Brian Brewer, a member of the San Diego charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and a prisoner at the California State Prison at Centinela, was denied compassionate release again last week.
California corrections officials declined, “to recommend to the court that the prisoner’s sentence be recalled. The Board finds the conditions under which the prisoner would be released or receive treatment would pose a threat to public safety due to the extent of his continued mobility and his validation as a member of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club.”
Brewer has Stage IV lung cancer. The clinical term “Stage IV” describes a cancer that has spread to distant areas of the body. Brewers disease has spread to his lymph nodes and bones. His condition is painful and is usually, although not necessarily, incurable. Recent, experimental treatments have been found to be effective against advanced lung cancer but Brewer will not find those treatments in a California prison.
Earlier this month, a panel of three federal judges ordered California Governor Jerry Brown to reduce California’s prison population. It was the latest skirmish in a long running dispute in which the courts have held health care in California prisons to be so inadequate that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
The Back Story
Brian Brewer was convicted of stealing $1,700 from a Northridge, California credit union in a takeover robbery on April 16, 2002. The case against him was weak and circumstantial. Marked bills taken in the robbery were never recovered and Brewer had an alibi. However prosecutors were able to prove he was a Hells Angel. In 2005 he was convicted of four counts of second degree robbery and three counts of false imprisonment with a “three-strikes” enhancement. He was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences in August 2005. Appeals were denied in 2005 and 2006. He has consistently maintained his innocence.
Brewer’s case has become an often-cited example of what is wrong with California’s three strikes law.
His warden, officials within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and a prison physician have all supported his release. Earlier this year, 5,322 people petitioned California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris to support Brewer’s release. She declined.
Harris, who is very politically ambitious, was most recently in the news when President Barack Obama called her the “best-looking attorney general in the country.” After a feminist backlash, Obama called Harris to apologize.