Franky Carrillo is living proof of the power of hope, determination, and optimism.
Franky grew up in Lynwood, California, a small suburb of Los Angeles. At the age of 16, he was arrested, tried and convicted as an adult, for a crime he did not commit. Even though Franky’s father testified that his son was home at the time of the crime, the system ignored this and other evidence of his innocence. Although he was sentenced to life in prison, Franky still maintained his innocence the whole time.
During his years spent in prison, Franky wrote hundreds of letters requesting assistance and filed numerous legal briefs. Even after being rejected over and over again in his request for a new trial, he never lost hope in himself or the judicial system. It took nearly 15 years for him to get the attention of a lawyer who believed in him enough to help him continue fighting this battle. And, after a five-year-long investigation, the key witnesses finally admitted they had been forced to falsely accuse Franky of murder. When this new evidence was presented in court, the prosecutors conceded they had been wrong and asked the judge to dismiss all charges against Franky.
On March 16, 2011, Franky was released from prison, an innocent and free man, full of optimism and hope. For twenty years, Franky faced rejection, injustice and unfairness but it was his hope and optimism that allowed him to continue fighting until he was finally set free. Once he was released from prison, he sued the County of Los Angeles and Sheriff’s Department and received a settlement. Shortly after he graduated from Loyola Marymount University and is now married to a social worker who is also a professor at Loyola Law School’s Center for Juvenile Law and Policy. He and his wife are raising their family in Echo Park.
Because of his unique experience, Franky has become a renowned champion for fairness and justice – both within the judicial system and beyond. He became a key spokesperson for justice reform, supporting efforts like Propositions 34 and 62 to end the death penalty in California. He regularly advises and consults with state legislators on efforts to protect the innocent and to offer redemption and rehabilitation for youthful offenders. He also currently serves on the Board for several non-profit organization that are committed to promoting rehabilitation and justice reform, such as the Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara law school, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, the board of Death Penalty Focus and the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative (JRJI).
His work and inspiration has been recognized and honored by the naming of the Franky Carrillo Teen Court at Esteban Torres High School in East Los Angeles.
Now Franky is running for Assembly in California’s 51st Assembly District, where he was born and currently lives. He hopes to continue to serve as an inspiration to everyone facing challenges in life, and to be a constant reminder of the need to fight for justice, fairness, and honesty.
Based on his own experience, Franky believes that no obstacle is too great, and no cause is hopeless. Now he intends to bring that philosophy and spirit to public office and he will continue to use his proven determination and persistence to fight for economic opportunity, fairness in our judicial system, and civil rights for all.