Nearly 40 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit! Help us set Jeffery Burks free!

Nearly 40 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit! Help us set Jeffery Burks free!

2,656 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
Ja'Toria Harper started this petition to Governor Gavin Newsom

For nearly 40 years, my uncle, Jeffrey Milo Burks, has sat in prison, serving life without the possibility of parole, while his devoted wife, daughter, family, and countless friends fight tirelessly along side him for his exoneration and freedom. 

On March 24th, 1984, inmate Edward Brooks, Ronald Jenson, and James Gaulden were victims of stabbing assaults. Brooks died of his injuries, Jenson survived being stabbed four times, and Gaulden's injuries were minor; however he has since died of natural causes. Jeffery Burks, at the time of the murderous attack, was playing basketball with Mitchell Celestine, a man who later would be counted among his co-defenders, has always maintained his innocence.

On September 3, 1987, Jeffrey Burks and Mitchell Celestine were convicted for the murder of Brooks, a murder two others have confessed to committing. Both these Individuals and victim Ronald Jenson have all now declared Jeffrey Burks to be factually innocent of this crime.

During April 1983, Jeffrey Burks was eligible for parole and heading home, before he was considered expendable through prison guard and inmates codes of silence as well as the testimony of one correctional officer who to this day continues to change his story on crucial issues of what he claimed to have witnessed that day.

In addition, a co-defendant testified that he, and he alone, killed Brooks. The prosecutor in this case pleaded with the jury to not believe him but instead the word of one correctional officer whose testimony was so conflicted the prosecutor conceded to the jury in his final argument that this correctional officer, the only witness to testify against Burks, was a "very poor witness."

The only physical evidence produced at trial contradicts the officer's testimony and should have exonerated both Jeffrey and Mitchell if there was any measure of justice at all in this case.

DNA evidence that would exonerate Jeffrey today, was checked out of evidence by the D.A. Ray Schultze two weeks prior to the trial. This evidence was destroyed and never returned.

Despite the white guard's conflicted testimony and exonerating physical evidence, African Americans Jeffrey Burks and Mitchell Celestine were convicted by a white male dominated jury while being represented by court appointed attorneys who proved to be ineffective to say the least.

Since his wrongful conviction, Jeffrey has been involved in over 30 programs centered on counseling at risk youths and drug diversion, was elected to several prison advisory boards, has aided in the creation of three organized prison sports programs, has participated in programs designed to help families of correctional officers understand their work, and has also contributed to media stories and documentaries. And after 37 years of wrongful imprisonment-- he honestly just wants to go home.

Please, sign our petition to have Governor Gavin Newsom commute Jeffrey Burks' sentence, and finally #SetJeffFree. It's time that my uncle hold his wife for the first time as a free man, and enjoy his favorite food once more-- "homemade deep fried French fries!"

2,656 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!