Charles Jordan B#54540 was born "Charles Hamblin" to Clara Mae Hamblin, a hospital orderly, in Kosciousko Mississippi on October 10, 1953. Reportedly after six weeks of life Charles' mother placed him in a laundry basket with some clothes and called his father, Sammie Jordan, who was a long distance truck driver for Mason Trucking Company and told him his son was outside the door of her house in a basket, so if he wanted him he'd better come pick him up before he got too cold.
Being a long haul truck driver, Sammie couldn't take care of Charles so he took him to his parents Rosie & Buck Willie Jordan who lived close by in the small rural town of Durant Mississippi. They were share-croppers and this was during the time when Jim-Crowism was considered the norm. Charles' grandparents were very strict Baptist Christians who raised Charles to fear the Lord, obey his elders, be a hard worker, not to look white folks directly in the eye, and always do what they say. Charles' grandfather administered very harsh physical discipline on Charles for the least bit of disobedience, e.g. Charles often received severe whippings for such things as; not chopping enough firewood, taking food out of the ice-box without permission, or not moving fast enough when told to do something. At 12 years of age Charles could not take any more whippings, so he wrote his father and pleaded with him to come take him away from the whippings of Papa Buck!
While his father was gone on a long haul Charles took turns staying with cousins and other relatives. Charles found work with the whites in town as a service station attendant and stock-clerk at one of the local stores. It became normal for him to be called nigger by whites, but the stories he overheard the whites talking about soon resulted in him finding out why Buck and Rosie were raising him to fear white folk and not look them directly in the eye. Stories about the hangings, beatings, and killings of grown up niggers were frightening to him. It didn't take long for him to witness first-hand several incidents of cross-burnings and adult black males hanging from trees throughout the county. One day after the Marchers came to town, Charles was told he had to quit his job with whites because of the boycott and other events that were growing increasingly confusing and frightening to him. It was suggested to him by his father that it would be safer for him to go to Job-Corp where he could learn some skills, so to Job-Corp he went and did very well. He did two years of Job-Corp but graduated at 17, which was too young to qualify for job placement. While in Job-Corp he met other youths from the big cities who told him there was no fear of whites in the cities and suggested he move north to a city and find work.
Charles best life on his own was in Washington State where he found work as an Assistant Shop Manager for a Kirby Vacuum Company. During this time his friend's grandma passed away in California and he decided to go to LA to be of emotional support to his friend. That visit to LA proved to be the turning point for the worse in his life. He found work, but life after work was starting to feel like a real life scene from the song "Hard-Time Mississippi" so Charles decided it was time for him to return to the best life he had back in Yakima Washington. Before he left he held a private farewell party for him and his friend Fred at the Roselyn Hotel in LA and left the next day for Pasco Washington. The day before leaving LA the police questioned Charles and his friend about a murder at the hotel where they were staying. They finger-printed him and his friend, Fred, at the request of the investigators even though they did not finger-print the rest of the people at the hotel. After only a week back in Washington Charles was arrested for that murder in LA. It was December 27, 1973. Four other people, including Fred, had been arrested in connection with the same murder.
There were two trials for 3 of the original 5 defendants. The first trial ended in a miss-trial with a hung jury. (voting 9 to 3 for acquittal) Normally by law, 9 votes for acquittal would be grounds for dismissal unless the DA came up with new evidence. In an extra ordinary course of events the DA refiled and retried the case with significantly "less" evidence than he had in the first trial. At the 2nd trial the DA used his superior number of jury challenges to excuse all of the Blacks and minorities from the jury-pool, which enabled him to seat an "All-White Jury" in a case filled with racial bias born of a white male victim and 4 Black suspects based entirely on circumstantial evidence. Apparently the all-white jury worked for the DA to the degree all 12 whites reached a radically different verdict for "guilty" in spite of the fact there was absolutely no evidence against Charles. The guilty verdict was for "First Degree" for all defendants even though the court records indicated the victim had a single blow
The victim, Mr. Frank Zion, a.k.a. Frank Smitt, was an adult white male seeking sexual favors for money. According to the trial records Mr. Smitt gave money to a girl for sex. At some point during intercourse with the girl her boyfriend came in the room and confronted the victim while two teenagers (Charles and Fred) were stationed as "look-out" for the boyfriend. The DA labeled the murder as a "Patty-Roll" that went bad to the degree it was said the boyfriend used his girlfriend to seduce the male and he would come in and steal the money from the victim while they were in the act of having sex. At some point there was a physical altercation between the boyfriend and the victim resulting in the victim getting a fatal cut with a broken beer bottle retrieved at the scene.
Back in 1973 there was a law called, "The Felony-Murder-Rule," which allowed the DA the privilege of convicting anyone associated with a killer to the same sentence as the actual killer even if the other person had no plan or intent to kill. In addition the DA did not have to determine "who" the actual killer was as long as it was apparent via circumstances that someone involved was the actual killer. Thus, all defendants in this case received the same sentence.
In January 2019 the Governor and Legislators of the State of California passed a new law that effectively denied the felony-murder-rule to be applicable to anyone that was not the actual killer unless that was the original intent. The new law was passed "retroactively" which means Charles is no longer considered to be guilty of murder, yet he is still incarcerated for the murder in spite of four (4) additional laws that have been passed that should have released him.
All of the defendants that were convicted, including the so-called "mastermind", have been released on parole except Charles. The girl and one of the older adults in the case were given immunity while Charles, Fred, and the boyfriend were convicted and sentenced 7 Years-to-Life back in January 31, 1974. The boyfriend was paroled in 1980, Fred was said to be paroled sometime in 2018. For reasons that cannot be legally, morally, or intellectually explained Charles continues to be incarcerated for nearly half a century for a crime the Governor and Legislature say he is no longer guilty of. SB-1437 was passed January 1st of 2019 and even though Charles was one of the very first to file his SB1437 petition to be resentenced he is still incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison a year and a half after the passage of SB-1437. In a similar fashion he has been in prison nearly 5 years after the Juvenile law was passed and nearly 9 years after an Elderly law was passed. At Charles' last parole hearing in 2019 he was denied for 3 years and found unsuitable for parole in spite of the fact the parole board acknowledged that he has 1) Marketable job skills, 2) Reasonable Parole Plans, 3) Is no longer a threat of violence, and incredibly 4) WOULD LIKELY SUCCESSFULLY FUNCTION WITHIN THE LAW if paroled. if the Board believed he would abide by the law, then by law he should be paroled.
During the course of his incarceration, Charles has made extraordinary achievements academically, vocationally, and in the area of personal growth. When he went to prison years ago he had only a 4th or 5th grade education but now he has earned his High School Diploma, and over 35 College Credits. Vocationally he has earned quite a number of certifications among which is Data Processing, Machine Operator, Data Entry, Meat Cutting/Processing, Paralegal/Assistant, and Food Service to name a few. He wrote three major Program Proposals for CDCR including a peer educational program called The Unilateral Primers of Corrective Consciousness (TUPOCC) designed to peer tutor inmates preparing to take the GED test, and an organ donor program for terminally ill children and elderly called Lifers For Life which he co-founded in 2010. Charles has become a mentor for youths via a couple of organizations such as Fair Chance Project and Prison Letters For Our Struggling Youths. Numerous other reports in Charles' CDCR-Files indicate he has been a suitable candidate for rehabilitation in the past 23 years with no indication of him being a disciplinary or management problem. Sadly there are several unsuccessful reports filed by Charles in his attempt to expunge his files of an unusual number of factually false records and documents that are believed to be active as a reason for his unsuccessful attempts to be found suitable for release by the parole board. Despite his qualifications for parole, Charles remains one of the longest held prisoners for a crime that is at best a gross travesty of justice.
For anyone seeking to investigate the unexplained reasons for Charles extended period of incarceration should be aware of the following facts regarding his case that are crying out for justice.
1) Charles is an African-American Black male who has been incarcerated since the age of 19 for a crime committed in 1973 that both the Governor's office and State Legislators say he can no longer stand convicted of.
2) Charles was convicted in 1973 by an ALL WHITE JURY for the death of a white male who court records suggest was seducing sex from poor young blacks in exchange for money.
3) Charles was never given a copy of all his trial records (as is required by law) to make it possible for him to appeal his conviction from a higher court.
4) Charles has been before the Parole Board over 17 times only to be denied for reasons that have no basis in reality, e.g. Once he was denied for being an unpredictable threat to society when in fact the same board panel stated on the record that Charles has good parole plans, has marketable job skills, no recent history of violence, and more importantly he would likely function within the law if released.
5) Currently Charles has been held prisoner for 40 years past his eligible release date.
6) Charles' prison records and files have been maliciously saturated with factually false records and documents by unknown sources that have no basis in fact, e.g. documents suggesting drug use, sex offense, and acts of violence that are either the actual records of another prisoner or are unsupported by merits. Repeated attempts to have these false records removed have been mysteriously denied all the way up to the state superior court who simply denied Charles claim without giving any reason for the denial.
7) Currently Charles has been diagnosed with cancer while his SB 1437 petition has been pending review in Los Angeles Superior Court for over a year and a half without a hearing even though all the trial court records and files indicate he qualifies for relief under SB1437. The numerous delays and time extensions make him wonder if this hearing will be delayed until his case becomes moot due to his death from the diagnosis.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
1) Petition Governor Newsom for immediate release and/or commutation of Charles sentence on the basis of compassionate release/ On the basis he qualifies for release under the Elderly Parole Law/ On the basis he qualifies under the Youth Offender Law/ On the basis he qualifies under SB 1437 On the Basis he qualifies under State and Federal Law against Cruel and Unusual Punishment/ Under Medical Compassionate Release/ And Under International and Human Rights Laws against Genocide to the degree Charles represents the only living male of his family lineage.
2) Legal help is needed to file criminal and civil charges against those responsible for placing false documents in Charles records and files with the obvious intent on prejudicing his reviews by all review authorities.
3) Assist with getting Charles' case reviewed by the Criminal Justice Reform Committee.
4) Ask the media to do a comparison and contrast using Charles case as a model for all that is wrong regarding People of Color and the Parole Board Policies and Practices as well as people of Color who submit petitions before the Courts in re wrongful convictions.
5) Pray for Charles and hold a prayer vigil every Saturday or Friday evening.
6) All or most of Charles' family relatives are deceased and/or estranged, therefore Charles would benefit from your emotional and spiritual support by sending your cards and letters to encourage and inspire justice for him.
Here is thanking you all in advance for your time and support in this matter. Be mindful that we are all living in very challenging times regarding the disparity in our Criminal Justice and Racial reform. Let us all dare to claim victory in the day he and all people of color are spiritually, politically, and socially free from such injustices.
In Solidarity, Charles Jordan (a.k.a. Ansar - The Helper)