September 25, 2017

Latest News About Jarvis's Case

As of January 2014, Jarvis and his legal team are awaiting oral arguments. The Evidentiary Hearing ended in April 2011.

Read the summary of Jarvis's evidentiary hearing.

For more information about the evidentiary hearing, please contact us.

  1. On February 14, 2007 the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous Order to Show Cause which requires the state prosecutors to reply to eight claims of constitutional violation set forth in Jarvis’s Petition for Habeas Corpus. Read more.

    Following is the text of the Supreme Court’s order:

    Filed Feb. 14, 2007

    S130495
    IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA
    En Banc
    In re JARVIS J. MASTERS on Habeas Corpus

    The order filed on February 14, 2007 issuing an order to show cause is hereby amended to read in its entirely;

    The Director of Corrections and Rehabilitation is ordered to show cause before this court, when the matter is placed on calendar, why petitioner is not entitled to relief because (1) material false evidence was admitted at the guilt phase of his trial; (2) newly discovered evidence casts fundamental doubt on the prosecution's guilt-phase case; (3) petitioner's trial was fundamentally unfair because prosecution witness Rufus Willis’ testimony was unreliable due to improper coercion by the prosecution, (4) the prosecution violated Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83 by failing to disclose the promises of leniency to prosecution witness Bobby Evans and other facts bearing on Evans' credibility that have come to light after the judgment was imposed, (5) the prosecution knowingly presented the false testimony of Bobby Evans, (6) petitioner's trial was fundamentally unfair because Bobby Evans' testimony was unreliable due to improper coercion by the prosecution, (7) material false evidence—the testimony of Johnny Hoze—was admitted at the penalty phase regarding petitioner's participation in the murder of David Jackson; and (8) newly discovered evidence regarding Hoze's testimony casts fundamental doubt on the accuracy and reliability of the penalty-phase proceedings, as alleged in Claims II, III and V of the petition. The return must be filed in this court on or before March 16, 2007. Kennard and Werdegar, JJ., would issue the order to show cause on the additional grounds that newly presented evidence establishes petitioner is actually innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted and that his execution would violate the federal Constitution because he is actually innocent, as alleged in Claim II.



  2. On March 7, 2007 Jarvis was finally transferred from the Adjustment Center, San Quentin’s High Security Housing Unit, to the East Block, another housing unit on San Quentin’s Death Row. This may ultimately allow him to make phone calls and , more importantly meet with his visitors face-to-face rather than through a Plexiglas barrier as is currently the case. Jarvis, despite his exemplary record, has been imprisoned in the Adjustment Center for 21 years, longer than any other prisoner in San Quentin history. Click here for more information about Jarvis's conditions in San Quentin.


  3. An article - Jarvis Jay Masters: An Innocent Man – which provides an overview summary of Jarvis’s case, has been prepared by Marion Foot, a Canadian supporter of Jarvis. The article summarizes the events relating to the death of Sgt. Howell Burchfield, the evidence presented from Jarvis’s trial relating to those events and the process of the trial itself. It incorporates the points presented in the Opening Brief of Jarvis’s Appeal and the Petition of Habeas Corpus to set this narrative in its proper perspective, and to present the evidence of Jarvis’s innocence. This article can be viewed and/or downloaded here: Jarvis Jay Masters: An Innocent Man


  4. On March 10, 2007 the San Francisco Chronicle, a major US daily newspaper, published an article by Bob Egelko entitled State Told to Respond to Prisoner Complaints – Court Takes Unusual Step Before Appeal in Death Penalty Case. The article discusses the Order to Show Cause issued by the California Supreme Court on February 14, 2007 (see item 1 above). The article notes the unprecedented nature of this action, summarizes the requirements of the order which spell out the claims of constitutional violation in Jarvis’s case, and sets the Order in the context of Jarvis’s case. This article can be viewed here: State told to respond to prisoner's claims.


  5. On March 11, 2007, Jarvis's story appears on David Seth's popular blogspot, http://dreamantilles.blogspot.com


  6. As of February 11, 2008. both the Attorney General's office and Jarvis's lawyers have filed their responses to the Order to Show Cause.


  7. On April 10, 2008, the California Supreme Court ordered the Superior Court, County of Marin, to appoint a judge of the Superior Court, County of Marin to act as a referee in an evidentiary hearing. Read more.

    Following is the text of the Supreme Court’s order:



    S130495

    IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA

    En Banc

    In re JARVIS J. MASTERS on Habeas Corpus

    THE COURT:

     

    Based on the record in this matter and good cause appearing:

    The Honorable Verna Adams, Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Marin, is directed to select a Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Marin to sit as a referee in this proceeding and promptly to notify this court of the referee selected. After appointment by this court, the referee will take evidence and make findings of fact on the following questions regarding the case of People v. Jarvis J. Masters (Marin County Superior Court No. 10467; Judge Beverly B. Savitt):

    1. Was false evidence regarding petitioner’s role in the charged offenses admitted at the guilt phase of petitioner’s trial? If so, what was that evidence?

    2. Is there newly discovered, credible evidence indicative of petitioner’s not having been a participant in the charged offenses? If so, what is that evidence?

    3. What, if any, promises or threats were made to guilt phase prosecution witness Rufus Willis by District Attorney Investigator Charles Numark or Deputy District Attorneys Edward Berberian or Paula Kamena? Was Willis’s trial testimony affected by any such promises or threats, and, if so, how?

    4. Were there promises, threats or facts concerning guilt phase prosecution witness Bobby Evans’s relationship with law enforcement agencies of which Deputy District Attorneys Berberian and Kamena were, or should have been, aware, but that were not disclosed to the defense? If so, what are those promises, threats or facts?

    5. Did Deputy District Attorneys Berberian and Kamena knowingly present false testimony by Bobby Evans? If so, what was that testimony?

    6. What, if any, promises or threats were made to Bobby Evans by District Attorney Investigator Numark, Department of Corrections Investigator James Hahn, or Deputy District Attorneys Berberian and Kemena? Was Evans’s trial testimony affected by any such promises or threats, and, if so, how?

    7. Did penalty phase prosecution witness Johnny Hoze provide false testimony regarding petitioner’s involvement in the murder of inmate David Jackson? If so, what was that false testimony?

    It is further ordered that the referee prepare and submit to this court a report of the proceedings conducted pursuant to this appointment, of the evidence adduced, and the findings of fact made.

     

  8. On April 11, 2008 the San Francisco Chronicle, a major US daily newspaper, published an article by Bob Egelko entitled New Probe Ordered in ‘85 Murder of Guard. The article discusses the order for the evidentiary hearing issued by the California Supreme Court on April 10, 2008. (see item 7 above). The article summarizes the issues to be addressed in the evidentiary hearing. This article can be viewed here: New Probe Ordered in ’85 Murder of Guard.