Many people only know the tabloid, book, TV or movie versions of the Billionaire Boys Club.
Joe Hunt, a working-class wunderkind who attended Los Angeles’s most prestigious prep school on a full scholarship, later formed an investment group with former classmates who wanted to show their wealthy parents they could succeed on their own. The enterprise turned tragic when some of its members were charged with the murders of Hedayat Eslaminia (the father of a Boys Club associate) and of Ron Levin – a crafty grifter who conned the BBC and others out of millions before disappearing.
Thirty-five years after the club’s formation, there is much more to the story.
Although other Boys Club members received short-to-nonexistent prison sentences and although Levin’s body was never found (witnesses reported seeing him alive after his disappearance), Hunt was convicted of Levin’s murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole under legal theories that the state may abolish.
For many years, Joe has fought for his freedom, arguing that his defense attorney in the Levin trial violated his Sixth Amendment rights by failing to call key witnesses. When Joe called many of those same witnesses in the Eslaminia trial, he became the first defendant in state history to be acquitted of murder while representing himself.
If Joe were eligible for parole, he would easily exceed the standards that a parole board must apply when considering release. Joe has been a model inmate who raised thousands for his church and ministered and offered legal assistance to fellow inmates. However, under his sentence, he is not able to request a parole hearing.
After quietly suffering through a series of unfavorable legal rulings from a judicial system that seems biased against such a high-profile inmate, and facing the prospect of turning 60 behind bars, Joe has now petitioned the governor for commutation of his sentence so he can plead his case before a parole board. Hunt and his family believe there’s hope of commutation before the end of 2018, when Gov. Jerry Brown retires, because the legendary politician has commuted other LWOP sentences.
Joe’s family asks that the public learn the facts and sign the petition.