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News in Brief:

Brazil: On September 12, 2006, Colonel Ubiritan Guimaraes, a former military police commander who in 1992 oversaw the storming of the Carandiru prison in which 111 prisoners were murdered by police, was found dead in his Sao Paulo apartment of a single gunshot wound to his chest, wrapped in a towel. Guimaraes was extremely popular for leading the prison massacre and was running for his third term as a state legislator, where he campaigned with the number ?111?, that he was expected to easily win. He campaigned on a ?tough on crime? platform and had the body count to prove it.

California: On February 15, 2007, Santiago Pineda, 25, was sentenced to death for choking and running down a man whose car he had stolen. In 2003 Pineda had escaped from the Los Angeles jail by stealing another prisoner?s wristband and being ?released? as the other prisoner. However, it was Pineda?s 2004 murder of informant Raul Tinajero in the Los Angeles jail, after Tinajero had testified against him in the first murder case, which led to the death sentence. Pineda was able to roam the jail for hours before entering Tinajero?s cell and strangling him to death. Superior court judge William Pounders told Pineda: ?You?re a Houdini in the jail?you seem to be able to get around all of the obstacles placed before you.? Pineda grinned. Tinajero?s family has already received over $1 million in settlements from Los Angeles County for his murder.

California: On February 20, 2007, a federal grand jury indicted California Department of Rehabilitation and Correction guards Robert McGowan, 37, and Thomas Ramos, 50. McGowan was charged with taking restrained prisoners and throwing them to the ground from a transport van at the prison in Chino in 2002. Ramos covered up the assault by lying about it to investigators and claiming the prisoners had slipped.
Initially the state prison system and local prosecutors had investigated the incident and under pressure from the powerful California Correctional Peace Officers Association, had dropped it. No state charges were filed. Hence the federal indictments for depriving the prisoners of their civil rights and obstructing justice.

California: On February 21, 2007, Kathleen Culhane, 40, a former investigator with the Habeas Corpus Resource Center in San Francisco was charged with 45 counts of forgery, filing false documents and perjury for submitting false documents that were used by various state death row prisoners in their post conviction appeals.

Connecticut: On December 15, 2006, Floyd Copeland, 49, a state prison guard, was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to stealing $20 in change by taking an Alex?s Lemonade Stand container from a gas station in Windsor. Alex?s Lemonade Stand is a children?s cancer charity. Copeland committed the theft while in his DOC uniform, the crime was captured on video tape which is how he was arrested.

Florida: On February 14, 2007, Lynda Maier, 42, a nurse at the Bartow jail employed by Correctional Medical Services, was arrested on 8 counts of possessing prescription medications without a prescription and 8 counts of petty theft for stealing drugs intended for prisoner patients at the jail.
Florida: On February 14, 2007, William McKnight a guard at the Miami Dade Correctional Center was arrested after he accepted $1,500 and was given three cell phones to deliver to a prisoner at the jail by undercover police. McKnight duly delivered the cell phones prior to being arrested.

Indiana: On April 24, 2006, nine former employees at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center in Indianapolis were charged with raping six female children prisoners ages 13-15 at the jail. Marion county prosecutor Carl Brizzi said some of the defendant guards even sent their victims teddy bears with the words ?I love you? on them. The center?s warden Damon Ellison was charged with knowledge of the rapefest but did nothing to stop it or report it to police.

Massachusetts: On February 20, 2007, Anthony Roberts, 22, a Barnstable prisoner being taken to court for an arraignment escaped from a jail van at the Barnstable court house by wriggling out of his handcuffs and carjacking a passing car and leading police and guards on a long chase that ended with police shooting him once as he tried to drive away.

Minnesota: On November 26, 2006, Maplewood police issued a report finding that the September death of Ramsey County workhouse prisoner Frankie Howard, 44, was due to ?excited delirium? not the beating, pepper spraying and restraining to a ?swaddling device? that he endured at the hands of jail guards for refusing to relinquish a plastic food tray. The medical examiner concluded the manner of death was ?undetermined.?

Morocco: On March 2, 2007, King Mohammed VI pardoned almost 9,000 prisoners to mark the birth of his daughter and second child princess Lalla Khadija. The kingdom holds around 55,000 prisoners in brutal, overcrowded conditions.

Texas: Jason Davis, 32, a Dallas jail prisoner escaped from the Parkland Memorial Hospital on November 26, 2006, by overpowering his female guard and running away with an intravenous line still connected to his arm. Davis was awaiting trial on armed robbery and impersonating a public servant charges.

Texas: On February 16, 2007, Brownsville Municipal Court judge Ben Neece was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon and possessing marijuana after he allegedly assaulted his wife.

Texas: On February 20, 2007, prisoners at the El Paso county jail were fed noodles infested with weevils. Sheriff?s deputy Jimmy Apodaca said the noodles were removed as soon as deputies became aware of the problem.

Texas: On March 2, 2007, Marquise Hunt, 20, a guard at the Bowie County Correctional Center was arrested and charged with bringing three bags of marijuana into the jail. She is employed by private, for profit company Civigenics which runs the jail.

Venezuela: On January 2, 2007, a fight between rival gangs at the Uribana prison left 16 prisoners dead and 13 injured.

Vermont: On December 21, 2006, Justin Durphey, 32, escaped from the Department of Corrections van in Rutland, stole a dump truck and led police on a long chase. Durphey fought his way out of the DOC van when it stopped for gas while returning him to the Marble Valley Correctional Center. When recaptured Durphey told a newspaper photographer: ?I just want to go home for Christmas, boss. Tell my wife I said hi.?

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