Donate & Send Letter to Support Parole for Hugo “Yogi” Pinell

Hugo’s Parole Hearing Postponed to March 11th, 2014

yogiAttorney Keith Wattley appeared before the Parole Board in October 2013 and provided new information regarding Hugo Pinell, affectionately known as Yogi Bear by his friends. After hearing what attorney Keith Wattley had to say about Hugo, the Parole Board was then confused about Hugo’s case and postponed their decision on Hugo’s parole to March 11th.

This is very good news! We can widely promote Hugo Pinell’s case, and that it is way past time he goes home. We can also raise much needed funds for attorney Keith Wattley of Uncommon Law.

Yogi has been incarcerated since 1964 and has been in solitary confinement continuously since 1969.

On August 21, 1971, in what has been deemed a setup, Soledad Brother George Jackson was murdered on the yard of San Quentin by prison guards. During this orchestrated escape attempt, however, three guards were also killed, along with two inmate “trustees.” This set the prison officials on fire and they have been exacting revenge ever since on Hugo Pinell, the only defendant in the “San Quentin Six” case still in prison; convicted of assault on a prison guard. The only defendant convicted of murder in the case, Johnny Spain, was released in 1988.

Clearly Yogi is a political prisoner, although the U.S. rarely if ever admits to holding any political prisoners. Our revolutionary hero is still strong of mind and body, has maintained his health with a strictly vegetarian diet and a grueling exercise program.

fund-driveIt would be a good thing for those with resources to contact the office of Attorney Keith Wattley of The UnCommon Law at (510) 271-0310 or contact his secretary Ritika via email RAggarwal @ to help Yogi with financial assistance in covering his legal fees. The law office is a 501(3)c and you can get tax deductions. Attorney Wattley works for a nonprofit organization, and he needs funds to travel to Hugo up in Crescent City, CA, amongst other things.


write-inHugo’s, attorney, Keith Wattley, noted: “We should shift our hearing preparation a little bit by providing some specific types of support for his release. That means that we want letters from individuals or groups offering residence, employment and counseling (from psychologists, psychiatrists, religious and spiritual leaders, etc.) to help his transition out of prison after all these years. None of these letters need to discuss the politics or injustice of his situation. Just the facts, please. All letters should be addressed to the Board of Parole Hearings, P.O. Box 4036, Sacramento, CA 95814, BUT THEY SHOULD ACTUALLY BE MAILED, EMAILED OR FAXED DIRECTLY TO ME AT UNCOMMON LAW, 220 4TH STREET, SUITE 103, OAKLAND, CA 94607, FAX: (510) 271-0101. I’ll need to review these letters before we submit them to the Board, and I may send some of them back for editing. Do not send any petitions or form letters. We cannot use them.”

Background (see

Yogi has been in Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHU) since 1990 — no windows or natural light, very restricted possessions, no phone calls, 24/7 lockup unless permitted to exercise alone for an hour in a small concrete pen, also known as a dog-run; no-contact visits which are limited to an hour and a half, if you are lucky, only on weekends or holidays and only one visit per day.

Yogi lives in a small 6′ x 8′ cell. In his cell he sleeps on a concrete bed, if you can call a concrete board a bed, has a metal toilet, a sink and a TV, and has extremely limited contact with the other prisoners in his section of the SHU; there are eight pods of cells in his unit. Armed guards stand non-stop watch over him and the other men. Basically Yogi spends every hour of every day by himself, day in and day out, unless family or a friend comes to visit him on a Saturday, or a Sunday or a holiday.

Yogi has been in solitary confinement for at least 42 years at San Quentin, Folsom, and Corcoran State Prisons, and the last 22 in Pelican Bay SHU. He was 19-years-old when incarcerated in 1964 and has spent a total of 48 years in prison altogether. Despite 32 years of clean time (no write-ups) he remains in solitary. Solitary confinement is considered to be torture, which is illegal under international law and our own Constitution.

Pelican Bay is isolated in the Northwest corner of California, just 10 miles south of the Oregon border, a very long trip by car (the only means). His mother, in her 80s with health problems has continued to make that long
trip to visit her son, now 67 years old. Can you even imagine not being able to hug your own son for over four decades?

Yogi earned the enmity of the prison officials back in the 1960s when he was part of the “Black Movement” behind California prison walls led by George L. Jackson, W. L. Nolen, and many other conscious, standup brothers who made it safe for Blacks to walk the yards of California’s extremely racist gulags.

Write to Yogi:

Hugo L.A. Pinell A88401
California State Prison-Sacramento
P.O. Box 290066
Represa, CA 95671


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