DATE: May 10, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: San Francisco Public Defender’s Office – – (628)249-7946


San Quentin COVID-19 Outbreak on Trial: Hearing to Start May 17

Weeks of Evidence and Testimony Expected


An evidentiary hearing in the case against San Quentin State Prison and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) for their mishandling of a transfer of COVID-19-infected people into San Quentin, which resulted in a massive outbreak of COVID-19 and 29 deaths.


UPDATE – Testimony is set to begin 5/20 at 9am. The hearing is expected to last several weeks.


Marin County Superior Court; Department TBA.


The public may not attend in person, but can join the zoom webinar directly through the link below, which is also available on the Marin County Superior Court Website:

Click here to watch the proceedings on zoom:

Webinar ID: 965 5838 4473 / Passcode: 859961

To file a media request to record or broadcast the San Quentin Writ Proceeding, please contact the Marin County Superior Court. These are the four consolidated case names and case numbers you can site in your request: In re Michael Hall (SC212933); In re Darious Sommons (SC213244); In re Dontaye Harries (SC213534); In re Von Staich (SC212566).


Attorneys for petitioners include the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP, Law Offices of Charles Carbone, the Marin County Public Defender, Law Office of Matthew A. Siroka, Sanger Swysen & Dunkle, Foley & Lardner LLP, and the First District Appellate Project.


Nearly a year since the disastrous transfer of COVID-19-infected persons from California Institution for Men – then the state prison with the highest COVID-19 rate in California – to San Quentin, the case against San Quentin State Prison and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) for the their mishandling of the transfer, which resulted in a massive COVID-19 outbreak, will be put on trial through an evidentiary hearing in Marin County Superior Court, beginning Monday, May 17th, before Judge Geoffrey Howard.

The case has been unfolding since last summer after individuals filed “habeas corpus” petitions – an emergency filing alleging unlawful incarceration under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Over 300 petitions were joined together and will be heard collectively for the evidentiary stage of the proceeding. 



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