California Victim Compensation Board
Open Meeting Minutes
April 12, 2023, Board Meeting
The California Victim Compensation Board (Board) convened its meeting in open session upon the call of the Chair, Gabriel Ravel, General Counsel of the Government Operations Agency, acting for, and in the absence of Amy Tong, Secretary of the Government Operations Agency, at 400 R Street, Room 330, Sacramento, California, on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at 11:01 a.m. Also present was Member Evan Johnson, acting for, and in the absence of, Malia Cohen, Controller. Appearing via Zoom was Member Diana Becton, District Attorney.
Executive Officer Lynda Gledhill, and Chief Counsel Kim Gauthier, attended in person at 400 R Street, Sacramento, California. Board Liaison, Andrea Burrell, was also present and recorded the meeting.
Item 1. PC 4900 Claim No. 23-ECO-11, Maurice Hastings
This presentation was given by Chief Counsel, Kim Gauthier. Ms. Gauthier gave a brief summary of the Penal Code section 4900 claim filed by Maurice Hastings.
On March 14, 2023, Maurice Hastings filed an application as an erroneously convicted person with the California Victim Compensation Board. That application was based on his 1988 conviction for murder and related charges, which were vacated and dismissed during state habeas proceedings in October of 2022. Following his release from prison in March of 2023, the court granted the motion for a finding of factual innocence pursuant to subdivision (b) of Penal Code section 1485.55.
As mandated by Penal Code section 1485.55, and the finding of factual innocence, the proposed decision recommends compensation in the amount of $1,945,720, which represents $140 per day for each of the 13,898 days Mr. Hastings was wrongfully imprisoned.
Mr. Hastings has been represented throughout these proceedings by Paula Mitchell and Ayesha Hussain of the Los Angeles Innocence Project. As this claim involves a finding of factual innocence, no appearance was requested by the Office of the Attorney General; however, Deputy Attorney General Kathryn Althizer is present and also prepared to address the Board.
Chairperson Ravel asked that counsel for Mr. Hastings address the Board first.
Ayesha Hussain thanked the Board on behalf of Mr. Hastings for hearing this claim and being accommodating on short notice and taking his claim outside of the regularly scheduled meetings. She reiterated that Mr. Hastings spent over 13,000 days in prison, which equates to almost four decades of wrongful incarceration and so Mr. Hastings receiving compensation is just one of many steps required for Mr. Hastings to truly achieve justice in this case after being wrongfully incarcerated for many years.
Ms. Hussain concluded by saying how much they appreciated the Board’s time and being a crucial and necessary step in righting this wrong that has been done to Mr. Hastings. Chairperson Ravel thanked Ms. Hussain for her comments and her advocacy in the case. He asked if Mr. Hastings would like to address the Board.
Mr. Hastings thanked the Board for the time and the meeting. He said he is looking forward to getting his life underway, and that hopefully this compensation can assist him in having a better life in the future. He concluded by thanking the Board members for their time.
Chair Ravel thanked Mr. Hastings for appearing before the Board and for his comments.
Chair Ravel asked if Ms. Althizer from the Attorney General’s Office wished to address the Board.
Ms. Althizer, who appeared via Zoom, acknowledged that compensation is automatic in this case and noted that the Attorney General had no comments on the merits of the claim.
Chairperson Ravel thanked Ms. Althizer for appearing before the Board.
Member Becton moved to adopt the Hearing Officer’s Proposed Decision in the Penal Code section 4900 matter of Maurice Hastings. The motion was seconded by Member Johnson. The motion was approved by a unanimous vote of the Board and the Proposed Decision was adopted.
Member Johnson moved for the adjournment of the April Board meeting. Member Becton seconded the motion. The motion was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Board and the meeting was adjourned at 11:06 a.m.
Next Board Meeting
The next Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 18, 2023.