Morgan Lewis is proud of its innovative criminal and habeas work.
In late 2005, at the request of the Episcopal Dioscese of California, Morgan Lewis undertook the representation of the Reverend James Tramel. Convicted of second degree murder in 1985 for his role as an accomplice in the death of a man camped in a park in downtown Santa Barbara, Mr. Tramel took no active part in the murder but was convicted as an accomplice.
During his 20-year imprisonment, Mr. Tramel became the first prisoner in the State of California to be ordained an Episcopal priest while incarcerated. A Morgan Lewis team represented Father Tramel at the parole hearing in late 2005. As a result of that hearing, the panel and the California Board of Prison Terms once again found him suitable for parole. The representation continued with follow up before the BPT and the Office of the California Governor’s Legal Affairs Secretary to emphasize the strength of James’ parole qualifications. These efforts proved successful and on March 8, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger allowed the Board of Prison Terms’ decision to stand. Father Tramel’s release just before Easter was punctuated with a very moving reception at the Good Shephered Episcopal Church in Berkeley, California where he now serves as an Associate Priest.
Through the Ninth Circuit Pro Bono Program, Morgan Lewis attorneys obtained the opportunity for an incarcerated client to pursue a retaliation claim arising out of our client’s request for changes in a prison college program.