Petitions Signed

Exposing the Truth: Jim Pittman’s Dubious Testimony and the Quest for Justice

April 3, 2024
By Joe Hunt

John, a visitor to this website, posed an intriguing question:

“I am very sympathetic to Joe’s case. As a retired lawyer, I know enough about Joe’s case to recognize that the trial judge seemed biased against him. However, for many, the stumbling block in sympathizing with Joe’s cause is Jim Pittman’s detailed admission of the alleged Ron Levin murder. Could Joe address this?”

My family referred this question to me. Here is my response.

The Early 1990s: Case Dismissals and Pittman’s Extradition

This post takes me back 30 years to the early 1990s. The San Mateo case was dismissed after the jury deadlocked 8-4 in my favor. Shortly thereafter, the Special Prosecution Unit of the California Department of Justice dismissed charges against my co-defendant, Jim Pittman.

Jim Pittman

Charges against Pittman in Los Angeles regarding Ronald Levin’s disappearance had been dropped after a 1988 trial ended with the jury deadlocked 10-2 in Pittman’s favor. However, following the San Mateo case dismissal, Pittman wasn’t released. Instead, he was extradited to West Virginia to face pending Grand Theft Auto charges. Unbeknownst to me, Pittman had stolen a car and fled West Virginia before we met in 1983.

Around 1994, my private investigator, William Divita of San Mateo County, relayed disturbing news. Pittman, in jail in West Virginia awaiting trial, explained his failing kidneys necessitated his release to settle affairs. He wanted $20,000 from me to reject a deal offered by authorities, influenced by the Beverly Hills Police Department. He threatened to accept the deal if I didn’t pay, mentioning a potential financial offer from TV producers for corroborating the State’s case.

Despite having the funds, I’ve always had a policy against yielding to threats. I refused Pittman’s ultimatum.

I instructed Mr. Divita to document his conversations with Pittman and to record future interactions. I asked him to inform Pittman of my refusal without explanation. I still possess the investigator’s reports and recordings in storage. Mr. Divita remains active as a P.I. in San Mateo County.

Pittman’s “Confession” and the Futile Search in Soledad Canyon

Months later, on “A Current Affair,” I watched Pittman “confess” to align with the State’s theory. The show featured Pittman guiding BHPD officers and a forensics team to Soledad Canyon, where he and I allegedly buried Levin. The episode revealed their futile search — no body, quick-lime, or shotgun pellets were found.

The State’s theory, based on a hoax, was that Levin was buried after being shot and covered in quick-lime. This fabrication was intended to intimidate a rival faction within the BBC. Pittman’s inability to produce a body in Soledad Canyon highlighted the farce.

If Joe’s story has moved you, share this article to raise awareness. The more people know, the stronger the push for a re-examination of his case. Use your voice on social media to advocate for transparency and fairness in the legal system.

The Flawed Approach of Immunity Deals

The State’s approach to witnesses, offering deals in exchange for corroborative testimony, is deeply flawed. In Pittman’s case, the BHPD proposed dropping his theft charges if he supported their theory.

Pittman’s proffered testimony was a mere echo of Dean Karny’s story, necessary for his freedom. However, immunity deals undermine truth, as desperation for freedom can lead to false testimonies.

I stood against Pittman’s blackmail attempt, adhering to my principle of non-cooperation with evil. Consequently, none of Pittman’s statements under the deal were admissible, as he was never cross-examined.

Had Pittman testified in a retrial, his inconsistent narrative would likely have led to my exoneration. The story he told was implausible, revealing no actual murder had occurred.

The Lack of Governance in Immunity Deals and Abuse of Power

Immunity deals are an institutionalized aspect of American “justice.” What is particularly troubling is their lack of governance by any legal or regulatory framework. Wisely used, they can be pragmatic in bringing sophisticated criminals to justice. However, if the core elements of the story remain uncorroborated even after the deal, immunity can become a way to incentivize and suborn perjury. Clearly, in the case of James Pittman, that’s what occurred.

The Beverly Hills Police Department, anxious about Joe potentially being granted a retrial and aware that over 40 neutral citizen witnesses corroborated Levin’s absconding, exploited the desperation of a dying man to support their murder theory. They may claim on camera that offering Pittman a deal was necessary because they perceived Hunt’s release as a public safety threat, but this is merely a superficial justification for what was an abuse of government power.

Fittingly, the State did not benefit from their Faustian deal with Pittman.

Sign the Petition
Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

44,000 Strong & Growing: New Insights & Advocacy for Joe’s Freedom

Joe with his wife, Jamie, c. 2014

Dear Advocates for Justice,

We’re thrilled to celebrate a remarkable milestone with you: 44,000 signatures supporting Joe Hunt’s quest for justice! Within these pages, discover four new articles that offer a multifaceted look at Joe’s legal journey, from a fresh examination of his wrongful conviction to explorations of youth offenses, financial narratives, and beyond. Highlighted by an impactful 83-second video advocating for Joe’s parole, these stories are a testament to the power of collective advocacy. By sharing this content, you help amplify a crucial call for justice and reform, moving us closer to securing Joe’s freedom and challenging systemic flaws.

New Articles

A Miscarriage of Justice: The Overdue Reexamination of Joe Hunt’s Wrongful Conviction:

Today’s feature article calls for reevaluating Joe’s 40-year wrongful conviction, spotlighting new evidence and flawed legal processes. It criticizes the justice system’s preference for procedure over truth, using Joe’s denied appeal as a case in point. Urging legal reform and public support for Joe’s freedom, the piece includes key court documents and promotes #FairParoleForJoe, advocating for systemic change.

Why Joe Deserves a Chance at Parole (Video):

Did you know that all of Joe’s codefendants were either immune from prosecution, sentenced to 3.5 years, or won on appeal after 12 years with all charges dropped? Watch this 83-second video about why Joe deserves a chance of parole.

Ask Joe: Age and Accountability: Rethinking Youth Offenses and Rehabilitation:

Joe discusses the significance of age in accountability and rehabilitation, highlighting scientific evidence that the brain matures through late adolescence, affecting impulse control and susceptibility to peer pressure. He notes legislative changes allowing parole reviews for offenders under 26, advocating for fairness in legal treatment and rehabilitation opportunities. The article also reflects on judicial inconsistencies and the recent Supreme Court decision, underscoring the complex interplay between law, age, and rehabilitation.

Scam or Scapegoat? Rethinking Joe Hunt’s Financial Legacy:

This article sheds light on Joe’s story, challenging the narrative of him leading scams through the Billionaire Boys Club. Contrary to popular belief, Joe did not exploit his investors; losses were part of agreed risks with E.F. Hutton and Cantor Fitzgerald, not directly Joe’s liability. It delves into how Ron Levin, a con artist, significantly contributed to these financial losses, yet Joe’s intent was to protect his investors, even contemplating repaying them with his own money. This narrative contrasts sharply with accusations of fraud, highlighting Joe’s attempts to navigate financial downturns caused by external deceit. The article calls for a closer examination of Joe’s case, urging readers to look beyond media portrayals and advocate for fairness and transparency in the legal system.

Proven Innocent… But Still in Prison? Why?

Joe’s unique legal predicament underscores a systemic failure within the U.S. justice system. Despite possessing incontrovertible new evidence that could exonerate him if retried, Joe remains incarcerated due to procedural technicalities. Key testimony from Nadia Ghaleb, crucial in securing a co-defendant’s acquittal, was never presented at Joe’s original trial. Furthermore, declarations from jurors in a subsequent trial, convinced of Joe’s innocence based on this new evidence, are dismissed by courts citing evidentiary rules. This legal oversight not only keeps Joe unjustly imprisoned but also highlights the need for a justice system that values fairness over formality.

Thank You

Your participation is pivotal to the triumph of our cause. We’d like to encourage you to share this petition broadly; such action magnifies Joe’s quest for liberation and highlights the pressing demand for fairness and systemic change. United, we can elevate our advocacy, spread awareness, and ensure Joe achieves the justice he is due.

Katherine and Michael Olivier for Joe’s Family

Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

A Miscarriage of Justice: The Overdue Reexamination of Joe Hunt’s Wrongful Conviction

March 19, 2024

The conviction of Joe Hunt casts a long shadow over the American legal system, illustrating a failure to align the machinery of justice with the principles of truth and equity. For four decades, Hunt has languished in prison, the victim of a legal process that has favored procedural technicalities over compelling evidence of innocence.

This new evidence, which surfaced following his conviction, could have dismantled the prosecution’s case had it been available during the initial trial.

The linchpin of Hunt’s argument rests on witness statements that have shattered the prosecution’s timeline, suggesting the supposed victim was alive well after Hunt’s alleged crime. This new evidence, which surfaced following his conviction, could have dismantled the prosecution’s case had it been available during the initial trial. The legislative revision of Penal Code section 1473 was designed for such scenarios, mandating a case review when new evidence could substantially alter the trial’s outcome.

Yet, the appellate court’s recent denial of Hunt’s petition, citing procedural default for delayed filing, is a stark indictment of a justice system that sometimes prioritizes form over substance. It begs the question: How many procedural obstacles must one man navigate before his voice is heard?

The campaign for Joe Hunt’s freedom is not just an outcry for one man’s exoneration but a clarion call for legal reform. His ongoing legal battle represents the struggles of countless individuals ensnared in a system that too often resists admitting its mistakes.

Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

Essential Court Documents

In the spirit of transparency and informed discourse, this article includes the essential court documents related to the claim of right defense, crucial for a complete understanding of Hunt’s legal stand.

The call to action is clear: it’s time to revisit the Joe Hunt case with the seriousness it deserves. We encourage you to review the included court documents for further insights into Hunt’s pursuit of justice. These documents provide a comprehensive view of the case, offering crucial information and supporting the movement for his release. This platform is not just an informational resource but a beacon for those who demand that our justice system live up to its name.

Scam or Scapegoat? Rethinking Joe Hunt’s Financial Legacy

March 15, 2024

“People seem to forget how many people lost their whole life savings because of this man and his cronies. The Billionaires Boys Club robbed millions and millions of dollars from elderly people, leaving many of them homeless. I don’t feel sorry for this man one bit, and his real name isn’t even Joe, so why doesn’t he start telling the truth?”

Francine Gigi Dougan

Misconceptions About Joe and His Investors

There are many unfortunate but popular misconceptions about the facts about Joe, his actions, and his motives. One of the most glaring ones is this idea that he callously scammed a bunch of ordinary people out of their life savings.

That isn’t the truth. It isn’t even consistent with the prosecution’s theory of the case.

The Prosecution’s Theory

So what was the prosecution’s theory about Joe and his investors and their money?

The State proved that investor money was lost at two brokerages: E.F. Hutton and Cantor Fitzgerald. The investors signed the contract between them and Financial Futures Trading Corporation of North America, Inc. Under the agreement, the investors agreed to bear any and all losses as a result of trades undertaken for them. Profits were to be split 50/50.

So Joe was not personally liable for the trading losses, which amounted to over a million dollars. Moreover, any liability for trading losses would have been contained at the corporate level.

The Losses at Cantor Fitzgerald

Ron Levin, Master Con Man

It was also established that the losses that occurred at Cantor Fitzgerald Brokerage, which amounted to about $600,000, were caused by Ron Levin, who reneged on a promise to pay $500,000 that he owed Joe at the time. Levin had promised to pay Joe that sum, and relying on that promise Joe had overextended the trading account by buying too many futures contracts than he had margin money for.

When Joe didn’t get the $500,000 Levin promised, he wasn’t able to use those funds as planned to meet the margin call, and a position that went on to be highly profitable ended up being liquidated at a loss.

Now Joe had put the same position on in Levin’s account at Clayton Brokerage house. Acting under a trading authorization there he had also bought Treasury Bond Futures for Levin’s account. That position showed on paper a profit of $8,000,000 because Joe had guessed correctly regarding the T-Bond market.

The Alleged Motive

So these are some of the circumstances which both the prosecution and the defense agree upon.

Next, to understand the financial aspect of the State’s case, you need to know what their theory of motive for the alleged killing of Levin was.

They argued at the 1987 trial that Joe didn’t want his investors to bear the losses that were occasioned by Levin’s failure to supply — as promised — the $500,000 he had owed Joe at the time of the Cantor Fitzgerald margin call. So, instead, they say Joe decided to take the money he needed to repay his investors from Levin at gunpoint.

Even under the State’s theory of the case, Joe didn’t set out to scam anyone.

So let that sink in. The State’s theory isn’t that Joe was callously indifferent to his investors’ losses. Quite the opposite! The State’s theory is that he wanted to force Levin to pay a personal debt Levin owed him, so that he could make up out of his own pocket the money that had been lost for the most part behind the corporate shield of Financial Futures Trading Corporation.

Put another way, the State argued that Joe was willing to repay the investors for losses he was not legally obligated to cover and was willing to use money that was owed to him, not Financial Futures Trading Corporation, to do so.

If Joe’s story has moved you, share this article to raise awareness. The more people know, the stronger the push for a re-examination of his case. Use your voice on social media to advocate for transparency and fairness in the legal system.

Joe’s Mistakes

Now, it is true that Joe should have told the investors immediately about the Cantor losses. Instead, he issued a false statement reporting profits, not losses. As a result additional money was invested with Joe, only to be lost at E.F. Hutton and in underwriting some of the overhead of other BBC companies. Joe’s error here was twofold. First, in not being mature enough to face the FFTC investors with the truth. He thought he could avoid the heartache and upset by using the money he thought he had coming in from other activities. This was unwise and unlawful. Second, he was a fool to believe Ron Levin and to have anything to do with him.

As a result of those errors in character and judgment, the FFTC investors lost additional money. Joe agrees he was responsible for that and to this day feels horrible about it.

The Main Point

However, the point of reciting all this is to demonstrate that even under the State’s theory of the case, Joe didn’t set out to scam anyone. He was just being a legitimate businessman before he got thrown off track by a succession of Levin’s scams. And, furthermore, rather than having a callous disregard for the losses of the investors, the State’s theory is that Joe was willing to take money owed and promised to him and give it to the FFTC investors rather than to see them suffer. The State’s theory was that Joe killed Levin to recover money he hoped to use to make those investors whole.

The Defense’s Position

The defense position, and Joe’s, track the above, only diverging as to the final point. Joe says that he tried to scare Levin into paying, using the To Do lists as a prop, but that it never came to murder. Joe testified in San Mateo that he and several other BBC members had a meeting discussing ways to force Levin, who prided himself on being judgment-proof, to pay Joe the $4 million Levin admitted to owing Joe. Joe said the notes from that meeting were shown to, and left with, Levin on June 5, 1984, in the context of an effort to impress upon Levin the lengths to which the BBC would go to collect the $4,000,000 debt.

Karen Marmor, Levin’s next door neighbor, came forward after Joe was convicted providing crucial corroboration of Joe’s story. She testified in 1992 that she had seen the To Do lists on Levin’s desk on the afternoon of June 5, 1984 — i.e., 30 hours before Levin disappeared.

Summary: The Media Can’t Be Trusted

In sum, the media version of Joe’s life is simply untrustworthy. Collapsing real life into 30 minute or even 90 minutes of footage, acting, or narration, leaves most of reality on the cutting room floor.  

Joe’s true fight to make his investors whole, even if it had to come out of his own pocket, is reduced to the meme: ‘ponzi scheme.’ The reality that Ron Levin was in control of the ‘to do lists’ over 24 hours before he disappeared is ignored in favor of speculative sensationalization of their content.  

As we’ve learned in so many other contexts, the media simply can’t be trusted. This is why freejoehunt.com points all eyes and minds towards the opinions of the last and best informed jury to hear the evidence about Joe and the BBC. That jury, after hearing from over 100 witnesses whose testimony has never been accounted for in any media product, concluded the BBC witnesses were perjurers and that Levin likely fled to avoid prison for a variety of State and Federal crimes.

Sign the Petition
Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

Proven Innocent… But Still in Prison? Why?

Joe with his sister and brother-in-law, January 2024

Unique Evidence of Wrongful Conviction

Joe Hunt is the only prisoner in the United States able to concretely prove that evidence which became available after his conviction would exonerate him if granted a retrial.

This unusual circumstance arose because the evidence in question was available to Joe in another trial, following Joe’s 1987 conviction in an L.A. courtroom.

In 1992, Joe faced trial again in San Mateo County, where he acted as his own lawyer. The prosecutor’s decision to use all evidence from the L.A. trial, alleging Joe’s involvement in other crimes, enabled Joe to hire investigators to reexamine the State’s claim of Ron Levin’s murder.

The Chief Detective on Joe’s L.A. case told his superiors in a memo written in 1993 that the evidence brought to light after Joe’s conviction, in his opinion, would likely result in an acquittal if Joe were retried.

Ultimately, Joe found and called 42 witnesses that had not, but should have been, presented by the defense in Los Angeles in 1987. Most of these witnesses could have been identified had the counsel representing Joe in that first trial been effective. A few of them only came forward after Joe was convicted.

Key Witness Testimony: Nadia Ghaleb

Just one of these witnesses, Nadia Ghaleb, was enough to free Joe’s co-defendant James Pittman. Pittman, the alleged trigger-man in the case, had been tried to a mistrial, with a vote of 11-1 to convict, in 1986. After Joe’s conviction in 1987, Pittman was retried. The 1988 trial resulted in a 10-2 vote for acquittal. The major difference between the two Pittman trials was Nadia’s testimony in the 1988 trial. 

Testifying for the Defense, Nadia told the jury that she managed restaurants and had become acquainted with Ron Levin when she was Maitre D’ at Mr Chow’s, possibly the premier restaurant in L.A. during the late ’70s. She recalled seeing and interacting with Levin on many occasions, including seeing Levin in the company of celebrities such as Andy Warhol. She described Levin perfectly—height, weight, eye color—right down to his signature silver-gray hair. It was because of her familiarity with Levin that she felt certain she saw him in a parking lot off of San Vicente Boulevard in May of 1987.

Plainly, Levin could not have both died in June of 1984 and been alive in May of 1987. The 1988 10-2 vote for acquittal of Pittman’s second jury suggests they found her testimony sufficient to raise a reasonable doubt. After the lopsided vote in favor of acquittal, DDA Wapner dropped murder charges against Pittman.

But Nadia wasn’t called as a witness at Joe’s 1987 trial. Convicted without her testimony, this circumstance – in light of the difference it appeared to make for Pittman – seriously undermines the reliability of the verdict.

Moreover, Joe called Nadia and several other similar witnesses in his 1992 trial in San Mateo. Though these witnesses were not directly relevant to the San Mateo charges, as explained above, the prosecutor made them relevant when he decided to use the L.A. case to try and show that both cases constituted an interlocking pattern of conduct. His argument opened the door for Joe to present evidence that he was both wrongfully convicted in L.A. and wrongfully accused in San Mateo.

Advocate for justice in light of Joe Hunt’s unfair legal treatment by supporting his bid for a fair parole review. His commendable behavior and positive contributions highlight his rehabilitation. Sign the petition to endorse a balanced review of his case, emphasizing the need for justice and fairness in our legal system.

Jurors Convinced of Innocence

In all, Joe called 107 witnesses to the stand—and, as noted above, over 40 of those were to demonstrate his innocence in the disappearance of Levin.

This is where it gets very interesting. The San Mateo jury, which hung 8-4 in Joe’s favor, was interviewed post-verdict. Eight of them gave Joe declarations stating that they felt, in light of the new evidence, that Joe had been wrongfully convicted. They concluded Levin fled to avoid prosecution; that he wasn’t killed.

The circumstances above explain why Joe is the only person in prison in the United States who can incontestably prove that his new evidence would likely lead to an acquittal. Why then should Joe languish in prison?

Joe has attempted to use these declarations from the San Mateo jurors to persuade the Courts to give him a retrial on the Levin charges. He has pointed out that it is unprecedented and unique proof that the evidence that was uncovered or became available after his 1986 conviction is both credible and exonerating.

The Courts have uniformly responded that while that appears to be true, they must refuse to consider the evidence because of an arcane evidentiary rule that was adopted to insulate jurors from post-trial attacks on their reasoning processes. (See Fed. Rules of Evid. section 606; California Ev. Code section 1150.)

Consequently, a legal technicality, unrelated to the pursuit of justice in individual cases, has enabled courts to dismiss conclusive evidence of Joe Hunt’s wrongful conviction. This dismissal occurs even though Hunt is not employing the juror declarations to challenge the jurors’ verdicts.

The circumstances above explain why Joe is the only person in prison in the United States who can incontestably prove that his new evidence would likely lead to an acquittal. Every year, thousands of American prisoners win retrial based merely on arguments that are deemed to show a likelihood of acquittal on retrial. Why then should Joe languish in prison?

Indeed, the Chief Detective on Joe’s L.A. case told his superiors in a memo written in 1993 that the evidence brought to light after Joe’s conviction, in his opinion, would likely result in an acquittal if Joe were retried.

The stark reality of Joe Hunt’s situation is a jarring indictment of a justice system mired in procedural inertia. It’s unconscionable that concrete evidence capable of overturning a wrongful conviction is disregarded, leaving an innocent man languishing behind bars. This case transcends Joe Hunt; it’s a chilling testament to the failures of a legal system that prioritizes technicalities over truth. The time has come for those in power to acknowledge and rectify this grave injustice. Every moment Joe remains imprisoned despite overwhelming evidence is not just a failure of the legal system, but a blatant betrayal of the very ideals of justice and fairness it purports to uphold.

Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

Ask Joe: Age and Accountability: Rethinking Youth Offenses and Rehabilitation

March 8, 2024
By Joe Hunt

“For me, and especially men, we should realize that the change from youth to middle age is drastic in your behavior and your thoughts and beliefs… What they may have thought was okay and their youth realize it’s wrong in older age.”

– Carolyn Marie Crane Bramblett on my Facebook posting

I agree, and the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama (2012) 567 U.S. 460 discusses some of the neurophysiological and behavioral science behind this revelation.

The idea of a youth offender parole hearing is based on scientific evidence showing that parts of the brain involved in behavior control continue to mature through late adolescence and that adolescent brains are not yet fully mature until a person is in his or her mid-to-late 20s. Specifically, the area of the brain responsible for impulse control, understanding consequences, and other executive functions is not fully developed until that time. This is, as you recognize, particularly true for males. 

In reviewing this scientific evidence, the United States Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court have recognized that the younger a person is, the more susceptible he or she is to negative influences and outside pressures, including peer pressure. However, as they age, maturity can lead to reflection, which is the foundation for remorse, renewal, and rehabilitation. Therefore, the California Legislature has determined that with few exceptions, offenders who commit crimes while under the age of 26 and who are sentenced to state prison are required to have a meaningful opportunity for parole during their natural life.

“The younger a person is, the more susceptible he or she is to negative influences and outside pressures, including peer pressure.”

Understanding the Impact of Age on Legal Responsibility

Assembly Bill 1308 took effect on January 1, 2018, and it expanded youth offender parole hearings to persons under the age of 26 when they committed their controlling offense.

Advocate for justice in light of Joe Hunt’s unfair legal treatment by supporting his bid for a fair parole review. His commendable behavior and positive contributions highlight his rehabilitation. Sign the petition to endorse a balanced review of his case, emphasizing the need for justice and fairness in our legal system.

Senate Bill 394 also took effect on January 1, 2018, and it expanded youth offender parole hearings to include those persons sentenced to life without the possibility of parole who were under the age of 18 when they committed their controlling offense.

As of right now, those with a Life Without sentence are excluded from the Youthful Offender parole legislation cited above.

Challenging the Status Quo: A Personal Journey

However, in People v. Hardin, the Second Appellate District ruled that this exclusion violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California and Federal constitutions. Hardin is now under review in the California Supreme Court (S277487), and a decision is expected this year.

I was the first prisoner to challenge the exclusion of Life Without prisoners from the Youthful Offender parole bills, filing in late 2016 in L.A. Superior Court. When my petition was denied, I appealed to the Second Appellate District — the same District that would later grant relief to Hardin. However, they denied my petition, and the California Supreme Court denied review.

“Many petitions are never shown to a judge at all but are decided by law clerks who, in some cases, are fresh out of school.”

The differing treatment of Hardin’s petition and mine, though they both alleged the same facts and legal theories, illustrates the haphazard nature of judicial remedies. Many petitions are never shown to a judge at all but are decided by law clerks who, in some cases, are fresh out of school. Judges review others, but judges are often influenced by their political inclinations. Do you doubt that? Well, then, consider how often the U.S. Supreme Court votes are along party lines. If a logical process involving “the law” was actually involved, why are there so many 5 to 4 decisions?

Post Script

On March 4, 2024, The Supreme Court of California decided to reverse the Court of Appeals in In re. Hardin. They rejected the argument that the Equal Protection Clause prohibits the exclusion of Life Without prisoners from the Youthful Offender parole bills. For Joe and many others, a disappointing result.

Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

Join the Conversation: The Ask Joe Series

Do you have questions about Joe Hunt’s case or want insights on the justice system? Be a part of our ongoing “Ask Joe” series. This is your chance to engage directly with Joe and delve deeper into his story and experiences. Post your questions on our Facebook page or X.com, or send them to us privately, and stay tuned as Joe addresses your queries in upcoming segments. Your question could be the next one we explore in our journey for justice and understanding.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to interact and gain perspective straight from Joe. Ask away, and let’s unravel the complexities together!

Why Joe Hunt Deserves a Chance at Parole (Video)

Discover the untold story of Joe Hunt: A journey from questionable conviction to unparalleled redemption behind bars.

Elevate your impact and join the movement for justice by signing the petition today. It’s a simple action with profound consequences. To join this transformative cause, head over to https://bit.ly/SignJoesPetition.

Delve into the deeper narrative and arm yourself with knowledge at https://freejoehunt.com/. Understanding the whole story is crucial, and your informed support is invaluable in our pursuit of justice.

Please share this video with your network to help us amplify our message. Every share extends our reach and brings us closer to our goal. Your network can make a difference! #FairParoleForJoe

Ask Joe: Can New Testimonies Overturn a Conviction Based on Circumstantial Evidence?

March 1, 2024
By Joe Hunt

Kurt Kissinger wrote:

“It’s called circumstantial evidence. People are convicted on that basis, every day. You want to use public sentiment to have him released because you have no evidence that he didn’t do it. P-off!”

So by “no evidence,” are you referring to the eight non-partisan witnesses who came forward after he was convicted, passed polygraphs, and swore under oath that they saw Levin, the con artist, alive after the date of the alleged homicide? Like that kind of “no evidence”?!?

And BTW, eyewitnesses are called direct evidence, the sort of evidence that has been deemed proof beyond a reasonable doubt in millions of criminal cases.

Questioning the Evidence: What Really Happened?

Now, I grant you that some types of circumstantial evidence are compelling, and circumstantial facts can amount to almost iron-clad proof. However, in this case, the circumstantial evidence is essentially:

  1. Levin, the out-on-bail con artist, disappears.
  2. I said I “knocked off” Levin.
  3. Lists were found at Levin’s house, authored by me, that arguably could have been an extortion plan.

Arguably, the third piece of circumstantial evidence is the State’s strongest point. However, consider the following:

I was asked about the to-do lists when I testified. About a day of cross-examination was spent going through them in detail. The trail from those documents doesn’t lead where you think.

Ron Levin
Con Man

Advocate for justice in light of Joe Hunt’s unfair legal treatment by supporting his bid for a fair parole review. His commendable behavior and positive contributions highlight his rehabilitation. Sign the petition to endorse a balanced review of his case, emphasizing the need for justice and fairness in our legal system.

The Misunderstood Evidence: A Closer Look at the Lists

“After I was convicted, a witness came forward who had seen Ron Levin on June 5, 1984 in his office in possession of the to-do lists.”

Did you know that after I was convicted, a witness came forward who had seen Ron Levin on June 5, 1984, in his office in possession of the to-do lists? Who said that? Why, Karen Marmor, wife of Lenny Marmor. Lenny was a prosecution witness in the 1987 trial and was presented as Levin’s closest friend and associate. His wife Karen did not testify. The two lived next door to Ron Levin in Beverly Hills.

Karen testified that she spent her career as an officer at a bank. She said she didn’t follow the 1987 trial and had no idea that the odd lists she had seen and perused on Levin’s desk while she was waiting for him to get off the phone were the centerpiece of the case against me. But she distinctly recalled some of their unusual content.

The proof that Levin had these lists on the day before he disappeared, coming from a witness affiliated with the prosecution camp, completely upends the prosecution’s theory.

The Impact of New Testimonies: Shifting Perspectives

The 1987 jury convicted me, believing those lists arrived at Levin’s house on June 6th and were used as a checklist in a murder-extortion scenario.

However, Karen’s testimony explodes that myth. As I testified in 1992, the lists were notes taken at a meeting involving several BBC members who were brainstorming on how to get Levin to pay the millions he had cheated them and me out of. I testified that I had later used the lists, showing them to Levin on June 5th, as a prop in a plan to intimidate Levin.

I showed Levin the lists and ultimately left them with him while explaining to Levin that the men in the BBC were not going to take his scams lying down and that there would be consequences if Levin ignored his debts.

Karen Marmor’s testimony corroborated my story.

If Joe’s story has moved you, share this article to raise awareness. The more people know, the stronger the push for a re-examination of his case. Use your voice on social media to advocate for transparency and fairness in the legal system.

Juror Perspectives and the Power of Testimony

Dean Karny

After the San Mateo trial in 1992, the jurors were interviewed about Karen Marmor and asked if they found her and my explanations of the To-Do lists credible. The eight jurors who signed declarations said they did. They said they found Karen, a former bank officer and wife to a key prosecution witness, a lot more credible than Dean Karny, the government’s immunized witness and the sole killer of Hedayat Eslaminia.

The truth, as we learned from Karen’s testimony, was that Levin came into possession of the legendary To-Do lists a day before he disappeared, negating the “recipe for murder” theory that has been grist for all the media accounts of the case.

“The truth, as we learned from Karen’s testimony, was that Levin came into possession of the legendary To-Do lists a day before he disappeared.”

So that whittles down the State’s circumstantial case to just one point other than the bare fact that Levin left his rental flat: I claimed to be responsible for Levin’s disappearance. Given that I was aware that Levin fled and had reason to lie about being responsible, both to save face and to opportunistically intimidate a rival faction in the BBC, it’s difficult to call this circumstance “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Indeed, one is left asking, “What do I trust?” My word to his erstwhile compatriots in the BBC or all the independent evidence that points to Levin absconding — including our eight fellow citizens who came forward to tell us they saw Levin alive later?

Joe Hunt, Feb. 2024

Join the Conversation: The Ask Joe Series

Do you have questions about Joe Hunt’s case or want insights on the justice system? Be a part of our ongoing “Ask Joe” series. This is your chance to engage directly with Joe and delve deeper into his story and experiences. Post your questions on our Facebook page or X.com, or send them to us privately, and stay tuned as Joe addresses your queries in upcoming segments. Your question could be the next one we explore in our journey for justice and understanding.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to interact and gain perspective straight from Joe. Ask away, and let’s unravel the complexities together!

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Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

Things that make you go ‘Hmmm’

Billionaire Boys Club (1987) Mini-series

February 27, 2024
By Joe Hunt

After 40 years during which the media has controlled the narrative, their story of the Billionaire Boys Club has become legend: a cautionary tale about rich young men gone haywire, set against the beguiling backdrop of Beverly Hills in its 1980s heyday. My role as the charismatic psychopath who led them was embossed on the mass consciousness through his portrayal by Judd Nelson in the critically acclaimed 1987 NBC miniseries. Nielsen reported that nearly 90 million people saw it. Since then, there have been books, a motion picture, and at least 20 documentaries, several of which have come out in the last few years.

The meme of the BBC is so compelling in its portrayal that it seems iconoclastic, or even socially apostate, to trouble the public with the facts. Yet, the public of this day and age is far more conscious of how often the establishment narrative is either faked or published with callous indifference to the truth. And so, we offer this article and commend it to the more seasoned judgment of our time.

“The public of this day and age is far more conscious of how often the establishment narrative is either faked or published with callous indifference to the truth.”

1. Did you know Ron Levin was researching the U.S./Brazilian extradition treaty right before disappearing? The jury that convicted me did not.

2. Did you know that Levin called his hairdresser, John Duran, the day before he disappeared, pressing him for advice on changing his hair color? The jury that convicted me did not.

3. Did you know that a police detective noticed brown stains consistent with hair dye residue on the porcelain in Levin’s bathroom after he disappeared? The jury that convicted me did not.

Ron Levin, Master Con Man

Advocate for justice in light of Joe Hunt’s unfair legal treatment by supporting his bid for a fair parole review. His commendable behavior and positive contributions highlight his rehabilitation. Sign the petition to endorse a balanced review of his case, emphasizing the need for justice and fairness in our legal system.

4. Did you know that Ron Levin told Jerry Verplancke, the manager of Progressive Savings and Loan of Beverly Hills, that he was investing in Microgenesis Corporation (one of the BBC companies)? My jury didn’t know that. Instead, the prosecutor used testimony from Dean Karny to the effect that Levin had never even heard of Microgenesis — let alone invested in it. (The State’s theory was that I extorted a $1,500,000 check from Levin, made out in favor of Microgenesis. The D.A. argued that a business file supporting a transaction between Levin and Microgenesis was planted.)

5. Did you know that Levin’s next-door neighbor, Karen Marmor, witnessed the distinctive ‘to-do’ lists on his desk when she visited him on June 5th—i.e., the day before his disappearance? The jury that convicted me did not hear from Karen at all. Karen, a career bank officer, was none other than Len Marmor’s wife. The D.A. described Len Marmor as Levin’s closest associate. The revelation that Levin had the ‘to-do’ lists the day before he disappeared totally destroys the state’s theory that the lists were first brought to Levin’s on the night of June 6th, there to be used as a checklist during a murder. Further, it corroborates my assertion—which many had once branded as implausible—that he had given the lists to Levin on June 5th, apparently shortly before Karen saw them on Levin’s desk.

“Karen Marmor’s late revelation undermines the state’s timeline and could have decisively altered the trial’s outcome.”

6. Did you know Levin told at least two people that he planned to flee to avoid imprisonment? The jury that convicted me did not.

Jim Pittman

7. Did you know that my co-defendant, James Pittman, was tried twice, both trials ending in a mistrial? In the second trial, the jury voted 10-2 for acquittal. After that, the L.A. D.A. dropped murder charges against him. The D.A. told my jury that Pittman shot Ron Levin. So I was convicted of ordering a man to kill Levin, and that man, in a later trial, with the benefit of evidence unavailable to me, was cleared of that crime.

8. Did you know that Levin was out on bail, facing 12 counts of grand theft when he disappeared? Did you know that his mother’s house was used as collateral for the bail bond? Did you know that a week before he disappeared, he had his mother’s house released as collateral and substituted a new bond?

“Levin’s pre-disappearance actions suggest a man preparing for flight, not one on the verge of being murdered”

9. Did you know that the State had no direct evidence of murder — neither blood, nor bullets, nor a body — and that seven citizens came forward after I was convicted, describing encounters with Levin in 1986 and 1987, i.e., they saw Levin two to three years after his disappearance?

10. Did you know that these seven eyewitnesses were presented in the San Mateo trial and found by that jury to be credible and persuasive?

11. Did you know that I am the only person in the history of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence to be held for a no-body homicide where the alleged victim both planned to flee and was subsequently seen by non-partisan witnesses?

If Joe’s story has moved you, share this article to raise awareness. The more people know, the stronger the push for a re-examination of his case. Use your voice on social media to advocate for transparency and fairness in the legal system.

12. Did you know that an American Express Card found by the police at Levin’s house was used at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills on the morning of June 7, 1984 — that is, the morning after Levin was allegedly killed?

13. Did you know that all of my co-defendants were released, and the cases against all of them were dropped?

14. Did you know that after the San Mateo jury saw me cross-examine Tom May, Jerry Eisenberg, Dean Karny, and Evan Dicker (his former cohorts in the BBC), they rejected their testimony and concluded that they had all perjured themselves?

15. Did you know that the Chief Detective on the case, Les Zoller, wrote a memorandum to his superiors in 1993 telling them that the new evidence in the case was compelling and that if I were given a retrial, he would likely be acquitted?

Detective Les Zoller

Retrial or Resentencing: My Overdue Justice

Me in 2018, age 59

Under close analysis, the conventional narrative of Joe Hunt and the Billionaire Boys Club is revealed to be decidedly false. Delving into evidence, witness accounts, and legal challenges reveals the critical need for a retrial—or, at the very least, resentencing. This case provokes discussion on whether we repose too much trust in the reliability of judicial processes and verdicts. Is the judicial system really any more reliable than other institutions?

Why, despite credible exonerating evidence and exemplary conduct, have I been overlooked for resentencing?

As I conclude, I invite readers to reflect on two questions: 1) In light of the emergence of credible exonerating evidence after my conviction, why haven’t I been granted a retrial? And 2) In light of my exemplary conduct over nearly 40 years in prison and the extraordinary work I’ve done in the last decade to assist charitable causes, why have I been overlooked for resentencing?

Sign the Petition
Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

Ask Joe: The Conundrum of Honesty in the Shadows of Conviction

February 23, 2024
By Joe Hunt

Scotty Higgins posted this comment on our Facebook post: 

“I believe if Joe Hunt admits to his crimes… and shows remorse for his part in them and tells what happened to Ron Levin and where his body is. That’s the only real chance Joe has of ever getting out.”

Outside of completely misunderstanding the spiritual basis of life, my fault in my youth was that I was prone to lie under pressure—as many of us are. Viewing my life through a secular lens and having been exposed to many other liars, including a few in positions of authority, I felt that words were best chosen purely for the desired effect on the listener. Among the businessmen I encountered and within my social circle, no one championed truthfulness on spiritual grounds or pointed out the karmic implications of being a liar.

The Paradox of Contrition in Incarceration

Now, I find myself in the ironic predicament of being more likely to be granted clemency and then parole if I start talking as if I were guilty and assume the posture and phraseology of contrition.

That is, after all, the well-worn path that prisoners the world over take to get out of prison.

Reflecting on a Misguided Past

“For me, there is one problem. To do that would mean I have neither learned anything nor advanced spiritually.”

For me, there is one problem. To do that would mean I have neither learned anything nor advanced spiritually. This all started with a seemingly convenient lie. The idea was to capitalize on Levin’s disappearance as he ran from a second prison sentence. The plan was to claim responsibility for his absence as a means to intimidate a rival faction of the BBC. Profoundly stupid in retrospect, but not as foolish as it would have been to brag about a murder one had actually committed. I never guessed Levin would stay gone and never be apprehended. Nor did I realize how the collapse of the BBC and the pressures that were brought to bear on my erstwhile cohorts would incentivize them to project a materially false narrative regarding my conduct and theirs.

Advocate for justice in light of Joe Hunt’s unfair legal treatment by supporting his bid for a fair parole review. His commendable behavior and positive contributions highlight his rehabilitation. Sign the petition to endorse a balanced review of his case, emphasizing the need for justice and fairness in our legal system.

But, yes, you’re right. The Government has all the power, and it tends to demand submission and to punish even well-evidenced contradiction as insubordination. And of course, the Government is always right, and its papers are not subject to the frailties and limitations of those who authored them, right?

So I agree, my insistence on my innocence is not practical; it is not pragmatic. But then there are values and principles that I now hold more dear than my life and freedom. Having grown spiritually, I know that I lied my way into prison and that it would be wrong to lie my way out. I also know that justice is not guaranteed on this Earth and that persecution, not comfort, is promised to those who stand on principle.

“Having grown spiritually, I know that I lied my way into prison and that it would be wrong to lie my way out.”

The Quest for Justice Amidst Unseen Truths

Though there isn’t a person on the planet who stands witness to the community saying they saw me kill someone, and though there is just a ‘theory’ of foul play behind my conviction, society has been persuaded by films and “documentaries” that I am guilty. People feel I did it because they saw an actor called “Joe Hunt” live out the prosecution’s case. They feel, therefore, that they “saw” me do it. But what they saw was a theory of the case enacted on a stage; a theory which no man has ever sworn he has observed.

I recall reading about a prisoner during China’s Cultural Revolution. Falsely accused of being a yellow-dog agent of Western “Imperial” powers, he stubbornly refused to admit the allegation. He withstood torture and potential death in a work camp rather than admit to a crime he was innocent of. At one point, an interrogator said that he agreed the charge was false but urged him to confess anyway as it would serve the State, reinforcing its efforts to create a new society based on communism and Chairman Mao’s guidance. He told the prisoner, “It’s good to be useful.”

Though the injustice done to that man is different in some ways than that done to me, and though he was totally undeserving of that fate, his story resonates with me.

It would be a useful validation of the system for me to confess, albeit to a false account. Though I am guilty of lying and cheating, such behaviors do not inherently conceal or give rise to murder.

If Joe’s story has moved you, share this article to raise awareness (share buttons at the bottom of the page). The more people know, the stronger the push for a re-examination of his case. Use your voice on social media to advocate for transparency and fairness in the legal system.

Reassessing Evidence and Pursuing Justice

Isn’t it just as likely that Levin, the seasoned con man, won out over me, especially the 24-year-old me that existed in 1984? Hadn’t he gotten the better of me through several other tricks? Why is it that everyone feels comfortable ignoring the mountain of evidence that came to light after I was convicted? Why must I have been telling the truth when I claimed I “knocked off” Ron Levin? Especially when the State’s case was that all of us in the BBC were lying about so many other things? Why is it probable that the more than half dozen non-partisan citizens who came forward to report Levin alive are mistaken? Why do many just assume they are, despite hearing from several new witnesses that Levin asked for instructions on how to dye his hair, was researching extradition treaties, and swearing he would not go back to prison? Shouldn’t a man have the right to a trial with that powerful new evidence before he dies in prison for a conviction so impressively called into question?

The truth is that I was convicted merely because I was tried in 1987, rather than in 1988. Had I been tried a year later, like my co-defendant Jim Pittman, I would have been able to present more exonerating evidence. And, as he was, I would then have been released by a jury verdict.


Join the Conversation: The Ask Joe Series

Do you have questions about Joe Hunt’s case or want insights on the justice system? Be a part of our ongoing “Ask Joe” series. This is your chance to engage directly with Joe and delve deeper into his story and experiences. Post your questions on our Facebook page or X.com, and stay tuned as Joe addresses your queries in upcoming segments. Your question could be the next one we explore in our journey for justice and understanding.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to interact and gain perspective straight from Joe. Ask away, and let’s unravel the complexities together!

Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

Joe Hunt and the Claim of Right Defense: A Legal Argument for Innocence

November 12, 2023

Introduction

Amidst the tangled web of law and fact underlying Joe Hunt’s conviction lies a pivotal but esoteric legal doctrine: the claim-of-right defense. This principle of California’s common law, stark in its simplicity, asserts that taking what one genuinely believes to be rightfully theirs is not theft. This isn’t just a legal nuance; it’s the crux of Hunt’s argument for innocence concerning the robbery allegations that are the basis of his Life Without Parole sentence.

“Taking what one genuinely believes to be rightfully theirs is not theft; this is the crux of Hunt’s argument for innocence.”

The Crux of Hunt’s Defense

Set against a backdrop of financial deception with Ron Levin, a master of fraud, the State’s theory was that Joe sought to force Levin to pay him a portion of what was due under a legitimate business contract between the two.

Under Joe’s leadership, the BBC, driven by a tragic admixture of ambition and naivety, got entangled in Levin’s schemes. Levin somehow managed to convince two brokerage houses to work with him to dupe Hunt into believing that Levin had several million dollars on deposit with them. Levin solicited Hunt’s expertise and gave him trading authority over the accounts. They agreed that Hunt would receive 50% of profits. Within months, Hunt had more than doubled the account, netting Levin over $8 million.

The brokerages created false statements and assigned actual brokers to maintain the hoax. Levin told them he was doing a documentary on the “young Turks” making a living as commodity traders and that Hunt’s career would be the film’s focal point. They agreed to assist Levin in maintaining the illusion. Prosecution witnesses, including a commodity broker, testified that Levin supplied Hunt with the false statements and publicly acknowledged the debt to Hunt in the presence of several trial witnesses.

Advocate for justice in light of Joe Hunt’s unfair legal treatment by supporting his bid for a fair parole review. His commendable behavior and positive contributions highlight his rehabilitation. Sign the petition to endorse a balanced review of his case, emphasizing the need for justice and fairness in our legal system.

The Oversight in 1987

However, the trial in 1987 saw a critical misstep: the jury was never instructed about the claim-of-right defense. This glaring omission, Hunt’s defense contends, led to a domino effect culminating in a wrongful conviction on the robbery allegations—and this even assuming that the prosecution’s case was true. Thus, this isn’t merely a procedural error; it’s a travesty of justice, one that converted a 25-to-life sentence into one of Life Without due to the robbery special circumstance.

“This isn’t merely a procedural error; it’s a travesty of justice, one that converted a 25-to-life sentence into one of Life Without due to the robbery special circumstance.”

A Call for Justice

Thus, the documents accompanying this article aren’t just legal papers but a testament to a battle for justice against a flawed legal judgment. They reveal a fight not just for freedom but for the legal system to acknowledge a grave error. These documents, detailing Hunt’s unwavering assertion of his rights, lay bare the intricate details of a legal system that in this case has wholly lost sight of its purpose. There can be no reasonable justification for enhancing Hunt’s sentence to one requiring his death in prison when even if the State’s case was true, Hunt was not guilty of robbery.

As Hunt serves his sentence, the claim-of-right defense constitutes a last-ditch effort in pursuit of a modicum of justice.

Joe Hunt’s case is a glaring example of how the law, due in principal part to its complexity, can sometimes falter, leading to life-altering consequences. His journey through the courts challenges us to ponder the true meaning of justice and the role of legal intricacies in determining a person’s fate.

We invite you to review the included court documents for a deeper understanding of this complex legal issue. These documents provide a comprehensive view of the arguments and evidence central to Joe Hunt’s ongoing fight for justice.

If Joe’s story has moved you, share this article to raise awareness (share buttons at the bottom of the page). The more people know, the stronger the push for a re-examination of his case. Use your voice on social media to advocate for transparency and fairness in the legal system.


Update from Joe Hunt, November 30, 2023

The court denied Joe’s Claim of Right argument. Below is an update from Joe about the denial.

The Essence of Claim of Right

The “Claim of Right” defense to an allegation of robbery dates back to the common law in California at the time of its formation as a state. The concept is simple: a robber intends to take property forcibly he knows he has no right to. In law, this is referred to as the ‘animus furandi’ of robbery; in other words, it is the definition of the mental-state element of the crime.

My Claim of Right habeas petition sought to gain redress for an injustice. It pointed out that the PROSECUTOR’S THEORY of the facts was that Levin and the employees of Clayton Brokerage House had duped me. Clayton and Levin had conspired, intending to make me believe that Levin had deposited about $5,500,000 in a trading account. Clayton’s role in the scheme was to generate false account statements and have one of their brokers (Jack Friedman) take orders I placed under a trading authorization signed by Levin.

In his closing argument, Deputy D.A. Wapner told the jury that his witnesses had established that I fell for the con and that “I truly believed” the account was real, and that I also believed that as a result of my trading of the account, I had made Levin $8,000,000. This, he explained, meant that under the publicly acknowledged terms of the agreement between Levin and me, he owed me $4,000,000 — i.e., half of the trading profits.

My recent petition pointed to the prosecutor’s summation at my 1987 trial as proving that under the State’s theory of the case, I was innocent of robbery — as the prosecutor had told the jury that I had a good faith belief that Levin owed me more than I allegedly tried to take from him.

Challenging the Court’s Decision

The judge denied the petition for basically two reasons. First, he held that the Claim of Right defense would only apply if the money and trading were real rather than simulated. Second, he said I had no right to instruction on the defense since my position at trial was that I was totally innocent.

In our pursuit of justice and fairness within the legal system, this journey transcends a singular battle. We invite you to join us by endorsing the petition—a collective step towards reevaluating the intricacies of this case. Your support shines a light on the urgent need for legal reform and underscores the significance of the claim-of-right defense. United, we have the power to effect change.

I believe the judge erred in these rulings. California law establishes that the defense of Claim of Right attaches where there is a GOOD FAITH BELIEF in the existence of a debt greater than what was taken. The fact that the trading was not real is therefore beside the point. It was enough that I had a good faith belief that I had earned my contractually agreed upon 50% share of the trading profits.

“California law establishes that the defense of Claim of Right attaches where there is a GOOD FAITH BELIEF in the existence of a debt greater than what was taken.”

Second, the judge wrongfully asserts that the trial judge had no responsibility to instruct as to the legal principles in question since my defense at trial was that no forcible taking had occurred. Here again, the judge misquoted settled law. A trial court’s sua sponte duty is to instruct on all defenses with substantial support in the facts, regardless of whether the defense attorneys press those defenses. Moreover, the animus furandi of robbery is an ELEMENT of the offense — and the trial court also had a sua sponte duty to instruct on the elements of each offense charged.

Concluding Thoughts on Justice and Appeal

Nevertheless, I am not going to appeal the issue further. I have no reason to believe that the judicial system will ever fairly apply the law. I have filed dozens of petitions both in federal and state courts and have never seen one coherently or fairly apply the law.

This latest ruling from the L.A. Superior Court is just the latest example of the sophistry and false application of settled law with which my appeals and petitions have been met. I have tried for 37 years to invoke judicial remedies. It has cost me over a million dollars and perhaps 20,000 hours of work. At this point, seeking judicial relief seems like an exercise in futility.

“I have no reason to believe that the judicial system will ever fairly apply the law. I have filed dozens of petitions both in federal and state Court and have never seen one coherently or fairly apply the law.”

I recognize that most Americans believe in the fairness of the judicial system. I once did as well. In fact, that is why I have poured so much into seeking relief through the Courts.

I also recognize that most people who read judicial opinions or legal briefs lack sufficient knowledge to assess who’s right. It takes years, probably at least a decade, of study to be able to know when a court is correctly or incorrectly quoting or applying the law. As a result, many of those who read my statement here will presume the Court is correct and me wrong. I understand that reflex and I do not imagine I can overcome it. All I do here is explain my perspective and the conclusions I have reached.

Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

The Real Joe Hunt Story

A video refresher on Joe’s case and an update on his health and how you can help.

Elevate your impact and join the movement for justice by signing the petition today. It’s a simple action with profound consequences. Just head over to https://bit.ly/SignJoesPetition to be part of this transformative cause.

Delve into the deeper narrative and arm yourself with knowledge on this website. Understanding the full story is crucial, and your informed support is invaluable in our pursuit of justice.

Help us amplify our message by sharing this video with your network. Every share extends our reach and brings us one step closer to our goal. Together, we can make a significant difference in this fight for justice. (There are Share buttons at the bottom of the page.)

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Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

Ask Joe: From Clemency to Claiming Innocence?

Dan Petersen asked on Facebook:

“So, how did y’all go from this, talking about this as a clemency case, to saying he was an ‘innocent man’ in your petition?”

a complex maze constructed from courtroom gavels, legal documents, and judicial symbols, with a small figure navigating towards an exit marked by a glowing light of freedom

January 23, 2024
By Joe Hunt

The Shift from Clemency to Proclaiming Innocence

It’s a good question. Nothing about the judicial review of prisoner petitions is simple. Essentially, you’re asking why the Courts haven’t granted me relief. The assumption inherent in this line of thinking is that the government and the courts are efficient, reliable, and just, and place primary emphasis on following their own rules.

Challenging the Judicial Process: Imperfections and Assumptions

Let’s analyze that general proposition. Everyone knows droves of people are wrongfully convicted. The examples of people exonerated after one, two, three, or even four decades in prison are numerous. We must conclude that the trial-level judicial process is imperfect, despite the advertised “proof” found beyond a reasonable doubt.

So why would we assume the Appellate process is perfect? On appeal, all presumptions favor the state, and a host of procedural and substantive rules limit relief. It’s more likely that Appellate decisions are flawed than the underlying verdicts.

Appellate Hurdles: A Closer Look at My Case

Before 1987, and the referendum on California Supreme Court justices Reynoso, Grodin, and Bird, the reversal rate in California for serious cases was about 12%. A similar percentage of state prisoners gained habeas relief in Federal Court. After the passage of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act following the Oklahoma City bombing, the combined federal/California reversal rate for serious cases dropped to about 1%.

This drastic reduction, 96%, in Appellate relief for prisoners can’t be explained by a dramatic improvement in the fairness and constitutional rigor of criminal trials. It reflected an abandonment of the safeguards and constitutional fidelity that swept the judiciary in the 1960s through the 1980s. Trials are worse now than in the 1980s because prosecutors and judges know there is a negligible risk of reversal, no matter what they do.

Advocate for justice in light of Joe Hunt’s unfair legal treatment by supporting his bid for a fair parole review. His commendable behavior and positive contributions highlight his rehabilitation. Sign the petition to endorse a balanced review of his case, emphasizing the need for justice and fairness in our legal system.

New Evidence and Its Impact on the Case

In my case, I had indisputable proof that exonerating evidence developed after my conviction would bring about a different result if I were retried. I had the result of my co-defendant’s second trial and declarations from jurors exposed to the new evidence several years after my conviction.

As for my co-defendant, Jim Pittman, he was almost convicted in 1986, with an 11-1 guilty vote. Retried in 1988, a year after I was convicted, Jim, under the State’s theory, was the actual shooter. In his 1988 trial, Jim had the benefit of just one of several witnesses, Nadia Ghaleb, who came forward after my conviction to say they knew Ron Levin and had seen him after his alleged murder in June 1984. In that trial, with the new evidence as the only distinction, the vote was 10-2 for acquittal. The case for murder against Pittman was then dismissed.

Regarding the declarations from jurors at a trial held a few years after my conviction, these jurors heard from all the major witnesses called against me in 1987, and they also heard from 41 additional defense witnesses in the Levin case. In their sworn declarations, these jurors stated the new and exonerating evidence was both credible and persuasive. They asserted that if it had been up to them, they would have voted to acquit me in the Levin case. Those declarations are available on this website and explain how they were exposed to the evidence developed after my 1987 conviction.

I repeatedly presented those juror declarations upon appeal, pointing to the implications of the differing result in the two mistrials of my co-defendant, Jim.

Navigating the Appellate Maze: Evidence and Obstacles

However, the state and federal courts chose to ignore that evidence. As for the juror declarations, they refused to consider them, citing an obscure rule that states the thoughts and beliefs of jurors are inadmissible in any effort to overturn a verdict rendered by those jurors. I responded by pointing out that I wasn’t attempting to use the thoughts or mental processes of the jurors who convicted me to impeach their verdict. Rather, I was offering the conclusions and opinions of jurors from a different trial who were exposed to witnesses located after conviction to show that the new evidence was credible and persuasive.

If Joe’s story has moved you, share this article to raise awareness (share buttons at the bottom of the page). The more people know, the stronger the push for a re-examination of his case. Use your voice on social media to advocate for transparency and fairness in the legal system.

So, after refusing to consider the incontrovertible proof that actual jurors would find the new witnesses exonerating, the Appellate courts opined that my conviction should stand as I had no credible proof that a different result at retrial was likely or even possible.

There it is in a nutshell. All Appellate papers are available through this website; see for yourself.

Sign the Petition
Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

🌟 Join the Conversation: Ask Joe Series

Do you have questions about Joe Hunt’s case or want insights on the justice system? Be a part of our ongoing “Ask Joe” series. This is your chance to engage directly with Joe and delve deeper into his story and experiences. Post your questions on our Facebook page or X.com, and stay tuned as Joe addresses your queries in upcoming segments. Your question could be the next one we explore in our journey for justice and understanding.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to interact and gain perspective straight from Joe. Ask away, and let’s unravel the complexities together!

An Update on Joe’s Life

January 19, 2024
by Katherine Olivier

It has been nearly 40 years since Joe was arrested. His once-dark hair is now silver-gray. His eyes betray the weight of the years. 

Joe’s Health Situation

In 2020, his wife, family, and friends received the alarming news that he was hospitalized for heart failure. The prognosis was dire. He had arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, and tachycardia. His ejection fraction was rated at 19. The doctors were at a loss to determine a cause. But it seemed clear that Joe was likely to die of a broken heart.

For the nearly two years thereafter Joe’s heart continued at an average rate of 125 beats per minute. It seemed it would fail at any time. Finally, those who loved him got a break. Joe was referred to an electro-cardiologist named Dr. Waspe of Modesto, California who decided to try a procedure called cardioversion. This called for 220 volts to be run through Joe’s chest. It would stop Joe’s heart, but there was a chance it would reboot it and cause it to go back to normal rate and rhythm. 

Joe’s heart is currently in a normal sinus rhythm. However, his ejection fraction is still low, albeit at 35%, which is significantly improved from where it was previously.

If this were not enough Joe has also been diagnosed with a rare and particularly dangerous form of Leukemia (CMML). Again the doctors are baffled as to why Joe came down with this as it is usually only found in people exposed to highly toxic chemicals. Joe was told that for him, essentially, no treatment was possible.

The one silver lining is that CMML can sometimes take many years to reach its critical stage. For now, Joe’s platelet count is acceptable.

Advocate for justice in light of Joe Hunt’s unfair legal treatment by supporting his bid for a fair parole review. His commendable behavior and positive contributions highlight his rehabilitation. Sign the petition to endorse a balanced review of his case, emphasizing the need for justice and fairness in our legal system.

On the Legal Front

On the legal front, we are all hoping that the California Supreme Court rules that the exclusion of Life-Without prisoners from the Youthful Offender Parole Bill of 2016 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The matter is presently under review in the case of People v. Hardin.

We are also watching whether Senate Bill 94 will clear the State Legislature in 2024. This Bill calls for resentencing of Life Without prisoners whose offenses occurred before June 6, 1990 — but only if they have an exemplary prison record. Joe’s is exceptionally good. 

Joe serves within the prison as Chairman of the Student Council and as a clerk in the recreation department. He often receives laudatory write-ups from staff.

He is visited frequently by his wife and family, and by his friends at the Ananda Church of Self-Realization. (See link here.)

For Joe and his family, parole would mean an opportunity for him to live his remaining years together with them in freedom. Joe’s only ambition is to spend time with his family and his church group. He finds delight in the thought of walking trails near rivers or the ocean. After decades surrounded by cement and steel, he naturally longs for open vistas.

Help bring more attention to Joe’s case for compassionate release. Hunt’s petition points to health issues, numerous trial irregularities, and new youth offender laws.

Joe Hunt to petition for compassionate release

In addition to health issues, Hunt’s petition points to numerous trial irregularities and new laws that call for reductions in the sentences of youth offenders

September 4, 2020

Joe Hunt is now 60 years old and is petitioning for a commutation from Governor Gavin Newsom. Arrested at age 24, Hunt is asking for a sentence reduction, citing numerous trial irregularities, his vulnerability to covid, compounded by a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, and his exemplary prison record.

“It’s a tragic waste — both of taxpayer resources and of a life that could have been spent contributing to society,” said Joe’s brother-in-law Michael Olivier. “Look at all of the things Joe has accomplished while in prison and imagine what could have been.”

Those who have become familiar with the facts know that Hunt has spent his more than three decades of incarceration applying himself to good causes.

As a clerk in the prison law library, he has to date helped over 30 fellow inmates successfully obtain relief from unjust sentences or convictions. Using his financial know-how, Hunt raised over $1 million dollars for his church. And Hunt formed the first men’s support group in his prison. Two prison chaplains, three corrections officers, and his Correctional Counselor have contributed letters on his behalf, praising his conduct and supporting his release.

“In my opinion, Hunt has no inclinations to re-offend,” wrote Correctional Officer M. Saesee. “I would place him solidly in the top one percent as far as suitability for reintegration with society.” Chaplain William Goeke similarly praised Hunt, writing, “The other men look to him for direction and encouragement… his is a voice of healing and compassion.”

The letters from chaplains and prison officials are just a small sample of more than 500 submitted on Hunt’s behalf, all part of a campaign that also includes a staggering 26,000 signatures on a petition supporting Hunt’s release.

Olivier also points to many encouraging developments in California law in the years since Hunt was put behind bars. Based on a greater understanding of cognitive development in young adults, in 2014, California created a system of youth offender parole hearings for inmates whose crimes were committed before the age of 18. Then in 2018, the law was expanded, and the special parole hearings are now offered to inmates sentenced before age 26.

However, those recent changes in youth offender laws exclude inmates who were sentenced to life without parole — which includes Hunt.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Olivier said. “A young adult is a young adult, and if we recognize that sentences which failed to take brain development into account were flawed, then life without parole sentences must be doubly so.”

Though they have found the expansion of opportunities for youth offenders somewhat heartening, Hunt’s family knows they can’t just sit back and wait for the law to evolve — not with Joe’s heart condition, his advancing age, and the coronavirus pandemic. Federal officials also have recognized the increased urgency of compassionate release. U.S. Attorney General William Barr recently ordered officials running federal prisons to immediately maximize the release of prisoners to home confinement during the pandemic.

Hunt was convicted of murder in a case with no body and no physical evidence — only a man who disappeared while out on bail as he faced an FBI investigation for grand theft and fraud. And that questionable starting point led to even more troubling questions about the manner in which the trial was conducted, including an incompetent trial lawyer with a substantial conflict of interest, and a judge who harbored a documented personal conflict with a member of the defense team.

There are substantive reasons to believe that Hunt did not receive a fair trial, says attorney Gary K. Dubcoff. In a scathing 26-page letter supporting Hunt’s commutation, Dubcoff details at length many evidentiary, procedural, legal, and ethical flaws in Hunt’s trial.

The justice system simply did not work in Hunt’s case, Dubcoff says. “I have been practicing criminal trial and appellate work for over three decades, and I have rarely, if ever, seen such a concerted effort on the part of the judiciary to turn a blind eye to facts,” he wrote. Hunt was “convicted by a deplorable combination of judicial misconduct and incompetent, corrupt representation.”

One of the oddest aspects of Hunt’s conviction that points to an unreliable verdict revolves around alleged gunman James Pittman.

Hunt was not sentenced to life in prison for pulling the trigger himself, but because a jury was led to believe he had ordered Pittman to do so.

Yet Pittman’s jury, with additional evidence not discovered until after Hunt’s conviction, acquitted Pittman of the shooting, an outcome totally at odds with that of Hunt’s case.

“It’s baffling,” Olivier said. “How can you think a guy who we learned didn’t shoot anyone was also, somehow, simultaneously forced to shoot someone? Both of these things can’t be true.”

Hunt’s petition to Governor Newsom makes use of all of these arguments: flaws in his trial, the movement to save taxpayer dollars by granting compassionate release to prisoners with health problems, the threat of coronavirus behind bars, his spiritual rehabilitation, his record of nonviolence, his service to fellow inmates and his church, his age at sentencing, and his advancing age today.

“Being 60 years old with a heart condition means Joe is at the highest risk for covid, but the lowest risk for reoffending,” Olivier said. “Everyone in our church is praying that the governor takes notice of that and Joe’s 35 years of peaceful behavior and lets us bring him back home.”

Joe Hunt’s appellate attorney writes scathing report of injustice to Governor Newsom

Below is an abridged summary of a report that Joe Hunt’s appellate attorney, Gary Dubcoff, wrote this month (August 2020) to provide to Governor Newsom. The full 26-page report is here.


My name is Gary K. Dubcoff, and I represented Joe Hunt for years as his postconviction counsel in federal court.  As a result of that work, I am intimately familiar with the record facts of his case, and just how badly our criminal justice system went awry. Indeed, I have been practicing criminal trial and appellate work for over three decades, and I have rarely, if ever, seen such a concerted effort on the part of the judiciary to turn a blind eye to those facts.  I will set out below a summary of the most salient of these facts, and, although it may be difficult to believe many of them, I can state with surety that they are supported by the record citations that accompany them (any or all of which documents I would promptly submit upon request).

Mr. Hunt did not receive justice.  “[E]xecutive clemency exists to provide relief from harshness or mistake in the judicial system ….”  (Ohio Adult Parole Authority v. Woodard (1998) 523 U.S. 272, 284-285.)  Having been informed that the Governor’s Office of Legal Affairs/Pardons takes seriously that precept and believes that the presence of trial irregularities should be considered in a commutation application, I thought it worthwhile to summarize them.  This narrative is rather lengthy in order to make clear just how far short of dispensing justice our system operated in Mr. Hunt’s case.

The short of it is that his trial was presided over by a trial judge who, in between making leeringly misogynistic and homophobic comments and gestures because that was who he was, abandoned all pretense of impartiality, striving mightily at every turn to ensure his conviction, the facts be damned; and Mr. Hunt was represented by an incompetent attorney – in a capital case, this lawyer performed no pretrial investigation(!) – who sold him up the river for lucre and self-interest. 

One unique fact bears highlight, because it establishes the damage done by the trial judge and Mr. Hunt’s lawyer in the first of his two murder trials.

In Mr. Hunt’s second trial, the prosecution’s strategy began with trying to convince the jury that he had in fact committed the first murder for which he had already been convicted. But that effort backfired spectacularly without the burden of a biased judge and corrupt lawyer.

Even though they were informed of his earlier conviction, the second-trial jurors were convinced that there had been no murder at all, and that the alleged victim was alive following his purported murder. 

It is to the everlasting shame of the judicial system that, without legal cause, every reviewing court adamantly refused to take into consideration what those actual jurors stated under oath, acting as if that stark proof of the prejudicial impact of all that went wrong in Mr. Hunt’s first trial did not exist at all.  It is, in no small measure, the reason that he remains incarcerated and must plead for executive grace – in my view, his conviction should long since have been overturned.

(To see the full report, click here.)

Joe Hunt cofounded the first men’s group in a California prison

Joe Hunt with his wife, Jamie

I was a founding member of the first men’s group in a California prison. We held our meetings at B facility, California State Prison at Sacramento, also known as New Folsom. In attendance was Robert Albee, a free man and published poet with considerable experience in men’s groups on the street, and Pat Nolan a convict who had met Robert through correspondence.

The first meeting of the men’s group was held after we came off a particularly long lockdown in 1996, which was instituted after a particularly bloody and violent riot that occurred on the yard. Pat was hoping that men’s work, along the lines of what was taking place in circles of men which had formed in the outside world, could create bridges of familiarity, understanding, and respect Behind the Walls.

Men’s work is a particular process that gives one an opportunity to look at one’s emotional response to life. A man does work, with the aid of the circle, and typically one of the men facilitates. I was tasked with establishing a men’s group on C-Yard at New Folsom in 1998. Under the auspices of Deacon Dennis Moreno, our Catholic chaplain at New Folsom, I did so. In time the circle thrived and was still functioning 14 years later when I left New Folsom. For the first 10 years, I was the clerk in charge of the program and one of the main facilitators. Intensive 4-day trainings were held at C Facility every few months while I was clerking as a facilitating for the program. These trainings would typically involve 30 or 40 men from the outside world, and many came from other countries, joining us behind the walls for 12 to 14 hour sessions on four consecutive days. What took place in such meetings became a subject matter for the documentary, which was filmed after I left New Folsom.

Here is some information about a documentary made about this men’s group, from after my involvement with it ended:

Ron Levin: His Criminal History, Documented

The following FBI documents describe how Ron Levin (alias Ronald Rothchild, alias Ronald Levine, alias Sam Goldberg, alias Ronald Weatherby) got out from under FBI charges of bank larceny for passing $250,000 in fake checks: by disappearing.

When the Beverly Hills Police department decided that Joe Hunt was the suspect, with no body and only circumstantial evidence, the letter says, “no further investigation will be conducted.”

 

When investigators began connecting the dots and began looking into Levin’s criminal history, they compiled a list that was “just a sample” of what police had on file under his name: grand theft, battery, stolen property, a stolen vehicle, harassment, robbery (indicated as “211”), burglary, and an alleged drug act involving a minor.

When investigators went to Levin’s listed place of employment, they found that the address was a fake: nothing more than a mailbox in an office building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In an FBI interview with a corporate security administrator for Fidelity Group, investigators learned that Ron Levin deposited bad checks into two accounts and immediately attempted to  withdraw the funds. Following Levin’s suspicious activities, Fidelity hired an investigator, who learned that Levin had an extensive criminal history and had over 100 civil court filings against him, and had associates in organized crime.

In an interview in which Joe Hunt discussed the infamous “to do” list that was part of his trial, Joe mentioned the multitude of lawsuits Levin faced, and how they left the unrepentant con man unfazed.

“The idea of civilly suing him — it’s just like, get in line,” Joe said. Levin had boasted to Boys Club members that he was an expert at converting criminal fraud into a civil matter to avoid arrest, so legal action simply didn’t seem like a meaningful option.

Joe explained that the list was written out not as a literal plan of action, but part of a desperate ploy to intimidate Levin into paying back funds he had swindled from Joe and Joe’s investors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Levin tried to pull a similar bank fraud with Progressive Savings and Loan, as detailed in the following letters to the U.S. Attorney:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further FBI investigation revealed that Levin also heisted a drawing by Andy Warhol from an art gallery, and then offered his “services” to the gallery to help recover it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there was Levin’s theft of $500,000 (in 1980s dollars!) worth of video and photographic equipment, detailed in this story from the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner that called Levin’s loot a “One-man video warehouse.”

The story illustrates that Levin’s criminal history ran the gamut from sophisticated cons to common thievery.

Joe discusses his dream of starting a family.

Joe Hunt discusses how if had he been released, he and his wife would have hoped for children.

Transcript:

Well, we would’ve wanted to have children, we’ve discussed that. But unfortunately, that ship has sailed.

I mean, she’s four years younger than I, and so, we’re both passed that really. I mean, theoretically possible, potentially, but it’s ill-advised at our ages.

But we even had a name for our daughter, should we have one.

When we first met and shortly before we married we were talking about it. I had some hope at that time that I’d be released by action of the courts, so we had a name for our little girl in mind.

So, that’s a point of sadness and regret for me, and her as well.

Interview: Joe Hunt discusses the sixteen people he helped to receive sentence reductions.

Joe Hunt discusses the sixteen people he helped avoid a life sentence and the dozens that received sentence reductions.

Transcription:

Well yes, I’ve been working, I’ve done habeas petitions and I’ve litigated on behalf of other prisoners.

I’ve also been trying to have them freed, to vacate their conviction, and so, over the years I’ve filed dozens and dozens of—probably close to something like 150—petitions on separate cases.

And I’ve also helped prisoners when I was in the county jail in San Mateo for four years, and I was in Los Angeles County Jail for almost five years total.

I helped other prisoners that were pro per, acting as a mentor to develop the theory of the case, investigate their case, and understand the rules, evidence, and to prosecute their sentence theory.

Anyhow, in total, the sixteen people that I’ve helped either avoided a life sentence because they were acquitted or were released by the courts.

In addition, there were dozens of cases of sentencing reduction.

Joe explains how he chose which inmates to offer legal assistance to.

Joe Hunt explains how he chose which inmates to offer legal assistance to, and several ways that he did this.

Transcript:

So you asked about what sort of results I’ve gotten for other prisoners who’ve been seeking to either overturn their conviction or to be acquitted at trial.

I’ve spent 9 years of my life in county jails, about half in L.A. county jail and half in San Mateo, about 7 of those years while I was actively pro per—which means representing myself. So, many prisoners came to me to ask for help with their cases.

I was very selective about who I chose to assist, and factors about what they were charged with and who they were played a major role.

I was not interested in helping people that I felt were what I would call sick with it; in other words, they were going to choose the criminal lifestyle…

In any event, there have been sixteen people that were either facing life sentences or had life sentences that I’ve assisted to regain their freedom—about evenly split between people that I mentored while I was in county jail so that they would be acquitted.

These were guys that were representing themselves and people that I filed habeas petitions for, or on behalf of, from prison that were released by the courts.

In addition, there were dozens of people that got reductions in sentences as a result of petitions that I filed.

Video: Joe Hunt describes his theory of what happened to Ron Levin.

Joe talks about what he thinks happened to Ron Levin. It’s likely that Levin jumped bail, especially in light of witness accounts that Levin was researching Brazilian extradition treaties and had inquired about dyeing his hair.

Transcript:

I have thought about this a great deal over the years and tried to extrapolate what he would do or did in that situation so you know, his actual fate as a matter of personal knowledge is a mystery to me because my last point of contact with him was June 5th.

So far as I can reconstruct and recall, what I have seen of course is the same eyewitness accounts that my jury in San Mateo heard, about people in some cases had prior
relationships with Ron, had been over to his house, as Gerard had been for dinner, or had contact with him like Robbie Robinson and had seen him subsequently.

So those eyewitness reports, and some of them were asked to take polygraphs, and the ones who were asked took polygraphs passed them with flying colors. And so those reports have been persuasive to me of the fact that Ron Levin was alive through the last sighting, which was three years after his disappearance in Mykonos, the island of Mykonos in Greece.

I’ve also, since I’ve worked so hard on this case, I’ve seen the testimony and read interviews
of people like Oliver Wendell Holmes (no relationship to the great jurist), but he was employed by Levin to work on Levin’s pending criminal cases. The charges Levin was facing before he disappeared and he said that Levin was discussing with him and researching Brazil’s extradition treaties and policies, which I find highly suspicious.

How many people are doing that right before they jump bail?

You know and then furthermore, John Duran, his hairdresser at the time said that Levin called him right before he disappeared and asked him how do I dye my hair. And then detective Les Douler tells us that brown stains that he tested and were not from blood but there was some brown staining in the porcelain of Levin’s bathtub which would be consistent with some last minute change to his hair color.

Now when he was seen late in ’86 and ’87, he had his gray hair, so the postulate and the hypothesis is that Levin initially decided to change his hair but didn’t like it and letting it grow back out grey by when he was seen in Tucson Arizona and when he was seen on the island of Mykonos.

Levin’s grey hair was one of his most striking features people say that he was kind of a he had a very distinctive look back in ’84, in ’83 in Beverly Hills. He graced the cover of a magazine once.

Anyhow, so based on the information evidence that I’ve seen and also based on statements of Levin made in my presence where he said that he would never go back to prison. I deduced a long time ago that he fled and when he was no longer available after June 6, 1984 and I couldn’t get a hold of him and I heard other people couldn’t get a hold of him, and by June 24th I had concluded that he had fled.

He had a pending case so he couldn’t just up and leave without violating the terms of his bail and he wouldn’t just violate the terms of his bail unless he intentionally fled so that was the conclusion I reached and I think it’s the conclusion the Beverly Hills Department reached for the first couple of months as well.

Joe Hunt describes how the bleakness of prison life can lead to suicide.

Joe describes how the bleakness of prison life can lead to thoughts of suicide.

Transcript:

Yes, I’ve been on yards that were so dark, I mean what we’re talking about is referred to in the prison system as active mainlines—like active level 4 mainlines in the California system.

An extremely dysfunctional society exists—as tribal—and the men are under tremendous pressure, and it’s bleak.

So, a lot of people commit suicide.

They don’t do it necessarily by hanging themselves, most often it’s a drug overdose. And a number of people that are brought back from overdoses now is really high because they have a special drug that they use to bring them back.

Otherwise, most of these people would have been successful. But you know, the level of despondency, despair, depression, as a result of the conditions of confinement, on active main lines is high.

And what was called the SHU, Special Housing Unit, for a number of years had guys that were doing 20-30 years behind walls, with no outside exercise other than what we call a dog run, which is just like a 10×10 cement area opened to the sky.

They get an hour of that or something a day, so in that level of misery, suicide becomes something that many people think about, a lot of people attempt, and of course, tragically some people succeed at.

That is probably the most primary and basic offense against the spirit—against the human spirit—possible.

Joe Hunt and the miracle of the donuts

Joe Hunt describes an uncanny experience involving law enforcement, donuts, and his spiritual beliefs.

Transcript:

It was 1987, I was in the Los Angeles County Jail in what they call the high power wing. So with me are people that have had fights and serious disciplinary problems in L.A. County Jail, people that are down from the penitentiary that are considered potential threats to the security of the institution, and high profile cases like myself.

So I got my own cell along this tier, and I’d just finished reading the Autobiography of a Yogi, which is considered the crest jewel of all spiritual autobiographies by many people—and I think the most read autobiography of all time. Anyhow, I’ve just finished the book, and the book is full of stories of things that are beyond all of our experiences. I mean levitating things, the power of prayer, various manifestations of spiritual beings and entities.

I’ve finished reading the book, I’m lying down on my bunk, the book’s on my chest, and I’m thinking, nothing in my life is in any way…I’ve had no experiences on that level at all. However, I was also thinking that the tone of the author—the way the book was written—I couldn’t imagine that the guy would make it up. The author seemed so sincere, had a great style, was witty, knowledgeable… I couldn’t… it just didn’t make any sense that it was a fabricated story. So, I’m thinking those things and my thoughts conclude with, “But I couldn’t pray for a bag of donuts and get them.”

And just at that moment, I heard a key turn in the lock at the end of the corridor, to which the cells of high power are opened. Anyhow I heard this key turn, I heard some boots coming, and I looked up—and there stopping in front of my cell was a deputy sheriff of the Los Angeles County Jail system. And he looked at me, and I didn’t know this guy, mind you, I had no interaction with him. He said—and he was holding a bag of donuts—and he looks at me and he says, “Hi, would you like some donuts?”

It was kind of an uncanny experience, and I’m not saying that I started believing or having any faith in prayer at that time, because I didn’t, but it put me back on my heels so to speak and made me think a bit. I started meditating as a result of an invitation in the autobiography, and I’ve been doing so ever since for 30 years.

Free Joe Hunt

If you believe in hope, justice, and rehabilitation, join our cause, and give hope not only to Joe Hunt, but to prisoners everywhere sentenced to life without parole -- "the other death penalty."