GENERAL SPENDS $2 MILLION TO GET 65 MORE DAYS IN PRISON FOR WOMAN
WHO ALREADY SERVED 7 YEARS FOR THEFT OF $30 TOOL BOX
On July 9, 1996, Pam Martinez was sentenced
to 25 years to life under Californias three strikes law. She
was convicted of petty theft with a prior after allegedly stealing
a used toolbox worth $30.
In July 1999, Pam's conviction was reversed
because of ineffective counsel and her sentence vacated. Charges were
reinstated, and a new trial was ordered. A Superior Court judge struck
a prior strike resulting from a 1978 plea bargain and offered a sentence
of nine years for the tool box theft. Not willing to risk another
sentence of 25 to life, Martinez accepted the plea bargain.
The CA Appellate Court ordered that the
three years already served under the 1996 invalid conviction should
be calculated as pre-trial credit rather than post-trial credit, and
Pam was released on October 24, 2001 after serving a total of seven
years. Having paid a heavy debt for a $30 theft, Pam began to rebuild
And thats where the story could have
ended, but it didnt. Prosecutors were unhappy with Pam's release
and appealed to the California Supreme Court, claiming that the three
years she served before her retrial should have been considered post-trial
credits. Calculated in that manner, the State's Attorney said Martinez
still owed the California Corrections Department sixty-five days of
The California Supreme Court agreed with
the state's attorney and has ordered Pam to be re-incarcerated for
the additional 65 days. Martinezestimate of the states price
tag for the two-and-a-half years of appeals and re-incarceration:over:
2 million dollars.
After her release from prison over two
years ago, Pam rented an apartment and has held steady employment.
She is proud of her job at Home Depot where her supportive managers
and coworkers say they cannot believe that they are witnessing this
Pam is two months shy of her one-year anniversary
at Home Depot which would allow her a leave of absence, a continuance
of health benefits and a raise. Instead,
Pam will lose her job, and when - and if - she is released in the
agreed upon 65 days, she will have to start all over again, again.
Pam will return to court on Friday, February
27th where she will ask for a one-month continuance so that she can
put her affairs in order. If her request is denied, Pam will be taken
into custody and re-incarcerated then and there. Friends
and community leaders will hold a rally and press conference at 9AM
on Friday, February 27th in front of the Los Angeles Suprerior Court
at 11701 S. La Cienega, 90045.