New York Times:- Anthony Kline – The Judge and the Case That Came Back to Haunt Him

Background

A family member referred me to this story in New York Times.

Case File

The story speaks of Judge Anthony Kline.

Anthony presided over two cases involving Jamesetta Guy.

The first case occurred when Jamesetta Guy was 17.

The second case was presented when Jamesetta Guy was 56.

About four decades later.

 

Links

Here are links to the original story:-

  1. New York Times
    • The Judge and the Case That Came Back to Haunt Him
      Link

 

Story

This is the story as written by Jesse Barron.

It appeared in the 2022-November-21st edition of New York Times.

Requested Demotion

Anthony Kline was the most senior judge on California’s First District Court of Appeal.

As he neared his retirement years, he requested to be transferred to Juvenile Court.

Why would a man of 83 years want to go that far back his colleagues wondered.

Usually Judges started with minor cases in the Juvenile Court System.

But, here a tenured judged who had spent four decades as a judge was requesting to go back to Juvie.

Crimes Commitment Age

Weeks into his return to the Juvenile Court, Anthony Kline found out he had an unusual case coming up.

The case involved a 53 years lady who was sentenced when she was 17.

The lady’s name is Jamesetta Guy.

You ask how could a middle aged lady end up at Juvie?

Well, California’s prison inmate population system had ballooned over the years.

The state was attempting a novel approach to streamline its filled prison docket system.

Rather than to continue to run all adult requests through the adult processing system, the state opted to consider the inmate’s age when the crime was committed.

If the crime was committed when the petitioner was underage and has already served many years in prison, the revised legislation will consider the case to be looked at through the Juvenile Court System.

Sharon Wright and Jamesetta Guy

Anthony Kline was familiar with the case of Sharon Wright and Jamesetta Guy.

Back in 1981 they were minors involved in an armed robbery of a Taxi Cab Driver.

Anthony Kline drew the case of Sharon Wright.

Kline sentenced Sharon Wright to 8 years in the Juvenile system.

Jamesetta Guy’s case was presided on by another judge.

As for Jamesetta Guy’s case the judge decided that Jamesetta case was “unfit” to be decided within the Juvenile system.

He sent the case to the Adult system.

Now forty-one years later, Jamesetta Guy was still in prison serving out the crime incident.

41 years seemed a long time for the commutants of Jamesetta Guy’s case.

Factors inclusive:-

  1. No Criminal History
  2. She grew up in a violently abusive home
  3. The Gun wasn’t hers
  4. The evidence did not lean towards premediated murder

Back in 1981, both were freshmen on opposing sides of the Justice System.

One starting out a career as a judge.

The other entering the system as a defendant.

 

Anthony Kline as a Judge

As a Judge, Anthony Kline modeled himself after Louis D. Brandeis and Thurgood Marshall.

Liberal Icons of their days.

He has a “Black Lives Matter” poster in his home.

He wrote an opinion in a case brought by an inmate serving life for a crime he committed as a juvenile.

The claimant was denied parole.

In Anthony Kline’s opinion the constitution’s 8th Amendment, Cruel and Unusual Punishment, was not giving enough credence.

He weighed on the side of “diminished culpability of youth“.

 

Emily Goldman, Public Defender

A few days before Jamesetta Guy appeal’s case came up to Anthony Kline.

Emily Goldman came to Anthony Kline’s office and discussed the Jamesetta Guy’s case.

As they reviewed Guy’s case, they determined that the presiding judge four decades earlier was Anthony Kline.

The man himself.

 

Albert Hohl

Back in March 1981, Albert Hohl was 57 years old divorcee with two sons.

He drove a Taxi in San Francisco.

The number of the Taxi is Luxor Car 174.

His taxi was idling at the intersection of Eddy and Scott Street.

Albert Hohl had being pistol-whipped and shot.

Albert wasn’t robbed.

His wallet, $25 in cash, and credit cards were left un-bothered.

His past-time was spent idealizing wildlife:- hunting, fishing, and painting wildlife.

He was beloved by his work colleagues.

An assembly of forty Taxi cars followed his hearse.

 

Anxiety in San Francisco in 1981

The shooting was covered locally; Nightly News, Newspapers ( The Chronicle and The Examiner ).

In 1978, George Moscone was mayor.

Harvey Milk was Supervisor.

Both city officers were shot in City Hall by a former City Supervisor, Dan White.

The prosecutor was not able to throw the books at Dan White.

Dan White only served five years for the murder.

In the next election, Arlo Smith succeeded the District Attorney ( DA ).

Dianne Feinstein succeeded George Moscone as Mayor.

She promised city dwellers and businesses safety.

She increased police patrols in high crime areas.

And, lobbied for longer sentences for both adults and youths convicted for crimes.

 

Tip

Dianne Feinstein’s mayor office set a reward of $5000 for tips relating to the cab driver’s murder.

A girl called in and said Jamesetta Guy fessed to her about being involved in the robbery.

The story detectives were able to piece together goes:

The morning of the incident, San Francisco’s Fillmore district was hot.

Cops were patrolling on motorcycles.

A convicted felon, Carl Wilson, has a pistol.

Due to his past, being a felon, and his present, being on probation, he could ill afford to be ‘dirty’.

He entrusted the gun to Jamesetta Guy.

 


Evening of the Shooting

On the evening of the shooting, Jamesetta Guy and Sharon Wright were two young teenage girls in San Francisco.

They tried to rob a Taiwanese grocer.

The gun was so small; he was able to shout them away.

The girls went off to play pin ball and get ice-cream.

They longed for some weed and decided they will get some on the way home.

They waved down a taxi-cab.

Youthful indiscretion betrayed them.

They tried jerking the taxi cab for his gold watch.

He resisted.

In the middle of the struggle, the gun went off.

 


Court System:- Juvenile or Adult – Choices

Depending on the severity of the crime, the routing judge can place a case involving teenagers in the Juvenile Court System or route them to the Adult Courts.

If the defendant is 15 years, the case will likely be tried as a youth within the Juvenile Court.

On the other hand, if the defendant is 16 or 17 years, the burden rests with the defense lawyer to convince the judge to track the case within the more lenient juvenile court system.

 


Court System:- Juvenile or Adult – Relevancy

Wright was fifteen years old.

And, she was automatically routed to the Juvenile system.

On the other-hand, Guy’s was either 16 or 17 at the time.

Again, the judge had to be convinced to have her tried as a minor.

 


Court System:- Juvenile or Adult – Implication

If Guy is tried has a youth, she will get eight years.

The sentence will be spent under the California Youth Authority ( CYA ).

The division has been renamed California Division of Juvenile Justice ( DJJ ).

Here is a link to the Wikipedia page.

 

On the other hand, if tried as an adult, sentencing guidelines call for about 15 years.

Starting around the eleventh year, an inmate can start applying for parole.

For the crime, most sentences run an average of 13 years.

 


Sentencing – Wright

Kline sentenced Wright through the Juvenile system for eight years.

As she was 15 years old at the time, she will be released when she is 23 years old.

 


Sentencing – Guy

Guy was sentenced through the Adult Track.

Guy sentence read 27 years to life.

The sentencing was covered in San Francisco Examiner.

 

Kline and Jerry Brown

Kline was born in Long Island, New York to Jewish Parents.

One of Kline’s formative memories dates back to when he was 6 or 7.

Life Magazine published photographs of Jews in concentration camps.

Seeing his people in concentration camps raised his consciousness.

His life’s fight will be fighting for the marginalized.

In 1962, he enrolled at Yale to study Law.

There was another student that was at Yale at the time.

His legal name is Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

Brown is of Catholic Irish ancestry.

He faired from San Francisco, California.

Brown’s father was the 32nd Governor of California between 1959 and 1967.

You can read more about the father, Edmund Gerald “Pat” Brown, here.

 

Kline and Brown became friends.

Post Graduation, Brown returned back to San Francisco.

Kline also left the East cost for the West Coast.

Both friends clerked at the California Supreme Court.

They shared a rented home in Berkeley, California.

Jerry Brown followed his familial path from Legal to Politics.

 


Rudolfo Rodriguez

In 1975, Rudolfo Rodriguez petitioned the California Supreme Court.

Rudolfo Rodriguez was convicted of committing lewd acts on a minor.

Rudolfo Rodriguez was functional illiterate.

His I.Q. was below 70.

His conviction sentence read “one year to Life”.

While in prison, Rudolfo Rodriguez was a model citizen.

Once eligible for parole, he applied and was denied parole for 22 years.

One of the attorneys on Rudolfo Rodriguez’s team was Kline.

Kline argued that it appears that the Parole Board is pre-disposed to always saying No.

That disposition nulls one of US Constitution Amendments.

8th Amendment specifically.

California Supreme Court agreed.

The case is tracked here.

Soon after Rudolfo Rodriguez was released from San Quentin State Prison.

https://casetext.com/case/in-re-rodriguez-6

As a matter of record, San Quentin is located North of the City of San Francisco in the unincorporated place of San Quentin in Marin County.

San Quentin was Opened in July 1852.

San Quentin is the oldest prison in California.

Upon release, Rudolfo Rodriguez re-offended the year after.

Upon conviction from his new offense, Rudolfo Rodriguez was resentenced to Prison.

  1. The article’s writer asked Kline his thoughts about the merit of working so hard on Rodriguez’s appeal and release; only for him to re-commit an institutionalizable offence.

Kline replied “You can’t let the risk that someone will reoffend override a constitutional right“.

 

Jerry Brown – Governor – First Term ( 1974 – 78 )

Jerry Brown won the Governorship election in California.

In 1974, he entered the Governor Mansion in Sacramento, CA.

He elected his Law School colleague, Kline, Secretary of Legal Affairs.

The Secretary of Legal Affairs duties includes:-

  1. Criminal Justice Policy
  2. Vetting New Judges

Jerry Brown’s democratic party wanted more neutral sentencing.

Liberal Reformers thought sentencing terms were being affected by extraneous weighing such as:-

  1. Race
  2. Poverty
  3. Public Defenders
    • Skills

 


California Sentencing Guidelines – Transition from “indeterminate sentencing” to “determinate sentencing”

Indeterminate sentencing meant sentences terms could have wide latitude.

As in the case of Rodriguez, the term of his first conviction term was from one year to Life.

The implication is that the initial the ruling judge would affect the initial sentencing.

And, later Parole Commissioners could affect the probability of early release:-

  1. Judge ( initial )
  2. Parole Commissioners ( later )

Kline and others drafted a revision to the penal code.

They moved the needle towards fixed and clear terms.

They were a few offenses, left as.

They were left as is in hopes that those closest to the actual case will be able to examine each case individually based on its peculiarities.

The un-altered offenses were the severest offenses.

Obviously, Felony Murder, taking a life will be considered severe.

In 1976, California Senate passed Bill 42.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the Bill.

 


Kline Appointment to California Appeals Court

Then Brown appointed Kline to the bench. His ascent was underway. First, there was the quick year at Woodside — a layover. Next, the seat on the Court of Appeal for the First District of California. The First District included San Francisco, which seemed to generate the most interesting cases in the state, about technology, free speech, guns, marriage and prison. A great judge needed a great district, Kline thought. Would anybody have heard of Brandeis, Warren or Burger if they had been stuck on the Court of Appeals in Des Moines? For a person of Kline’s temperament, happiest when reading briefs and writing opinions, the appointment was an intellectual paradise.

Governor Jerry Brown appointed Kline to California Court of Appeal.

His first appointment landed Him at the Juvenile Court.

He spent a year at the Juvenile Court.

Soon he earned a spot at “First District of California”, an appellate court.

A gift to someone like Kline; a judge who enjoys reading briefs submitted by lawyers.

And, later writing unanimous and dissenting opinions from the bench.

 

California Appeals Court – Cases

Here are some of the cases that came up during the tenure of Judge Kline:-

  1. 1999, Mass Shooting in San Francisco
    • Judgement
      • He ruled that the families of victims of a mass shooting in San Francisco could sue the manufacturers of the semiautomatic pistol used during the incident
  2.  2006, California’s ban on Same-Sex Shooting
    • Judgement
      • He penned the dissenting opinion on a decision that upheld California’s ban on same-sex marriage
  3. 2018, Kenneth Humphrey
    • Incident
      • Back in 2018, Kenneth Humphrey was an unemployed Former Stevedore
      • Kenneth followed an elderly man into an apartment and stole seven dollars in cash along with a bottle of cologne
      • The judge set his bail at $350,000
    • Appealed Filed
      • Kenneth Humphrey appealed the bail decision
      • The appeal was filed by Chesa Boudin, a civil rights attorney
    • Judgement
      • Writing for the unanimous, Kline approved Kenneth Humphrey appeal
      • He went further stating “A defendant may not be imprisoned solely due to poverty
      • The ruling restricted the use of cash bail in the state of California
      • The ruling will impact other cases in California

 


Post S.B. 42

Preposition S.B. 42 was passed in 1976.

Post S.B. 42, here is how some of entities involved in the legislative and judicial systems responded:-

  1. California Legislature
    • Determinate Sentences
      • For determinate sentences, California Legislature each year set higher and higher sentencing length.
  2. Prosecutors
    • State prosecutors gifted an array of crimes with fixed-term sentences, were able to cajole defendants from going to trial and get them to agree to plea deals prior to having their day in court
  3. Parole Commissioners
    • Indeterminate Sentences
      • For indeterminate sentences, Parole Commissioners continued to deny sentenced inmates access to early release
  4. United States Supreme Court
    • From 1980 through 2010, California’s prison population exploded
    • California’s Prison were operating at nearly 200% of their capacity
    • By 2011, the nation’s highest court, Supreme Court of the United States, ruled that the Prison system was unconstitutionally overcrowded

 


Jamesetta Guy – Parole Board Hearing – 2015-February-4th

Jamesetta Guy served some of his time at the Central California Women’s Facility at Chowchilla.

On 2015-February-4th, Inmate W-17007 attended a parole hearing.

Unfortunately, serving time had been hard on Jamesetta Guy.

Issues

Here are things that spoke against her deserving of parole:-

  1. Drug Addition
    • She had gotten addicted to heroin
  2. Endless Infractions
    • She had been written up for endless infractions ( fighting, selling drugs, possessing Bic lighters )

Jamesetta Guy expected to be denied parole.

The agenda for that hearing is:-

  1. Discuss her Plan for Sobriety
  2. Formally Apologize to the victim’s family
  3. Request another hearing in a year’s time

Panel Hearing

During the panel hearing, here is some of what we came up:-

  1. Childhood
    • She was raised by both parents, her biological father and mother
    • Her mother got pregnant at 15 years old
    • Her father was 19 years at the time
    • Unfortunately, by the time she was 3 or 4, her parents got divorced due to abuse; her father the instigator
    • Looking back the parent’s age worked against them
  2. Incident
    • She was remorseful about the shooting
    • She confided “I may not demonstrate it to everyone all the time, but I have to live with it.”

 

Panel Board Decision

Here is panel’s decision:-

  1. The panel board decided against granting Jamesetta Guy parole
  2. The denial reasons includes:-
    • Her disciplinary records while in jail
    • Her inability to sufficiently look back into the crime and provide adequate “insight”
  3. The panel also decided that she should wait another 10 years prior to requesting another parole hearing
    • The words were, “Ten years would be an appropriate length before you could appear before the next panel
    • Being 51 years old at the time, she will be 61 years old when next eligible for an hearing

 

Jamesetta Guy Response

Jamesetta Guy’s response will be:-

  1. Thanking the Board for the opportunity
  2. Heading back to the prison cell:- double stacked bunds on both sides; separated by a  shower, sink, and toilet

 

Jamesetta Guy & Roxanne Perdigone – 2015

A few days removed from the abortive parole hearing, Jamesetta Guy and Roxanne Perdigone ran into each other on the prison yards.

By the bleachers.

In Prison terminology, Guy and Perdigone were married.

Theirs’s was not marriage on paper and ink.

It was a pact of love and protection.

While still outside, as a teenager, Guy had accepted she was gay.

On the other hand, Perdigone has a male fiancé on the outside.

Perdigone had met her fiancé on a web site, Meet-an-Inmate.com.

Perdigone did not like the taste of the ten years deferral.

She knew it would demoralize Guy.

Somehow a year after the latest denial, Guy was still a Poly-Programmer.

Her accomplishments included:-

  1. Academics
    • Microsoft Office
      • Microsoft Word
      • Microsoft Excel
    • Computer Literacy
  2. Employment Preparedness
    • Finding and Applying for a job
  3. Legal
    • Drug Interdiction
  4. Community
    • A certificate of appreciation for Outstanding and Numerous Random Acts of Kindness
      • Thanks for being the change we want to see in the world
    • “Big Sister/Little Sister” mentoring

 

Soon afterwards, Perdigone found herself spending time in the law library.

She was reading a weekly bulletin.

That particular issue spoke of changes that might help inmates in prison for felonious murder.

If the inmate was only an accomplice and not the actual shooter in a robbery, the inmate could be eligible for re-sentencing.

Perdigone thought this might help.

She filled out the paperwork.

She intentionally left open/black the crucial box.

She sent off the filled paperwork.

One to district attorney office; the other to the Public Defender’s Office.

 

San Francisco – Public Defender Officer  ( 2019 – October )

In October 2019, a letter arrived at Chowchilla.

The letter was sent by Danielle Harris, a public defender in the San Francisco Office.

It read:-

Dear Ms. Guy, your case was referred to me by a paralegal.

I would like to do what I can to help you work toward release.

Danielle Harris knew that Gay was not eligible as she was the shooter.

Harris was hoping that Gay will be eligible for a new law passed in 2018.

The law was passed in response to the 2011 Supreme Court Ruling.

Again, the ruling is to downsize the percentile of California inmates from 200 to 137%.

The law is referred to “Recall in the Interest of Justice”.

The circumstances had to fit the following constraints:-

  1. If a person had served an inordinately long term
  2. The court had to be the same type in which a defendant was sentenced
    • If a person was convicted as a juvenile, even if she was now much older, she would go back in front of a juvenile judge.

 

San Francisco – District Attorney Office ( 2019 – November -to- 2020 January)

One month after Danielle Harris sent her letter to Guy, In November 2019, a change was brewing in San Francisco.

Interesting enough, it was another Yale School graduate.

Chesa Boudin was elected District Attorney.

Another similarity he shared with Anthony Kline is being born in New York to Jewish parents.

Chesa Boudin officially took office in January 2020.

Upon taking office, Boudin established a “Post-Conviction” Unit.

The unit’s mandates included:-

  1. Identifying probable wrongful convictions
  2. Identifying inmates who had already served long sentences and no longer pose physical risk to the public

Boudin’s Team inclusive:-

  1. Kate Chatfield, Chief of Staff
  2. Dana Drusinsky, Assistant District Attorney

In 2020, Guy, who was then a 58 years old woman, was not far off their candidate pool.

Earlier Danielle Harris had handed off Ms. Guy’s file to a warm and efficient public defender, Andrea Lindsay.

Andrea Lindsay went to work building out a story.

The story will be:-

  1. Leaving Out
    • Left out exact details of the actual incident
  2. Include Oddities and Edges
    • Fitness Hearing
      • The original fitness hearing that decided jurisdiction
      • That is whether the defendant, Guy would be tried as a minor or adult
      • Kline was the judge in the fitness hearing
      • But, the proceeding transcripts were never located
    • Plea Deal
      • The prosecutor had offered a plea deal in open court, but later pulled it
  3. Case for Release
    • Generous, Hopeful, and May be Naïve
      • She left out the unknown details surrounding the fitness hearing
    • Arguments
      • Guy was young at the time of the incident
      • Guy was no longer dangerous
      • Keeping Guy incarcerated was no longer in the interest of Justice

 

Albert Hohl Family ( 2020 )

Albert Hohl’s family was advised of the development in Guy’s case.

The likelihood that Guy will get a new trial.

Hohl’s relatives objected.

A family member wrote in a letter:-

“I do not feel it’s right that she is released to live a normal life when Albert was brutally murdered.”


Guy – Chowchilla to San Francisco ( 2021 – April )

In April 2021, Prison guards drove Guy from Chowchilla Prison in the Central Valley to San Francisco, Bay Area.

The journey will take anywhere between two and half hours to three hours.

If one takes Highway 5 and crosses over in Stockton to get on Highway 580, it will take 2 1/2 hours.

On the other hand, if one veered West on CA-152 and later treks north by the coastline ( taking Highway 1 ), it will take about 3 hours.

Yes, the scenic route is a bit longer and steeper.

 


Guy Family ( 2021 – April )

Guy’s family never gave up on Guy.

Though Guy’s parent’s had since transitioned her siblings and extended family were waiting in the Court Room.

Inclusive:-

  1. Rosetta, Guy’s Sister
    • A desk clerk in a single room occupancy hotel in San Francisco’s Mission District
  2. Marty, Guy’s Brother
    • A department of Public Works Employee
  3. Daniel, Roxanne Perdigone’s fiancé
    • A middle-aged white man
    • Unrecognized and Unbeknownst to anyone


Guy and Kline ( 2021 – April )

Awaiting Guy will be Kline.

Yes, he could have recused himself as he was the presiding judge in her initial hearing, the Fit Hearing.

But, Kline felt he could yet examine the case with first eyes.

He felt he could walk the case down the narrow middle.

In so doing, he will go back in time and present self as the Juvenile Court Justice that had steered Guy being originally seen within the juvenile court system.

 

Kline Read of The Briefs ( 2021 – April )

Andrea Lindsay brief made for an interesting read.

It included some of the materials here in:-

Post the Fit Hearing, Guy was sent to the Adult Court.

The prosecutor offered Guy 8 years in the Youth Court.

The same years her co-defendant received.

See back in 1981, the Law in California did not draw a distinction between the person who fired the guys and the accomplishes.

The prosecutor offering the plea made sense, as prosecutor office could not offer a clear and precise motive for the killing.

Absent of a motive, sentencing leniency is more approachable.

Arguments Includes:

  1. More impulsive, less vicious
  2. Cruel, stupid and senseless, not premeditated

 


Plea Deal Acceptance – 1981

The prosecutor had tendered Guy a plea deal in 1981.

Guy accepted the plea deal.

For reasons that remain unknown, the plea deal was withdrawn.


Case File

In 1981, the case went to trial.

Guy was found guilty.

Guy received a sentence that read twenty-seven years to life.

Guy appealed the guilty verdict.

Guys appeal was denied.

Guy spent the next three and a half decade ( 35 ) years in prison.

In her last parole hearing, Guy received a 10-year deferral.

Having the deferral on the books meant Guy will not be eligible for another parole for 10 years.

 


Kline’s Reason

Kline looked at the case and penciled a couple of areas.

Inclusive:-

  1. Current Law Applicability
    • Will the current law try a 17 years old in adult court
    • It seems current law will keep the trial within the Juvenile court system
  2. Likeability
    • Will Guy go back out and commit another crime
    • Based on Guy’s age, 58, that seems unlikely

Kline’s Ruling

As Judge Kline left the inner room, his chambers, and approached the bench, he wondered the reception he will receive from the defendant, Guy.

Will Guy be angry as many defendants are.

The middle aged woman across from him was not angry.

Her disposition was calm and pacific.

Kline speaking from the bench said:-

“This is a very unusual hearing for me,” he began, “because, as you know, I am the judge who ordered that Jamesetta be tried as an adult. I find this embarrassing.”

He asked Guy’s attorney, Andrea Lindsay, if she was familiar with the record of the original fitness hearing. She said she wasn’t.

“I have a very strong recollection of the trial of the other minor,” Kline said, but he couldn’t recall what made him declare Guy unfit for juvenile court.

“The injustices that resulted from my decision are the cause of my embarrassment,” he said.

As though to enumerate those injustices for the record, he then castigated those parts of the system that had, in his eyes, botched the case.

“This does not reflect well on the Board of Parole Hearings. Nor does the earlier district attorney’s conduct reflect well on the criminal-justice system. In my opinion, it can reasonably be argued that Jamesetta Guy had received disproportionate punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.”

“Your motion is granted,” Kline said.

 

Jamesetta Guy & Jesse Barron

Post Jamesetta Guy’s release from prison, I ( Jesse Barron ) will come up North from Los Angeles to San Francisco Bay Area.

Three weeks after her release, I will come up to Jamesetta apartment in Oakland, CA.

The apartment was funded by a non-profit that provided free housing for up to 2 years upon an inmate’s release.

Jamesetta has a lot of catching up to do:-

  1. Roots
    • Appointments with Roots
    • Roots is a non-profit that helped with long term housing
  2. Department of Motor Vehicle
    • Appointments to get a Learner’s permit
    • And, later a Driver’s License

See, leaving in Oakland, CA is new.

Jamesetta grew up in the more lighted city of San Francisco.

Her father a practicing Muslim prayed in one of the storefront mosques in SF.

 

Harriet Ross, Public Defender – Initial Case

Harriet Rose was Jamesetta Guy’s public defender on the initial case.

A rare public defender who is registered as a republican and is not adverse to money; the type that will tuck a wall street journal under her navy blazer.

Harriet Rose continues to live in the Nob Hill area of San Francisco.

I called to ask her recollection of Jamesetta.

She replied:-

Funny I was thinking of Jamesetta just the other day.

I asked her about the sentencing, to which she replied:-

She wasn’t in tears on the witness stand, and I didn’t encourage putting on a false face“.

Furthering I asked about the actual shooting, she quickly answered:-

I know she didn’t pull the trigger. I’m sure she didn’t. She wasn’t that kind of person.”

 


Anthony Kline – Nearing Retirement

Nearing retirement, Judge Anthony Kline felt at ease to speak his mind.

You’re going to hear some things from me that you rarely hear from a judge”.

When I visited in May 2022, Charles Breyer, a federal judge and brother of Stephen Breyer, the retiring Supreme Court Justice had stopped by and was leaning against the counter in cycling clips.

On that particular day, Judge Charles Breyer was pedaling to work.

 


Fitness Hearing – Transcripts – 1981

On June 7, I took the train from Oakland to Sacramento.

The California State Archives is located in Sac.

A researcher had toiled very hard to locate the case file from Guy’s appeal back in 1985.

The case file is about 1500 pages.

The front page is dated 1981-March-25th.

That is the date of the original Fitness Hearing.

I had copies made and emailed an electronic copy to Kline.

I made my way back to San Francisco Bay Area from Sacramento.

Two days later we met at Kline’s house.

He had printed out the document and was very generous with his pencil.

 


Fitness Hearing – Transcripts – 1981 – Kline’s Read

The Fitness hearing back in 1981 was to decide whether Guy should be tried as a minor or as adult.

The determining factors were:-

  1. Prior Criminal Record
  2. Success of past attempts at Rehabilitation
  3. Likelihood of successful Rehabilitation
  4. Gravity of the offense
  5. Criminal Sophistication

In the case of Guy, Past Criminal activities were not present.

Due to the absence of past crimes, there were no records of past attempts at rehabilitant her.

Left to explore:-

  1. Likelihood of successful Rehabilitation
  2. Gravity of the offense
  3. Criminal Sophistication

To prove sophistication, the Prosecutor, James Lassart focused on Guy’s street smarts.

He asserted:-

  1. “She used the word ‘coke,’” he said, instead of cocaine
  2. She knew about “freebasing.”
  3. She had “a source” for marijuana.
  4. She could “manipulate people.”

In asserting gravity, James Lassart use the following arguments:-

  1. Premeditated homicide
    • Clear reasoning:- “Obviously there must have been a gun procured”

In 1981, Kline accepted the premise that a Gun was procured.

In 2022, Kline has more factual data.

The gun was not procured, it was given to the girls by a scared neighbor, Carl Wilson.

Kline knew the girls did not purchase the gun, provably, it was given to them.

It was easy to recollect that much.

Kline was the presiding judge during Sharon Wright’s hearing.

Kline bears the weight of falsehood digested.

The word “obviously” should have been a giveaway, it reeks of inference.

 


Plea Deal Pulled – 1981

Court Records bear testament to the prosecutor’s assertion:-

It read:-

If Guy were kept in Juvenile court, she would serve “six years”.

If she went to adult, she would serve eight.

“This is the difference we are really discussing”.

Two years he reminded.

James Lassart, still practices Law in San Francisco, California.

He did not respond to multiple requests for comments.

The only admissible pathway for a defendant on trial for murder to get eight years, is through an arrangement before trial with the prosecutor’s office.

Upon exiting the Fitness hearing, James Lassart kept to his word and offered the teenage girl, Jamesetta Guy, a plea bargain.

The bargain will send the teenager to the California Youth Authority; essentially have her be treated as a minor.

There was a lone condition.

That condition is that she will have to avail herself through three psychological evaluations.

At the end of the examinations, each examiner will have to recommend she be treated as a Juvenile.

Jamesetta Guy agreed to the conditions.

Unfortunately when Jamesetta Guy returned to court to hear the results and accept the deal, Lassart was not present.

In his place was Eugene Sweeters.

Eugene Sweeters was the deputy District Attorney.

Eugene Sweeters explained that he was pulling the plea deal.

The trial judge was aghast and said so on record.

His words were:-

“It would be an abuse of my discretion”.

Eugene Sweeters produced a report from a probation officer.

The probation officer said Guy had “no remorse”.

Furthermore, Sweeters’ said the evidence was ambiguous and deserved a hearing.

The judge allowed the hearing.

Upon hearing the evidence, the judge acquiesced, agreed with the voided plea deal and sent the case the case to trial.

 


Eugene David Sweeters, Prosecuting Attorney

Eugene David Sweeters, served as a prosecuting attorney in San Francisco’s District Attorney Office from 1969 up until his retirement in 1996.

3 years short of a full 30 years.

He passed on May 5th, 2022.


Pulled Plea Deal Appeal – 1985

In 1985, Guy’s defense attorney asserted in an appeal that the pulled plea deal was illegal.

A law clerk entered into the case file.

**Justice Kline Should Not Be Assigned To This Case**

 

It is possible that the clerk made those statements to shield the case from an appearances of conflicts of interest.

Guy’s appeal was denied.

 


Alex Reisman, Trial Lawyer

Alex Reisman was a trial lawyer.

He practiced in San Francisco in the 1980s.

He asserted that a plea deal could not be proffered or pulled outside of consultation with the District Attorney.

San Francisco’s District Attorney at the time was Arlo Smith.

 


Arlo Smith, District Attorney ( DA ), San Francisco

Arlo Smith ran on the promise to get tough on crime.

“Get Tough on Crime” was an outcry after the assassination in City Hall of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk.

The assassination occurred on November 27th 1979.

Arlo Smith was elected during the November 1979 election.

That is a year post the assassination.

Arlo Smith was San Francisco District Attorney ( DA ) for 16 years; specifically between 1980 to 1996.

 


The People of the State of California v. Jamesetta Guy ( June 21 )

A new hearing was scheduled for June 21st.

The hearing was titled “The People of the State of California v. Jamesetta Guy“.

Details were not provided for the meeting.

Andrea Lindsay, the defense attorney was not aware of the planned meeting details.

The prosecuting office of Chesa Boudin’s was also clueless.

On the morning of June 21st, Jamesetta Guy showed up for the hearing.

With Jamesetta Guy was her sister Rosetta and her brother Marty.

In the hearing, Judge Kline shared details of the three psychological evaluations conducted by the California Youth Authority.

  1. “Jamesetta does not appear to be a calloused or hardened young lady,” the first report said. “Therefore, should be amenable to treatment.”
  2. A second report said: “The issue at hand is Jamesetta’s continuing efforts to deny any voluntary intent in the action which led to the driver’s death. This may speak to either the fact that she is a very good conscious liar or that the crime is so abhorrent to her that she cannot acknowledge it. I’m inclined to accept the latter reason. And if this be the case, this would be sufficient reason to offer her assistance in the youth authority.”
  3. Another report agreed. The pattern of dangerous behavior had not been “firmly entrenched,” it read. “Jamesetta is still young enough.”

In deference to the family of the deceased, the prosecutor’s office objected to erasing records of the conviction.

Hohl’s Family will not approve, the tending prosecutor voiced.

Kline allowed.

Speaking from the Heart:-

“That is a legitimate concern,” Kline conceded. “But for me there is a competing consideration.” It was this: “Nobody in the courtroom when I presided over the fitness hearing for Jamesetta Guy was aware that she did not purchase the gun. I accepted, because the public defender did not object. And therefore I think I may have relied on a false fact. I don’t believe that she should have been transferred to adult court, even though that is what I ordered”.

He explained that he was going to erase the conviction.


“When I first saw you the second time, Jamesetta, I said something I’ve never said to a defendant,” he said. “That I was embarrassed. It never occurred to me, even when I found you unfit, even if I was right to find you unfit, that you would serve 41 years. And I wish you good luck in the rest of your life. This hearing is concluded.”

 


Chesa Boudin – Recall Referendum

In the same time space, Chesa Boudin was ousted as district attorney.

The recall election was funded by William Oberndorf, a Republican venture capitalist.

The recall election levied against Chesa Boudin the following charges:-

  1. Troy Ramon McAlister
    • Troy Ramon McAlister release from Prison was arranged by the District Attorney and the Parole System
    • Unfortunately after his release, Troy Ramon McAlister immediately committed a fatal hit-and-run
  2. Union Square luxury stores robberies
    • Videos of brazen robberies at Union Square luxury stores went viral
  3. Homelessness
    • Homelessness Crisis
      • Though homelessness is not part of District Attorney ( DA ) duties

 

Brook Jenkins – District Attorney

The recall election against Chesa Boudin was successful.

San Francisco Mayor, London Breed, chose an interim successor.

Brooke Jenkins who earlier served under Chesa Boudin was chosen.

Brooke Jenkins went to work.

She fired several lawyers who worked on post-conviction cases.

Notably, Kate Chatfield and Dana Drusinsky.

Others got to maintain employment, but they were demoted.

For the numbered 27 California inmates that were serving crimes committed while they were still juveniles, the pathway was clogged.

Brooke Jenkins’s District Attorney’s Office went further.

16 and 17 year old defendants whose crimes “shocked the conscience of the city“, will not be tried in juvenile court, but now in adult court.

Akin to re-journeying of Guy’s travel.

 


Section 170.6

In September, a case involving a teenager aged 15 years old came up to San Francisco’s Juvenile Court.

Nothing unusual, “A run of the mill robbery” said the defendants Public Defender.

Initially, the case was assigned to Kline.

The lead prosecutor, David Mitchell, at Woodside, challenged the Judge’s assignment.

Basically, asked for the judge to be taken off the case.

Their is a statute in “California Code of Civil Procedure”, Section 170.6, that allows for the motion.

The District Office can invoke the statute without sharing the reason.

The statute exists for the sake of having an alternate judge if the DA’s office feel like the current judge is prejudiced against their side,

The case was re-assigned to a new judge, Roger Chan.

Roger Chan is not known for his strict views.

He had been a director of a non-profit Children’s Law Center.

Past aside, recently three minors came before the probation department seeking to be released before their trial.

Roger Chan acquiescence to the District Attorney position.

Roger Chan kept the teenagers in custody pending their day in court.

 


Blanket Challenge

In the mid-term elections of 2022-November-8th, Brooke Jenkins was elected to a full-term.

“What are you going to do?” I asked Kline. The end of the Guy case had thawed the phone line between us.

He replied “There is nothing I can do”.

Each workday, Kline reports to work at Woodside.

A dutiful public servant.

There were left over cases before the blanket challenge.

Inclusive:-

  1. A 16-year-old who had gotten into a car crash while driving a drunk relative home
  2. A 15-year-old who had gone AWOL from his probation officer

But, on each new case Mitchell invoked Section 170.6.

Section 170.6 accuses the judge of prejudice and it asks for the assigned judge to be replaced by a new one.

 

Judicial Limits

Judges have over-arching powers over many aspects of society.

But, even they have limits.

The Legislative and Executive branches can write and sign laws.

The electorate can engage their civic duties.

And, so there are limits to the judicial vocation.

An otherwise dignified profession, can be tamed and shackled a bit.

 

 

Portrait

Chesa Boudin

2021-August

References

  1. NPR
    • California Does Away With Cash Bail For Those Who Can’t Afford It
      Link
  2. Mission Local
    • The strange and terrible saga of a parolee and a fatal hit-and-run
      Link
  3. San Francisco Chronicle
    • S.F. D.A. Brooke Jenkins is removing one of California’s most veteran judges — without explanation — from new juvenile cases
      Link
  4. Wikipedia
    • William Oberndorf
      Link

 

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