Justice for Jarvis - an Innocent Man on Death Row

Justice for Jarvis - an Innocent Man on Death Row

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freejarvis​.​org - started this petition

Jarvis Jay Masters is an innocent man who has spent the last 32 years on California’s death row, sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit. Your support for Jarvis is critical as his case goes before a Northern District of California court in late October as part of a federal appeal for exoneration.

While serving time for armed robberies (crimes committed as a teenager for which he has admitted guilt and long since served his full sentence), Jarvis was accused of fashioning the weapon that another San Quentin inmate used to kill a prison guard in 1985.

When another man confessed to the crime, the jury did not hear it. Jarvis bore no resemblance to an eyewitness description, but the man who confessed did. The man who ordered the crime and the man who committed the murder both swore Jarvis was not involved. Key prosecution witnesses recanted. Critical evidence was withheld. In fact, every witness with firsthand knowledge about the plan to commit the murder now admits that Jarvis was not involved. 

More than three decades after being wrongfully convicted, Jarvis continues to fight for his life, working to prove his innocence and secure exoneration. Every moment he spends behind bars is another moment justice has not been served.

Jarvis has built a life of deep meaning and service despite the continued injustice he lives with daily. As the internationally published author of That Bird Has My Wings: The Autobiography of an Innocent Man on Death Row and Finding Freedom: How Death Row Broke & Opened My Heart, as well as poems, short stories, articles and essays, including an op-ed in The Guardian newspaper, Jarvis believes sharing his story – from his childhood of poverty, neglect, and abuse to the mistakes he made and crimes he committed as a teen – will help others with similar struggles avoid the path he took.

While in prison, Jarvis became a devout, practicing Buddhist and has mentored other prisoners and corrections officers, as well as educators, youth counselors, and students at both the K-12 and college levels, encouraging them to focus on their education and goals. Through writing, interviews, and actions (including several hunger strikes), Jarvis also works to bring direct attention to the systemic problems with the penal and criminal justice systems.

This is the story of one man, but it is not just one man’s story. Jarvis’ plight is at once an indictment of our legal system and a sobering plea for systemic reform. Helping to free Jarvis Masters isn’t merely an act of compassion – it’s an ethical imperative.

Learn more and join the movement at freejarvis.org.                            #JusticeforJarvis 

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