California Victim Compensation Board
Open Meeting Minutes
November 16, 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 Thursday, November 16, 2023, at 10:00 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. Approval of the Minutes of the September 16, 2023, Board Meeting
Member Becton moved approval of the Minutes for the September 16, 2023, Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by Member Johnson. By a unanimous vote of the Board, the motion passed.
Item 2. Public Comment
The Board opened the meeting for public comment and Ms. Burrell reminded everyone that, consistent with the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, items not on the agenda may not be discussed at this time but may be put on a future agenda. (Gov. Code, § 11125.7.)
Margaret Petros appeared via zoom and requested for a “system upgrade” to trigger staff when to process support loss. She explained that support loss mostly impacts families of murdered victims, children, and spouses who have lost income. Recently, she requested documents under the Public Records Act that show, “How do staff know what is the policy to process a future support loss?” She stated she has cases where the first time support loss is requested it is processed, and then nothing happens. The response she received from CalVCB to her request for documents under the Public Records Act was, “There is no such policy, no record, no public record indicates how do staff know (sic).”
Ms. Petros went on to describe a case where it has been seven years since a professor was killed and his wife and children were left without support. Initially, there was life insurance, so the file was processed as fully reimbursed. She speculated there are hundreds, if not thousands, of families that are not getting support loss. She further stated her opinion that no victim should have to alert the Board, as so many do not even know they are eligible for support loss, they just wait and do not hear back from CalVCB.
Ms. Petros concluded by asking CalVCB to look into this matter and requested a response at a later date.
Chair Ravel thanked Ms. Petros for her comment.
Item 3. Executive Officer Statement
Executive Officer Gledhill updated the Board on a few items:
To start, Ms. Gledhill informed the Board that a month ago she traveled to Monterey Park with Government Operations Secretary Amy Tong to meet with local community leaders and visit the resiliency center that has been set up in the wake of the mass violence event that occurred last January during the Lunar New Year celebrations. This is a place where everyone knows someone who was impacted by that event, and it was heartening to see the work the community is doing to support each other as they heal together.
At CalVCB, we have received 64 applications from that event to date. We know there are more eligible victims. This week the L.A. Times wrote a story about some of the victims who are struggling to receive assistance. CalVCB will continue to reach out to advocates and community leaders to make sure there is awareness about the services CalVCB provides.
Ms. Gledhill continued noting that last month CalVCB held its first regional conference since the pandemic in partnership with the McGeorge School of Law Victim Resource Center. The event brought together more than 80 advocates and community partners from Northern California for a full day of information about victim services. Panels discussed reaching underserved victims, human trafficking, federal funding, and how state agencies work together to serve victims. In recognition of October being Domestic Violence Awareness month, the keynote speaker, Dr. Moore Orbih, from the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, highlighted the importance of collaboration and self-care for individuals in our line of work.
Ms. Gledhill also reported that she traveled to Napa for the opening of the Northern California Regional Trauma Recovery Center (TRC) being run by SANE-SART, which stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Sexual Assault Response Team. This facility was made possible by the $2.5 million pilot program grant approved by the Legislature and this Board. At the grand opening, Ms. Gledhill was able to tour the facility to see how they have established different spaces for children, teens, and adults to feel comfortable. Ms. Gledhill was also able to meet the staff.
Ms. Gledhill updated the Board on the upcoming TRC grant cycle. CalVCB will be posting a new Notice of Funds Available (NOFA) for the next cycle of awards in December. The NOFA includes information about the timeline for applying, the application requirements, the application submission and review procedures, budget requirements and more. CalVCB cannot predict how many organizations will apply for funding, there is no statutory or other limit as to the amount of funding that may be requested, there is no baseline funding, and no TRC is guaranteed funding. Existing TRCs who are interested in continuing their programs must reapply. Because funding is not guaranteed, CalVCB encourages TRCs to seek alternative funding when possible.
The NOFA requires applicants to respond to six narrative questions that mirror the requirements for TRCs set out in state law. One example is CalVCB will ask an applicant to provide examples of their organization’s ability to provide outreach to crime victims who typically are unable to access traditional services. The answers to the six questions will allow the CalVCB panel of managers to understand the applicant’s ability to meet the statutory requirements. CalVCB also considers crime rates and the geographic distribution of TRCs to ensure services are available in underserved areas of the state.
The NOFA provides applicants with detailed information to understand how their application will be reviewed and scored to make the process as transparent as possible. In response to feedback from previous years, CalVCB plans to add additional clarifying language this year. Potential applicants also have the opportunity to submit questions to CalVCB. CalVCB will respond to the questions publicly so all applicants will have access to the same information.
Applications will be due in January, and tentative award information will be brought to the Board at the March meeting.
Ms. Gledhill updated the Board on the proposed amendments to the regulations. The public comment period for those regulations ended on Monday, November 13. To solicit public comments, CalVCB shared the proposed regulation information with more than 11,000 partners, stakeholders, and providers. CalVCB also posted information about the regulations on its website. Several public comments were received during the comment period and staff are in the process of reviewing to determine if any modifications to the proposed regulations are necessary in response to the comments. Additionally, in response to a request from a member of the public, CalVCB is planning a public hearing on the draft regulations in early December. Also, CalVCB is planning to bring the regulatory package back before the Board in early 2024.
Ms. Gledhill concluded her report by reminding the Board that the Forced or Involuntary Sterilization Compensation Program ends on December 31. Because December 31 is a Sunday and January 1 is a holiday, CalVCB will accept applications postmarked on or before January 2. Since accepting applications beginning in January 2022, CalVCB has approved over 100 individuals for compensation. Additionally, CalVCB started the process of sending the second and final check of $20,000 to approved survivors.
Chairperson Ravel thanked Ms. Gledhill for the updates.
Item 4. Legislative Update
The Legislative Update was presented by Deputy Executive Officer Katie Cardenas.
Ms. Cardenas noted that the Legislature is currently on recess and will reconvene on January 3. At the September meeting it was reported that four key bills were headed to the Governor’s desk. Those bills were all signed by the Governor.
- AB 56 by Assembly Member Lackey expands eligibility for compensation by CalVCB to include solely emotional injuries from certain felony violations.
- AB 1187 by Assembly Member Quirk-Silva authorizes CalVCB to reimburse services provided by Child Life Specialists.
- SB 78 by Senator Glazer specifies when a court shall issue a finding that a claimant is entitled to approval of a claim for compensation under Penal Code section 4900.
- SB 544 by Senator Laird amends the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act to remove certain teleconference requirements and require a majority of members to be physically present at every Board meeting.
These bills all take effect on January 1, 2024.
Chairperson Ravel thanked Ms. Cardenas for the updates.
Item 5. Contract Update
The Contract Update was presented by Deputy Executive Officer Shawn Ramirez.
Ms. Ramirez stated that the Contract Report was informational only and offered to answer any questions the Board had regarding the items listed in the report.
Chairperson Ravel thanked Ms. Ramirez for the update.
Item 6. Proposed Board Meeting Dates for Calendar Year 2024
The Proposed Board Meeting Dates for Calendar Year 2024 was presented by Executive Officer Lynda Gledhill.
Ms. Gledhill stated, consistent with its practices over the last two years, staff recommends the Board meet every other month in 2024. She noted there may be occasions or circumstances that warrant a meeting outside of the proposed schedule. For instance, there may be an appeal that will need to be resolved as soon as possible to ensure timely compensation for a victim, or an erroneously convicted person’s claim based on a finding of factual innocence that requires action within 30 days. For situations such as these, the Board would schedule an additional meeting with 10 days’ notice.
Member Becton stated she had a conflict with the January 18, 2024, Board meeting.
Member Becton moved to adopt the Board Meeting Dates as proposed for Calendar Year 2024 with the caveat that there might be change to the January 2024 meeting date. The motion was seconded by Member Johnson. By a unanimous vote of the Board, the motion passed.
Item 7. Shawn Martin (Pen. Code, §§ 4900, et seq.)
The Penal Code section 4900 claim of Shawn Martin was presented by Chief Counsel, Kim Gauthier.
On September 14, 2021, Shawn Martin submitted an application as an erroneously convicted person to the California Victim Compensation Board. The application is based on his 2017 convictions for murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle, which were reversed on direct appeal for instructional error. The claim seeks $358,820 for 2,563 days of imprisonment.
The Attorney General objected to this claim, arguing the evidence fails to prove Mr. Martin’s innocence by a preponderance. As explained in detail in the proposed decision, the claim is recommended for denial as Mr. Martin has failed to meet his burden of proof showing by a preponderance of the evidence that he is innocent of the challenged convictions as required by Penal Code section 4900(a).
Mr. Martin represented himself and today is also represented by Tina Flores. The Office of the Attorney General is represented by Deputy Attorney General Kathryn Althizer.
Chair Ravel requested to hear first from Mr. Martin’s representative, Ms. Flores.
Ms. Flores started by discussing Mr. Martin’s unrelated claim for $20,000, which was removed from his account when he was in Santa Rita and Mr. Martin called numerous times to ask what happened to the $20,000 and got no response. Since Mr. Martin’s career path as a sprinkler fitter has been reduced to nothing, he has been unable to return to his union job. At the time of his incarceration the amount he was earning was $52.59 per hour and now it is $70.55. Ms. Flores also stated there is a probate cause regarding a family member that received $11,631.43 payable to CalVCB against Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin was found not guilty; Ms. Flores feels he is entitled to all of his reimbursements.
Finally, Ms. Flores stated the Attorney General says Mr. Martin was guilty and not qualifying for compensation; however, the jury found him not guilty.
Mr. Martin provided the following pre-recorded statement to the Board:
William Petosky, Virginia Martinez and Joanna Casillas clearly states that they themselves threatened me personally or Melissa Martinez herself threatened me. Nowhere in the transcript, previous arrest records or conviction paperwork that states, “I have before or at any time up to this point have a propensity for violence.” So those comments or suggestions or statements spell out the line and type of deception the DA Ford and the court judge Horner tried to push over to the jury, constant confusion and flat out lies or switching legal standpoints, meaning once we presented evidence of Melissa Martinez’s propensity for violence the DA took that over and used my self-defense, my specific claim of self defense directly against me. Joanna Casillas and Melissa Martinez fought a lot with Melissa initiating most if not all of their hands-on fighting. The propensity for violence was clearly evident with Melissa Martinez. But the AG claims that I was this person who had or have a propensity for violence and making unfounded claims of self-defense. So, the AG read all transcripts, I’m guessing, and still happened to inject their own narrative of this situation, just as the DA has done.
Having clear exculpatory evidence DA Ford decided to switch the more crucial bits of my case by making my defense an issue of Melissa Martinez’s not mine. As in section 5.50.1., DA Ford turned it on its head and reversed the defendant-victim position, setting the grounds for an easy overturn in the Appellate Court. The propensity for violence was clear and only referring to Melissa Martinez life issues, period, not mine. I’ve never made any claims of self-defense. There is no evidence of me engaging in violence that could be offered prior to this case. Founded or unfounded. Erroneously is how I lost my first trial, at re-trial nothing was brought up concerning the first trial, they started from scratch, with my new DA and court judge being on watch, they had to play fair. Due to unfair and unlawful legal practices by the Oakland DA’s office, my public defender, Foxall tried to recuse the Alameda DA’s office from my case because of the malfeasance running rampant through that office. Yet, lies were still told at retrial regularly, circumstantial evidence of all kinds and all makings, the same if not more evidence that didn’t come out at the first trial. Also, at the first trial, the jury asked questions of law and were misguided, misled, and misinformed by the court judge and DA Ford. DA Ford lied intentionally about who had a right to self-defense, me or Martinez. Intentionally putting us in opposing positions and confusing the jury with his erroneous ideas of self-defense and with no help from the court judge Jeffrey Horner setting the jury straight on an issue of law concerning facts on who was in what position and prior threats made by the victim not the defendant. The unlawful act of possession of a firearm is a secondary offense, not an outward, initial or active crime. If I had a concealed weapon and no one threatens me with bodily harm or injury then the crime of possession never occurs, because no one becomes aware, and nobody gets hurt. Self-defense is the ruling, if not by description, then by statute. Not guilty means justifiable homicide, not liable. The jury found me guilty only after being lied to by DA Ford, because he had no other way to win with his lack of solid evidence-so he lied. Judge Jeffrey Horner failed his duty to give additional instructions to a very confused jury, leading to my erroneous conviction. Prior to my first trial, I was poisoned in Santa Rita jail two to three times, once with something called H-Pylori, an infection of the gut due to ingesting fecal matter, it was not intentional. The other two times were a recurrence or something they could not identify.
I had a pregnant woman, a girlfriend, by my fifth week in jail, she decided to abort, because of these lies told to her. “He’s never coming home, he’s in over his head.” Foxall, my public defender, even told these things to my family, well my sister because everybody is getting up in age, has died during my incarceration or lives out of state, so I had no one to call on.
The State of California spent more than $70,000 a year to cage me against my will, against nature, and against the law for seven years and seven days. I am factually innocent of first- and second-degree murder. I am factually innocent of all forms and degrees of manslaughter by way of jury trial, right? That’s why I’m here on the outside able to fight for my future. A jury of my peers, most if not all were not in my peer group, in fact my peer group was not represented in either the first or second trial. Yet, the first trial jury asked questions highly in my favor, but when those questions went unanswered by the court judge it left the jury to think on its own, about how to make the law and apply it as they see fit. Which is why my second trial went smoothly. Even with the new Alameda DA telling new lies, still the jury sided in my favor. With all the evidence placed in front of them in a meticulously slow, one at a time jury members would take the stand and be questioned individually while all others watched via television screen, so the 12+3 alternate jurors had a chance to hear each question asked at least 40 times or more. The jury had more than enough time to make a sound decision and they did. Please don’t put me in double jeopardy situation. Not guilty is the ruling, please be fair and make this right.
Mr. Martin thanked the Board.
Chair Ravel thanked Ms. Flores and gave her another opportunity to speak.
Ms. Flores concluded by saying she would ask that the Board take notice of the facts that Mr. Martin stressed and that a jury of his peers evaluated a lot of evidence and found him not guilty and doesn’t that mean something in the name of justice. She asked that justice prevail.
Chair Ravel then requested to hear from Ms. Althizer from the Attorney General’s Office.
Ms. Althizer stated that the Office of the Attorney General agrees with the proposed decision and requested that the Board adopt the proposed decision.
Chair Ravel thanked Ms. Althizer for appearing before the Board.
Member Becton wanted clarification about whether the jury’s acquittal played into the burden of proof. She stated she understood that the burden is more likely innocent than guilty and there is a list of things that were considered that would lead to the guilt and then there’s a mention of the things that might lead to Mr. Martin meeting his burden, one of them being his claim of self-defense, although there are statements that it was inconsistent and evasive; the other one being the jury’s verdict of acquittal.
Member Becton continued stating she has difficulty because there is not much else said about that acquittal and what we should be doing with it in this setting. With the burden really being more likely innocent than guilty and we have this system where 12 people from his community heard all of the evidence in the case, deliberated, and returned a verdict of an acquittal. Member Becton questioned how that acquittal with 12 people from the community making that decision factors into the Board’s decision today in terms of Mr. Martin meeting his burden? She opined that the proposed decision did not say very much about that at all.
Ms. Althizer reminded the Board that there are different burdens of proof at a jury trial and before this Board. A jury trial is a higher burden of proof and it is incumbent upon the prosecutor to meet that burden of proof, whereas here the standard is a preponderance of the evidence and it is claimant’s burden. Ms. Althizer directed the Board’s attention to page 17 of the proposed decision, where the Hearing Officer laid out the relevant considerations for this Board. The proposed decision notes that the reversal of the judgment of conviction is one of those considerations, but there are others and, notably, this Board is not constricted to the record of conviction; the Board may also consider any other information that it deems relevant to the issue even if inadmissible under the traditional rules of evidence so long as it is the sort of evidence which reasonable persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs. The acquittal is just one piece of the puzzle, and the proposed decision fairly balances and takes into consideration all of these factors.
Chair Ravel thanked Ms. Althizer for the additional information.
Member Johnson moved to adopt the Hearing Officer’s proposed decision in the Penal Code section 4900 matter of Shawn Martin. The motion was seconded by Chair Ravel. The motion was approved by Member Johnson and Chair Ravel of the Board and the proposed decision was adopted.
Item 8. Dupree Glass (Pen. Code, §§ 4900, et seq.)
The Penal Code section 4900 claim of Dupree Glass was presented by Chief Counsel, Kim Gauthier.
On December 1, 2020, Dupree Glass submitted an application as an erroneously convicted person to the California Victim Compensation Board, which was initially stayed and then supplemented on April 24, 2023. The application is based on his 2004 convictions for 11 counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling. The attempted murder convictions were vacated by writ of habeas corpus and dismissed upon remand in 2020, and the conviction for shooting at an inhabited dwelling was vacated pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7 in 2023.
As there was no objection to the claim filed by the Office of the Attorney General, compensation is automatic under Penal Code section 4900(b). The proposed decision recommends compensation in the amount of $859,040, which represents $140 per day for each of the 6,136 days Mr. Glass was wrongfully imprisoned.
Mr. Glass has been represented by attorney Annee Della Donna and the Office of the Attorney General is represented by Deputy Attorney General Seth McCutcheon and Jonathan Krauss.
Chair Ravel requested we hear first from the attorney for Mr. Glass.
Ms. Della Donna thanked the Board for its consideration of this matter. She noted Mr. Glass was convicted and imprisoned for over 17 years for a crime he did not commit. She further noted he was found innocent of the shooting in April 2020, and asked that the Board approve compensation.
Chair Ravel asked if Mr. Glass would like to address the Board.
Mr. Glass appeared via zoom (no picture) and thanked the Board for hearing his case.
Chair Ravel requested to hear next from Mr. McCutcheon.
Mr. McCutcheon submitted on the proposed decision.
Chair Ravel thanked everyone for appearing at the meeting.
Member Becton moved to adopt the Hearing Officer’s proposed decision in the Penal Code section 4900 matter of Dupree Glass. The motion was seconded by Member Johnson. The motion was approved by a unanimous vote of the Board and the proposed decision was adopted.
Item 9. Juan Rayford (Pen. Code, §§ 4900, et seq.)
The Penal Code section 4900 claim of Juan Rayford was presented by Chief Counsel, Kim Gauthier.
On December 1, 2020, Juan Rayford submitted an application as an erroneously convicted person to the California Victim Compensation Board, which was initially stayed and then supplemented on April 24, 2023. The application is based on his 2004 convictions for 11 counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling. The attempted murder convictions were vacated by writ of habeas corpus and dismissed upon remand in 2020 and the conviction for shooting at an inhabited dwelling was vacated pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7 in 2023.
As there was no objection to the claims filed by the Office of the Attorney General, compensation is automatic under Penal Code section 4900(b). The proposed decision recommends compensation in the amount of $859,040, which represents $140 per day for each of the 6,136 days Mr. Rayford was wrongfully imprisoned.
Mr. Rayford has been represented by attorney Annee Della Donna and the Office of the Attorney General is represented by Deputy Attorney General Seth McCutcheon and Jonathan Krauss.
Chair Ravel requested we hear first from the attorney for Mr. Rayford.
Ms. Della Donna thanked the Board for its consideration of this matter. She noted Mr. Rayford was convicted and imprisoned for over 17 years for a crime he did not commit. She further noted he was found innocent of the shooting in April 2020, and asked that the Board approve compensation.
Chair Ravel asked if Mr. Rayford would like to address the Board.
Mr. Rayford appeared via zoom. He thanked the Board for hearing his case.
Chair Ravel requested to hear next from Mr. McCutcheon.
Mr. McCutcheon submitted on the proposed decision.
Chair Ravel thanked everyone for appearing at the meeting.
Member Becton moved to adopt the Hearing Officer’s proposed decision in the Penal Code section 4900 matter of Juan Rayford. The motion was seconded by Member Johnson. The motion was approved by a unanimous vote of the Board and the proposed decision was adopted.
The Board adjourned into Closed Session with the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Counsel at 10:46 a.m. pursuant to Government Code section 11126, subdivision (e) to discuss pending litigation and pursuant to Government Code Section 11126, subdivision (c)(3) to deliberate on proposed decision numbers 1 through 85 of the Victim Compensation Program.
The Board reconvened in Open Session pursuant to Government Code section 11126, subdivision (c)(3) at 11:07 a.m.
Member Becton moved to approve items 1 through 85 of the Victim Compensation Program. Member Johnson seconded the motion. The motion was approved by a unanimous vote of the Board and the proposed decisions were adopted.
Member Johnson moved the adjournment of the November Board meeting. Member Becton seconded the motion. The motion was approved by a unanimous vote of the Board and the meeting was adjourned at 11:08 a.m.
Next Board Meeting
The next Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 31, 2024.