by Jeff Walker
I, Jeff Walker, am fighting back to expose the corruption and racial bias of the San Francisco criminal justice system and the racist prosecutors and police who set out to frame and convict me for a crime I did not commit in 2005. After 16 3/4 years fighting this case, I thought the madness would end and I’d be free, only I’m not. Now, I need your support to help free me and clear my name.
Greetings to all citizens, caged voices and their families reading this article in the newspaper or online. Please allow me a minute to introduce myself and explain why I need your support, but first I would like to thank the Bay View, Mrs. Ratcliff, new Editor Sista Nube Brown and the staff for believing in me and printing this article. It means a lot.
Who is Jeff Ace Walker? My real name is Jeffrey Eugene Walker Sr., also known as Jeff “Ace” Walker, Mr. Wonderful to some, and Karate Joe in prison to others, out the South Bay city of San Jose, Calif. Each nickname has its own story. My friends know me as “Ace,” and some may recognize my face in photos in this article or the name from a variety of areas in business and entertainment since 1984. Most notably, I’m known as The Rose Man, seen selling roses with my crew at various concerts, nightclubs etc.; or former MC, Soul Train dancer back in the day, 1988 to 1991 and 2001. Others may recall my martial arts fighting days back in the ‘80s or training comrades behind the walls. And I was heard as Mr. Wonderful, a part of the San Francisco Wild 94.9 Doghouse radio morning show, where I played the Money Mike type Katt Williams character as the Corporate Pimp in comedy, with founder J.V. and Crew.
But what you may not know is my story and what happened to the man who many believed in and rooted on to make it big. Not to mention, the man you looked forward to buying roses from to help spread love. Now it’s time you know – I was wrongfully convicted in 2005, and now 16 and 3/4 years later, I’m still fighting to be free and clear my name. I know I’m innocent. I have been fighting this corrupt system to clear my name and be free to get back to my family, my kids who need me, and now my 81-year-old mother who could use my support since my father died in 2018, and to get back to my real friends and do what I positively do best – spread love as a Rose Man whose business in 2022 is making a comeback, and bring entertainment to all. But for now, the system is denying me.
I will expose the corruption that has plagued me from the San Francisco racist criminal justice system that set out to frame me.
I filed a writ of habeas corpus, with new evidence to support my innocence, and expose prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel to no avail. Since 2008, I’ve been continuously denied in all courts. Now I’m back with additional newly discovered evidence. And here, in this article, I will expose the corruption that has plagued me from the San Francisco racist criminal justice system that set out to frame me. This is my story.
In 2005, I was wrongfully convicted of pandering (procuring, trying to get someone to have sexual relations for money) Juliana Ramos Gradillos, a 22-year-old Hispanic female out of San Jose, Calif, to be a prostitute in the private rooms of the strip clubs in San Francisco’s North Beach area. The prosecution would use her single testimony of an elaborate story of lies in preliminary hearings and at trial of being hired by my company, Mr. Wonderful Entertainment, featuring female and male exotic dancers, then taken to San Francisco strip clubs to find her work and to audition for a job.
Juliana told the police and testified in both the preliminary hearing and at trial that she met an unknown manager who allowed her to audition without filling out an application. She got on stage with the clothes she had on and only had to take her top off on stage and made money. Then she did a side lap dance and went into the private booth in this club that she first told the police was unknown.
Different stories were told – it then changed to the Hustler strip club, and at trial when she got caught lying, it changed to the Adam and Eve club. Juliana said she made $500 and gave it all to me, that we left at 3 a.m., headed back to San Jose and I took her home. The intent was to frame me, which is why not one police took the stand to confirm these acts – and all evidence is missing.
What’s not known at trial is that Officers Marquez and Casazza knew she lied and they gave a written report to Officer Celis. In Celis’ report, Juliana’s story changed again, noting in the incident report that she danced in two strip clubs and made money in both but could not remember names. However, she told Inspector Peter Siragusa she only danced in one club, the Hustler Club, and made $500 dancing for about one hour or so. In his audio interview over the phone, she said we left at 1 a.m. and went to other clubs and then I took her home.
Inspector Sirigusa then falsified an arrest warrant affidavit with no signature nor is it dated from a judge. He notes from his investigation in police reports that Juliana was taken by me to the Hustler Club, where she danced, was allowed to audition for a couple of hours, made $500 and gave it to me. Then we left at 3 a.m. back to San Jose where I took her home.
So they wanted to put me away for life, even if it meant committing crimes themselves and they did.
In fact, I now have new evidence not known at trial that the prosecutor, Marianne Barrett, hid the investigation conducted by her investigators, Inspectors Carla Dalberg and Duffy, who both investigated the strip clubs to check Juliana’s story to see if she was really in the strip club with me. They went to the clubs and found Juliana lied – not one strip club placed us in any club as she told the police and testified at trial.
They also found defense investigator Lawrence Porchia had left his card at the Hustler Club where he had been investigating. Dalberg, Duffy and Porchia found Juliana never danced at the Hustler Club and only filled out an application putting my name and company contact number down and we left. All other allegations as told by Juliana Gradillos, as well as the times and names of the clubs she said she danced in, were found to be lies.
No matter the racial prejudice, I was singled out and tried anyway. Once my arrest record came back, when my name was run, it was All Eyez on Me, the Tupac story. In my case, a Black man accused of rape, forced oral copulation and pandering, possible pimp. So they wanted to put me away for life, even if it meant committing crimes themselves and they did. It almost worked – I was looking at 172 years to life had I been convicted of all counts 1 through 4.
Thankfully, at trial, Juliana Gradillos was impeached during cross-examination. The jury found she lied about rape and forced oral copulation in counts 1 through 3, she also admitted to a number of lies. The jury acquitted me – found me 100 percent not guilty of counts 1-3, and never believed count 4. It was also found Juliana lied about the strip club acts (count 4) – we were not even in San Francisco at the time of the alleged crime.
. . . at trial, during impeachment, Juliana admitted she lied to all.
Juliana was booked for a bachelor party in San Jose, Calif., at the same time she alleged to the police and at trial that we were in San Francisco strip clubs. Two witnesses placed us at the bachelor party: Randy G, who booked her for his boy Bobby T’s Bachelor party and who testified at the preliminary hearing, and Bobby T, the Bachelor, who also testified – which means it would be impossible for me to have pandered Juliana in San Francisco strip clubs because we were not even in San Francisco. These facts are recorded in court transcripts.
The sad reason Juliana said she lied to the police and in court at the preliminary hearing was the fear of telling her boyfriend the truth. She did not want him to find out she was booked for that party. But at trial, during impeachment, Juliana admitted she lied to all.
The ugly part about this case is the misconduct by the prosecution. Prosecuter Marianne Barrett played the race card, falsified evidence, called me a pimp, told the jury I was not a business owner but acted fraudulently as if I tried to lure Juliana to be a prostitute. She then had the nerve to call an expert witness to testify about how Black street pimps look, how they dress in suits, hats, then showed my photos, which were unauthenticated, stolen by jail staff and given to the prosecutor by a female deputy friend, Lt. Bruno. They show me dressed in suits, hats and fancy dress, provoking real racial prejudice in a white man who did not recognize I wore this style because it’s a trademark in the industry. I dressed this way on Soul Train in 2001, in modeling at events, emceeing at shows – in all the photos shown to the jury, all taken before this case.
I also wore the same style as Mr. Wonderful on the Dog House Morning Show, where I played a comedic character. I did celebrity interviews and stunts in my character. No matter, 11 non-Black jurors and 1 juror of color did not buy into it, and they acquitted me on counts 1-3. All evidence now shows the jury also did not find me guilty of the charged offense, count 4, strip clubs acts.
I have a copy of the December 2005 sworn declaration in a motion to dismiss from defense counsel Kenneth Mark Quigley. He moved to dismiss the case for the failure of San Francisco to find me guilty based on an uncharged offense, taped telephone message and a legal phone call (territorial jurisdiction). Apparently, after the jury verdict, my attorney, Ken Quigley, in the presence of the prosecutor, Marianne Barrett, asked why they acquitted me of counts 1 through 3 and found me guilty of pandering count 4 (strip club acts)? The jury all said that as to counts 1 through 3, they just couldn’t trust the testimony of Juliana Gradillos, but the pandering was a no-brainer. That verdict was based solely on a taped telephone message left on Juliana’s answering service the next day by me in San Jose concerning work and money made the night before. The jury did not know they could not find me guilty of an uncharged offense (the telephone call), nor did they know it was a legal call to my employee.
White adult strip club owners accused or females who solicit get fines or misdemeanor charges from such strip-club allegations.
The loophole: The prosecution cried foul, claiming the motion and sworn declaration by defense counsel is hearsay, that no matter what was told to Prosecutor Barrett or my counsel by the jury, true or not, it’s hearsay. Honorable Charles Hains agreed and denied the motion. However, if the defense counsel had polled the jury and called them in to confirm the truth of his own sworn declaration, it would not have been hearsay, and I would’ve been set free. Because of all of this noted above, almost 17 years later, I’m still fighting to be free and clear my name.
Racial prejudice in sentencing: Honorable Charles Hains, with clear racial prejudice, threw the book at me and gave me six years for non-violent pandering – times two, which equals 12 years for a 1991 prior non-violent felony conviction! Who gets 12 years for such? White adult strip club owners accused or females who solicit get fines or misdemeanor charges from such strip-club allegations.
Why I’m still in custody: I was to be released in 2015, but I have a non-criminal, civil hold. Had it not been for this case and the conviction, I would not be in custody. I now await court hearings to be free, but it’s not guaranteed, so I continue to fight to be free and clear my name.
Why I’d like your help: I realize that many may think about adult entertainment as a sleazy business, but I thought I was doing no wrong when I added this company to my other networks’ regular entertainment, producing music groups, promoting artists, comedians, models and myself in the industry. Back in the day, many of my friends booked exotic dancers for parties before marriage, stars like Lil Wayne were seen “makin’ it rain’” in the strip clubs and exotic dancers like Cardi B became famous. So, in my day, I was all in. But, I won’t justify a wrongful conviction no matter my business or type of crime. It’s simply wrong.
I am that father, uncle, relative or friend who’s been wrongfully convicted. If this happened to you, wouldn’t you want help? Or if it happened to your family member or friend, wouldn’t you want someone to help them get free and clear their name? That’s all I ask – for your help to expose this corruption taking place in San Francisco’s criminal justice system in order to help me make change in this system while continuing my fight to overturn my wrongful conviction and clear my name.
I encourage you to Google “Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice,” a series of five articles that exposed this same kind of corruption printed in San Jose Mercury News (2006 to 2007) that freed six defendants wrongfully convicted and more through the years. This I asked to be done in my situation and I need your help in getting this done.
In the end it is God that has given me strength and protected me; without Him I would not have survived. I live by faith. It’s also the love and support of family and good friends and caged voice comrades who pushed me to stay solid in this fight and to never compromise, to fight till the end.
These quotes are written in my comrade’s book, “Yadadamean Bay Bizness: with Keak da Sneak, forward by Tray Deee” by author Stone Ramsey, who I did time with in ad-seg lock up.
“Do not be afraid of what you’re about to suffer. I tell you the devil will put some of you in prison to test you. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the Crown of Life.” – Revelations
“I’m locked in a cell 24-hours a day, but I still know my potential. I still feel my strength, and I still thumb my nose at the caveman. Because my mind is still my own, no one can lie to me anymore.” – Comrade George Jackson
Help us go mainstream to get this story out. This is not just about me but others who are experiencing the same victimization, especially the other caged voices who need a platform and help. If just one juror comes forward after reading or hearing about this story and confirms the truth, I clear my name, and thereby help myself and others get free by exposing more wrongful convictions.
Note: Just recently, Joaquin Ciria, who spent 32 years behind bars for a wrongful murder conviction, was released from jail under Chesa Boudin’s Innocence Commission. An 18-month investigation by the commission located new witnesses and evidence and found “a cascade of errors.” (ABC news, April 19, 2022). And Jamal Trulove is a San Francisco man framed by police for the 2007 murder of an acquaintance, convicted in 2010, sentenced to 50 years to life, and imprisoned for six years. A California appeals court overturned his conviction in 2014 and he was retried in 2015 and acquitted.
I stand firm in this fight: All power to the people, The struggle is real. Uhuru (Freedom in Swahili)!
Please continue to follow my story. Sign my petition at Change.org: Clear Jeff Ace Walker’s name. My story is there in more detail telling how I survived the belly of the beast and this case.
Please contact decision makers: District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office has my factual innocence packet for review; I trust them to perform a fair review. Arcelia Hurtado, manager of the Innocence Commission, can be reached at 350 Rhode Island St,. Suite 400 North, San Francisco, CA 94103, firstname.lastname@example.org or 628-652-4000.
Google “Jeff Ace Walker” for more info, and friend him on Facebook: Jeff Ace Walker, email@example.com.
Send our brother some love and light: Jeff Walker, 457039, SF County Jail #2, 425 7th St, San Francisco, CA 94103.