Bay Area Chapter Supports Meaningful Accountability for SFPD

Rose Paxton
Law for the People Intern

In June, the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) worked with San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos to push for more far-reaching police reform. The move came after several killings by San Francisco police officers, ongoing scandals, and the forced resignation of police chief Greg Suhr. The measure would withhold SFPD funding until certain measures are met.

Victories and Challenges: The First Few Months of the Prisoner Advocacy Network

Julia Althoff

Carlos Sanchez* has been in solitary confinement for almost 15 years. During that time, Mr. Sanchez has been an activist against the conditions in which he has been forced to live after being accused of being a gang associate in January 2002. The claim of the CDCR is that Mr. Sanchez would be unsafe in the general population. In December of 2015, the Prisoner Advocacy Network (PAN) paired Mr. Sanchez with an advocate. The advocate has since been working closely with Mr. Sanchez. As a result of this partnership, Mr. Sanchez was able to kiss his wife for the first time in over 20 years. He has also been given some time in the yard and dayroom with a select group of others. For the first time in over 14 years Mr. Sanchez has been able to play basketball and chess with another human being.

Click below to contribute to the Prisoner Advocacy Network

California Court Publishes Decision Granting Relief to Inmate Disciplined For Hunger Strike

Taeva Shefler and Kim Rohrbach

Jorge Gomez spent over a decade in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) at the time of California’s historic 2013 Prisoner Hunger Strike. Launched in early July 2013, the strike was to protest torturous and inhumane conditions at Pelican Bay’s SHU and at other isolation/segregation units throughout the state. Over 30,000-plus incarcerated persons participated at its height, with many refusing food for as long as two months. In the early days of the 2013 Prisoner Hunger Strike, Mr. Gomez refused up to twelve consecutive meals. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) struck back, on July 16, 2013, by issuing him a Rules Violation Report (CDC 115). Hundreds, if not thousands, of other prisoners also received 115s for their participation in the strike.

Organize With the Guild to Support Political Prisoners

Judith Mirkinson
Chapter Vice President

Since its inception the NLG has defended those targeted by the state, victims of political repression and political prisoners. This practice has continued to this day. However, many of our prisoners, once incarcerated are somewhat forgotten, their legal and political needs not met. The US continues to keep imprisoned former Black Panthers and Black liberation fighters, many of them victims of COINTELPRO. Most have been in jail for more than 4 decades and have gone to the parole board countless times only to be turned down again and again. Herman Bell, Jalil Muntaqin, Sundiata Acoli, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Mutulu Shakur are just a few examples. Native American leader Leonard Peltier and Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera remain incarcerated despite national and international calls for their release.

Guild Attorneys on Defending Dissent and the Legacy of Al Brotsky

In April, the NLG gathered to honor Alan Brotsky and connect his long history of legal work to what lawyers on the left are taking on today. “Defending Dissent” was a memorial of sorts to Brotsky, but also a discussion of his legacy and what it means to be a radical lawyer.

“The legacy of Al Brotsky is to fight for justice and use the law to do that,” said panelist Walter Riley.

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