The “Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee” will be holding a press conference at CNN Los Angeles to demand Ruchell Magee’s freedom on Saturday, Dec. 18.
Friday will mark 40 years of what the group states as “unjust” parole denials since Ruchell’s first parole denial in 1981. He was rejected parole for the 13th time on July 15.
“58 years in prison starting with a marijuana conviction is absolutely ridiculous, and we believe every media outlet has the duty to report on this extreme injustice,” stated Kameron Hurt, an organizer with the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee.
Magee’s confinement stems from a 1963 conviction over an incident involving a $10 marijuana trade that led to an altercation that the Superior Court of Los Angeles County claimed as “attempted kidnapping.”
He attracted worldwide attention, though, from his auxiliary role in the 1970 Marin County Courthouse Rebellion. On Aug. 7, 1970, conspirator Johnathan Jackson burst into a courtroom armed and attempted to demand the release of the Soledad brothers (who themselves were on trial for the murder of a white prison guard) before San Quentin guards killed three of the conspirators involved, along with a judge.
Magee, who was in the courtroom at this time, attempted to escape along with other prisoners, but failed and was gravely injured. This instance led to punishment for resisting unjust captivity, and he was sentenced to prison for life.
Angela Davis was also charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and kidnapping during this same case before being acquitted two years later. Magee was also acquitted of the conspiracy to murder, along with murder charges, but he was convicted on a lesser charge and remains encarcerated to this day.
“Ruchell’s confinement costs the state more than $40,000 annually and with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Ruchell’s health is at constant risk. The 82-year-old Ruchell is not a threat to anyone and he deserves to live the rest of his years in freedom, with his loved ones,” stated Hurt. “His story is a classic case of the horrors of racism in policing and sentencing, and given the outstanding length of this injustice, Ruchell’s case is worthy of immediate review and commutation from Governor Gavin Newsom.”