UnCommon Law is a California non-profit law office whose mission is to help long-term prisoners understand and resolve the factors that contributed to their crimes so that they can safely be released. We work with prisoners for months or years in advance of their parole board hearings, and we represent them in those hearings and in court petitions challenging the parole board and the governor.

We’ve got exciting news about our class action lawsuit against the California Board of Parole Hearings (Johnson v. Shaffer) regarding the use of psychological evaluations to predict future dangerousness.  We have reached a tentative settlement of the case.  Check out the NEWS and COURTS Tabs (above) for the details and a link to the proposed settlement.

This year, we have seen more and more of our clients released from their life sentences, and we are especially pleased with our success on behalf of those sentenced before age 18.  Much of this success is due to our collaboration with the law schools at UC Berkeley and UCLA, whose students have worked hard to secure the release of indigent prisoners sentenced as youth.   

Our next event is a Reception for UC Berkeley School of Law’s Post-Conviction Advocacy Project (PCAP).  It will be held on Thursday evening, October 8, 2015, in the Goldberg Room at the School of Law from 6:30 to 8 pm.  The Reception will feature author Nell Bernstein (Burning Down the House and All Alone in the World), PCAP students, volunteer attorneys and (most importantly) some of our released clients.  Click here for more information.  There is no cost to attend this event, but please RSVP to events@uncommonlaw.org.

Other upcoming events include: 

  • Buy tickets here for our October 13 Screening of the Remarkable and Relevant Film “Crime after Crime,” which tells a personal and compelling story of what it takes to get out of prison from a life sentence.  This event will be held at The New Parkway Theater, at 474 24th Street, Oakland, at 6:00 pm.
  • Plan to join us on November 12 for our Second Annual “Coming Home” Celebration of Released Lifers.  This event will be held at the Prison Law Office, 1917 Fifth Street, Berkeley, at 6 pm.

You can support our work by making a tax-deductible donation  by clicking the Donation Button below or by sending a check to 220 4th Street, Suite 103, Oakland, CA 94607.  Thank you for your continued support.

Keith Wattley, Founder and Managing Attorney

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