’re reading this. Again, this doesn’t only concern lifer prisoners; this concerns your children and your own safety. We’re not the ones causing crime; we’ve been in for decades. We’re the reformed ones now able to lower crime rates and improve our youth’s lives and futures. But our goal and the CDCR ‘s goal of growing prisons and future prisoners do not align. Once more, they hope you never realize this.
Just to rehash, I know you may have heard otherwise, but the Board is NOT giving “fixed [set) terms”, they’re only announcing the term to the lifers on paper at their next hearing . Before Butler, they were only doing those announcements on paper (called “calculated terms”) IF they found the lifer suitable for parole. Only if they upheld that finding after a review period would they “SET” the term, and they would be released no matter what. It’s that distinction between setting and only calculating that’s messing us up. And once you have a SET term, you become like any other prisoner, and as long as you don’t have a sex offense, you are eligible for family visits. You see, the CDCR ‘s ridiculous standard for whether we should have visits with our children and families isn’t about an actual escape risk; it comes down to whether our term is set or not. THAT’S why they’re fighting set terms with every fiber of their beings.
Lifers think that because they’re getting this paper that shows their base term calculation and adjustment for credits, that THAT’S their set term. That’s because for decades, prior to Butler, no one ever saw one of those papers . If you got one of those under Wilson or Gray Davis, you were truly one of a kind. Now everyone gets one. Imagine though: those papers are SUPPOSED to be a SET, CONCRETE release date that you can continue to chip away at with good behavior credits that the BPH is supposed to issue at “Progress Hearings”. Seriously: those exist in the Title 15 (at §2305 for old-law [ISL] lifers). For us DSL or “Prop 7” lifers, we are issued credits under Title 15 §2410. Conspicuously absent are the progress hearings for us. I’ll explain it in a moment. Note first that at Title 15 §2410 (a), that only when a panel “ESTABLISHES” a base term does the Board issue credits. Well this is your PROOF: what did the Appellate Court tell Charles Riley in the closing lines of its opinion? Answer: it told him the Board would ESTABLISH his base term. That would logically ENTITLE him to those post-conviction credits. That means he would have a SET base term. OMG, stop the presses! Would someone hurry and go ask the Supreme Court to depublish this case before it blows up in our face!??
See, that’s not the only bombshell. In Riley, the Court also talked about the “Chairman’s Directive 75/30”, which is a document I produced for Butler, which Aubrey had been hanging on to for years, unsure what to do with it. I decided to figure out a way to get it into the Court’s hands. Well, that document was an order to the BPH in 1975 to SET base terms; provide progress hearings; give credit at those hearings; release lifers; you name it . All in response to a case that came out in 1975 called “In re Rodriguez”, which is an identical claim as the Butler case — they had been doing exactly what they’re doing today. Of course, I told you all about Rodriguez in my first article. You may not know, but the BPH chief at the time (Ray Procunier), wrote the first Title 15 Board regulations to conform to that Rodriguez case. So how did we end up back at square one? Well, after Prop 7 went into effect, the Morrissey 8 partnered up with several law agents, and the CPOA, and CDC reps, and victim rights groups; and formed their infamous “Morrissey 8 Conclusion”. Yes, it was conspiratorial, like the word or not. Riley is a case that explained it all, from start to finish. So naturally, the CDCR could not bear to leave that case in publication for you the public to see.
Problem here is, they’re hypocritically playing with peoples’ lives. They are victimizing others. Of course, they’ll call us murderers or kidnapers or whatever, and in doing so will erode support for us. Note that, IRONICALLY, lifers who have earned the right to go home are DYING in prison because the BPH is violating their rights and the law and their own settlement. Who is murdering whom? And when it comes to lifers’ families, including children and grandchildren who need them (our sons became part of the “60%” and followed our footsteps into prison), who has kidnaped whom?
Listen, I have clearly stated a case that over-imprisoning lifers DOES NOT lower crime. It INCREASES crime, ironically. If you don’t believe me, you can read Raymond Procunier’s words that accompanied the CD 75/30 document when it came out . I will try to post it, but either way, you can write me to request it and I will send you a copy free of charge . Hopefully soon a link will be provided for you to view all documents . The truth need not be feared. And the truth is, in 1975 they knew over-imprisoning people was causing crime. THAT’S why they wrote and passed Senate Bill 42, the “Determinate Sentencing Law.” Illinois had just done the same . Notwithstanding the Morrissey 8 policy, there are supposed to be set terms for EVERY crime in California. It serves a legitimate penological purpose and function. So Tweet your Assembly member or Senator a link to this article if you don’t or can’t explain it to them.
Until my next, I sign off.
Written by Rudy while incarcerated in California.