August 25, 2013
The Good Fight
Donald Ray Young
Proposition 34, the Savings Accountability and Full Enforcement Act, failed by a narrow
52-48 percent split. Just enough to expose the execution chamber. But not enough for us
to forget the wise people on the right side of history -the 48 percent. Death Penalty
Focus, American Civil Liberties Union, and Friends Committee on Legislation of
California fought the good fight, unified by dedicated organizations, groups and
individuals. To the hundreds of volunteers who collected over 800,000 signatures to put
the SAFE Act on the ballot. To the people who graciously sacrificed their time, energy,
and treasure, we honor you and your commitment to abolition. Thank you!
If this were the last bus, we missed it. We were double-crossed by a faction of our base.
Where there is execution, hope and parole cannot exist. You are either against capital
punishment or for state sponsored lynching. It is truly that simple, no matter how
confusing obstructionists wish it to be. A YES vote on Proposition 34 would have
abolished capital punishment in California … PERMANENTLY!
Life Without the Possibility of Parole (L WOP) lives and exists in every state, with or
without capital punishment. Connecticut recently became the 1 i 11 state to abolish legal
lyn~hing -Jhe death penalty. Thepeople ofC?.Iifornia votedin the current Death Penalty
(Proposition 7) on November 7, 1978, and now only we the people of California can vote
it out. California would have been the first state to abolish capital punishment via the
ballot box. The first rule of abolition is to protect life by eradicating capital punishment.
Only then can we remove L WOP from the equation. Even parole eligible lifers are more
likely to die in prison than be paroled. Wake up, California! Let us dismantle this killing
machine … or is it too late?
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop.
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
Death row is where innocence takes a final breath. Capital punishment has never been
concerned with morality; it has always been about brutality. Conscious people know that
America has preserved a legal system which puts people to death, even innocent ones.
You do not need to be an “expert” to understand that killing is wrong and capital
punishinent must be abolished by any means. When chattel slavery was abolished in the
19111 Century my ancestors were greeted with Black Codes, Exclusionary Laws, Share
Cropping, the Convict Lease System, Chain Gangs, Jim Crow Laws, the Ku Klux Klan ..
. and Lynching. They courageously traveled this tmiurous path for all of humanity.
The death penalty makes killers out ofjudges, prosecutors, jurors, prison staff, and the
people of the State as a whole. The courts openly admit that the death penalty is racially
biased (McKleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279.) The two major organizations that were
opposed to Proposition 34 were The California District Attorneys Association and the
California Sheriffs’ Association. These are the very entities which overwhelm the justice
system with police misconduct, dishonest forensic experts, prosecutorial misconduct and
false confessions. Basic math and history tell us that very few if any California death
row prisoners will ever see society. The district attorneys are calling for the immediate
execution of the 20 or so who have fully exhausted their appeals.
Justice Thurgood Marshall ofthe U.S. Supreme Court wrote in his concurring opinion in
Furman v. Georgia, the case that abolished the death penalty in the United States in 1972,
“Ifpeople were familiar with the truth about the death penalty they would want to abolish
it.” In November 2012 the Campaign to End the Death Penalty declared, “After much
thoughtful debate, the CEDP board of directors voted not to endorse supporting the SAFE
Act.” The building is on fire. We are pulling people out of the flames, while attempting
toput the fire out. Instead of assisting us save lives … delusional minds and
organizations selected this moment to discuss the adequacy of fire alarms. If you consider
y()urself an abolitionist but refuse to abolish, the least you can do is step out of the way!
Thank you! Vl/e have work to do and it is a matter of life and death.
Abolitionists are obligated to galvanize the base, persuade the undecided, and engage the
opposition. If you are an abolitionist in fact as well as deed and not just in theory, you
would have voted YES on Proposition 34. If you care about human rights, you voted
YES on Proposition 34. If you wanted to save $1 billion over the next five years and
create a healthy economy, you voted YES on Proposition 34. California is 47 out of 50
states in per pupil spending, so if you care about the education of our youth and wanted to
spend more on education than on prison, you voted YES on Proposition 34. If you
believe in your heart that the State does not have the right to legally lynch in your nameleaving
blood on your hands -you voted YES on Proposition 34.
We fought the good fight! And it’s not over. The struggle will never end!
Donald Ray Young is an innocent man erroneously convicted and sentenced to San
Quentin’s death row in 2006. Donald is a paralegal with an Associate ofArts degree in
Sociology. He hopes to pursue fitrther education, including a law degree that will aid him
in achieving his exoneration. His first book is scheduled for release this year, and he
blogs at: www. donaldrayyoung. wordpress. com
Donald Ray Young
E78474 East Block
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974
August 25, 2013
Condemned to Valley Fever
Another death sentence . . . Valley Fever, combined with the lack ofconstitutionally
adequate medical care, has resulted in 62 known deaths since 2006 within the California
Prison Industrial complex.
Governor Jerry Brown recently announced that California state prisoners have the finest
health care system in the world, negating the need for federal oversight. At least two
Central Valley prisons -Avenal and Pleasant Valley-have become death traps on Je1ry
J. Clark Kelso, the federal medical receiver, appointed by Judge Thelton Henderson to
oversee the California state prison health care system, ordered Jerry Brown and the
California department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to immediately transfer
3,300 prisoners at high risk of infection or death from Valley Fever. Jerry Brown
rejected this April 29th directive to save lives and instead opted to play politics with
morbid consequences. This matter was heard in the U.S. District Court on June 17 before
the honorable United States District Court Judge Thelton Henderson. On June 24 Judge
Henderson ordered Jerry Brown and CDCR to remove all high risk prisoners from
A venal and Pleasant Valley state prisons. They have 90 days to complete the court
ordered transfers. “Defendants (Jerry Brown and CDCR) have therefore clearly
demonstrated their unwillingness to respond adequately to the heath care needs of
California’s inmate population, which is particularly ironic given Defendants’ insistence
in other court filings that they are now providing a constitutional level ofcare,” Judge
Over 80 percent of the prisoners who have died due to Valley Fever have been African
American. Kelso reported that African American prisoners in A venal and Pleasant
Valley State Prisons have a 90 percent ri~.k of contracting Valley Fever and prisoners
older than 55 have a 60 percent risk. According to Joyce Hayhoe, spokesperson for the
Federal Receiver, CDCR has known that African American Prisoners have the highest
risk of contracting and dying from Valley Fever. California prisoners are paying the
ultimute penalty for being African American and over 55. In CDCR: Valley Fever
minus health care plus racism and ageism equals death.
Born and raised in the Central San Joaquin Valley, I played in this fungus tainted dust
bowl. I attended West Hills College in the town of Coalinga a decade before Pleasant
Valley Prison was erected within its borders. I know this place of diseased soil, and I
understand Jerry Brown’s prison industrial complex from the inside-out. The Receiver
was put in place to stop preventable deaths caused by the lack of heath care. Jerry Brown
and CDCR do not appear to believe prisoners deserve health care, or any kind of care.
CDCR’s severe overcrowding resulted in constitutionally inadequate medical and mental
health care. On May 23, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling by a three-judge
panel requiring CDCR within two years to reduce its population to 137.5% of capacity.
CDCR was at 180% of design capacity. “We are compelled to enforce the federal
Constitution and to enforce the constitutional rights of all persons, including prisoners,”
explained the three-judge panel-comprised of U.S. District Judges Thelton Henderson,
Lawrence Karlton, and Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
May 3, 2012
The Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act
This is our time to abolish capital punishment in California via the ballot box. If we allow this killing machine to resuscitate, we can expect executions of the more than 725 death row prisoners at a rate that will send shock waves throughout Texas. Which side are we on? We cannot stand in the middle of the road this time. Abolish capital punishment in California, or support government-sponsored, premeditated murder of death row prisoners. We have more than 14 people with fully-exhausted appeals. The sole protection that stands between them and a pine box… is our vote!
We said, “I AM TROY DAVIS.” Many of us said that we were Stanley Tookie Williams. Cameron Todd Willingham was another innocent person on death row – the Texas criminal justice system executed him in our name. If we had abolished capital punishment nationwide, all three of these men would still be alive, able to prove their innocence to the world. No one enjoys a prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole (LWOP), but it definitely keeps Mumia Abu-Jamal speaking truth to power.
Before being abstracted debating how cruel LWOP is, let us complete the urgent business of abolishing capital punishment with our votes. Death penalty proponents have revived their rhetorical corporate media-fueled propaganda campaign. Californians, putative abolitionists and death penalty opponents: keeping death row intact when given the option to abolish capital punishment is nothing more than subterfuge ~ covertly supporting what we claim to loathe. Take out the fear and face the facts: most lengthy prison sentences end with the prisoner dying in prison. As it stands, prisoners convicted of murder (innocent or guilty) face capital punishment or LWOP. The SAFE California Act will convert all 725 death sentences to LWOP, making it the harshest punishment option for convicted murderers. The right to appeal convictions to the state and federal courts will still exist, with the same constitutional guarantees afforded LWOP prisoners; additionally, after all appellate issues are exhausted, the appellants will remain very much alive.
While many disagree with certain aspects of the SAFE California Act (i.e. $30 million per year, for three years, given to municipal police and prosecutors, coupled with florid, pro-prosecution language), if this road takes capital punishment off the table, we must travel it. The United States has executed more than 1290 prisoners since 1977. The future belongs to us, and step-by-step we will seize power. After winning this highly contentious battle, we will join resources to abolish all forms of permanent imprisonment. Every prisoner should have the right to be released if he or she is not a threat to society.
Since 1978, capital punishment has left California with a fatally-flawed system. Over $4 billion has been wasted, 13 executions have occurred, and 3 individuals have been exonerated. This is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Let us choose the ballot box… or the pine box will choose us!
I look forward to your contact and communication.
Facebook: Donald Ray Young
Mail: Donald Ray Young
P.O. Box E-78474
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974
March 13, 2012
By Donald Ray Young
The Tulare County District Attorney conspired with the Tulare Police Department to fabricate copious inculpatory evidence, for the sole purpose of sending me – an innocent man – to death row. Their train was bursting at the seams with lies. It eventually fell off the tracks on 16 November 2005, three-and-one-half months into the death penalty trial. The prosecution desperately needed to justify their contention that evidence could continually be in four remote locations at the same time, without ever being checked out of the Tulare Police Department’s ‘secure’ evidence locker, among other illusions. I could finally prove what I had been telling everyone who would listen from day one: the purported original evidence reports were forgeries, and the evidence chain-of-custody was non-existent. Those who held the power in court labeled what happened next as an Evidence Code 402 Hearing – a trial inside a trial – outside the presence of the jury. I called the entire process what it had always been: a farce and a sham!
It was a cold 16 November 2005 morning when the pro-prosecution, hanging Judge, Ronn M.Couillard, said this: “I’ve been with this case since August of 2000. Donald Ray Young was pro per (representing himself). This thing, as far as discovery and handing over items and documents and everything, has gotten to be a nightmare. I do know there were always problems with discovery being presented to the defense, even when Donald Ray Young was pro per, where items were copied, they weren’t copied properly, half a page was left off. That’s all just background, the point being is that discovery has been a nightmare in this case. It’s continuing to be.” After fourteen weeks of trial, we were still receiving discovery. Discovery is the method by which the defense learns, before trial, of the witnesses and evidence the opposition intends to offer at trial.
My trial attorney, Galatea DeLapp, saw this prosecutorial misconduct in a more egregious light. As she addressed the court, “In my opinion, it’s a Brady violation. I’m asking for a mistrial, a motion to dismiss with prejudice, on the basis of this Brady material not coming to us until this point, after substantial evidence has already been before the court.” In addition to the prosecution’s constitutional obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence, there are additional mandates: a statutory discovery obligation, and the duty, under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, to disclose to the defense “all substantial material evidence favorable to an accused.” Brady vs. Maryland (1963) is a legal case that illuminated the aforementioned obligations, ensuring rights for the accused.
When the trial judge ordered the prosecution to produce all original evidence reports and original evidence chain-of-custody records, the response from the Tulare Police Department (hereafter referred to as TPD) was that they needed the original court order signed by the judge. What?!! TPD was the prosecution, and had high-ranking officers in court when the order was made! As the original evidence reports and chain-of-custody records were grudgingly allowed to make their way into the trial court — in preparation of the Evidence Code 402 Hearing — … White-out! Whited out and written over? That to which the prosecution had been testifying under oath was nothing more than two binders of evidence report pages, painted over and fabricated, manufactured and rewritten. The prosecution also referred to these binders as original evidence reports and original evidence chain-of-custody logs. TPD’s own protocol precludes painting over original evidence reports. You can’t trust the evidence. You can’t trust the witnesses. The Evidence Code 402 Hearing will begin.
The first witness to take the stand attempted to minimize or explain away the whiteout, manufactured evidence and corruption. This person was…
To be continued…
YOUR VOICE HAS MEANING. I WILL ENJOY HEARING FROM YOU.
February 4, 2012
Commercial hunters would capture one pigeon alive, sew its eyes shut, and tie it to a perch called a ‘stool’. Soon, a curious flock would land beside the ‘stool pigeon’ – a term now used to describe someone who lies to the police for personal gain.
Considering the credibility of the source is the first step in dissecting false testimony. Does Anthony Lee Wolfe have a history of deceit? Does he have a reason or motive to lie? Is the Wolfe a psychotic, sociopath, psychopath and pathological liar? The answers are codified herein.
Several psychiatrists diagnosed him with a serious mental illness, marked by loss of the ability to test whether or not what he is thinking and feeling about the real world is really true. The Wolfe is a schizophrenic, with multiple personalities. He reported hearing voices to his psychiatrist. The characteristics of the Wolfe’s psychosis are hallucinations, grandiosity, fabrications and aggressive behavior. Anti-psychotic tranquilizers were prescribed by psychiatrists in order to control the Wolfe; unfortunately, he went off his anti-psychotic medications when he was released from prison.
The Wolfe was an obsequious police informant and ‘Fresno Hoover Crip’ gang member (donned with gang tattoos) before, during and after his April 24, 1995 prison release. His gang affiliation remains intact today. Lewd and lascivious acts on a child (his sister), assault on a police officer, escape from jail, vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, carrying a concealed weapon and burglary are just some of the convictions that the Wolfe accumulated before prison. While in prison, he was convicted of possessing a weapon made for stabbing (a self-fashioned knife). After prison, even after the infamous July 18, 1995 tragedy, the Wolfe was caught counterfeiting (1997). He was convicted of passing counterfeit one-hundred-dollar bills at several businesses. Staring at a ‘three strikes’ life sentence in California state prison, the Wolfe manufactured evidence, manipulated a jury, and implicated an innocent man. This travesty was accomplished step-by-step through rehearsals, reenactments and coaching by corrupt and desperate law enforcement personnel, over an interminable period of ten years.
The capital crime in question occurred July 18, 1995 while the Wolfe was on release from prison (as of April 24 of that year). I did not know this man prior to, or during, this 85-day period. What I know about him germinates from official documents. During trial (2005/2006), on the witness stand, the Wolfe was shown a photograph of me fishing, taken in August 1995. He could not identify me in the photograph.
After copious, contiguous fabrications spanning over three decades, Anthony Lee Wolfe has a new name and undisclosed location. His new lifestyle is wholly funded by your tax dollars! The state of California is not protecting its citizens from the Wolfe. Quite the contrary, the Wolfe is running wild, lurking in the Witness Protection Program.
Tell me, what do you think?
September 19, 2011
By Donald Ray Young
Allow me to introduce you to the Tulare County District Attorney’s star witness against me–at trial– the male who played a central role in my housing arrangement on California’s death row at San Quentin State Prison. A 320-pound, 6’1″ Caucasian male, with thin, balding, dirty-blond hair and blue eyes, Anthony Lee Wolfe is just one of his names. False testimony in a capital case comes easily to this well-known pedophile and psychopath.
Let’s consider the character and behavior of the source: Lewd and lascivious acts on a child, or felony child molestation pursuant to California Penal Code section 388(a), would be an appropriate place to start. The trial judge, Ronn M. Couillard, stated that it would be prejudicial for the jury to know that the prosecution’s star witness, Anthony Lee Wolfe, repeatedly raped and molested Brandy Wright, his seven-year old sister. I knew that it would be prejudicial for the world: not to know the truth about the male murdering me with his fabrications from the witness stand!
Anthony Lee Wolfe was eventually caught raping Brandy, as he was emboldened to do so while their mother, Phyllis Wright, was in an adjacent room of the house. Phyllis heard Brandy crying out, telling her of the torture conducted by her older brother, in explicit detail. The traumatized second-grader struggled on to explain… this was not the first time Wolfe had raped her…. If Brandy didn’t ‘do it’ with her brother, Wolfe would hit her.
Anthony Lee Wolfe devastated and destroyed his own family–I know it’s pathological…. Anthony Wolfe’s father, William F. Wolfe, is incarcerated in Idaho State Penitentiary for shooting a man to death in a bar. Regarding the child-rape perpetrated by Anthony Wolfe, Phyllis Wright was made sick to her stomach. Seven-year-old Brandy just stared into space–sucking her thumb…. Therapy was the only hope for Brandy and Phyllis to heal mentally and emotionally– and they had to stay far away physically from Wolfe to be safe.
According to his grandmother, Wolfe repeatedly stole from her –then lied about it when caught. Law enforcement records show that Wolfe forged his grandmother’s signature on three personalized checks, and cashed them at stores. The police even caught him stealing money from his grandparents’ neighbor. Wolfe was described as a manipulator who was often caught lying and cheating. Even Wolfe’s mother states, “Wolfe is a lying manipulator who is in great need of psychological help!” She further asserts that Wolfe is very jealous of the sister he repeatedly raped….
There is no excuse for this Wolfe in sheep’s clothing, or the parties who allow him to bear false witness and destroy innocent lives. Didn’t my jury have the right to know who was delivering the star performance for the prosecution?
One layer at a time–Part II coming soon.