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“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31

We have banded together to make a stand for John Steven Olausen who has been incarcerated for 39 years in the State of Nevada. His voice has been repeatedly rejected; however, through us, his voice will boldly be heard.

In 1979, at the age of 18, Steve Olausen pled not guilty to a crime involving a murder of an Undercover Police Officer that he did not commit, and, in fact, two other individuals have admitted to. Steve’s mother made Steve promise that he would maintain his innocence and not plead guilty. However, unbeknownst to Steve’s parents, Steve’s Public Defender coerced Steve into pleading guilty by telling him that his mother was having a nervous breakdown from Steve’s arrest, and because of this, his parents wanted him to plead guilty and take a plea bargain. The Public Defender lied to Steve, and Steve changed his plea to guilty because he thought that was what his parents wanted him to do.

Steve’s parents were assured by the Assistant District Attorney that he would do time at a boys camp and be home within a couple of years. But, when Steve went to court, he was illegally sentenced to death row. Ten years on death row and three stays of execution later, Steve’s death sentence was overturned in 1989 giving him life without the possibility of parole. Due to ineffectual counsel, Steve’s attorney never appealed his case to get him life with the possibility of parole - leaving Steve to rot in prison for the rest of his life.

In 2015, after 36 years of incarceration and Steve relentlessly fighting for his freedom, Steve’s murder conviction was finally acquitted through attrition, but not without a heavy price. Although the Judge dropped the murder conviction, the Judge convicted Steve again of kidnapping and robbery which were counts Steve was already convicted of in 1979 stacked with the murder count in order to give Steve the death penalty. Now three years later, Steve is still sitting in prison on double jeopardy because it is illegal for a Judge to convict an individual of the same count(s) twice.

Steve has been a model inmate the entire 39 years that he has been incarcerated. In fact, on May 20, 1981, Steve saved three Correctional Officers lives when a riot broke out on death row, and he was stabbed numerous times during the conflict. In 1987, Steve also saved a fourth Correctional Officer’s life when Steve stopped a murder in progress between inmates and was stabbed in the chest. Steve has acted as a mediator between prison staff and inmates on numerous occasions and is well-respected by both entities alike.

Rather than get involved in the prison paradigms, Steve has instead embraced every possible opportunity through the prison’s educational programming earning the equivalent of a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism, an Associate of Arts Degree in Paralegal, a CAD Certificate as well as being a Certified Dog Trainer in addition to earning numerous other certificates. Steve has also worked very hard at his jobs he has obtained while incarcerated even though his average pay is $0.13 cents per hour.

Steve was featured on Animal Planet’s “Pups on Parole” series in 2002. Also in 2002, Steve received an award from United Way for raising $10,375 through inmate and outside donations to help aid 9/11 victims and their families.

At this point, Steve’s incarceration is purely political due to his wrongful conviction. Steve is not a threat to society, nor has he ever been a threat to society. With good legal representation, Steve will, at last, have the due process of law that he is entitled to. Most rights are taken from a prisoner, but the due process of law is not one of them.

This is an effort to obtain signatures for Steve to bring him the long-awaited justice that he fully deserves. Steve has not lived a single day of his life since he was an 18 year old kid, but has instead had to survive each day because prison is truly one of the evilest kinds of hell on earth, and the Nevada Prison System is ranked as one of the worst in the nation. Although Steve has had to endure a life full of heartbreak, rejection, physical harm, and utter disappointment, he has held fast to his faith and has never let the root of bitterness take hold.

Any help you could give Steve to gain his life back from the clutches of a corrupt legal system is deeply appreciated. Thank you for your time, and may God bless you.  

Chronological Order of Steve’s Accomplishments while incarcerated: 

1979-Present: Model inmate 

1981: Protected three Correctional Officers that were taken hostage during a riot and was stabbed in the process by inmates 

1986: Earned his GED then was allowed in 1992 to receive his High School Diploma graduating in cap and gown 

1987: Stopped a murder in progress by separating two inmates engaged in a conflict, he was stabbed in the chest and saved a fourth Correctional Officer’s life until additional Correctional Officers arrived 

1990-1992: Worked as a Law Clerk 

1990-1993: Fireside Chat Parent Youth program - Ely State. Prison. Organized by Doyle Haus, LDS State President. Helped adolescents/teens with creating their own constitution and declaration of independence and was a youth program based on adolescent behavioral reorganization. Steve has continued to counsel teenagers over the years. 

1990-1993: Prison Newspaper Editor

1991: Received certification for CAD/Windows and Computer Programmer as well as completed his Pilot Ground School and Paralegal coursework 

1996: Received Pastoral License 

2002: United Way – Received recognition for raising $10,375 for 9/11 victims 

1999-2003: Worked as a Financial Clerk – Culinary 

2000-2003: Fundraiser for Empire School - Organized Artist Inmates to sell their crafts/artwork 

2002: Participated in the Very Special Arts Art Show fundraiser 

2003: Featured on Animal Planet’s Pups on Parole show. Rehabilitated a total of nine dogs through The Humane Society that were considered untrainable that were successfully adopted out. 

2010-2013: Worked as a Law Clerk 

Helped with Braille Boots for Vietnam Vets through Professor K. Hubert at the University of Nevada Reno 

Assistant to Parenting Classes - worked with preventing violence against women  

Helps inmates prepare for release by directing them to job opportunities 

Completed collegiate coursework in psychology, political science, and sociology with a focus on adolescent behavior 

Tutor for Illiteracy - focus on Speakers of other languages and Special Education inmates 

In recent years, Steve was the Speaker for Officer Orientation and Law Students from the University of Nevada Reno. He was selected by, and under the supervision of, Associate Warden Lisa Walsh of Warm Springs Correctional Center.


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