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News in Brief

TX: On November 23, 1994, Hidalgo County sheriff Brig Marmolejo was sentenced to seven years in federal prison after being convicted of taking more than $151,000 in bribes from convicted drug dealer Homero Beltran Aguirre, who was awaiting trial in the jail between 1991-93, in exchange for giving him special privileges in the jail. Beltran testified that he paid Macznolejo $5,000 a month to have conjugal visits with his wife and girlfriend in the sheriff's office, he would pay an additional $1,000 per visit. He also gave the sheriff dried goat meat, $1,000 watches, a $10,000 sports car for his daughter and a no interest loan to pay for a pavilion at the daughter's wedding on the sheriff's ranch. Marmolejo had been sheriff for 18 years.

WA: Convicted double murder Mitchell Rupe recently had his death sentence reversed by Seattle federal judge Thomas Zilly. In addition to overturning his death sentence the court also found that Rupe, who weighs 409 pounds, was too heavy to hang because of a likelihood that he would be decapitated. The state argued that even if he were decapitated it would be quick and painless. Washington murders its citizens by hanging them unless they choose lethal injection. Rupe refuses to choose. The DOC responded that the solution is to change Washington's means of murder to lethal injection to avoid this type of problem. After the ruling King County (Seattle) prosecutor Norm Maleng wrote DOC officials requesting that they ban commissary privileges for death row prisoners so they cannot evade the death penalty by "gorging". Maleng needs to eat a few Snickers and get a life.

USA: The ninth circuit court of appeals dismissed the forfeiture of money in a drug case stating that just because money has drug traces on it proves nothing. Past studies have shown that most cash money in circulation in the US has cocaine traces on it. One study by the DEA showed that a third to half of all paper money had drug traces on it. Another study by Dade County, FL toxicologist William  (learn showed that out of 135 bills collected around the country, 131 had drug traces on them.

MI: Prisoners at the federal prison in Milan caused a major disturbance in October, 1994, when a fight involving more than 100 prisoners broke out. No one was seriously injured though the fighting lasted over 20 minutes before being quelled by staff, according to prison spokesman Mike Keel.

WA: Seattle policeman Alan Hampton was charged with two counts of third degree child rape on November 29, 1994. According to the charges filed in state court, Hampton began having sex with a now 14 year old girl in 1993, when she was 12, after which he fondled her in patrol cars, flew her from Colorado to have sex with him and boasted of the encounters to other police. Hampton, who is married, would bring the girl to his home for sex while he was on duty and his wife was at work. Seattle police internal affairs had conducted an investigation of Hampton after other police and Child Protective Services filed complaints. Criminal charges weren't filed until the victim told a counselor of the sexual activity and provided a videotaped statement, letters and nude photos that Hampton had sent her.

TX: On October 13, 1994, a Dallas County jury convicted Hunt county judge Michael Farris of felony drug possession. Videotape evidence showed Farris buying methamphetamines from an undercover drug agent. Ferris claimed he was entrapped. He was introduced to the "drug dealers" by Hunt County justice of the peace Dan Robertson.

WA: Former federal prosecutor Howard Nichols pleaded guilty to federal drug conspiracy charges in Spokane, WA on November 21, 1994. Nichols confessed to conspiring with others to buy and sell 110 pounds of cocaine in Washington and Idaho. Drugs and money changed hands in Nichols' Spokane law office. Under the terms of his plea agreement Nichols agreed to snitch on his co-conspirators. By pleading guilty Nichols will receive a 41 month prison sentence with 5 years of supervised release. Had he been convicted at trial as charged he would have received a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

CT: To cope with a massively expanding prison population the state is opening its own control unit prison, Northern Constitution, at Somers. Designed to hold 300 prisoners it is already being touted by DOC officials as being only for "the worst of the worst." Admitting it will be a sensory deprivation unit, warden David May says it is not totally dehumanizing because "Even if it's putting cuffs on and taking them off, that's contact." Using that logic, so are beatings. It cost $44 million to build the new control unit prison.

Venezuela: On November 29, 1994, 100 prisoners at the Tocuy to  prison in Carabobo escaped through the prison's sewage tunnels during a power failure. Human rights groups have claimed that Venezuela's prisons are the most dangerous in the continent. A local television station said that there were only 15 guards for the 1,800 prisoners at Tocuvito.

CO: The electronic home arrest and monitoring systems now in use are based on identification technology developed by BI Inc. in the 1970s to keep track of dairy cows. BI's electronic arrest concept grew from the technology they first developed to identify dairy cows and keep track of their individual milking schedules.

MA: On November 3, 1994, Medical policeman James Bovan pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped and beat an unnamed snitch over a four year period. The snitch claimed that he beat and raped her while he was on duty and off, including in police vehicles. Bovan admits to having sex with the women but claimed it was consensual.

NY: On October 27, 1994, former New York State Police investigator Edward Pilus was sentenced to 2 to 8 years in prison for faking evidence in a 1991 Rockland County car jacking

LA: On November 4, 1994, Gerald Mercadel escaped from a maximum security cell in the Orleans Parish Prison. It was his second escape from the j ail in less than a month.

IL: On October 27, 1994, Donald Savage, a part time clerk at the US Customs warehouse in Chicago, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing 20 guns from an evidence locker and selling them to private parties.

IA: Non-violent prisoners from the Sedgwick County Jail are being housed in the local Courtesy Inn. The motel's management claims that the motel is more secure than a halfway house.

MN: Prisoner at the Stillwater and Lino Lakes state prisons will no longer be allowed to do telemarketing for Fortune 500 companies. According to prison officials, some prisoners were "making too much money" with one prisoner allegedly making $23,000 in a few months in 1991. Given our experience with prison slave labor programs this sounds pretty far fetched. Any comments from Minnesota readers?

AZ: The Iluachuca Police department made $45,000 from the undercover sale of marijuana and "lost" 15 pounds of the samples.

TX: On October 26, 1994, US Customs agent Richard Cardwell and Dept. of Public Safety Sgt. Robert Nestoroff surrendered to face charges that they had helped drug smuggler Rodney Matthews smuggle 1,500 pounds of cocaine into the United States.

AK: The Alaska DOC announced that they were shipping 250 prisoners to the Penal Detention Center in Florence, AZ by November 15, 1994, in order to ease prison overcrowding and avoid a $5,500 a day court ordered fine for violating the crowding limits imposed on the state prison system. The first prisoners to be shipped to Arizona will be untreated sex offenders.

CA: The FBI is investigating the shooting deaths of seven prisoners by prison guards at the California state prison at Corcoran. This is the highest number of shooting deaths in the California state prison system, and that system has more prisoners shot and killed by guards than the other 10 largest prison systems in the US combined.

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