Twice the Board of Prison Terms has recommended Woodmore’s release, and twice the Governor has decided to keep her in prison.
9-10-03: DAVIS PLAYS GOD WITH BATTERED WOMEN'S LIVES
For the second year in a row, Governor Davis reversed parole for Flozelle Woodmore, an abused woman who has served 16 years in prison for killing her batterer. Both years, Davis concluded that Flozelle was a threat to society, contrary to recommendations of the parole board, sentencing judge, victim's family, a nationally-renowned domestic violence expert, dozens of state legislators, and thousands of other individuals and organizations. Davis' decision, which was filled with inaccurate statements of fact and law, has outraged voters, who will be forced to shoulder the burden of the $30,000 it will cost each year to keep Flozelle in prison.
Flozelle had no prior criminal history when she was convicted of second-degree murder at age 18, prior to the allowance of testimony regarding battering and its effects in California criminal trials (such evidence has been allowed since 1992). She is now 35 years old, with two grown children. News of the governor's parole reversal hit Flozelle's family late last night (9-10-03).
Juliette Lett, one of Flozelle's sisters, said tearfully, "It's so unfair. It's not like she hasn't done her time, or shown that she can be a productive member of society. Where is the justice? It doesn't make any sense to me. My niece [Flozelle's daughter] is going to be devastated."
Flozelle's ailing stepmother had this to say: "She has lost so much of being a mother to her children, who went from babies to children to young adults now. She missed out on all of it. I think Davis is a dog--he doesn't have a heart. He has to take into consideration that she was young. The abuse is something she held and held until she exploded. Her boyfriend could've killed her, instead of the other way around."
Flozelle's father was likewise crushed by Davis' decision: "[The victim's] parents have a different outlook from Davis--they have forgiveness in them. They weren't against her coming out."
Flozelle's attorney, Olivia Wang, will challenge Davis' decision in court. "Davis is playing god with Flozelle's and other battered women's lives--all for his own political career. Yet this was a bad decision on his part, and the voters will respond on election day."
Be prepared for upcoming actions to protest this decision. Meanwhile, write or call Governor Davis to express your outrage.
Governor Gray Davis
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: 916-445-4633 firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, visit www.freebatteredwomen.org