Thursday, May 19, 2016

In re JORGE A. GOMEZ, Court Grants Relief for SHU Inmate Wrongfully Issued a CDC-115 for 2013 Hunger Strike

In re Jorge A. Gomez,  Court Of Appeal, 1st Appellate, Div. 2
(No.A142470    (Del Norte County Super. Ct. No. 145020)
Jorge Gomez had spent over 10 years in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing 
Unit (SHU). In early July 2013, he participated in the Hunger strike to protest torturous and inhumane conditions at Pelican Bay’s SHU and at other isolation and segregation units throughout the state. Over 30,000 inmates participated at its height, with many refusing
food for as long as two months.
CDCR struck back, on July 16, 2013, by issuing Gomez,a Rules Violation Report 
(aka CDC-115). The same fate fell on many other inmates  who had gone to the extreme
 length of starving themselves to peacefully call attention to their torture.
When CDCR was cornered to defend their position it was clear that no one was put in danger during this peaceful Hunger Strike.

 The Court states: “None of [Respondents’] contentions indicate that the facility, outside community or another person was endangered, i.e., put in danger or peril of harm or loss, 
nor do they indicate that there was a breakdown of order in any aspect of the prison..."
Gomez’s petition is granted. Respondent is ordered to reverse the [CDC-115] disciplinary
ruling that Gomez violated section 3005(a), thereby committing a serious rules violation,restore Gomez’s 90 days of conduct credits and expunge all references to his disciplinarycharge from his central file
The case was finally published this month (May 2016), with strong Opposition by the Attorney General (representing the prison's interest). Thus far,  the Published Opinion will assist countless prisoners who wrongfully received RVRs  (CDC-115s) in connection with their participation in the 2013 Prisoner Hunger Strike.
PAROLE SUITABILITY HEARING IMPACT: This is a huge win for the Lifers and/or DSL (Youth Offenders)  that will be going to their Parole Hearing post-GOMEZ, if they were wrongfully issued a CDC-115. We all know that realistically if an inmate has  a fighting chance of being found suitable he should have minimally 3 to 5 years disciplinary free. If the CDC-115 was for a Hunger Strike it should be argued that participation in a peaceful demonstration, does not make him an "unreasonable threat to society" if released on parole. Of course, all the other Suitability factors must be present BUT FOR the Hunger Strike CDC-115.