Posted by Harold Harvey Hawks
If it was not for the dedication, tenacity, knowledge and professional services provided by Steve Defilippis, I would still be in state prison today. I was convicted of second degree murder in 1986. I am fully culpable for the tragedy I committed and nothing but remorseful for it. Although I dedicated my life to change and rehabilitation from the beginning of my incarceration, after my second parole hearing in 2000, I realized that might not never get out of prison. It seemed hopeless. That is when I hired Steve, my life began to change for the better and hope began to take root. The facts of my crime and the politics of parole did not make for an easy case; in fact, the legal process of post-conviction parole issues are complex, frustrating and often arbitrary. Steve gave me solid advice on exactly what I needed to do while incarcerated to improve my chance of being found suitable. His advise helped me to grow and become a better man. More importantly, he fought long and hard for me in state and federal court until we finally won in the Riverside County Superior Court (2010) and the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division 2 (2012). I was found suitable for parole at a court ordered parole hearing on August 3, 2012 and released on parole after the Governor took no further action on January 8, 2013. Steve never gave up--even when it seemed there was no hope. He provided me with post-conviction legal assistance that was cutting-edge and at the forefront of the constantly changing arena of California parole law. His expertise is documented in published and unpublished case law. The office staff at Picone & Defilippis have always treated me with respect, kindness and genuine assistance that a person like me, convicted of murder, rarely receives from the public. The State of California needs more attorneys like Steve Defilippis who can bring balance to the scales of justice. I am sincerely grateful for the focused legal services that Steve and his staff provided for me. Those services continue today and into the future, because a successful period of parole and will require the guidance and experience of Steve to help me assimilate back into society.