Hearing Delayed for Man Currently Serving Life without Parole, Request Denied for Felony Murder Records

By Arianna Medina

A motion filed by the family members of Joseph Navarrete for the production of documents was request denied, and the hearing delayed as prosecutors claimed it was never served to the district attorney’s office.

On Dec. 22, 1994, Joseph Navarrete was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for two counts of felony murder. His loved ones maintain his innocence and hope to have his case re-tried and/or re-sentenced under SB 1437, which changes the language of the felony murder rule.

Navarrete’s family claimed there was insufficient counsel and his attorney “did everything but defend and represent.” A loved one stated that his transcripts are sealed and they have filed a motion to have all information regarding his case released. They also claimed to have mailed a complaint to the California State Bar regarding a Habeas writ for restitution. A loved one also asserted Navarrete’s attorney allegedly closed the case so it can no longer be petitioned again.

Navarrete’s family shared there were two other co-defendants, but Navarrete was the only one that got two life without parole sentences; he has been at New Folsom since 2013. They believe “there is so much wrong with all this,” and think the other co-defendants “were all drug addicts running around together.” They claimed Navarrete has been clean and sober for 23 years and he has changed his life completely around.

The family stated that Navarrete is a sweat lodge ceremony facilitator, a high school graduate, a college student, a facilitator for Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, and a tutor and clerk in education. A loved one also claimed he has many positive letters of recommendation for commutation from corrections officers and free staff.

Prosecutors, however, opposed this motion and the hearing was delayed. They stated it was filed without proof of service and they “don’t know what exactly the request is.” They argued proper procedure would be to deny this discovery request and send it to a trial department because “[i]t is unclear what he wants and it was never served to the DA.”

According to prosecutors, Navarette allegedly sent a letter to the governor requesting clemency and filed an amended notice of motion. However, they claim the amended notice of motion was also filed without proof of service.

His next hearing will be on Jan. 13, 2019.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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