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News in Brief:

Arizona: On April 19, 2008, Maricopa county prosecutors announced they were seeking the death penalty against former Maricopa county jail guard Jeffrey Hamlet, 55, who is accused of killing his wife. The Maricopa county jail is run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and is notorious for its brutality and sub human conditions.

Arizona: On May 7, 2008, six prisoners required hospital treatment due to injuries in fights between prisoners at the state prison complex in Douglas.

California: On April 3, 2008, three unidentified guards in an office at the state prison in Tehachapi were stabbed by two unidentified prisoners who are members of the Surenos prison gang. The state’s entire prison system was locked down as a result.

Colorado: On May 7, 2008, El Paso county district attorney John Newsome apologized after a local television station filmed him drinking 8 beers in a five hour period before driving home in a county owned vehicle. Assistant district attorney Amy Mullaney drank six beers with him during the same period. Both denied driving drunk.

Denmark: On March 13, 2008, four guards at the Nyborg prison were hospitalized with minor injuries after eating a cake given to them by prisoners which was laced with unspecified drugs. Prison spokesperson Lars Siegumfeldt said guards would not be suspicious of receiving a cake from prisoners. “Inmates bake cakes every day,” he said.

Florida: On May15, 2008, Scott Wynkoop, 43, had his weekend in jails sentence of 180 days converted into a straight 168 day jail sentence after he showed at the Palm Beach County jail to serve his weekend sentence drunk. Wynkoop had received a sentence of 180 days in jail, to be served on weekends, and ten years probation after being convicted of manslaughter by negligence for trying to outrun a train which led to an accident killing his 9 year old step daughter. He had faced the possibility of spending the 10 year probation sentence in prison.

Georgia: On July 7, 2008, Gerald Stephens, 48, told police he had been robbed at gunpoint while he was umpiring a softball game in Woodstock. Police arrested Stephens, who is a sex offender, because he was registered in Douglas county and told police he lived in Paulding county.

Honduras: On May 1, 2008, 17 prisoners died in a riot between prisoners at National Penitentiary in Tegucigalpa. The week before, nine more prisoners were murdered in gang fights at a prison in San Pedro de Sula.

Indiana: On July 7, 2008, Richard Hudson, 52, a prisoner in the Madison county jail was returning from a social security hearing with his attorney Thomas Hamer when he climbed into the backseat of Hamer’s vehicle, held a knife to his throat and have Hamer drive the vehicle to a cemetery where he left Hamer tied up. Hudson then fled in the vehicle. Hudson had been awaiting trial on domestic violence charges because he was unable to post $500 bail. A local judge allowed for his temporary release from the jail to attend a social security disability benefits hearing. On July 13, 2008, police captured Hudson in a stolen vehicle. Getting out of the vehicle with a box cutter Hudson cut his own neck but was not seriously injured. Hudson had been a prisoner in Florida for 20 years before being released in 2004.

Iowa: On April 17, 2008, the Des Moines Register reported that Iowa State Penitentiary prison guards Justin Woolever and another guard who was not identified by name, were fired for lying about how often they checked on David Rodamaker, a prisoner who died of a heart inflammation in the prisons’ mental health unit. The guards had claimed they checked on him frequently, an autopsy determined he had been dead for at least an hour before his body was found.

Jamaica: On June 9, 2008, Tesha Miller, the leader of the Clansman Gang, is a prisoner at the Horizon Remand Center. Believing he was directing his gang’s activities with a prohibited cell phone, guards searched his cell and found one device. While leaving his cell they heard a cell phone ring. Further searching revealed the cell phone was concealed in his rectum. Miller was charged with possessing contraband.

Jordan: On April 14, 2008, rioting by prisoners at the al-Muaqar prison led to three prisoners being killed and dozens injured. The prisoners were protesting overcrowding, beatings and torture which are common in the United States backed country’s prison system. Prisoners are also held without trial and charge for years with no outside contact which makes abuse even more likely. The country has 6,000 prisoners.

Massachusetts: On March 25, 2008, Jon Taylor, a criminal defense attorney in Boston, was suspended from the practice of law after being charged with trying to exchange a pair of sneakers with a client in the Plymouth County House of Correcton. After being banned from visiting prisoners he allegedly submitted a falsified judicial order that purported to allow him to visit prisoners.

Mississippi: On July 7, 2008, an investigation by Cable News Network revealed that supplies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, such as coffee makers, pillow cases and dinnerware, intended for the victims of Hurricane Katrina instead wound up being used in Mississippi prisons. Since 2005 FEMA had stored $85 million worth of household items in warehouses. FEMA then declared the items surplus and gave them to state and federal agencies rather than hurricane victims. While the state of Mississippi took the supplies, they did not distribute them to hurricane victims but instead spread the loot among various state agencies. FEMA was unable to explain why they never distributed the supplies to Katrina victims themselves.

Ohio: On July 3, 2008, the Ohio Supreme Court removed Highland county court of common pleas judge Jeffrey Hoskins, 60, from the bench after finding he concealed his ownership of a downtown Hillsboro office building which was leased to the Ohio Adult Parole Authority. The parole Authority is a frequent litigant in the common pleas court. Lest he be accused of having an obvious conflict of interest Hoskins fraudulently pretended to shift the building’s ownership to his wife and a friend while in fact remaining the owner. The pattern of fraud and deceit spanned a decade. Of course, no word on why the APA didn’t realize there was a conflict of interest when they kept appearing before their landlord in court.

Oklahoma: On May 22, 2008, two guards at the Corrections Corporation of America run prison in North Folk were allegedly assaulted by four Washington state prisoners during a cell search.

Texas: On March 13, 2008, Davisha Martin, 26, a guard at the Stiles Unit in Beaumont was indicted on bribery charges for smuggling cell phones into the prison.

Texas: On May 5, 2008, a Harris county grand jury indicted Francisca Medina, the wife of Texas supreme court justice David Medina, on three felony counts of arson stemming from a fire at their home on June 28, 2007. In January David had been indicted on felony charges of evidence tampering but those charges were dismissed at the request of prosecutors.

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