Listen to attorney Donna Brown explain Jesse’s confounding circumstances of incarceration and his suitability for release.
Jesse Brooks’ hearing for a sentence reduction was held February 28, 2020 at the Rockingham County Courthouse. He was supposed to appear via video conference from Arizona for the hearing but - despite a court order - he was denied that opportunity when Arizona failed to make the arrangements. The purpose of the hearing was to conduct a thorough review of Jesse’s conduct in prison and his suitability for release.
Under New Hampshire state law, inmates are eligible for a sentence reduction once 2/3 of their sentence has been served. Jesse was eligible for sentence reduction after ten years - he has served twelve.
Jesse’s attorney Donna Brown presented three witnesses. First, prison classification expert James Aiken, who has 48 years of experience managing all aspects of correctional facilities and has been qualified as an expert in more than 30 states, including New Hampshire and Arizona. Mr. Aiken testified that after having reviewed Jesse’s institutional record, Mr. Brooks had to “withstand the intense rigors of prison life as well as the additional reality of not receiving fair treatment by the prison system.” Mr. Aiken told the judge,“I found it very, very disturbing” that Arizona misclassified Jesse and placed him in the highest security prison in Arizona where he spent an additional two years in solitary confinement.
After Jesse was removed from solitary, Mr. Aiken explained to the judge how officers issued unwarranted disciplinary tickets, made blatantly false security designations, subjected Jesse to punitive work duties in high heat and pain knowing it was adverse to his medical condition. They also revoked his visitation and phone privilege for years. Mr. Aiken told the judge, “what happened here is so far out of the context in normal operations of a correctional environment” that he found the inconsistencies very troubling. Mr. Aiken stated Jesse always responded in a mature manner, stating, “Instead, Mr. Brooks has demonstrated an operationally extreme level of restraint and maturity even after these validated and redundant critical failures occurred and reoccurred.”
The second witness to testify was Dr. Jeffrey Fudin, an expert in pain therapeutics who has more than 30 years of pharmacology experience in direct patient care and medication management. Dr. Fudin reviewed Jesse’s medical records and concluded that Jesse received medical mistreatment. According to Dr. Fudin’s assessment, Jesse has postlaminectomy syndrome (failed back) from an unsuccessful 2003 artificial spinal implant procedure, which resulted in a chronic pain condition. His degenerative condition will not improve over time, unless there is some medical breakthrough. Dr. Fudin testified that he found Jesse’s medical management or lack thereof - mind-boggling. He stated,“It amazes me the extent that Mr. Brooks was able to basically maintain composure.”
Dr. Fudin explained that Jesse was administered some drugs that were subtherapeutic and others administered at exceedingly high doses and then abruptly stopped which can induce seizures. Dr. Fudin was baffled that Jesse was punished for taking his pain medication, then placed in solitary confinement and stripped of medication. The doctor testified, “He was reaching out for help and instead what he was getting is he was being given drugs, they were taken away; they were high doses, they were low doses. I mean, the restraint that he showed was really pretty incredible.”
The last witness was Jesse’s Arizona attorney Stephen Weeks who testified to the unwarranted punishment and sanctions placed on Jesse when he was issued disciplinary tickets for the very medication he was prescribed. He explained to the judge that the Arizona Attorney General’s office reversed the tickets years later admitting the tickets were wrongly imposed. He further explained, “Mr. Brooks had been subjected to numerous days of lost good time, been fined for the cost of the urinalysis tests, and had his visitations interrupted as well as his telephone calls. So, he was basically isolated and punished for having these urinalysis tickets.”
JESSE BROOKS ISN’T ASKING FOR SPECIAL TREATMENT, HE IS ONLY ASKING TO BE TREATED AS ANY OTHER NEW HAMPSHIRE PRISONER WOULD BE TREATED.
MISCLASSIFIED IN ARIZONA Jesse was falsely classified in a state prison system that is notorious for overcrowding, understaffing and a healthcare system that has been labeled “cruel,” “inhumane,” and “dysfunctional.” He was subjected to 10 years of inconsistent applications of rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.
EXTRAORDINARY PUNISHMENT Jesse has been subjected to a total of 3 years in solitary confinement and 2-1/2 years in CCU Closed Custody 22-hours a day of LOCKDOWN because of his false classification and unwarranted UA disciplinary tickets. In fact, the AZDOC informed this court that the UA disciplinary tickets were still valid violations despite the Arizona Attorney General’s ruling to remove the tickets from Jesse’s record.
MEDICAL MISTREATMENT Jesse has been subjected to years of pharmalogical torture and procedures that knowingly cause bone degeneration. He was 2-1/2 years without effective medication after being punished for taking his prescribed medication, placed in solitary where an unfamiliar nurse practitioner Lum Maximuangu ordered abrupt discontinuation of his pain medication without any prior medical assessment or oversight, during a period of excessive heat. When he was finally seen a week later in CRITICAL CONDITION and explained that he was in unbearable back pain – she ordered a neck X-ray. Prison medical repeatedly sent Jesse to specialists that ordered his pain medication be reinstated however their orders were ignored. Lum Maximuangu has since surrendered her license for practicing substandard care and falsifying reports and Jesse’s prison doctor was sanctioned by the medical board in 2018 and later fired for being impaired on the job. Needless to say, the Arizona state Department of Corrections (DOC) has been under a federal court order for 5 years to improve health care to its 42,000 prisoners who have received maltreatment and even died because of lack of adequate care.
COVID-19 THREAT A federal court judge called the prison director’s response to the coronavirus “troubling” and ORDERED the AZDOC to submit plans for preparing and managing the coronavirus. A prison correctional officer told KJZZ radio “nothing new was being done and said unsanitary conditions threatened the health of staff and inmates.” Another Tucson prison correctional officer told the Tucson Weekly, “once the coronavirus hits, then it’s going to be hell.” Retired Arizona Judge Donna Hamm wrote, “Those, like Mr. Brooks, who already suffer from severe medical conditions are not only exposed to the enhanced threat of COVID-19, but they also face the inevitable diversion of the already insufficient medical care.”
DENIED REHABILITATION PROGRAMMING Arizona does not offer interstate inmates any needed court mandated programs. Nor will they offer educational or vocational training.
JESSE BROOKS FOLLOWED THE RULES DESPITE UNFAIR TREATMENT The February 28, 2020 evidentiary hearing put into the permanent court record evidence that Jesse Brooks has shown extraordinary restraint even while he has been subjected to extraordinary maltreatment. Looking directly at Judge St. Hilaire, Mr. Aiken said, “Then you look at Mr. Brooks that's demonstrating the appropriate behaviors even without the programming, and that's something very significant to me…the reality that these unnecessary, avoidable, and operationally blatant failures redundantly occurred that had a direct adverse impact upon Mr. Brooks….. yet there is the absence of adverse behaviors on his part.”