In re MartinezAnnotate this Case
Inmate Manuel Martinez filed a habeas corpus petition to challenge a December 2011 decision by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials at Pelican Bay to “validate” him as a gang associate of the Mexican Mafia pursuant to former section 3378 of Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations. This validation led to his transfer to Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) for an indeterminate term. In May 2014, the trial court granted Martinez’s petition, ordering his gang validation expunged and his residency in the SHU based on that validation terminated. Clark Ducart, the Warden of Pelican Bay State Prison, appealed, asking that the Court of Appeal overturn the trial court’s order and deny Martinez’s petition. The warden argued that Martinez’s participation in a prison “disturbance” (Martinez prefers prison “protest”) of Southern Hispanics ordered by a person who was later validated as a Mexican Mafia associate (the Mexican Mafia affiliate) established a direct link. The Court, in affirming the grant of habeas relief, found that the warden’s evidence showed Martinez acted consistent with the order of the Mexican Mafia affiliate, but not that he did so in order to comply with an order from that specific person. The warden did not provide any evidence connecting Martinez to the Mexican Mafia gang affiliate without an intervening step or interruption. Thus, the Court of Appeal concluded there was no evidence of this “direct link” between the two. Martinez should not have been validated as a Mexican Mafia gang associate.