[Pnews] 50 years in prison: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! FREE Chip Fitzgerald

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 20 10:21:20 EDT 2019

*50 years in prison: *



*FREE Chip Fitzgerald *

*Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend*

*former Black Panther *


Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 
years ago. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 
years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He 
depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the 
parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him.

*NOW is the time for Chip to come home!*


In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway 
patrolman. During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip 
and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and 
charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a 
security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied 
any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty. Chip 
and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life 
imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible 
for parole after serving 7 more years. But Chip was rejected for parole, 
as he has been ever since.

Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, 
and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in 
prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal 
courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding. To rapidly 
reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole 

·for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more;

·for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old;

·for anyone with disabilities


*Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria.*

But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to 
keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule 
infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been 
denied parole because he had a cellphone.

Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due 
process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 
70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules 
violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat 
to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if 
released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, 
friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home.

*The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage.*

*We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately.*


*_What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP:_*

1)Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at 

Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community 
meeting, or next social gathering.

2)Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at: 

3)Write to Chip: Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527,

P.O. Box 4490
Lancaster, CA 93539

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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