When Mary and her mom came to De-Bug two years ago with arms full of court files, we were struck by the determination that they walked with. Mary’s brother had been sentenced to life 19 years prior for a non-serious and non-violent crime due to Three Strikes. They came regularly to meetings, poured over the case file with other ACJP organizers, and spoke with legal experts. This week, after a long and winding road, they are bringing their brother home, after he has won his re-sentencing hearing! We would say it’s amazing, they would say they knew it all along. Think we’re both right. Here are some shots chronicling their journey. We will be airing a mini-documentary on their family as part of our Time Saved Film Series, debuting this Winter. (If you have a story you think would make for a Time Saved Film, send us an email! firstname.lastname@example.org
November 2012 — Mary and her mom reading about Proposition 36, finding the possible path to their brother and son’s release from a life sentence.
December 2013 — Mary going to meet with the attorney after gathering letters of support at De-Bug. To see post, click image.
December 2013 — The family right outside court at weeks before the re-sentencing hearing. This family packed the courtroom, definitely making their presence felt.
January 2014 — The moment Mary and her family have waited and worked for — when the judges orders her brother’s release after 19 years. His attorney says it was the first Prop.36 release in Stanislaus County history.
January 2014 — Mary and Blanca sitting in front of the court, sharing a moment after winning the re-sentencing hearing. These two always knew this day would come.
On Tuesday, November 6th, California voters approved Prop 36, a ballot measure that would reform the Three Strikes Law of 1994. An estimated 3,000 convicted felons serving life sentences for a third strike that was a non-violent crime could now apply to the courts for resentencing. ACJP families are elated at the news knowing that some of their family members could qualify. Lily, whose son Darryl has been serving a life sentence, is ecstatic, and said her son had been anxious about these elections. He had received a letter notifying him that he was eligible for the Prop 36 reforms. In many ways, California has been the trendsetter in the nation when it comes to excessive sentencing. We hope the passage of Prop 36 signals another trend — away from these extremely harsh laws and more humane criminal justice policies. — Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
California Prop. 36: Families of some three-strikers hope for early release or shorter sentences
By Tracey Kaplan
SAN JOSE — Cashier Debbie Curry woke up Wednesday to find California voters had given her a priceless gift: hope.
By an overwhelming margin, they’d passed Proposition 36 to revise the state’s tough Three Strikes Law.
The new law prohibits judges from imposing a life sentence on most repeat offenders who commit minor crimes. But it also includes a provision that could result in an early release or shorter sentence for Curry’s husband — and up to 3,000 inmates like him who were sentenced to life in prison for nonviolent, relatively minor crimes like stealing a credit card.
Listen to the radio interview of ACJP members Blanca Bosquez and Mary Rosas as they join Dr. Elsa Chen, as they discuss the merits of Prop.36, and why Three Strikes Law is in dire need for reform on “A Meeting of the Ways”, hosted and produced by Diane Solomon on KKUP 91.5fm. Rosas’s brother is currently doing a life sentence due to Three Strikes.
LISTEN TO THE RADIO INTERVIEW: Yes on Prop.36 Interview with ACJP members Blanca Bosquez, Mary Rosas, and Dr. Elsa Chen on Prop.36