Rand has been illegally denied for parole for the third time. It’s important that supporters on the outside (you!) are there for outspoken political prisoners when they race repression at the hands of the parole board. Please take a moment to support Rand’s release from prison (where he has been held for over two decades) by sending emails to the following two entities:
- office of the Attorney General (firstname.lastname@example.org); and
- the Michigan Parole Board. (To contact the parole board, use this form here. Rand’s number is 187131)
Some key points to reference in your emails are outlined below, but for full context please consider reading Rand’s full letter to the parole board, included at the bottom of this post.
- Rand scored a “High Probability of Parole”. This means the Parole Board cannot deny his parole without “substantial and compelling objective reasons stated in writing.”
- They did not do this. They denied him allegedly because he has not taken a substance abuse class.
- This reason is neither objective nor substantial. Further, the uncompleted substance abuse class is widely available in the community, meaning that this reason is explicitly exempted under MCL 791.233e(7)(h).
- Rand is 67 years of age, suffers from macular degeneration, an untreated inguinal hernia, an untreated broken left hand, and carpal tunnel syndrome. He is at high risk for infection and death from COVID-19.
- Considering all these factors, this third parole denial must in fact be illegal retaliation of Rand’s consistent exercise of his First Amendment rights.
Here is a sample email that you should feel free to customize as you see fit, using the bullet points above or excerpts from Rand’s letter below.
Dear Michigan Parole Board/Michigan Attorney General,
I am writing regarding the recent decision to deny parole to Rand W. Gould #187131. Rand scored a “High Probability of Parole” on his parole guideline scoresheet. This means the parole board cannot deny his parole without “substantial and compelling objective reasons stated in writing.” Rand received no such written statement. The parole board did claim that he has not yet taken a substance abuse class, yet Rand has been “waitlisted” for such a class multiple times and given no opportunity to take the class. Further, Michigan statute MCL 791.233e(7)(h) allows for such a class to be taken during the period of parole, as Substance Abuse classes are absolutely “widely available in the community”. Additionally, Rand is 67 years of age, suffers from macular degeneration, an untreated inguinal hernia, an untreated broken left hand, and carpal tunnel syndrome. He is at high risk for infection and death from COVID-19. Considering these factors, Rand should be paroled as soon as possible to avoid infection and death from COVID-19, especially if we are honest with the fact that the MDOC has already proved inept at preventing the spread of the pandemic. The parole board therefore should act immediately to grant parole in order to Rand to avoid his sickness and death.
If the law was followed as it is written, Rand should be granted parole immediately. Alternately, he could be granted a deferred parole as long as concrete and timely steps are taken so that he is able to take the class that is allegedly blocking his parole. I am asking that you do one of these two things immediately. Otherwise it appears the parole board may be in direct violation of Michigan law.
You can see the transcription of Rand’s letter to the parole board here.
The full text of Rand’s letter is also below.
September 22, 2020
Re: Notice of Pending Legal Action: Notice of Parole Board Decision, Sandra A. Wilson and Brian J. Shipman, 8/31/2020
Dear Parole Board Members:
Please take notice, unless you reconsider your above-referenced unlawful decision to deny my parole for another twelve (12) months and issue a new decision granting parole, I will take legal action against you in your official and individual capacities for your violation of state and federal law, as well as your violation of my state-created liberty interest in parole releases, via your decision to unlawfully depart, for the third time, from my parole guidelines score of “High Probability of Parole,” without “substantial and compelling objective reasons stated in writing” as required by MCL 791.233e(6). See In re Parole of Elias, 294 Mich. App. 507,539 (2011); and Inmates of Orient Corr. Inst. v. Ohio State Adult Parole Authority, 929 F.2d 233,235 (6th Cir. 1991).
Again, for the third time, instead of complying with MCL 791.233e, Parole Board members, in this case Sandra A. Wilson (Wilson) and Brian J. Shipman (Shipman), after realizing their “no jurisdiction” ploy failed, intentionally chose to perpetuate a fraud by materially misrepresenting facts and law in an effort calculated to deceive, then acting upon them to cause me to suffer the injury of a third denial of parole release, placing me in danger of likely infection with SARS-CoV-2 and possible death from COVID-19. See Roberts v. Saffell, 280 Mich. App. 397,403 (2008); MCL 750.505; and MCL 750.478.
Wilson and Shipman’s reason for departure was admittedly not “objective,” as indicated by the word being tellingly omitted from their decision. Neither was it “substantial and compelling”, yet MCL 791.233e(6) or (7) requires “substantial and compelling objective reasons” for a departure when a prisoner’s parole guidelines show a “High Probability of Parole.” Instead, their reason was I had “not yet completed programming ordered by the Department to reduce prisoner’s risk.” As the Parole Board well-knows, this is not one of the eleven (11) specific reasons for a departure that it is “limited to” for departure from the parole guidelines by MCL 791.233e(7)(a-k). What it is, in fact, is a duplicitous partial quotation of MCL 791.233e(7)(h), which states in full:
(h) The prisoner has not yet completed programming ordered by the department to reduce the prisoner’s risk, and the programming is not available in the community and the risk cannot be adequately managed in the community before completion. [emphasis supplied]
Said uncompleted “programming” is Phase II Substance Abuse, which Wilson and Shipman well-know is widely available in the community, thus their duplicitous omission of the emphasized language. They also well know, I had served fifteen (15) substance abuse-free years (n.b., no positive urine tests, no substance abuse-related Misconduct Reports), before the department added Phase II Substance Abuse to my programming requirements on September 23, 2013, and have remained substance abuse-free for the last twenty-two (22) plus years, despite the department’s refusal to allow me to enroll in said programming. Every time I’ve requested to be enrolled, at multiple prisons over the past seven (7) years, I’ve been told I’m “on the waiting list”. A classic “Catch-22” scenario, which Wilson and Shipman have tried to take advantage of to unlawfully deny my release to parole.
As such, this Parole Board has shown itself incapable of following the parole laws as written, and has acted duplicitously, with malice aforethought, to deny my release to parole. This is especially so, as I have a near-perfect institutional record, as reflected in my Parole Eligibility Report, 2/12/2020, and Parole Guidelines Scoresheet, 4/06/2020, with no Class I Misconducts in over twenty-two (22) years, low COMPAS scores, the ability to follow the rules and listen to staff, and have completed all other required programming and then some. I’m also 67 years of age, suffer from macular degeneration, an untreated inguinal hernia, an untreated broken left hand, since 2015 and 2019, respectively, and carpal tunnel syndrome. The failure to treat my hernia and broken left hand, which has since mended and is deformed, is due to the department’s refusal to provide me with the community standard of health care required by policy and Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103 (1976).
Consequently, this third parole denial can only be construed as retaliation for my consistent exercise of my First Amendment rights. Particular, my right to seek legal redress by filing a 42 USC § 1983 complaint against the Parole Board, and Parole Officer Beatriz Lunde, for the illegal revocation of my parole in 1994, which means there was no “parole failure”. Further, there was no “failure to complete a delayed sentence opportunity” because I’ve never been subject to a delayed sentence. These are what is known as a priori lies. I’ve also exercised my right to freedom of speech and press by writing numerous articles critical of the department in the national press. See Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175 F.3d 378,386-387 (6th Cir. 1999); and Pell v Procunier, 417 US 817, 822 (1974).
This notice of pending legal action, along with the previous notice of 7/27/20 and letters of 4/24/19 and 4/28/20 to the Parole Board, constitute more than “fair warning” of your unlawful and unconstitutional conduct as required by Hope v. Pelzer, 536 US 730,741 (2002). Thus warned, any immunity you may have had in this matter has been nullified. See Saucier v. Katz, 533 US 194,201 (2001); and Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 US 800,818 (1982).
Pursuant to 28 USC § 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.
Rand W. Gould
Executed on: 22 September 2020
Cc: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Atty. Gen. Dana Nessel