Judge Rittenband and Joe Hunt

A biased judge helped put Joe Hunt behind bars. Learn more about Judge Rittenband. #freejoehunt https://freejoehunt.com/

Posted by Free Joe Hunt on Friday, September 28, 2018

Key Court Documents

Commutation Application Habeas Corpus Petition Appellate opening brief Final reply brief District: Amendment of Findings

Additional Court Documents

Final mandamus petition District: Argument on the merits District: Motion to amend denial District: Petitioner's reply Additional legal documents
It's a common misconception that the leader of the "Billionaire Boys Club" was some greedy rich kid trying to get richer. In fact, Joe grew up in a broken home in lower-middle-class Van Nuys, and managed to get into Harvard-Westlake School on nothing but his smarts and a scholarship. Today, Joe's deep spiritual commitment to compassion and peace has meant that throughout his decades in prison, he has maintained a record completely free of violent conflict.
  • Eight credible witnesses testified that they saw alleged murder victim Ron Levin alive after Joe’s conviction. Their testimony freed Joe from a guilty verdict in a connected case.
  • Joe's federal petition argued that his conviction was the result of ineffective assistance of counsel. Joe's incompetent trial attorney:
    • Failed to interview 41 witnesses
    • Failed to see that any investigation was conducted until 2 weeks after the prosecution's case had rested
  • Prosecutors failed to disclose during trial that alleged victim Levin was under investigation by the FBI.
  • A key prosecution witness received immunity on three different felony charges in exchange for testimony
  • The judge in the case faced a motion for judicial misconduct, including charges that he deliberately elicited prejudicial evidence against Hunt by questioning witnesses, and belittled and banished defense staff from the courtroom.
Evidence that Ron Levin faked his death:
  • Shortly before his disappearance, Levin, who was on bail, released his father's house from his bail bond collateral.
  • Witness Oliver Holmes testified that Levin asked him for information about the U.S. extradition treaty with Brazil, which indicates that Levin was planning to leave the country.
  • Levin's upstairs neighbor Justine Jagoda, who frequently complained about noise from Levin's apartment, testified that she was home with windows open, but heard no gunshot or scuffle.
  • A search of the BMW Levin's body was allegedly transported in showed zero forensic evidence of blood or bodily fluids.
  • Levin's hairdresser John Duron testified that Levin asked him about how to dye hair shortly before his disappearance, which Duron found strange, because Levin was proud of his silver hair. Police later found evidence of brown stains in Levin's bathtub.
  • Multiple witnesses testified that they saw Levin after the date of his alleged murder.
    • Joe's habeas corpus (prison release) petition was denied in Los Angeles Superior Court on October 5, 2018. This was the last legal avenue open to him.
    • Joe is asking that his conviction be reversed based upon a new law signed by Governor Brown in 2016.
      • To reverse a conviction, California previously required evidence that “points unerringly to innocence” -- one of the toughest standards in the nation.
      • The current law is more like those of many other states:  it now requires evidence that “more likely than not” would have made a difference if heard in the original trial. Joe has that evidence.
      • Under the new law, it would be sufficient to establish that the evidence discovered after Joe was convicted would possibly raise a reasonable doubt if a retrial was held.
    • Joe is seeking commutation of his sentence by the governor's office, based upon his exemplary prison disciplinary record, and his non-violent and socially constructive orientation. For his commutation application to move forward, the governor's staff must decide to interview him and recommend commutation.
    • Joe’s commutation application includes
      • 47 compelling letters from chaplains, ministers, a former warden, many inmates he has helped, professionals who were involved in his case, and friends and community members.
      • Declarations from seven jurors in a second trial in which Joe defended himself and was acquitted for the murder of Hedayat Eslaminia.
      • At that second trial, much unexplored evidence and many new witnesses painted a clear picture of the injustice that had been done at the first trial.
    • Joe is a poster child for special relief given the circumstances of his incarceration. He would be free today were in not for procedural law that prohibits any consideration of this evidence.

    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."

    Sign the petition