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Pennsylvania Prisoners’ at SCI-Phoenix File A Lawsuit Seeking Parole Eligibility of Life Sentences

by Kevin S. Mines

Mines, K. et al. v. Wolf, T. et al. Docket No. 102 MD 2022
(Filed, March 15, 2022).

Kevin, a black man stands smiling and holding a microphone to his mouth and one hand and papers. He is wearing a white sweatshirt and maroon sweats. There is a table and cymbols behind him.
Kevin Mines, speaking at an event at SCI- Graterford.

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 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 defacto death sentence (DDS). It violates the Pennsylvania Constitution against cruel punishment, as well as, the United States Constitution and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles.

The Petitioners were sentenced to a term of life, that 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 61Pa.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 argues that LWOP i.e., DDS is 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 alleges that the Respondents lack authority to detain them since Respondents do not have 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 Constitution 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.

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