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31 March, 2022

PENNSYLVANIA PRISONERS AT SCI PHOENIX FILE A LAWSUIT SEEKING PAROLE ELIGIBILITY OF LIFE SENTENCES: MR. KEVIN S. MINES




Eight (8) Pennsylvania State prisoners at SCI-Phoenix -  Kevin S. Mines, Lonnie Wright, James Brown, Charles Sheppard, Kevin Evans, Brian Thompson, Thomas Davis II, and Joel Muir,. Petitioners, filed a Petition For Review In The Nature Of A Complaint, Docket No. 102, MD 2022)  in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief on Monday, March 14, 2022, against six (6) Pennsylvania State government officials, Respondents: Tom Wolf, Governor; Josh Shapiro, Attorney General; Theodore W. Johnson, Secretary, PA Board of Probation and Parole;  George M. Little, Secretary,  PA Department of Corrections; Jamie Sorber, Superintendent; SCI-Phoenix; and Kim Nixon, Supervisor of Inmates Records at SCI-Phoenix.  The lawsuit alleges that each Respondent played an essential role in the prohibition and outright denial of any opportunity for parole eligibility review and consideration of the Petitioners, who are convicted of first degree and second degree murder and sentenced to life.  


The Petitioners contend in the lawsuit that a judicially imposed, mandatory life sentence, without the possibility of parole (LWOP), is a de facto death sentence (DDS). It violates the Pennsylvania Constitution which prohibits cruel punishment, as well as the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Petitioners were sentenced to a term of life, which did not explicitly state "Without-the-Possibility-of-Parole." Each of the Petitioners filed an Application for Parole Eligibility Review and Consideration, and the Respondents mechanically denied each application for parole, simply stating: "Upon review of your application for parole and the Department of Corrections records of your sentencing, it appears that you are serving a life sentence and are therefore not eligible for parole consideration based upon 61 Pa.C.S. § 6137(a)."


Petitioners contends that although 61 Pa .C.S. §6137(a) contains a provision excepting an inmate condemned to death or serving life imprisonment from parole review, it nevertheless violates ex post facto law and is unconstitutional as it applies to each of the Petitioners, because they were never given "fair warning" that their judicially imposed life sentence meant LWOP -- i.e., DDS. Petitioners further argue that LWOP -- i.e., DDS – in addition to being cruel punishment, is inhumane. It deprives Petitioners of all hope, strips them of their rights to redemption, and essentially says that they are incorrigible or incapable of positive transformation and rehabilitation -- a judgment made without any consideration of review of the Petitioners’ individualized circumstances. Each Petitioner has empirical proof of their positive transformation and rehabilitation. Each Petitioner is thoroughly rehabilitated. The Petitioners also allege that the Respondents lack authority to detain them since Respondents do not have a legitimate court authorized DC300B Judicial Commitment Form nor Sentencing Order authorizing Petitioners legal detention in state prison. The Respondents are violating the state and federal Constitutions by keeping the Petitioners imprisoned without proper judicial authority. The Respondents did not follow proper procedures and protocol for committing Petitioners to a state prison. The DC300B form that Respondents used to commit Petitioners into their state prison, were not created by the Judicial Court System, as required by law, but rather, the DC300B form used by the Respondents were created by the Respondents, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Scribner(s), and therefore, carries no weight of authority.


The lawsuit is filed on behalf of all similarly situated prisoners in Pennsylvania state prisons serving LWOP, i.e.,  -- DDS. The Respondents actions are such that no civilized society can tolerate.

_____

Mr. Kevin S. Mines is the President of SCI Phoenix LIFERS, Inc., (www.lifersincpa.org), a nationally acclaimed "inside-out" Criminal Justice Reform, Reentry, and Restorative Justice Think Tank which has researched and designed solutions-based initiatives that address. among other things,  gun violence, the "school-to-prison" pipeline, and recidivism.  To reach Mr. Mines directly, correspondence can be addressed as follows:  

SMART COMMUNICATIONS/PA DOC
Mr. Kevin S. Mines #AY5941
SCI Phoenix
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL  33733

This groundbreaking  legal document can be viewed at 20220330074813608.pdf (lifersincpa.org) 

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