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

News in Brief

CA : Joe Sandoval, 60, resigned as secretary of California's Youth an Adult Correctional Agency on August 15, 1997, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. Upon his resignation governor Pete Wilson appointed Sandoval to the state's Narcotic Addict Evaluation Authority. The position pays $38,000 a year. The Authority meets one day a week.

CO : In September, 1997, Boulder County jail prisoner Joshua Kann was sentenced to two years in prison for throwing urine on jail guards. Kann was charged with second degree attempted assault under a new law making it a felony for prisoners to throw bodily fluids on guards.

CO : On October 30, 1997, Brian Hood and Joey Byers escaped from the Fremont Correctional Center by cutting through a double fence with bolt cutters. Both prisoners were serving life sentences for murder. Hood was recaptured 16 hours later by construction workers who found him hiding in a housing development.

FL : On October 21, 1997, a state jury awarded former St. Lucie County jail prisoner Teresa Weatherford $12,000 in damages because she fell and injured herself outside a shower at the jail. The sheriff's office announced it planned to recoup its money by suing Weatherford for room and board, $50 a day, while she was imprisoned in the jail.

GA : On October 19, 1997, Marvin Turner escaped from the Hays State Prison by producing an identification card belonging to Curtis Scott, a prisoner scheduled to be released that day. Scott told guards he had lost his ID card. Prison officials said Scott would be charged with aiding an escape. Turner, convicted of first degree murder in 1996, was picked up at the prison by an unidentified woman.

Iceland : On October 17, 1997, Iceland's supreme court held it would not order the Arizona extradition of Connie and Donald Hanes for lack of legal grounds to extradite. The Hanes are wanted in Arizona for taking their granddaughter from her mother. Earlier, a trial judge had ruled it would be "inhumane" to extradite the couple to the Maricopa county jail run by the notorious Joe Arpiao.

MN : On December 5, 1997, Homer Land was recaptured in Chicago after escaping from a prison transport in Owatonna, a town near Minneapolis. Land was one of 11 prisoners in a van that stopped for lunch on December 3, 1997. When one guard went to get food for the prisoners, the prisoners overpowered the other guard and escaped.

New Zealand : On October 18, 1997, prisoners demanding new trials at the Paparua prison took six guards hostage. The hostages were later released unharmed.

NJ: On November 6, 1997, William Fauver, 65, resigned as DOC commissioner amid controversy surrounding an investigation of the DOC for "possible abuse of overtime." In 1996 overtime for NJ prison staff totaled $73 million, or almost ten percent of the $750 million DOC budget.

OH : On October 31, 1997, Bowling Green prosecutors dropped all charges filed against Michael Rimmer arising from his theft of a van in which he was being transported to face murder charges in Memphis, TN, by the Federal Extradition Agency (FAE). FAE is a privately owned prisoner transport company. Rimmer escaped and stole the van when FAE guards left the prisoners in the van to make a phone call. Rimmer released three other prisoners and remained at large for two hours before being recaptured.

OR : Multnomah county (Portland) jail officials revealed they tape recorded more than 400 phone conversations between prisoners and their lawyers. Jail officials claimed the tapings were "inadvertent." The tapes have been impounded.

Panama : On September 24, 1997, prisoners at La Joya, a prison holding 2,000 prisoners, ended a 24 hour siege and released two guard hostages after police agreed to improve living conditions and provide better medical care to the prisoners.

TX : State prisoner Biswajeet Mishra wrote governor George Bush asking to be pardoned from a 12 year burglary sentence. In response, he got a letter soliciting a donation for Bush's reelection campaign. When he didn't send any money he got a follow up letter from first lady Laura Bush. Karl Rove, Bush's political adviser, denied using the governor's mail for fundraising and claimed Mishra's name was received from the "National Review" mailing list. Rove said that at least Mishra is "a conservative. And, as such, he should believe in personal responsibility."

VA : On October 23, 1997, Powhatan Correctional Center warden Patrick Gurney was arrested and charged with two felony counts of malicious wounding arising from an attack where he bit his wife and seven year old stepson. Gurney transferred to a job at the DOC's regional office in Charlottesville pending the outcome of the criminal charges.

VA : On October 28, 1997, Rappahannock Regional Jail guard Eric Houchens pleaded guilty to sexual battery for raping a female prisoner he was supervising on a litter detail. Originally charged with felony rape and attempted sodomy, the plea to misdemeanor charges mean Houchens faced a year or less in jail and a $2,500 fine.

WA : On November 14, 1997, DOC grievance specialist Dennis Koeppen and his wife Debra were arrested at their Tumwater home on felony drug charges as part of an investigation into the Gideon Israel commune. The Koeppens were each charged with two felony counts for possessing 8-9 grams of pure liquid LSD and a pound of marijuana. Israel was charged under state racketeering laws and Koeppen, on paid leave from his $43,776 a year DOC job, is alleged to be an "associate" in the racketeering enterprise. Undercover agents had bought drugs from Israel and Koeppen prior to the arrests.

WA : On September 29, 1997, prisoner Heather Wells gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Arieona. Wells got pregnant after being raped by a prison guard at the Washington Correction Center for Women. Wells, serving a 20 year sentence for murder, was at prerelease when she gave birth. She has filed a $3.5 million claim against the state.

WI : On September 3, 1997, DOC secretary Michael Sullivan announced no more prisoners would be placed on electronic home monitoring after Patrick Rucker was charged with killing two people in a Milwaukee shooting spree while on electronic monitoring. The decision will result in at least 1,000 prisoners being sent to out of state prisons due to overcrowding. Ironically, the electronic monitoring program was started to reduce prison crowding. During seven months of monitoring Rucker had triggered 158 alerts for not being where he was supposed to be.

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