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As I complete this column, the situation in our continental African nation of Zimbabwe is growing evermore intense. Our Elder, Baba, Freedom Fighter and President Robert Mugabe has been forced to “resign” – and removed from his democratically-elected office by that nation’s military and the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) leaders – in an apparent coup.
As the world laid to rest Nelson “Madiba” Mandela, who was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years, I thought about the case of Bobby McClelland. He was arrested 23 years ago on May 19, 1990, for an alleged attempted murder and processed through the same Los Angeles County Jail that was recently indicted on 18 federal counts for, amongst other things, obstruction of justice.
The California Innocence Project director, Professor Justin P. Brooks, along with attorneys Alissa Bjerkhoel and Michael Semanchik, will walk 600 miles from San Diego to Sacramento to protest the incarceration of their innocent clients, bring attention to the cause of wrongful convictions, and present clemency petitions for 12 clients, “The California 12,” to Gov. Jerry Brown.
If Proposition 34 passes, it will endorse everything that is wrong with the criminal justice system and allow the appeals of innocent people on death row to go unheard. It will take away the one guarantee, through habeas counsel, that death row prisoners have to be able to clear their names and prove their innocence. Vote No on Prop 34; do not destroy due process rights.