Current list of cases pending before the courts in which CJLF has filed a brief.
Counterman v. Colorado
No. 22-138
United States Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court case in which the defendant, Billy Raymond Counterman, was convicted of stalking and was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for sending thousands of private Facebook messages to a local singer/songwriter ("C.W."). C.W. found the private messages to be "weird" and "creepy" and did not respond to any of them. She blocked Counterman from her Facebook accounts, but he created new accounts and continued to message her. As time went on without response from C.W., Counterman's messages became more angry and alarming, causing C.W. to become extremely fearful and scared. Counterman also alluded to making physical sightings of C.W. in public. Because C.W. was worried that Counterman would show up at her scheduled concerts, she cancelled several shows and obtained a protective order against him. C.W. also discovered that Counterman was on probation for two prior threat convictions. Counterman was arrested and charged with stalking under Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-602(1)(c). Under that statute, the state was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Counterman "knowingly" followed, approached, contacted, placed under surveillance, or made any form of communication with C.W. in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer severe emotional distress and did cause C.W. to suffer from severe emotional distress. Counterman argued that because he did not subjectively intend to threaten C.W., the statute was unconstitutional as applied to his messages because they were protected under the First Amendment. The Colorado Court of Appeals disagreed and held that his messages were unprotected "true threats."

CJLF has entered the case to argue that the "true threats" doctrine does not depend on what the speaker's inner subjective purpose was in making a communication. Rather, evaluating a speaker's mental state under an objective knowing standard is all that is constitutionally required. Stalkers cause significant harm to their victims regardless of whether they subjectively intend to induce fear. A stalker's detachment from reality is the prime reason why an objective standard is necessary to punish those who inflict harm on their victims. CJLF further argues that because the Colorado statute of which Counterman was convicted did not include a "credible threat" element, Counterman's conviction did not depend on his communication being a "true threat." Because Colorado has a substantial interest in protecting stalking victims, the law at issue is a valid content neutral, time, place, or manner regulation, and is constitutional.
CJLF v. California Dept. of Corrections & Rehabilitation
No. 34-2022-80003807-CU-WM-GDS
Superior Court, Co. of Sacramento
This is a second Sacramento Superior Court case challenging the same regulations as the Schubert v. CDCR case. CJLF brought this suit on behalf of itself and two victims of crime, using a different procedure from the first suit. The petition seeks a writ of mandate to prevent the enforcement of regulations and the use of credits issued under them to release criminals earlier than California statutes allow.
Jones v. Hendrix
No. 21-857
United States Supreme Court
U. S. Supreme Court case in which a habitual felon who illegally possessed a gun seeks to make one more challenge to his conviction, after multiple challenges have been rejected over 20 years. Career criminal Marcus Jones had been convicted of 11 prior felonies in 1999 when he bought a gun at a pawnshop and lied about his priors. The circumstances leave little doubt that he knew he could not legally buy a gun, but the jury was not instructed to make that specific finding because the law was not understood to require it at the time. Jones filed one unsuccessful challenge after another for 20 years until the Supreme Court changed the interpretation of the federal statute to require knowledge of the condition that made purchase and possession illegal. In 1996, Congress sharply limited the circumstances in which a convict can make repeated challenges to a criminal judgment under 28 U.S.C § 2255. A clear case of actual innocence is one of the exceptions allowing a repeat attack, but Jones does not qualify for that exception. He now claims that the 1996 act does not really preclude challenges such as his but merely requires that convicts revert to an earlier procedure in a different court. That is, he claims he can file a habeas corpus petition instead of a motion under the law that replaced habeas corpus for these kinds of collateral challenges by federal prisoners. He further claims that the 1996 act would be unconstitutional if it really cut off challenges such as his, despite a Supreme Court opinion the same year that rejected that argument for state prisoners. CJLF has entered the case to argue that there is no real constitutional issue here, and Congress's limit on repeated attack on criminal judgments should be enforced as it was intended.
People v. Collins
No. LA009810
Superior Court, Co. of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Superior Court case regarding resentencing of a murderer despite the lack of an error in the original sentencing. Scott Collins was convicted in 1993 of murdering Fred Rose and was sentenced to death. In 2022, LA District Attorney George Gascón agreed with the defendant to resentence Collins to life without parole under a provision of the Penal Code that permitted such resentencings in some cases. CJLF joined the victim's family as "friend of the court" in opposing the resentencing, arguing that this provision did not apply to sentences of death or life in prison. Apparently aware that this argument would succeed, opponents of just punishment convinced legislative leaders to ram a new law through the Legislature as a "budget trailer" bill with virtually no notice and an immediate effect, undercutting our argument. As a result, the court had no choice but to grant the resentencing.
Schubert v. CDCR
No. 34-2021-00301253
Superior Court, Co. of Sacramento
Sacramento Superior Court case challenging regulations issued by the Newsom Administration that will speed up the release of 76,000 prison inmates. Although Proposition 57 was sold to the public as a way to be more lenient on nonviolent convicts, the new regulations issued under it greatly expand the system of credits, shortening the sentences of all but a few of California's prisoners. Robbers, rapists, and even most murderers are eligible for the expanded credits. The suit challenging the regulations was begun by a group of 44 of California's 58 district attorneys. CJLF is now representing two victims' organizations, Crime Victims United and Citizens Against Homicide, who have joined the suit after the judge expressed doubt that the district attorneys had legal standing to make the challenge. The suit claims that the regulations were illegally adopted and conflict with multiple California laws. It seeks an injunction against their enforcement.