When Things Come Together

Ask Kristen Bell about her favorite author, and she’ll respond with a deep laugh, as though she’s about to name someone whose work will seem inferior. But her answer is:”Dostoevski. I like 'The Brothers Karamazov' best. It’s very rich, both philosophically and psychologically, and [it’s] about the big questions we…

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Big Win for PCJP

A 74-year-old woman, known as “Mother Mary” to family and friends, was released from prison March 24 after serving 32 years for crimes committed by her batterer.  Mary Virginia Jones, represented by law students at USC’s Post-Conviction Justice Project, appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court. Dozens of family and friends…

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PCJP: Over 75 Lifers Released

For more than thirty years, the Post-Conviction Justice Project has represented thousands of clients before state and federal parole boards, and in both the state and federal court systems.  For the past twenty years, students in the Project have represented state prisoners, mostly women incarcerated at the California Institution for Women, serving life-term sentences for murder convictions.  Many committed crimes related to a history of physical or sexual abuse, and some were convicted for killing their abusers.  PCJP client Rose Parker, now Dr. Rose Parker-Sterling, was one of only three life-term inmates to be released on parole under then-Governor Gray Davis.  Her release in 2000 marked the first in an ever-growing number of PCJP clients to be released.

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LA Times: Freed after 32 years for murder; USC team calls woman ‘extraordinary’
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24, 2014: Mary Virginia Jones, right, appears in Los Angeles Superior Court to plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter with Laura Donaldson, middle, a USC certified law student and attorney Heidi L. Rummel, left, a director in USC's Post- Conviction Justice Project on March 24, 2014. Jones is represented by the law students at the USC Post- Conviction Justice Project and the 74-year-old woman is expected to be released from prison after serving 32 years for a murder allegedly committed by her abuser in 1981. The District Attorney's Office conducted an independent investigation and agreed to set aside her convictions in exchange for the no contest plea. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

LA Times: Freed after 32 years for murder; USC team calls woman ‘extraordinary’

Read the Los Angeles Times article about USC PCJP's efforts to free 74-year-old Mary Virginia Jones, convicted for her role in a 1981 murder, after 32 years behind bars. Read the article

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Governor Brown Signs SB 260

On September 16, 2013, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 260, a measure that allows inmates whose crimes were committed as minors to appear before the Board of Parole Hearings to demonstrate their suitability for release after serving at least 15 years of their sentence. The law will affect more than…

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SB 260 Passes the Assembly Floor

SB 260 - Youthful Offender Parole Hearing - Passes the Assembly Floor Senate Bill 260, authored by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), passed the Assembly floor with a vote of 51-21. SB 260 requires the Board of Parole Hearings to conduct a youth offender parole hearing to consider release of offenders…

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PCJP Hosts Second Annual “Lifer School”

 This past Saturday, the Post-Conviction Justice Project and UnCommon Law, a non-profit legal services provider in Oakland, California that specializes in challenging unlawful prison conditions including the parole consideration process for lifers, hosted the second annual “Lifer School” at the USC Gould School of Law.  Over the course of the…

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Two Students Lecture on Parole Process at San Quentin Prison

Third-year clinical students Ryan Appleby and Jackson Trugman, along with supervising attorney Heidi Rummel, recently presented a three-part lecture on California Parole Law and Lifer Hearings to members of Kid C.A.T. and their guests at San Quentin Prison. Kid C.A.T., which stands for Creating Awareness Together, is a group of…

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