Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

News in Brief

CA: In the August, 1996, issue of PLN we reported the March 29, 1996, rebellion by immigrant detainees at the navy brig at the Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego. The government stated that the rebellion, sixteen days after the jail opened, will cost at least $4 million and it has decided to permanently close the jail. The jail cost $2 million to build and another $2 million was spent treating people injured during the rebellion, mainly from smoke inhalation injuries. This was the first time a civilian jail had operated on an active military base.

CA: On October 18, 1996, a federal jury found former San Diego superior court judges G. Dennis Adams and James Malkus, and attorney Patrick Frega, guilty of mail fraud and racketeering. Frega paid the judges more than $100,000 in bribes to buy favorable decisions in cases he was litigating before the judges. Adams divorced his wife, who earns a six figure income, in order to qualify for the services of a public defender. Another former judge, Michael Green, pleaded guilty and testified against the others.

Columbia: On October 25, 1996, guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) stormed a jail in the city of Putumayo, in Southeast Columbia. The guerrillas freed 41 prisoners, many of whom were FARC members captured in recent offensives by the leftist guerrilla group.

DC: On August 9, 1996, Rosemary Mayo, a former prison guard at the Lorton prison in Virginia, was convicted in federal court of witness tampering, conspiring to make false statements and deprivation of civil rights for her role in the January, 1992, beating and cover up of Lorton prisoner Alfred West.

DC: On October 8, 1996, federal judge Royce Lamberth ordered District of Columbia DOC officials David Roach, warden at the Lorton prison, and David Braxton, deputy director of the DOC, immediately jailed for contempt for six months. The judge found that Braxton and Roach had violated court orders that they not retaliate against women DOC employees who had successfully sued the DOC for sexual harassment, proving that male supervisors had requested sexual favors in exchange for promotions, and retaliating against those who did not comply. Judge Lamberth said: "I've tried to make clear repeatedly to the district and its officials that it must stop this retaliation against all who complain of sexual harassment.'' The court of appeals refused to stay the imprisonment order but said it would give the case expedited consideration.

FL: On October 18, 1996, Timothy Barber, a prison guard at the Moore Haven Correctional Facility, a private prison run by the Wackenhut Corporation, was convicted of raping a mentally handicapped women outside a West Palm Beach nightclub.

KY: On July 24, 1996, Floyd County jail guard Joseph "Jay" Brown was charged in state court with seven sex crimes, including rape, for sexually assaulting two women prisoners in the jail. Brown admitted to engaging in oral sex with one prisoner at least five times and having sex with the other. Less than eight months before another Floyd county jail guard, Thomas Whitehair, was indicted with twelve sex crimes and twelve related counts of official misconduct for sexually assaulting women prisoners at the jail.

MI: Dominic Bongiovanni, a guard at the Charles Egler facility was charged with extorting $800 from a prisoner in order to "fix" a disciplinary report. The prisoner reported the extortion to prison officials, after he was released on parole.

MI: John Prelesnik, warden of the Mid-Michigan Correctional Facility, has been suspended and faces a disciplinary hearing for ignoring sexual harassment claims filed by women employees at the prison.

NJ: In the October, 1996, NIB section we reported that Somerset County prosecutor Nicholas Bissell had been convicted of racketeering and various other crimes. Free on $300,000 bail, Bissell decided he couldn't take the time he had so readily handed out to others, and he made a run for it. Turned in by his co-defendant wife, Bissell shot himself to death in Laughlin, NV on November 26, 1996, when U.S. marshals tried to arrest him. By fleeing Bisell forfeited his bond, which included his mother's home.

OH: On September 27, 1996, David Turner, deputy warden at the Allen Correctional Institution in Lima was criminally charged with falsification by claiming on two job applications, including the one for his current job, that he had an Associate's Degree. Turner was also charged with two counts of petty theft for making up to $300 worth of personal long distance calls at the prison and using a prison secretary for personal clerical services. All three charges are misdemeanors.

TX: Stephen Russell escaped from the Harris County (Houston) jail by impersonating a judge on the phone. Russell told a court clerk he was a visiting judge and ordered his bail reduced from $900,000 to $45,000 which he had a bail bondsman pay. Russell had been charged with stealing $800,000 from a financial management company that employed him. Russell was caught a week later in Florida, posing as an attorney. Judges now identify themselves by code when speaking to court clerks.

WA: King county jail guard Jeffrey Bruce Jones was charged in state court on November 15, 1996, with dealing cocaine and bribery for selling confidential criminal history files to an undercover FBI agent. A jail guard since 1989, Jones was assigned to booking prisoners into the jail. The investigation leading to his arrest began after an informant reported Jones' drug use and abuse of his jail guard position.

WA: On October 31, 1996, King County (Seattle) jail prisoner Delano Frazier attempted to escape during a trip to Harborview Hospital. Frazier, facing life in prison without parole if convicted as a "three strikes" offender, pulled a loaded .25 caliber pistol on the two guards escorting him. The guards pulled their own weapons and convinced Frazier to surrender. In addition to the pistol Frazier also had a handcuff key concealed in his mouth. Jail officials declined comment as to how Frazier obtained the gun and key.

WA: The family of Donald Marquez, who was killed in his Portland, OR home while resisting a robbery by Craig Surls, was awarded a $500,000 settlement against the state of Washington. The Marquez family claimed that the state of Washington was negligent in its parole supervision of Surls, a four time convicted felon assigned to the supervision of the Lakewood parole office. The family initially sought $1.126 million.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login