Dear Governor

Dear Governor

Since his final state appeal at the end of last season, a stellar team of attorneys has assembled around Jarvis Masters, pledging to represent his death penalty case at the federal level. We will follow his riveting case and meet some of those experts as they work to help Jarvis find freedom after over forty years of incarceration. And we will dig deeper into facets of Jarvis’s life as well as the deeply flawed criminal justice system. If you’d like to support Jarvis Masters’s cause, please considering signing a petition on his behalf at


April 28, 2020 3 mins

In issuing his moratorium on capital punishment in California, Governor Gavin Newsom went on record saying he believes there are innocent people on Death Row. “Dear Governor” invites the listener to get to know Jarvis Jay Masters, a condemned prisoner who has maintained his innocence for over 30 years. After sharing intimate details of his life story and his ongoing legal case, we ask the listener to answer for themselves, “Is the ...

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The United States is the only western nation that continues to make a practice of executing its own citizens. Of late, the death penalty and the prevalence of wrongful convictions have been under the white-hot light spotlight in everything from our political discourse to our popular culture. Governor Gavin Newsom recently put a moratorium on the death penalty in California, based on research that estimates one in 25 condemned priso...

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May 14, 2020 25 mins

Host, Corny Koehl, attends the oral arguments for Jarvis Master’s final state appeal before the California Supreme Court. His writ of Habeas Corpus was filed back in 2005, and Jarvis has been languishing in wait all this time. As his appellate attorneys present new evidence that bolsters Jarvis’s claims of innocence, will the Court decide to exonerate him or confirm his sentence to death?

Meet Connie Pham, an outspoken advocate ...

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May 21, 2020 33 mins

Though only 6.5 percent of Californians are black, African Americans make up 29 percent of the prison population and 36 percent of those condemned to death. Jarvis was born into poverty and abuse so extreme, he shot past the “cradle to prison pipeline,” straight to the “cradle to death row pipeline.” Enlil McRae, from the Truthworker Theatre Company, reads passages from Jarvis’s memoir, “That Bird Has My Wings: The Autobiography of...

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May 28, 2020 23 mins

The juvenile justice system taught Jarvis how to fight, and while still a boy, defined for him what it meant to be a man, fierce, angry and proud. There were times when he tried to rise above and escape the cradle to prison pipeline, but the gravitational pull was too strong to resist. Excerpting sections of his memoir, “That Bird Has My Wings: The Autobiography of an Innocent Man on Death Row,” we will hear how Jarvis had to fight...

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To share in the sorrow, and join in solidarity with the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Brianna Taylor, and so many more families of color who have lost loved ones for absolutely no reason; to show respect to the hundreds of thousands of courageous individuals across the country protesting the injustice and brutality; and to use our voices to echo the self-evident truth that BLACK LIVES MATTER, this week, “Dear Governor,” ...

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For obvious reasons, Jarvis has a very personal take on the morality and ethics of capital punishment. Having been an inmate at San Quentin for 40 years, he has personally known men who have been executed. He has counseled fellow inmates who suffer from great depression, as they face their own mortality daily. And, he believes that if people on the outside knew that there were innocent people on death row, they could not in good co...

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June 11, 2020 21 mins

In this episode we will hear details of the bloody murder of a corrections officer, the crime that landed Jarvis Masters on death row. You will hear Jarvis’s recollections of that fated night, along with the memories of the Head Warden who was in charge, and one of the attorneys that represented Jarvis at the murder trial in the late 1980’s. You will also learn the mind-blowing way in which Jarvis first learned that he was implicat...

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June 18, 2020 26 mins

Jarvis was charged with the conspiracy to commit murder back in 1985, and was sentenced to death in June of 1990. Find out why Jarvis, who never stabbed the corrections officer was sentenced to death, while two others involved in the murder, for whom there was much more damning evidence, were sentenced to life without parole. Hear about his case, and learn about the notorious prison snitches who testified on behalf of the state to ...

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June 25, 2020 31 mins

This verdict is in. And despite all of the compelling new evidence that bolsters Jarvis’s innocence, the California Supreme Court chose confirm his death sentence. You will hear Jarvis’s reaction to the courts decision, and what this means for the future of his life. The vast majority of the legal insights into Jarvis’s substantial claims of innocence were published in the article: “Unrequited Innocence in U.S. Capital Cases: Unint...

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Due to the coronavirus, all phone communications in and out of San Quentin have been cut off. Like a wildfire, covid-19 has devastated the prison. The last we heard from Jarvis Masters he had been ravaged by the virus. It is unconscionable that family members and friends have no idea how their loved ones are faring on the inside. Dear Governor Newsom, Jarvis has a solution. On behalf of Jarvis, Actor Dion Graham voices his plea.


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June 10, 2021 2 mins

Since his final state appeal at the end of last season, a stellar team of attorneys has assembled around Jarvis Masters, pledging to represent his death penalty case at federal level. We will follow his riveting case and meet some of those experts as they work to help Jarvis find freedom after over forty years of incarceration. And we will dig deeper into facets of Jarvis’s life as well as the deeply flawed criminal justice system....

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June 17, 2021 25 mins

He’s filed for appeal in the federal courts. What does that mean for Jarvis and the next steps in his pursuit to find justice? Hear from the experts and learn what awaits him on the horizon. Jarvis has requested that we dedicate this season of “Dear Governor,” to the late Michael Satris, who devoted his life to criminal justice reform and sat as second chair at Jarvis’s defense trial in the 80’s.

If you’d like to support Jarvis ...

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June 24, 2021 26 mins

David Sheff, author of THE BUDDHIST ON DEATH ROW; HOW ONE MAN FOUND LIGHT IN THE DARKEST PLACE, shares the story behind the story of Jarvis Masters and how the two of them forged a lasting friendship. Of David’s biography, His Holiness, The Dalai Lama writes, “This book shows vividly how, even in the face of the greatest adversity, compassion and a warm-hearted concern for others bring peace and inner strength.”

If you’d like to...

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July 1, 2021 22 mins

We find out why Jarvis Masters agreed to give permission and unfettered access to his story to the perfect stranger, resulting in a stunning and deeply moving biography about change and redemption. THE BUDDHIST ON DEATH ROW by David Sheff.

 If you’d like to support Jarvis Masters’s cause, please considering signing a petition on his behalf at 

Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwo...
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July 8, 2021 28 mins

When Jarvis Masters first entered the walls of San Quentin State Prison four decades ago, he was by his own admission angry and bitter, filled with vitriol pent up from a lifetime of abuse, neglect, and hopelessness. Were it not for the foresight and compassion of a singular woman at a very pivotal time in his life, Jarvis admits he would have likely continued along the seemingly preordained pipeline from cradle to prison to casket...

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July 15, 2021 37 mins

There is an adage made popular in 1954 by President Eisenhower, that there are “no atheists in a fox hole.” The idea behind the phrase is that anyone who finds themselves in position of extreme stress, where death is all but imminent, he or she will seek comfort of a higher power. Meet the Buddhist Chaplain who was instrumental in nurturing and reinforcing Jarvis’s burgeoning Buddhist mind.

If you’d like to support Jarvis Masters’s ...

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July 22, 2021 34 mins

Craig Haney, who represented Jarvis Masters at his capital trial, is a social psychologist and a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, renown for is work on the front lines of the criminal justice system. Professor Haney explains why, ‘Jarvis’s case continues to haunt him to this day.’



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July 29, 2021 30 mins

The practice of ‘solitary confinement’ goes by many names, including, disciplinary confinement, security housing, and restricted housing… All are euphemisms to soften the harsh and torturous reality of solitary… Jarvis shares how he was able to survive for 22 years locked away in a 9x4 cell 23-24 hours a day!

We’ll also hear from the co-founder of the California Families Against Solitary Confinement and the Community Outreach Di...

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August 5, 2021 34 mins

Maurice Chammah, a staff writer at the Marshall Project, shares the good news of his latest book, LET THE LORD SORT THEM; THE RISE AND FALL OF THE DEATH PENALTY.

About the book, Publishers weekly wrote, “A nuanced and deeply reported account of evolving attitudes toward the death penalty in America… a thorough, finely written, and unflinching look at on of the most controversial aspects of the American justice system.”

If you’d l...

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