Pro bono client, Kenneth Oliver, a non-violent offender, has spent the last 20 years in prison. Following a joyriding conviction, he was sentenced under California's "Three Strikes" law to 52-years-to-life. After a decade in prison, based on his possession of the classic book Blood in My Eye, Mr. Oliver was classed as a "gang associate" and put in solitary confinement for eight years. The Kafka-esque gang validation made him ineligible for release or parole. Raising due process, equal protection and First Amendment claims, the Mayer Brown team got the State of California to agree to void and expunge the gang validation, making the Mr. Oliver eligible for immediate release under California's Proposition 36. The State also agreed to pay him $125,000.

This case represents one of several new constitutional cases in which Mayer Brown's Northern California offices are partnering with Stanford Law School's Three Strikes Program on constitutional cases.

The Mayer Brown team included Litigation & Dispute Resolution partners Ward Johnson and Eric Evans and associates Gray Buccigross, Elspeth Hansen, Evan Sippel-Feldman, Zaneta Kim, Cristina Henriquez, Anne Selin (all Northern California), Alexander Payne, Sarah Balkissoon (both New York) and Samantha Reed (Chicago); Intellectual Property associates Joy Lee (Northern California), Anita Lam and Peter Schmidt (both Washington DC); Banking & Finance associate Kim Perez (Charlotte); and Corporate & Securities associate Terry Brennan (Chicago). Mayer Brown academic affiliate Prof. Eugene Volokh also assisted.

Visit us at

Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the "Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. "Mayer Brown" and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.

© Copyright 2017. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved.

This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.