Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXVII Number 4, April 2019

  Thursday, April 25, 7:30-9:00 PM. Monthly 
Meeting. We meet at the Caltech Y, Tyson 
House, 505 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena. 
  Sunday, April 28, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion Group. The 
April selection is a novel, "The Boat Runner" 
by Devin Murphy. 
  Tuesday, May 14, 7:30-9:00 PM. Letter 
Writing meeting at the Caltech Athenaeum, 
corner of Hill and California in Pasadena. (In 
summer we meet outdoors at the "Rath al 
Fresco" on the lawn next to the building.) This 
informal gathering is a great way for 
newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty. 
  Sunday, May 19, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion Group. For 
May we read "Hitler in Los Angeles: How 
Jews Foiled Nazi Plots in Hollywood and 
America" by Steven J. Ross. 


Hello all,

Happy Easter, Passover and spring celebrations, 
everyone. Spring break was this week and I 
have been catching up on sleep, reading, 
cooking (and eating - lol) and enjoying the 
breezy warm weather.

The Mueller report just came out and although 
I'm not supposed to mention politics in this 
column, your reaction was probably very similar 
to mine! We'll see what Congress does...

Veronica did another environmental fair last 
weekend in Pasadena after her success at the 
Arboretum in Arcadia. Thanks to her and 
everyone else who helped out. Rob and I weren't 
able to attend this year.

Don't miss this month's monthly meeting where 
our star urgent action hero Vince will talk about 
the Amnesty AGM (annual general meeting) he 
attended in Chicago.

AI USA is having a webinar on a bill restricting 
police use of force (AB 392) in California 
Sunday, April 28, from 4-5 pm Pacific Time on 
Zoom with Krissy Roth, Amnesty's criminal 
justice senior program officer. Please respond to 
Amy Gordon, field organizer at to RSVP and be added to 
Zoom.  Learn more about the bill and how our 
group can get involved.

On Sunday, May 26, our friend Ann Lau of the 
Visual Artists Guild is having a luncheon at 
Almansor Court in Alhambra commemorating 
the 30th anniversary of both Tiananmen Square 
and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Chinese and 
Tibetan human rights activists will be honored. 
For tickets and more information, call Ann at 
310-433-0697 or email alau@visual-artists- Deadline to register is May 16.

Con carino,

Next Rights Readers Meeting
Sunday, April 28, 6:30 PM

Vroman's Bookstore (upstairs)
695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

The Boat Runner
 by Devin Murphy

See review in our March newsletter at

May Rights Readers Meeting

Sunday, May 19
6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd 

Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi 
Plots in Hollywood and America
by Steven J. Ross



The chilling, little-known story of the rise of 
Nazism in Los Angeles, and the Jewish leaders 
and spies they recruited who stopped it.

No American city was more important to the 
Nazis than Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, 
the greatest propaganda machine in the world. 
The Nazis plotted to kill the city's Jews and to 
sabotage the nation's military installations: plans 
existed for hanging twenty prominent 
Hollywood figures such as Al Jolson, Charlie 
Chaplin, and Samuel Goldwyn; for driving 
through Boyle Heights and machine-gunning as 
many Jews as possible; and for blowing up 
defense installations and seizing munitions from 
National Guard armories along the Pacific 

U.S. law enforcement agencies were not paying 
close attention--preferring to monitor Reds 
rather than Nazis--and only Leon Lewis and his 
daring ring of spies stood in the way. From 1933 
until the end of World War II, attorney Leon 
Lewis, the man Nazis would come to call "the 
most dangerous Jew in Los Angeles," ran a spy 
operation comprised of military veterans and 
their wives who infiltrated every Nazi and 
fascist group in Los Angeles. Often rising to 
leadership positions, this daring ring of spies 
uncovered and foiled the Nazi's disturbing 
plans for death and destruction.

Featuring a large cast of Nazis, undercover 
agents, and colorful supporting players, Hitler 
in Los Angeles, by acclaimed historian Steven J. 
Ross, tells the story of Lewis's daring spy 
network in a time when hate groups had moved 
from the margins to the mainstream.

Stephen Ross was born in LeMars, Iowa, in 1948. 
He lived in Fremont, Nebraska, from the age of 
five until he left home to attend the University 
of Nebraska at Lincoln. After college, Stephen 
taught business courses at Nebraska Technical 
College for two years prior to moving to Los 
Angeles, California, to pursue an acting career. 
During his eight years in Los Angeles, he not 
only acted, but gained extensive experience as a 
waiter. He moved to San Diego, California, in 
1981 to attend law school at the University of 
San Diego, and practiced law there until retiring 
in 2017.

By Robert Adams


The US government must immediately halt its 
illegal pushbacks of thousands of asylum 
seekers at the border with Mexico and instead 
facilitate their prompt reception and the 
processing of their cases under US law, said 
Amnesty International today during a visit to 
the border.

 "Pushbacks violate international law, and US 
authorities are forcing thousands of people who 
are seeking asylum to wait on the Mexican side 
of the border for months both before and after 
receiving their requests for protection. The 
courts are playing a vital role in limiting abuses 
of power by US authorities, but most of those 
seeking asylum still lack adequate access to 
justice and continue to suffer wholesale 
violations of their rights," said Erika Guevara-
Rosas, America's director at Amnesty 

From April 8 to 10, Amnesty International 
monitored the hearings of 28 asylum cases in 
San Diego, involving 31 adults and 26 children 
whom US authorities had forcibly returned to 
Mexico under the "Remain in Mexico" policy 
since late January. During their hearings, over 
40 percent of them proactively expressed their 
fears of return to Mexico.

Amnesty International identified serious 
shortcomings in the proceedings resulting from 
the "Remain in Mexico" policy, including 
widespread lack of access to attorneys for those 
forcibly returned to Mexico during their 
proceedings. In only one of the cases that 
Amnesty International monitored had the 
people seeking asylum successfully secured 
legal representation.

Amnesty International also interviewed eight 
adults and three children in Tijuana, whom US 
authorities had forcibly returned to Mexico after 
they requested asylum. Several of them 
expressed fears that they could face harm in 
Mexico while waiting for their hearings.
"I don't feel safe to be here. Anything can 
happen, because I'm Honduran. The police here 
are very corrupt, and they steal the money of 
lots of people," said Josue, a 53-year-old man 
from Honduras.

On April, 8 a US federal court issued a 
preliminary injunction barring the further 
implementation of "Remain in Mexico," also 
known as the "migrant protection 
protocol,"  under which US authorities have 
forcibly returned more than 1,300 asylum 
seekers to Mexico before the final adjudication 
of their asylum claims. Nonetheless, hundreds 
of people who are still waiting in Mexico for 
their court hearings in the US are stuck in legal 
limbo - and potentially dangerous situations.

Illegal asylum waitlist under US 'metering' 

In addition to the "Remain in Mexico" policy, 
US and Mexican authorities are also forcing 
asylum seekers to wait for weeks or months on 
an illegal asylum waitlist before allowing them 
to request protection, which some said has put 
them in danger.

Manuel, a 29-year-old man from El Salvador 
who was forcibly returned to Mexico after 
requesting asylum, said Mexican police detained 
him and stole his money and phone the day 
before his number came up on the illegal 
waitlist, after weeks of waiting his turn in 

The waitlist is held by a small group of asylum 
seekers during the day, and then by Mexican 
authorities at night. As of April 9, there were 
approximately 4,460 names on the list in 
Tijuana, approximately 40 to 45 percent of 
whom were Mexican nationals, whom neither 
US nor Mexican officials can legally prohibit 
from requesting asylum at the US border.

By forcing thousands of Mexican nationals to 
wait in Mexico for weeks or months before 
allowing them to enter the United States to 
request protection, the US government is 
violating its national asylum laws. The Mexican 
government is also violating Article 11 of its 
Constitution (guaranteeing its citizens' freedom 
of movement) by preventing Mexican nationals 
from reaching the border to present themselves 
for asylum, while both countries are violating 
their obligations under international law.

From April 8 to 10, Amnesty International 
interviewed 15 asylum seekers who had been 
waiting on the illegal asylum waitlist for periods 
ranging from a few hours to several months.
Cindy, a 17-year-old mother who was seven 
months pregnant, had been waiting in Tijuana 
for over two months to request asylum at the US 
border, after fleeing from threats and violence in 
her home state of Michoac‡n, Mexico. "I feel 
unsafe and afraid to stay here," she said. Soon 
after she fled, Cindy had had started receiving 
threatening phone calls from her aggressors in 

Three transgender women from El Salvador and 
Honduras told Amnesty international they were 
afraid to wait in Tijuana before requesting 
asylum in the United States, because Mexican 
police had previously attacked and exploited 
Pamela, a 29-year old trans woman from El 
Salvador, said she was "very afraid" of waiting 
in Tijuana. "Since I've been attacked and 
assaulted by the Mexican police in Mexico City, 
I wouldn't feel safe going to the police if I were 
attacked by people here in Tijuana. They say 
Tijuana is a very dangerous place, and I'm 
afraid to go walk around in the streets by 

By Stevi Carroll

Clifford Williams, Jr. and Hubert Myers

Forty-two years ago what were you doing? 
Clifford Williams and Hubert Myers were at a 
party in Jacksonville, Florida. In an apartment 
near the party, a woman was shot to death while 
the other woman present was not. After a two-
day trial that did not include any evidence or 
witnesses, both Mr. Williams and Mr. Myers 
were found guilty. Mr. Williams was given a 
death sentence, Mr. Myers life without parole.

While in prison, both men maintained their 
innocence. They petitioned the Conviction 
Integrity Review unit that the state attorney 
created in 2017.  One of the findings was that a 
man confessed to the murder and felt bad that 
Mr. Williams and Mr. Myers were in prison for 
his crime. He died in 1994 (that's almost 25 years 
ago!). Because of this investigation, Judge 
Angela Cox vacated their convictions. The state 
dismissed the indictments. Mr. Williams is now 
76 years old; Mr. Myers 61. Forty-two years in 
prison for a crime they did not commit and now 
these elderly men are looking forward to 
enjoying their freedom.

Charles Rhines

Charles Rhines was fired from the donut shop 
where he'd worked. He still had a key to the 
shop and decided to use the key to enter the 
shop to rob it. Unfortunately, while his robbery 
was in progress, a former co-worker arrived. In 
the altercation that followed, Mr. Rhines stabbed 
the man three times, leading to the man's death. 
The Rapid City, North Dakota, court system had 
a simple murder case to prosecute. Not quite.

As the jury deliberated Mr. Rhines' fate, 
questions arose about his sexuality. Mr. Rhines 
is gay. Should Mr. Rhines be given life without 
possibility of parole, would he be in the general 
population of a men's prison? Would he have a 
cellmate? Would he gather a group of young 
admiring men around him? The thoughts of 
some of the jurors were that Mr. Rhines would 
be where he'd want to be, in a group of men; 
therefore, he should not be sentenced to life 
without the possibility of parole. He should be 
sentenced to death. And he was.

Using cases based on racial bias, Mr Rhines' 
lawyers attempted to have the US Supreme 
Court review his case. The Supreme Court 
denied the request. The jurors' statements about 
Mr Rhines' sexuality clearly indicated bias. In 
his petition to the Supreme Court, Mr. Rhines 
argued that "[a]nti-gay bias, if left unaddressed, 
risks systemic harm to the justice system and, in 
particular, capital jury sentencing." 
While sexual orientation has not been 
considered by the Supremes, "researchers at 
UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute have 
found significant prejudice against gay people in 
the justice system. They wrote:

'In 2017, we analyzed federal data and found that 
LGB people were three times more likely than 
straight people to be held in prisons and jails. 
Another study found that nearly three-fifths of girls 
in juvenile detention facilities identify as lesbian, 
bisexual, or not completely straight. Both studies also 
found that LGB people receive more severe 
punishments, reflected in longer prison and jail 
terms, compared with straight inmates.'"

Perhaps one day, Charles Rhines' name will 
appear in 'Recent Executions.'

Ah Yes - Texas and House Bill 896

House Bill 896 would criminalize ALL 
abortions, no exceptions; abortion becomes 
homicide and therefore, the women who have 
abortions would be eligible for a death sentence. 
According to Rep. Tony Tinderholt, who 
introduced the bill, this would make women 
more 'personally responsible'. 

What could possibly be a problem here? Pro-Life 
= abolish abortion. Pro-Life = execute women 
who have abortions? This is very confusing to 
my secular mind. 

And this sort of 'punishment' would make 
WOMEN more personally responsible? I hate to 
break it to Rep. Tinderholt, but women do not 
become pregnant by themselves. It takes an 
ejaculating man to do that. 

As Gabrielle Blair, a Mormon mother of six, 
points out, men cause pregnancy. She notes 
women are able to conceive perhaps two days 
out of every month while men can impregnate 
multiple times 365 days a year. (To read more 
about this mom's thoughts, go to

While I doubt even in Texas, this bill will get 
traction, but we do see many states imposing 
what could be seen as draconian anti-choice 
laws. I think if it's control of someone's body 
these people (many of whom are men) want, 
how about men stepping up and taking just a 
little of say, personal responsibility.

Recent Exonerations

Robert Yell - State: KY
 - Date of Exoneration: 3/14/2019
In 2006, Robert Yell of Russellville, Kentucky, 
was sentenced to 52 years in prison after his son 
was killed and his infant daughter was badly 
injured in a fire that the prosecutor argued he 
had set.  The charges were dismissed in 2019 
after a re-examination of the forensic evidence 
showed that the state's arson investigators drew 
conclusions that weren't based on science.

Archie Williams - State: LA
 - Date of Exoneration: 3/21/2019
In 1983, Archie Williams was sentenced to life in 
prison without parole for attempted murder and 
rape in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was 
exonerated in 2019 when a fingerprint from the 
scene was matched to a convicted rapist who 
had died in prison.

Clifford Williams, Jr. and Hubert Myers
 - State: FL - Date of Exoneration: 3/28/2019
In 1976, Clifford Williams Jr. was sentenced to 
death and Hubert Nathan Myers to life in prison 
for a murder and attempted murder in 
Jacksonville, Florida. They were exonerated in 
2019 after the prosecutor's Conviction Integrity 
Unit reinvestigated the case and determined that 
another man, now deceased, had been the 

Recent Stays of Execution

20	Russell Buklew	MO	
Stay granted by the U.S. Supreme Court on 
March 20, 2018, pending resolution of his 
petition for writ of certiorari on the question of 
whether his medical condition makes it 
unconstitutionally cruel to execute him by 
means of lethal injection.

11	Melvin Bonnell	OH 
Rescheduled for February 12, 2020 by Gov. John 
Kasich on September 1, 2017.

11	William Montgomery		OH 
Commutation granted. On March 16, the Ohio 
Board of Pardons voted 6-4 to recommend that 
Montgomery's death sentence be commuted by 
Ohio Governor John Kasich. Gov. Kasich 
commuted Montgomery's death sentence to life 
without parole on March 26, 2018.

Recent Executions

None since February 28, 2019 - Hooray!

UAs                                  31
POC (Gao Zhisheng birthday card)      1
POC (Narges Mohammadi birthday card)  1
Total                                33

By Joyce Wolf

Group 22 member Veronica Raymond arranged 
an Amnesty table at the Los Angeles 
Environmental Education Fair at the Arboretum 
on March 30. She provided lots of art supplies 
for children to make their own bookmarks, and 
we had two petitions for adults to sign, one 
based on the Urgent Action for a slain Mexican 
environmentalist, and the other for eight 
conservationists imprisoned in Iran. The event 
was very successful, and Veronica decided to do 
it all over again for the Pasadena Earth Day 
Festival on Saturday, April 20. 

(photo by Stevi)

"Defend Those Who Defend The Earth" - nice to 
see this banner again! I think we created it back 
in 2000, when Amnesty partnered with Sierra 
Club in the "Just Earth" campaign. Veronica and 
Martha organized Group 22 participation in the 
Arboretum events in 2000-2006; then we did 
Pasadena Earth Day festivals until 2013. Huge 
thanks to Veronica for arranging Group 22 
participation in this year's events, and special 
thanks to Stevi and Paula for helping at the 
Pasadena fair. 

Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code C1-128
Pasadena, CA 91125

Amnesty International's mission is to undertake research and action focused on 
preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, 
freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the 
context of its work to promote all human rights.