6 January 2011
Another short day at the Masters’ hearing in Marin. It was an encouraging day of testimony, as Jarvis’s team continued to build a strong case. I was happy to be accompanied in court by my daughter Silvie.
Two witnesses had been scheduled, but one cancelled due to a death in his family. So today’s single witness was a current inmate, a tall, gangly man, wearing the customary orange jumpsuit and shackles in court. He has been in prison for more than 30 years, almost all of it in the Security Housing Unity (SHU), a kind of solitary confinement prison within a prison for inmates who are considered a security risk. His presence called for a beefed-up squad of correctional officers, standing beside him on the witness stand, and behind Jarvis, across the room.
This witness’s testimony stated that Jarvis, who had been a member of the BGF at the time of Burchfield’s murder — a time of great turmoil and violence within California’s prisons, between prisoners and guards and among the various ethnic-based prison gangs — was in no way involved with the murder conspiracy or any acts of material support for the murder. The witness said that Masters had been stripped of any gang responsibilities for insubordination and was under disciplinary watch by the gang. This circumstance would have excluded him from all BGF actions, meetings, and plans.
He went on to say that the location of Masters’ cell, on the fourth tier of C-Block in San Quentin further isolated him from the primary activities, all of which took place on the second tier.
By the way, here is a further explanation of the habeas process, just so people don’t expect that there will be an immediate “verdict” at the end of these hearings. Following the hearing, Jarvis’s team writes a brief arguing what was accomplished in the hearings. This itself may take a month. Then the state has six weeks to respond. Only after this does the judge offer her findings and recommendation to the State Supreme Court. Their ruling can take as long as they wish. So we have ample opportunity to practice patience.
• Please note, there will be NO HEARING tomorrow, Friday 7 January.
• The hearings resume on Monday 10 January, 10am Room L, Floor C, Marin County Court.
• The correct URL for Jarvis Masters’ website is < http://www.freejarvis.org/>
— Alan Senauke