- Attorney General
- Attorney General
Exonerate Kenneth Clair: DNA Evidence Points to Someone Else.
On November 15, 1984, 5-year-old Jerrod Hessling witnessed the beating, rape, and stabbing death of his babysitter. When asked to describe the killer, he said, without hesitation, that it was a white male. Another child present during the murder saw a white man’s tattooed arm reach inside the house to open a sliding glass door. Yet somehow, the lawyers in the case determined that Kenneth Clair, a dark-skinned African-American homeless man who had been squatting next door, was the killer. When Jerrod saw him on the witness stand and insisted they had the wrong man, the prosecution chalked it up to youth and trauma and pursued the death penalty for Kenneth Clair. To this day, 31 years later, Mr. Clair sits on San Quentin’s death row, awaiting his execution date. [UPDATE: I was recently made aware that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals secretly overturned Mr. Clair’s death sentence and changed it to life in prison without parole. This is mixed news -- his life is spared, but he no longer has the right to an attorney under habeas corpus laws, and he has not been granted a retrial. That means the exonerating DNA evidence will NOT be seen in court. We now have to focus our energy on asking Governor Jerry Brown and California State Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the case and exonerate Kenneth Clair for this crime he did not commit. It is Mr. Clair’s only remaining chance for justice. ] But that’s not the biggest bombshell in this case -- in 2008, forensic testing revealed that DNA found on the murder victim did not match Clair’s. DNA taken from a glove found at the scene also did not match. It matches another individual, but the Orange County District Attorney insists that “confidentiality is required” concerning this evidence, and for 7 years now, the identity of the person whose DNA does match the swab has remained a secret. In the interest of justice, we must call on the Orange County DA and California state lawmakers to demand that the DNA evidence be turned over to Kenneth Clair’s defense. Since his conviction, Clair has struggled with ineffective counsel. He wanted his lawyers to work at investigating the crime, rather than simply trying to free him from death row, but they never did. His plea for substitute counsel even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, and he did eventually receive a switch of counsel. Finally, he is being represented by people who are dedicated to his exoneration. But their hands are tied without this crucial DNA evidence, and more of Clair’s precious life is wasting away in prison as they fight to obtain it. Please sign my petition if you feel that the disclosure of the identity of a possible “person of interest” is something that the prosecution should not be allowed to withhold.
Release Daniel Larsen, Ruled Innocent
In 2010, after spending more than 10 years in prison, a federal court found my fiance Daniel Larsen innocent. His 1999 conviction for possession of a concealed weapon was overturned and he was ordered released. But Attorney General Kamala Harris appealed this ruling and today Daniel is still in prison - stuck in legal limbo - two years after being declared innocent. In 1999, Daniel was convicted of possession of a concealed weapon (a knife) and sentenced to 28-years-to-life under California's Three Strikes Law. Two police officers claimed they had saw him throw a knife under a car in a bar parking lot, something he didn't do. There were nine witnesses to prove his innocence - including a Chief of Police from North Carolina, who happened to be within five feet of Daniel at the time the officers claimed to have seen him toss the knife. But because of ineffective legal representation, these witnesses would not be part of his defense. In July 2008, the California Innocence Project filed a habeas petition in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California. One year later, the court held an evidentiary hearing in which three witnesses testified as to Daniel's innocence. Among the witnesses were the Chief of Police and his wife. After a hearing on the matter, the federal court found not only that Daniel was innocent but also that his trial attorney's representation was constitutionally deficient in failing to call these witnesses at the time of his trial. On June 14, 2010, the District Court judge reversed his conviction and ordered him released. But he remains in prison pending the Attorney General's appeal. Daniel and I have plans to make a life together - he's already spent 13 years in prison for a crime he was found innocent of. Please join me in asking Attorney General Kamala Harris to drop her office's appeal to Daniel Larsen's release.
Bring Lexi Home
There is a 6 year old little girl who has been ripped away from the only family that she has ever known. Her name is Lexi. The first year of her life she moved from foster placement to foster placement. Lexi has been with a loving, stable family for nearly five years and is thriving and a happy, healthy little girl. To Lexi this family is her everything - her mommy, daddy and brother and sisters. Unfortunately, since Lexi is 1.5% Choctaw, the state of California and LA County have allowed the Indian Child Welfare Law to devastate this family and abduct Lexi from her Mommy and Daddy on Monday to move her to Utah to live with a non-blood related family who aren't even members of the tribe, providing heartless and false justification. I'm pleading with you to please sign our petition & pass this around to everyone you know. LA County & California need to know that Lexi's rights, stability and permanence matter! Yes, this happened in America, let's make sure Lexi comes homes & it doesn't happen again! Here is a link to the Court of Appeals decision regarding how the ICWA law should consider best interests of a child: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/B252999.PDF Please sign this petition so we can fight for justice for Lexi, whose only desire is to come HOME to her mommy, daddy, sisters, brother and friends. Here's how you can show love and support to the family: VISIT: www.facebook.com/SaveOurLexi VISIT: www.SaveOurLexi.com to learn the facts & find out how to help
Demand A Strong EPA For Our Bays
Let’s not trash the EPA. Reject Scott Pruitt as its new chief. Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works recently boycotted the vote for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This comes as widespread, bipartisan concerns are being raised about Pruitt's record of challenging the core mission of the agency he’s been asked to lead. Many question Pruitt’s future commitment to protect public health, enforce the law, and hold corporations accountable to maintain healthy water, air, and land in their business practices. Pruitt has sued the EPA on behalf of regulated industries more than a dozen times in an attempt to weaken regulations such as the federal Clean Water Act. These regulations form the bedrock of our work at Heal the Bay and our sister organizations across the nation. They are hard-fought gains that were direct responses to past disasters. We cannot go back. A silenced, weakened EPA is a threat to our Bays. The U.S. Senate will vote on the appointment of Pruitt as EPA chief in the coming hours amid growing concerns about a broad directive from the new administration to censor EPA research, indefinitely. As a trusted ocean and watershed advocate, Heal the Bay is guided by the best science, not emotion. Over the last 30 years, we have seen first-hand how the EPA and its partner organizations can improve public health for Angelenos through environmental policies and regulations. A weakened EPA means turning back the clock on our critical programs in Greater Los Angeles that monitor beach water quality, prevent unsafe consumption of locally caught fish, protect our dwindling wetlands, and keep our streams and watersheds healthy to buffer communities from climate change. Scott Pruitt won’t do it. Our vital work is far from over. Sea level rise poses a real and immediate threat to many U.S. cities that are unprepared to adapt to the impacts of climate change. We need strong EPA leadership and funding now more than ever. These issues affect us all. Sign this petition urging the U.S. Senate to reject Pruitt’s nomination for EPA chief. Tell our elected officials to maintain strong EPA funding for programs that affect our Bays nationwide. Call your local senators directly in the next 24 hours to make sure your voice is heard.
Investigate the treatment of my brother at Corcoran State Prison
My brother, Rodney Barno, is an inmate at the Corcoran State Prison’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility. Two months ago, rumors began circulating that other inmates had a hit on him, so, in order to protect him, they put him in administrative segregation, also known as “the hole.” Since then, we have received letter after letter from him describing horrific conditions and treatment by guards who are supposed to protect him. He says he was stripped of all his personal belongings (food, clothing, hygiene necessities) and forced to sleep on a bare mattress. He has told us that he fears for his life, and I am worried sick that something will happen to him if we don’t put an end to this treatment now. My brother made mistakes in his life, and he is paying the price in prison. But he is now in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and it is their duty to treat him like a human being, not an animal. I am imploring Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California, to investigate my brother’s treatment at the Corcoran State Prison. He should pay for his crimes, but not with his life. Rodney’s now gone on a hunger strike, which leaves us even more worried. We received a letter from him expressing concern regarding the correctional officers abusing him physically and threatening to put another inmate in his cell to kill him. Most recently, he called to tell us that it is getting much worse with physical abuse. He was afraid to explain how bad it has gotten because the calls are recorded and he feared even more guard retaliation. He gets one phone call a week on Saturdays, and they barely let him talk to our parents for 10 minutes if he's lucky. We have called the prison directly to express our concern, and no one has bothered to even call us back. I feel like we are out of options. It has gotten so bad that my father has been in the hospital several times due to stress/depression resulting from these issues, and my mother hasn't stopped crying. Please help us get our message out and get our loved one some relief. Anything will help. Tell Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the treatment of my brother. Sign this petition and make sure justice is done, even for those behind bars. Thank you.
Ban Assault Weapons and Large Ammunition Magazines
My name is Tiffany, and I am a student in California. The shooting in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead really opened my eyes to the seriousness of this gun violence epidemic we’re experiencing in the United States. It also left me confused. Like a lot of people, I thought those assault-style weapons used in the shooting were banned in California. With some research, I discovered there are a lot of loopholes, and I am hoping this petition will help close them. A major loophole in California’s assault weapon ban allows possession of guns with detachable ammunition magazines, as long as they have a button-release mechanism, since their magazines are then considered fixed rather than detachable. Another loophole is that California does not ban kits that allow a person to convert a lawful firearm into an assault weapon. Why? California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, but these loopholes are unnecessary and dangerous. According to the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the San Bernardino shooters used one of these legal conversion kits to turn one of their rifles into an assault weapon, and the other rifle had a detachable magazine with a “button mechanism.” What’s more, they further modified their rifles illegally to enable them to shoot more rounds, more quickly. This is unacceptable. If these guns can be modified to become rapid killing machines, they should not be sold at all. The general public doesn’t need access to weapons designed to take down lots of human targets. I’m calling on California legislators to enact a complete ban on assault-style weapons. Had there been a full assault weapon ban at the time the shooters’ weapons were purchased, it would have been much harder for them to get the types of guns that take so many human lives in such a short time. We need to make it harder for bad people to get their hands on weapons that allow them to inflict so much carnage. I hope you will join me in calling for the loopholes to be closed, so we can get assault weapons fully banned in California. We don’t need any more tragedies like San Bernardino to teach us that these guns inflict too much damage.
Demand an Independent Investigation of the Bay Area-Oakland Police Sex Scandal
The Background Bay Area cities have been rocked by allegations that 30 officers from seven different law enforcement agencies in four counties were having sex with Celeste Guap, a sex worker who was underaged for at least some of those encounters. The agencies are the following: Oakland Police Department, Richmond Police Department, San Francisco Police Department, Livermore Police Department, Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department, Alameda County Sheriff's Department, and Defense Logistics Agency If evidences proves the allegations true, at least some of the law enforcement officers are guilty of exploiting children, supporting human trafficking, and statutory rape. Other officers only had sex with her after she turned 18, but even then prostitution is neither a victimless crime nor legal. But the potential crimes by our law enforcement officers do not end there. Oakland officers repeatedly provided confidential information about sting operations and conducted background checks on people for Ms. Celeste Guap. Even more disturbingly, Ms. Guap also stated that she participated in cocaine parties with Richmond and Oakland police officers. While city officials and the police departments want to hold internal investigations, citizens in the involved cities cannot trust the results of an "in-house" investigation for issue of this magnitude, particularly when so many officers, including high ranking police officials, are involved. In just one outrageous example, Alameda County's investigation of allegations against four deputies cleared the deputies of all charges - without ever interviewing Ms. Guap. See http://abc7news.com/news/i-team-exclusive-raising-questions-about-bay-area-police-sex-scandal/1406109/ Clearly this is a regional issue involving seven law enforcement departments in four counties. The response needs to be regional in nature with one, single independent investigation ongoing, not seven local internal investigations. The Call We demand a thorough, aggressive, and independent investigation by the State of California Attorney General's office. Only an independent investigation will have the integrity of process required to deliver findings that can be trusted by citizens. An independent investigation will ensure that any other issues that may emerge in the course of the investigation will be fully examined in all four counties. We further believe that given the overall size and complexity of this investigation, it must be lead by the California Attorney General's office. *The photo at the top shows texting exchanges between Ms. Celeste Guap and Richmond Police Department Lieutenant Andre Hill. Image captured by the East Bay Express.
Stop SB 249!
SB 249 is a MASSIVE GUN BAN and would make thousands of law-abiding California gun owners into criminals and subject hundreds of thousands of legal firearms to state-sponsored confiscation. We must STOP SB 249! For more information, please visit StopSB249.org.
Mayor Liccardo Resignation
The Mayor of the sanctuary city of San Jose California allowed lawlessness yesterday evening during a Trump rally by ordering police to stand down while law biding citizens were harrassed and beaten. Then he blames Mr. Trump for the actions of illegal THUGS. We need to send a message that the laws of this country need to be enforced and we can not allow lawlessness to try and advance his liberal agenda.
Appeal undemocratic and inhumane foie gras decision
As a California chef concerned with how food is produced, I believe the recent ruling by a U.S. District Judge striking down California’s ban on the sale of force fed duck liver encourages unethical business practices and intrudes on every state’s right to make laws about animal welfare. As you know, this decision struck down a humane law that passed with bi-partisan support and gave businesses eight years to comply. Further, the ruling relies on flawed legal reasoning--as explained recently by the LA Times Editorial Board. If you do not appeal this decision by the Feb. 6 deadline, this single judge’s mistake will have short-circuited the democratic process--leaving the millions of Californians who support humane treatment of animals with no voice, and having a negative impact nationwide on state legislation on behalf of animals, consumer protection, workers, and more. I urge you to appeal this unjust ruling.