Free Damien "Toppnotch" Hodges: Request For Re-sentencing

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"I’m Damien “Toppnotch” Hodges, author of the “Blinded By The Lights - A Diamond In The Rough” trilogy series. I’m interested in networking to find innovative ways to gain exposure for my brand of Urban “Reality” writing as well as assistance with post-conviction relief from this illegal sentence I’m confined to. It’s because of my position of incarceration that its relatively impossible to maintain an active marketing plan to maximize the potential of my novels or shed light on the injustice I’ve suffered and still endure.

During this time of incarceration, I’ve focused myself on achieving ambition. I’ve written four novels and three screenplays to not only use my time constructively, but to obtain a level of success. I’ve taken my innate ability to write and educated myself to enhance my plight in life and my goals are coming to fruition. I’m a published author with Ruby Love Publications and I’m currently enrolled in college correspondence for an A.A. degree in Business Management, I’m involved in a plethora of self-help classes in order to correct my maladaptive behaviors and live a life with purpose. I’m also a mentor to help other ambitious writers in my position and provide insight on achieving goals. I live my mantra, “Dreams can come reality with ambition.”

In 2009, I committed the senseless act of Armed Robbery (Case #SCE291466 San Diego County) in California. I was charged with Penal Code 211-Robbery, Penal Code 12022.53(b)-Gun Enhancement, and (2) two Penal Code 667(b)-Serious Prior Felony Enhancements for out of state convictions that were already adjudicated in IL and PA. Though I’m guilty of the crime and have taken full responsibility for my actions, it’s the cruel and unusual punishment of a 26 year sentence (20 years of Enhancements) which I was contrived to accept in a plea deal under duress to avoid a sentence of 45 years to life.

On June 27, 2018, California passed Assembly Bill 1812 amending Penal Code 1170(d)(1) giving judges the discretion or to recall or re-sentence someone convicted of a disproportionate sentence. On October 11, 2017, and September 20, 2018, Governor Brown signed Senate State Bill SB 620 and SB 1393 changing the laws to grant judges the authority to strike or dismiss Gun Enhancements and Serious Prior Felony Enhancements. The proviso to enact this action is the Secretary of Operations of Adult Institutions for CDCR has to write a letter of recommendation to the courts on my behalf requesting re-sentencing. I believe I am eligible for re-sentencing based on changing circumstances. Recent legislation creates new grounds to re-sentence me in the interest of justice and rehabilitation. As an activist of prison reform and social injustice, I felt that it was imperative to inform and enlighten you of the predicament I’m up against to obtain freedom and reach my full potential. 

In conclusion, I feel my case would be a great candidate for post-conviction relief. I’m in no way professing actual innocence, only contesting sentencing injustice that can be corrected with your assistance and voices that resonate with society. I’m seeking to build a rapport with influential entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry and anti-recidivism organizations that provide resources to prison reform and the lives within. I can be an asset to growth by becoming a corresponding freelance writer on topics pertaining to the “plight of the ambitious inmate” to inspire others in my situation and give the world an authentic perception on the conditions we attempt to thrive in. I’m hoping to obtain a book review for my first novel, “Blinded By The Lights” by Toppnotch which is available on, and or an interview regarding my novel or situation of incarceration. I’m attempting to ascend the walls of this institution with my ambition and captivate the world’s audience with my persistence to succeed. I appreciate your time and efforts.


Live Your Dreams,

Damien “Toppnotch” Hodges #AD1537
Ironwood State Prison D1-211
P.O. Box 2199Blythe, CA. 92226"