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News in Brief

News in Brief:

Alabama: On January 8, 2006, Arthur Lee Scruggs, 38, a prisoner at the Donaldson Correctional Facility, was killed by unspecified means in a fight with prisoners Michael Barnes and Gerald Henderson.

Arizona: In August, 2005, a massive drug sting by the FBI led to 16 guilty pleas by US army soldiers, policemen and prison guards who agreed, usually while in uniform, to smuggle or transport 1,474 pounds of cocaine in exchange for bribes. Seven of the total arrested were Arizona Department of Corrections guards.

Arizona: On June 14, 2005, Gabriel Saucedo, 36, a guard at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Safford accidentally shot and killed himself while on perimeter guard duty at the prison.

Arkansas: On January 10, 2006, Janice Koontz, 30, a guard at the Civigenics run Bi-State Justice Building jail in Texarkana was indicted by a federal grand jury in Texarkana, Texas on 25 counts of tax fraud. Prosecutors charge that Koontz and Colleen Jordan, 44, a tax preparer, used prisoners social security numbers Koontz obtained at her job to fraudulently file false income tax returns in the name of the prisoners and get $50,000 in tax refunds for themselves. Koontz was employed by the Arkansas Department of Corrections between 1999 and 2003 when she was fired, and then promptly hired by Civigenics.

Arkansas: On January 24, 2006, Pulaski county jail guard Anthony Cole, 37, was sentenced to four years probation and a $2,000 fine after pleading guilty to third degree sexual assault charges after he forced a woman prisoner he was guarding to perform oral sex on him in the courthouses jail holding facility on July 22, 2005. Cole was arrested a week later after the victim filed a complaint. The victim had been in court for a probation violation hearing on a misdemeanor theft conviction.

Brazil: On January 24, 2006, three prisoners at the Agenor Martins de Carvalho prison in the Amazonian province of Ji-Parana attempted to escape using .38 caliber revolvers and shot and killed one guard before being shot and killed by other guards. In the ensuing commotion about half the prisons 300 prisoners tried to escape but were unable to due to heavily armed police and guards on the prison perimeter. When the warden and security director tried to defuse the situation, prisoners took them hostage. The hostages were released when officials agreed to longer visiting hours and sentence reductions.

California: In January, 2006, the Monterey county jail became the first law enforcement agency in California to use iris scan technology on prisoners to ensure prisoners do not swap identities and escape or are mistakenly released. The change was prompted by the 2004 escape of a prisoner who swapped identities with another prisoner and was wrongly released.

El Salvador: On April 20, 2006, Lidia Alvarado, 44, was arrested while visiting two prisoners in the nations main prison. Prison officials found a container ten inches long and four inches wide in her vagina which contained a live M-67 hand grenade and some marijuana.

Illinois: On January 22, 2006, the Cook county sheriffs office in Chicago removed its toll free hotline number which provided information on jail prisoners from its website after learning the number, which spelled the words JAIL had been taken over by a phone sex service who had purchased it when the sheriffs department let the number lapse due to budget cuts.

Indiana: In August, 2005, officials at the Clark county jail blamed homemade tattoos using staples for five prisoners who became sick with MRSA drug resistant bacterial skin infections. Punctures or skin lacerations allow the bacteria to enter the blood stream where it can cause death or serious injury.

Michigan: On March 14, 2006, Darick Heam, 42, a guard at the Thumb Correctional Facility, was charged with assault and weapons possession charges from the stabbing of an off duty policeman who was at his ex girlfriends home. The officer wrestled the hunting knife away from Heam and stabbed him with it. The officer suffered multiple stab wounds to his chest but was not seriously injured.

Mississippi: On January 12, 2006, the Pike county sheriffs office fired jail administrator Willie Patterson, assistant jail administrator Eugene Bates and guard Joey Gunther after they allegedly beat an unidentified prisoner. Sheriff Mark Shepard told media he was ashamed at how the prisoner was treated and said Im not going to tolerate anything here that is less than professional.

Missouri: On January 9, 2006, an unidentified guard at the Potosi Correctional Center was allegedly stabbed and critically injured by prisoner Roderick Nunley. Two other guards were injured when they came to the guards assistance. No reason was given for the incident.

Montana: In December, 2005, Helena district court judge Thomas Honzel sentenced Brian Holliday to ten years in prison for escaping from a Transcor prison transport van at a Burger King. The sentence is to run consecutive to his 90 year sentence for murder which he was serving at the time of the escape. Honzel and three other prisoners removed the screen from the van and escaped in September, 2004.

New Jersey: On January 23, 2006, Leslie McMillon, a former guard at the Mercer County Correctional Center, pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter stemming from her April 19, 2004, shooting murder of Paula Wilson, a former jail prisoner whom McMillon had sexually assaulted while Wilson was a prisoner. Wilsons body was found dangling from a fire escape on her home in Trenton. McMillon told the court: I knocked the door in and shot her. The murder came shortly before Wilson was due to tell jail officials about her sexual assault by McMillon, who had already been suspended while being investigated for sexually assaulting other female prisoners. Wilson had been shot in the leg and in the back. As part of her plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to an 18 year sentence. In most jurisdictions a murder committed to silence a witness in an official investigation is grounds for aggravated murder charges. Apparently not when the victim is a former prisoner and the testimony is about a jailhouse sexual assault.

New Mexico: On January 10, 2005, John Lumsden, 42, a visitor to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque was arrested when he went to the head of the visitor search line and gave startled guards a loaded semi automatic pistol, ammunition, mace and a half empty bottle of liquor. Jail officials said they believe Lumsden was drunk at the time and also has mental health issues.

Pennsylvania: On January 12, 2006, Major Joseph Glynn Jr., 50, the deputy warden of the Alternative and Special Detention program of the Philadelphia prison system was suspended when it was discovered he had embezzled more than $13,000.00 from the faciltiys Inmate Welfare Fund. Glynn would write checks to himself, forge the wardens signature and cash them. The 23 year jail veteran earned $57,000 a year.

Russia: On December 11, 2005, at least three prisoners were killed and at least ten others injured when the roof of a pre trial detention center in Moscow collapsed under the weight of heavy snow.
South Carolina: On January 8, 2006, Albert Bellamy, 42, a guard at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center was arrested and charged with smuggling cigarettes and marijuana to jail prisoners in exchange for bribes.

Texas: In February, 2005, the State Bar of Texas suspended criminal defense attorney Ron Mock, 58, for 35 months because Mock took $4,600 from a client to handle her sexual harassment case and did not tell her he had no experience in such cases. The case was quickly dismissed when Mock failed to respond to a preliminary motion. The Bar has reprimanded Mocked twice in the past ten years and placed him on probation three times. Mock is best known as the lawyer with the most clients on Texass death row. Between 1986 and 2001 he represented 19 capital defendants, of whom 16 were given the death penalty and 10 of whom have already been executed. Defense attorney Brian Wice, who represented one of Mocks former clients observed: For so many of the people whom Ron was appointed to represent, their death warrant was signed when the ink was dry on the appointment form. Mock stopped representing death penalty defendants when minimum competency standards were imposed in 2001.

Texas: On March 14, 2006, Curtis Hinson, 27, a guard at the Stiles Unit in Beaumont, was arrested at an inland border checkpoint and discovered to have 21 pounds of marijuana concealed in the tire of his truck. He was off duty but wearing his Texas Department of Criminal Justice uniform when arrested in a vehicle registered to Cheryl Arterburn, the wife of former Texas prisoner Charles Arterburn, who had been released from prison and was found dead in a field near Houston the month before.

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