At an emotional rally at Los Angeles City Hall last night, friends and family of 11 California inmates identified as innocent by the California Innocence Project pleaded for Governor Brown to commute their sentences and reunite them with their families for the holidays. Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project, referring to our overcrowded state prisons and mandated efforts to relieve that overcrowding, said: "Why don't we start by releasing the innocent?"
He asked Governor Brown to look at the cases of the "California 12," inmates who his organization has identified as clearly innocent. Their families of Edward Contreras, Guy Miles, Kimberly Long and others were joined by several exonerees, including Reggie Cole and Obie Anthony, Nick Yarris and Michael Hanline. Hanline, the first of the 12 to be released, was freed on November 24 after his murder conviction was overturned when DNA evidence pointed to another suspect. He served 36 years for a murder he did not commit.