Friday, July 7, 2017

6/24/17 ECC 5th ANNUAL LIFER BBQ: Do you recognize anyone?

FIFTH ANNUAL LIFER BBQ at City Buena Park - Fun had by ALL again!

The Fifth annual lifer picnic Hosted by Gary “Red” Eccher and Attorney Keith Chandler [ECCHER CONSULTING COMPANY (ECC)] gets better every year, with the typical grilled hot dog, BBQ style. We had additional food items ranging from pizza to fried chicken; delivered on the hour (fresh and hot) for several hours through the day.  The meals were well rounded with veggies, fruits and sweets! We had great 70 ish degree weather with a cool breezes in the typical Southern Sunny California day. 
Over 300 people gathered thorough the day at Buena Park from Noon to 6 pm. We had the typical LIFER Group picture (see below) at 3pm. This year there was a Southern California  "Pow Wow" by several Lifer Criminal Defense Attorneys (and paralegals) participating in a strategy session to deal with what seems to be developing anti-Lifer trends at BPH. 
(Left:  "Red" and Diane Letarte - aka Renegade Attorney)

 On the lighter side - several Photos were taken:
 - Courtesy of Attorney Diane Letarte and her legal assistant Yolanda Navarro.


 As Vanessa Sloane (:SA) would say: "Some parolees had been out only a few days, some several years, but all were united by the fellowship only earned through surviving the crucible of prison and parole."


 Attorneys Diane Letarte, Marc Norton, Michael Beckman, Keith Chandler and infamous "Doc" Miller

 The Three Amigas:   Vanessa Nelson, Attorney Letarte, Sister Mary Sean Hodges

 Debbie Page, Laura Sheppard were among several other attorneys that appeared at the Lifer BBQ.

A friendly chat with "Red" and familiar faces of the Law Office of Diane Letarte including Yolanda Navarro, Legal Assistant (Yolanda's mother Irma) and Lydia Lenz!

Some of our Clients enjoying Freedom

Attorney Keith Chandler having an intense discussion with Attorney Marc Norton, Attorney Michael Beckman, and Vanessa Nelson-Sloane (from LSA)


Monday, June 19, 2017

SB 394: Ending Juvenile Life without Parole and AB 1308 expansion to 25 y.o. YOPH (Youth Offender Parole Hearing)

The Law Office of Diane T.  Letarte has been getting many letters and phone calls regarding the expansion of current Juvenile Laws (SB9, SB260, SB261), to hopefully include the new SB394 and AB1308. (see our prior BLOGs on the existing Youth offender laws)

First, everyone must be aware that SB9 applies to only LWOP juveniles, meaning they were under the age of 18 years old when they committed the crime and have no Possibility of Parole. Second, the SB260 and SB261 (under the age of 23 on the day of the crime) ONLY applies to Lifers (with Possibility of Parole) and Determinate Sentence (DSL) Juvenile inmates, not to LWOPs (Life without Possibility of Parole). If we remember the SB9 law, it allowed the JLWOP to petition the Court to be re-sentenced to take into consideration the "Hallmark features of Youth" (more or less) at the time of the crime to mitigate their sentence, thus having the possibility to eliminate the LWOP sentence  to a Life sentence with the Possibility of Parole. LESS GUILTY BY REASON OF ADOLESCENCE - sorta speak!

Having the above juvenile law stated, then we can report that the new SB394 and AB1308 are moving along successfully BUT---- they are NOT law at the writing of this article. In short, SB 394 would automatically send LWOP inmates who were under 18 at the time of their crime to a Parole Hearing after 25 years of incarceration. AB 1308 would extend YOPH (Youth Parole Hearing non-LWOP) considerations to those who were “25 years of age or younger”,  at the time of the crime.

SB 394: Would allow those sentenced to LWOP for crimes committed before the age of 18 to be automatically seen by the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) after 25 years of incarceration. This bill passed the Senate floor, and is now in the Assembly committee process awaiting assignment to committee, expected to be Assembly Public Safety. No date yet set for a vote; We support this bill.

AB 1308: Extends the provision of Youth Offender Parole Suitability Hearings to those who were “25 years of age or younger” at the time of the crime. This bill, which extends (SB260/261) YOPH consideration is now in the Senate committee process, expected to be referred to Senate Public Safety. It cleared the Assembly floor, largely along party line votes. We support this bill. 

Furthermore on SB394, it would remedy the now unconstitutional juvenile sentences of life without the possibility of parole (JLWOP). This bill would:

---Allow the approximate 290 juveniles with LWOP cases to be eligible for an initial parole hearing after 25 years of incarceration. There would be no guarantee of parole, only an opportunity for the person to work hard and try to earn the chance for parole via the Board for a Youth Offender Parole Suitability Hearing (BPH).

---Streamline the process and bring California into compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s most recent ruling by making juveniles sentenced to life without parole  (JLWOP) eligible under the state’s existing youth offender parole (SB 260 governed by Penal Code 3051) process.

---Eliminate the need to Petition the Court for a resentencing hearing (if you were under 18 y.o at the time of the crime), which is the current process under the SB9 law.

For a complete legislative FACT sheet (SB394) see Senator Ricardo Lara

Monday, April 17, 2017

In re Trejo: Youth Offenders, NOT Required to Serve Thompson Terms After Granted Parole

Filed 4/13/17




 A149064  (Marin CountySuper. Ct. No. SC197534A)

This case stand for the fact that Youth Offenders, are NOT Required to Serve Thompson Terms After Granted Parole, if the new crime was committed "in prison" and under the age of 23 years old. Furthermore, if there were detained longer than needed, the excess time can be credited against the Parole time.

Whether a “youth offender” sentenced to a term of 15 years to life for an offense committed when he was 17 years old and found suitable for release on parole pursuant to the youth offender parole provisions of Penal Code section 3051 must, before being released, serve a consecutive sentence imposed for a crime committed in prison at age 20

We conclude that the decision of the Board of Parole Hearings requiring petitioner to serve the consecutive term after being granted parole, and its implementation by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, were erroneous. 

Petitioner was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. The offense was committed in 1979, when petitioner was 17 years old. In 1982, at age 20, he pled guilty to assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner and was sentenced to four years, to be served consecutively to his life sentence. In 2015, after serving 35 years in prison, petitioner was found suitable for parole as a youthful offender under Penal Code 3051, effective in November 2015. Petitioner claimed that his release date was recalculated as November 2, 2017, based on a correction in his credit earning status. In June 2016, petitioner filed a habeas corpus petition challenging the legality of his continuing incarceration.

The trial court denied relief, concluding that section 3051 does not exempt a youthful offender granted parole from serving a consecutive sentence for an offense committed in prison, citing section 1170.1(c), which provides that a consecutive sentence for an in-prison offense “shall commence from the time the person would otherwise have been released.” The court of appeal granted relief; section 1170.1(c), does not apply to petitioner’s case because his in-prison offense was committed before he was 23 years old, so he was entitled to release at the end of his indeterminate sentence pursuant to section 3051(d).

Respondent is ordered to amend petitioner’s release date to November 2, 2015, and to deduct from his parole period the days of incarceration served beyond that date. Our order filed on April 10, 2017, granting petitioner’s motion for release, ordered respondent Warden of Ironwood State Prison to release petitioner on parole, in accordance with the terms of his parole grant and demands of due process pending resolution of his petition in this court. 

We now order that relief as the final decision of this court on the petition for writ of habeas corpus. Good cause appearing, this decision shall be final as to this court immediately. (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 8.387, subd. (b)(3)(A).)

The full Court of Appeal decision can be downloaded HERE.

Congratulations to Attorney Tracy Lum for this Published Opinion.