6. The Trials of Marvin Mutch: Like the Weather

27 min

After the governor reversed Marvin Mutch's parole in 2006, Mutch says he became more reckless, inserting himself into dangerous disputes between groups of inmates and challenging correctional officers at every opportunity.

And a big opportunity presented itself later that year, when officers swarmed San Quentin's North Block and removed hundreds of inmates from their cells for a mass search. The inmates' property was confiscated or destroyed.

Mutch helped other prisoners file appeals, and they won thousands of dollars in restitution and replacement belongings.

But his stance would also win him some enemies — correctional officers and administrators who Mutch had challenged, and who were also in a position to change his prison record and taint any future chances of being paroled.

Meanwhile, the California Supreme Court made a series of rulings that changed the parole process, culminating in a landmark decision that forbid the parole board and governor from denying release solely on the "heinousness" of the crime that sent an inmate to prison.

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But those changes alone weren't enough for Mutch to finally win his freedom. He'd need the help of the attorney who fought the state Supreme Court case, the prosecutor who convicted him, and the last-known surviving member of Cassie Riley's family.

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