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Friday, Feb. 27, 2004 at 5:02 AM
CA ATTORNEY GENERAL SPENDS 2 MILLION DOLLARS TO GET 65 MORE DAYS IN PRISON FOR WOMAN WHO ALREADY SERVED SEVEN YEARS FOR THEFT OF TOOL BOX
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On July 9, 1996, Pam Martinez was sentenced to 25 years to life under California’s three strikes law. She was convicted of petty theft with a prior after allegedly stealing a used toolbox worth .
In July 1999, Pam's conviction was reversed because of ineffective counsel and her sentence vacated. Charges were reinstated, and a new trial was ordered. A Superior Court judge struck a prior strike resulting from a 1978 plea bargain and offered a sentence of nine years for the tool box theft. Not willing to risk another sentence of 25 to life, Martinez accepted the plea bargain.
The CA Appellate Court ordered that the three years already served under the 1996 invalid conviction should be calculated as pre-trial credit rather than post-trial credit, and Pam was released on October 24, 2001 after serving a total of seven years. Having paid a heavy debt for a theft, Pam began to rebuild her life.
And that’s where the story could have ended, but it didn’t. Prosecutors were unhappy with Pam's release and appealed to the California Supreme Court, claiming that the three years she served before her
retrial should have been considered post-trial credits. Calculated in that manner, the State's Attorney said Martinez still owed the California Dept. of Corrections sixty-five days of incarceration.
The California Supreme Court agreed with the state's attorney and has ordered Pam to be re-incarcerated for the additional 65 days. Martinez’estimate of the states price tag for the two-and-a-half years
of appeals and re-incarceration:over 2 million dollars.
After her release from prison over two years ago, Pam rented an apartment and has held steady employment. She is proud of her job at Home Depot where her supportive managers and coworkers say they cannot believe that they are witnessing this injustice first-hand.
Pam is two months shy of her one-year anniversary at Home Depot which would allow her a leave of absence, a continuance of health benefits and a raise.
Instead, Pam will lose her job and when - and if - she is released in the agreed upon 65 days, she will have to start all over again, again.
Pam will return to court on Friday, February 27th where she will ask for a one-month continuance so that she can put her affairs in order. If her request is denied, Pam will be taken into custody and re-incarcerated then and there.
Friends and community leaders will hold a rally and press conference at 9AM on Friday, February 27th in front of the Los Angeles Suprerior Court at 11701 S. La Cienega, 90045.
For more info and updates, visit artacts.org or call 323.463.5639
If Pam is granted the continuance, she will join artacts.org in Sylmar, CA on Saturday, February 28 at JUSTICE JAM where artists and activists will call for an end to ten years of cruel and unusual punishment suffered by Martinez and others under California’s three strikes law.
Join us for an evening of entertainment, information and community
What: JUSTICE JAM
artists and activists calling for an end to ten years of
cruel and unusual punishment under CA’s three strikes law
When: Saturday, February 28 7:30 pm
Where: TIA CHUCHA'S CAFE CULTURAL
Where Art and Minds Meet - For a Change
12737 Glenoaks Blvd. Sylmar, CA 91342 818. 362.7060
Legendary MC5 Guitarist
and MuscleTone Recording Artist
BYRON L. WILLIAMS
Hip Hop Artists
Spoken Word Artists
SUE REAMS, F.A.C.T.S Chairperson
Attny ARTHUR GOLDBERG, Working People’s Law Center
sponsored by artacts.org
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