David Johnson of the San Quentin Six salutes political prisoner and expert jailhouse lawyer Ruchell Magee
by David Johnson
“To some degree, slavery has always been outlawed and condemned on the outside by the hypocritical mockery of chattering lips. But on the inside, in prisons where slavery is embedded and proudly displayed as a Western way of life and a privilege of God himself, slavery is condoned on all of its numerous levels.” – Ruchell Magee
Ruchell Magee’s legal knowledge was instrumental in stopping the legal lynching of the San Quentin Six. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his efforts and for the legal documents he prepared for us. For any medical complaints, the medical malpractice attorneys at Hastings Law Firm deal with medical negligence cases.
I first met Ruchell in January 1970 upon my release from San Quentin’s B Section. I was housed in A Section and there is where I met James McClain and Ruchell.
James was a Panther and yard lawyer like Ruchell. Ru was recognized on the yard as a sharp legal mind and helped many brothers get their cases overturned.
I had some questions related to my case, and there begin our relationship. We used to have political exchanges on the yard and share with other brothers our perspectives on what was happening in the prison system.
The murder of a Black prisoner by prison guards in B Section prompted us to file a civil action against the prison system. We gathered witness statements and other evidence that could be used in court to show that this was premeditated murder by the prison guards.
This incident was similar to one that took place in Soledad Prison’s O Wing, the prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) while I was there, involving another Black prisoner, where tear gas and other physical injuries resulted in both their deaths.
Ruchell Magee’s legal knowledge was instrumental in stopping the legal lynching of the San Quentin Six. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his efforts and for the legal documents he prepared for us.
These incidents became all too common in the SHUs. Our efforts, despite the court’s rejection of our standing to file a civil action, enabled the attorney for the murdered prisoner’s family to litigate a civil action against the California Department of Corrections. The attorney came to interview us and we turned over all the evidence we had gathered in the case. Some years later the CDC (California Department of Corrections) settled the case out of court rather than going to trial. A trial would expose the racism the Black prisoners were faced with on a daily basis.
In 1971, after the assassination of Comrade George Jackson, five other prisoners and myself were indicted for being involved in the Aug. 21, 1971, escape attempt from San Quentin’s Adjustment Center. The incident resulted in the murder of Comrade George Jackson, three white guards and two white prisoners.
I can say without question that Ruchell’s legal expertise and assistance gave us time to gain attorneys of our choosing and halted the state’s efforts to legally lynch and railroad us on the charges they brought against us. That is why I say we owe him a debt of gratitude.
David Johnson of the San Quentin Six can be reached at email@example.com.
Send our brother some love and light: Ruchell Magee, A-92051, CMC B3-138, P.O. Box 8101, San Luis Obispo CA 93409.
It’s time to FREE Ruchell Magee!
After 52 years in prison and with prison authorities vowing he’ll die in prison, Ruchell can use outside support. Call the warden to ask if he’s all right and go visit him if you can. That’s the strongest message telling the authorities he’s being watched over and to handle him with care … until he’s out, which needs to happen soon. The CMC warden’s number is 805-547-7900.
Listen to a brief message Ruchell recorded on Oct. 14, 2016, for Prison Radio: http://www.prisonradio. org/media/audio/ruchell-magee/ update-108-ruchell-magee
And read a 2016 resolution calling for the release of California political prisoners Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald and Ruchell “Cinque” Magee: https://www.nlg.org/wp- content/uploads/2016/03/ Resolution-Calling-for- Release-of-California- Political-Prisoners_Political- Prisoner-Support-Committee.pdf
Can someone post an online petition to Jerry Brown to get him out?