The Governor of CA: After OVER 25 YEARS of FALSE INCARCERATION, Free Jermaine Smothers!

The Governor of CA: After OVER 25 YEARS of FALSE INCARCERATION, Free Jermaine Smothers!

2,209 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!

Why this petition matters

Started by Rick Garrabrant

     Jermaine Smothers has been imprisoned for over 25 years for a crime he did not commit. On May 11, 1995, in the northeastern section of Oceanside, California, Jermaine and a group  of his friends were chased without provocation by an unknown gunman while walking down an alley to a nearby park. As Jermaine's group ran out of the alley into nearby apartments, Jermaine heard a series of gunshots.

     The real danger to Jermaine was not the gunman in the alley, but rather the legal system that found him guilty of murder. Though Jermaine passed a polygraph test and was not involved in the crime in any way, he remains imprisoned, an innocent man charged with murder.

      The lead detective on Jermaine's case has since been named in a civil lawsuit where he coerced teenagers into false confessions who were later exonerated through DNA evidence. Multiple impartial witnesses claimed the shooter was the tallest in the group and left handed, Jermaine was the shortest and right handed. Evidence presented at the trial showed that the deceased possessed a weapon and chased Jermaine's group with it.

     The mostly white jury did not include any citizen of Oceanside, and was definitely not made up of Jermaine's peers. More than half of the 10 notes the jury made during trial related to when the trial would be over as the jurors had appointments and vacations to go to. Although multiple incidents and dozens of witnesses were involved in the trial, the jury took a little over two hours to deliberate and then asked for a TV to watch while they enjoyed the rest of the day off.

     Jermaine was given an overwhelmed Public Defender while the Prosecutor built her career up on this case. Years later when new evidence would come to light, the Prosecutor refused to reopen. Even as late as 2019, she still felt the need to follow the case and attend evidentiary hearings even though she has no reason to be there. If you had done the right thing, would you feel the need to keep checking up on it for more than 20 years?

     Jermaine has bettered himself while serving time for a crime he did not commit. Witnesses have later changed their testimonies and those who tried to reopen the case have been stopped in their tracks. The California Innocence project believed in Jermaine and even they have exhausted every possible avenue of justice for Jermaine. Jermaine could have gone for parole about a year ago and he chose not to as he has always maintained his innocence, for more than a quarter century.

     Words from Jermaine: "I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 14, 1975. I was an average student that excelled in sports. My father was in the military, so I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit. We lived in North Carolina, Japan, and California. I have two sisters and a brother. My only child is my son, Jermaine, Jr. he is 26 years old now, so I've missed all but eight months of his life. Before coming to prison, I was working and taking care of my family. I wasn't a deadbeat; I was trying to turn my life around for him and my family. I wasn't perfect but never murdered anyone.

     I was extremely close to my mother; she was my favorite girl until she passed from cancer in 2008. One of the hardest times I had to face while in prison was not being able to say goodbye and her not seeing me walk out these gates. Not being able to raise my son is equally hard. I was looking forward to watching him grow up and become an outstanding young man."

     Jermaine has rehabilitated himself by working, taking college courses, participating in several self-help meetings, reading, teaching literacy, and becoming an AVP advocate. Despite the injustices he's lived through, Jermaine has become a true family man: married 8 years to his devoted wife and now has 3 sons, several job offers, and looks forward to enrolling in college. 

     Jermaine never conspired, aided nor abetted or was involved in this crime in any way; other than being at the scene. Jermaine should not have to continue to pay for a crime he had nothing to do with.

Please sign Jermaine Smothers’ petition.  Thank you.

2,209 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!