Charles Carbone, Prisoner Rights Lawyer Attorney, California | Justice for Prisoners | get inmates out of prison

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The following is a list of cases litigated, often in a lead or co-lead capacity:


  • Co-attorney in the landmark settlement of Ashker v. Brown which abolished long-term solitary confinement in California and which changed fundamentally the rules by which prisoners are placed in Security Housing Units.
  • Numerous reversals in California courts of the Governor's denial of parole for clients serving life sentences, having won multiple cases in the Superior Courts and the California Courts of Appeal.
  • Conducted a trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Proposition 36.
  • Won numerous releases of inmates serving life sentences (approximately 50 life inmates).
  • Won numerous parole grants for clients serving life sentences at their initial parole hearings (approximately 6).
  • Featured on National Public Radio on the topic of solitary confinement in California.
  • Won In re Wimberly in the California Court of Appeals thereby requiring client's immediate release from prison.
  • Awarded the Client Choice Award by, the preeminent review site for lawyers.
  • Quoted and consulted in Mother Jones feature article on prisons.
  • Appeared on KQED Public Radio on the topic of solitary confinement in California.


  • Invited as honorary witness before the California legislature on the topic of solitary confinement.
  • Client of Charles Carbone featured on National Public Radio broadcast on lifer inmates in California.
  • Charles Carbone featured in British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) feature documentary film on prisons in the United States.
  • Won the release of a client otherwise serving a life sentence under Proposition 36.
  • Won the reversal of a prison gang validation along with a court order requiring his immediate release to a prison mainline.
  • Won numerous grants of parole for former juvenile life inmates under the new law of SB260, affording their immediate release from prison.
  • Interviewed by Newsweek Magazine on the issue of censorship in prisons.
  • Won the early release of a client whose release was advanced by three years.
  • Won reinstatement of a parole grant after client incurred a rules violation after a parole grant. The chance of success -- which we won -- was less than 2%.
  • Won numerous releases of inmates serving life sentences (approximately 50 life inmates).
  • Interviewed by The California Report on KQED regarding inmates serving life sentences.


  • Won the freedom for nearly 40 prisoners who were previously serving life sentences.
  • Won parole dates for over 60 prisoners before the California parole board.
  • Won the court ordered freedom in a single day of two prisoners serving life sentences.
  • Won numerous Superior Court and Court of Appeals cases requiring either the release or the rehearing of parole for prisoners serving life sentences.
  • Appeared on NBC Today Show on topic of pay-to-stay county jails.
  • Won the release of three (3) prisoners serving life sentences in a single day.
  • Won four (4) court cases in a row which overturned the Governor resulting in the immediate release of all four prisoners.
  • Won the early discharge of parole for a former life inmate.
  • Lead counsel in landmark case challenging the use of super-max prisons in California.
  • Counseled and advised several hundred prisoners and their family members on topics of civil rights, visiting, appeals, and general prison conditions.


  • Won 23 out of 25 parole grants before Board of Parole Hearings
    in a row.
  • Won over 30 parole grants and or releases for clients serving a life sentence.
  • Visited more prisons than any defense lawyer in California for 2012.
  • Lead Counsel in landmark civil rights case with the Center for Constitutional Rights against long-term solitary confinement in California.
  • Recognized as expert and consultant to Amnesty International on long-term solitary confinement in California's prisons.
  • Quoted in New York Times on solitary confinement policies in California.
  • Graded and supervised over 100 prisoner students in rehabilitation and re-entry program (
  • Consulted with Rolling Stone Magazine on feature story on prisons in California.
  • Reversed the Board of Parole Hearings and the Governor on numerous parole appeals.
  • Litigated published decision on parole denial known as In re Shigeumra.
  • Conducted trial against Pelican Bay State Prison on gang validation procedures and use of Security Housing Units.
  • Client featured in Mother Jones Magazine for full length cover story article.
  • Appeared in largest newspaper in Ireland (The Irish Times) on prisons in California.
  • Counseled and advised several hundred family members and prisoners on legal rights.


  • Won the release and/or parole dates for over 40 life inmates in California's prisons.
  • Appeared on National Geographic Channel on the topic of prison relationships.
  • Case heard before U.S. Supreme Court, Pollard v. Geo Group, Inc. relating to liability for private prisons.
  • Client's case featured on award winning "This American Life" on National Public Radio.
  • Won several successful resolutions of medical concerns for prisoners being denied medical treatment.
  • Reversed Governor and Board of Parole Hearing in numerous decisions before the Court of Appeals and a variety of Superior Court decisions.
  • Visited more prisons than any other lawyer in California for the year.
  • Authored Afterword for book authored by famed criminal defense attorney Tony Serra.
  • Spokesperson for prisoner hunger strike for SHU prisoners.
  • Only person to debate Director of Dept. of Corrections on Sacramento public radio regarding super-max policies in California.
  • Testified before California State Assembly on Public Safety on use of Security Housing Units.
  • Interviewed by KQED regarding solitary confinement


  • Won precedent setting case for Muslim prisoners to have Halal meals and Muslim diet.
  • Won the release and/or parole dates for over 35 life inmates in California's prisons.
  • Won historic release of four life prisoners in ONE day.
  • Won landmark published case before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holding private prisons to same standards as public prisons.
  • Founded Prisoner Correspondence Self-Help School.
  • Won precedent setting, published case of In re Macias in California Court of Appeals relating to level of "insight" required for release of lifers.
  • Won eight parole dates in two weeks.
  • Won precedent setting landmark case in Court of Appeals disallowing parole boards from requiring compliance with Jessica's Law prior to release.
  • Won several successful hardship transfers and numerous instances of improved medical care for inmates.
  • Won numerous parole reversals in California Superior Court.
  • Visited more prisons in the State of California than any other lawyer in 2010.
  • Appeared on National Geographic Channel on prisons.
  • Filed more appeals on gang validations in 2010 than any other California lawyer.


  • Won several (5) victories for improved medical care for California
  • Achieved first known release date for maximum security life inmate before Board of Parole Hearings.
  • Overturned sentence for vehicular manslaughter conviction resulting in early release.
  • Won freedom for many (15) men and women serving life sentences in California prisons.
  • Consulted on landmark case involving challenges to California's gang management policies and use of solitary confinement.


  • Won freedom for many (15) men and women serving life sentences in California prisons.


  • Won freedom for several (six) men and women who were previously serving life sentences in California Prisons.
  • Won greater due process lawsuit victory for SHU prisoner at Pelican Bay State Prison.

2002 - 2007

  • Lead counsel in numerous (over 25) legal proceedings involving prison gang members on issues ranging from prison gang validations, civil rights, and conditions of confinement in state and federal court.


  • Co-counsel as intervener in Thompson case to improve conditions on California's death row.


  • Co-counsel in landmark Freedom of Speech case for California death row prisoner in In re Flinner.


  • Lead counsel in numerous (over 100) parole cases for representation of life inmates with many achieving release dates before the California Board of Parole Hearings.
  • Lead counsel in numerous prisoner state and federal cases involving excessive force, medical neglect, parole release for lifer prisoners, and prisoners living in solitary confinement.


  • Lead counsel in Castillo v. Alamedia, C-94-2847 MJJ JCS which forced major policy changes to the California Department of Corrections gang management policies and confinement of prisoners in Security Housing Units.
  • Lead counsel in five coordinated prison gang validation cases – In re Chavez, Pina, Padilla, Sosa, & Gonzalez -- which won greater due process procedural protections for super-maximum security prisoners in California.


  • Lead counsel in In re Ngo which challenged racial segregation in housing and lockdowns of California prisoners at San Quentin State Prison.


  • Lead counsel in winning class action suit against AT&T for unlawful hidden charges on pre-paid calling cards resulting in nation-wide changes to AT&T’s calling cards.


  • Associate counsel in class suit in Massachusetts federal court against Cable and Wireless, Inc. for systemic overcharges of Pre subscribed Carrier Line Charges, and pending class suit in California federal court against MCI/Worldcom for overcharges of local and long-distance service.


  • Associate counsel to plaintiffs in largest consumer class action settlement in telecommunications case in U.S. history against MCI/Worldcom for settlement valued at $90 million.


  • Lead counsel for UCAN complaint case in which Pacific Bell was fined over $20 million for deceptive and misleading sales practices of local residential telephone customers. The fine was the largest ever against the phone company and one of largest in the California Public Utilities Commission's history.
  • Lead counsel for case against Choctaw Communications for violations of telephony universal service deficiencies.
  • Lead counsel for case against MCI/Worldcom for unlawful billing practices for collect calls that originate from California prisons that secured a half-million dollar judgment.


  • Lead counsel for case against MCI/Worldcom for over-billing and privacy violations of local phone service in California. Judgment for over $9 million in restitution.


  • Co-counsel on CPUC's OIR/OII proceeding for customer service standards for all providers of local telephone service in the State of California.


  • Co-Counsel in opposition of $ 2.5 billion merger application of SDG&E and Pacific Enterprises. Judgment for return of $150 million to ratepayers of California.


  • Lead Counsel/ advocate in opposition of $16 billion (3rd largest merger in U.S. History at the time) merger application Pacific Telesis and SBC Communications Inc. Judgment of nearly $500 million to ratepayers of California and creation of $150 million technology trust fund.


  • Lead counsel in Federal Communications Commission filings including dockets for Truth-in-Billing, Inmate Collect Calls and Slamming/Cramming.

Famous photo of the Attica, New York, uprising in 1971 which was the largest uprising of prisoners in the history of the United States