Prison Legal News:
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Volume 11, Number 6
In this issue:
- The New Bedlam (p 1)
- From the Editor (p 4)
- Riot at Private Prison (p 4)
- Pro Se Tips and Tactics (p 5)
- Wisconsin Prisoners Rebel at Private Tennessee Prison (p 7)
- My Statement in Response to the State (p 8)
- Defiant Texas Death Row Activist Executed (p 8)
- New York Prisoner Wins $50,000 In Failure To Treat Mental Illness Suit (p 9)
- $59,177 in Damages and Fees Awarded in Georgia Braille Suit (p 9)
- Contradictory Disciplinary Hearing Evidence Not Precluded From Use of Excessive Force Suit (p 10)
- Retaliation Claim Requires Trial (p 11)
- $15,000 Awarded to Ohio Prisoner Beaten by Guards (p 11)
- Attica Suit Settled for $12 Million (p 12)
- Attica Uprising Verdict Reversed (p 12)
- Illinois Jail Guards Charged with Smuggling Gun (p 13)
- Women in Prison: GAO Report (p 14)
- Marijuana Law, 2nd Edition (p 14)
- Federal Judge Hits BOP Mule with Two-by-Four (p 15)
- Republican Political Prisoners in the North of Ireland (p 16)
- Prison Working Conditions Protected by Eighth Amendment (p 17)
- Mark Cook Freed (p 17)
- U.S. Supreme Court to Revisit Civil Commitment (p 18)
- Illinois Phone Suit Dismissed (p 19)
- West Virginia Prisoners Protest Visit/Phone Restrictions (p 19)
- Former BOP Director Fingered in Sex Scandal (p 20)
- Colorado Prison Population Exploding (p 21)
- Four Texas Guards Nabbed in Bribery Sting (p 21)
- $200,000 Awarded in Michigan Jail Wrongful Medication Suit (p 22)
- New York Jail Guards Charged with Raping Prisoners (p 22)
- Washington Restitution Orders Are Invalid After 10 Years (p 23)
- Oregon Execution Viewing Rules Invalidated (p 24)
- Exhaustion Not Required for Claims of Assault (p 24)
- Prison Psychologist Pleads Guilty to Aiding Escape (p 25)
- News in Brief (p 26)
- U.S. Parole Commission Bound by Own Rules (p 28)
Gary Hahn walks his dog, tugging at the leash, back and forth on the hardpan track at Lancaster prison's maximum security D Facility in California. Right arm folded, fist crammed into the small of his back, Gary walks bent over, his curved spine and emaciated frame belying the muscular build of just a decade before. Eyes bloodshot, pupils pinned, they dart wildly back and forth beneath an angry tangle of graying hair. Gary raises a small commotion among other prisoners as he shuffles by, talking nonstop to his little dog. They snicker, point, and make faces behind his back. That's because there's really no dog, no leash. Gary is psychotic.
Every morning, Gary gets out of bed and frenziedly beats his abdomen trying to kill the evil pig living beneath. He carries all of his important paperwork stuffed into the waistband of his jeans. Sometimes Gary forgets to shower. For weeks. When he leaves the dining table, he might suddenly spin about, walk back and rap his knuckles on the table three times, before making an exit. Gary carries on a rapid conversation as he walks, cursing loudly, sometimes spitting. He's talking to ...
by W. Wisely
As the article in this issue mentions, PLN contributing writer Mark Cook was recently released from prison after 24 years. We wish Mark the best.
Former contributing writer O'Neil Stough was recently released from prison and, unfortunately, did not do very well as he committed suicide earlier this year. We offer our condolences to O'Neil's family and friends.
We greatly appreciate the contributions made by all of PLN's contributing writers over the years. A number of people responded to my recent editorial asking for contributing writers. I'd like to thank those who responded. I believe I have replied to all who wrote. If not, write again because I was recently moved to a different prison on rather short notice and some papers did get misplaced in the shuffle.
However, we didn't get any responses or inquiries from women prisoners. We would very much like to have more contributions by women prisoners, especially on news issues that involve or affect women. If you are a woman prisoner with good writing skills and interested in writing news stories for PLN then please contact us.
We always welcome article submissions from all of our ...
By Paul Wright
A special team of prison guards fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and sting grenades into a group of some 800 prisoners who refused to lock up in a protest about food and other conditions. Some 100 guards, including two 25-man special response teams, were called in to confront the prisoners. After the prisoners were gassed, they returned to their dorms. "That had the effect we intended," said Associate Warden Kevin Belt. Wackenhut downplayed the reasons for the protest, but prisoners had a different story.
Nathaniel Osuorji, responding to the one-sided newspaper coverage of the riot, wrote that Wackenhut's "prison for profit" at Taft was built only to make money, rather than providing basic services to prisoners. Osuoriji said prison management lacked the "basic concept or regards for [prisoner's] rights." He points out that ...
On November 14, 1999, hundreds of prisoners housed at a privately operated prison in Taft, California, rioted in protest over conditions, according to The Bakersfield Californian. Prisoners at the Wackenhut Corrections run facility broke windows, televisions, and furniture causing some $60,000 in damage at the two year old prison in the state's Central Valley. The prison houses federal minimum and medium custody prisoners.
by John Midgley
In many states, there are parole boards that decide when prisoners will be released. In these states, the timing of when the parole board will consider parole the timing of "initial" parole consideration and the timing of later "reconsideration" of parole if parole has not been granted at initial consideration is crucial: You can't get parole unless the board is required to, or agrees to, consider whether you should be paroled.
Sometimes legislators or parole boards try to make longer the time in between parole considerations. For example, the law in a given state has been that the board must reconsider prisoners for parole every three years, but then that rule is changed to require reconsideration for parole only every five years.
Often prisoners claim that this type of change violates the constitutional ban on "ex post facto" laws. The Supreme Court has recently addressed this type of ex post facto challenge. In this column, I talk about what these decisions mean for how prisoners must plead and try to prove this type of ex post facto claim.
1. Ex Post Facto And Changes In The Time Between Parole Consideration ...
Supreme Court Decides Georgia Parole Case
Just minutes after WCF warden Percy Pitzer led an entourage headed by Wisconsin corrections chief Jon Litscher through the prison's dining hall, about 50 Wisconsin prisoners took 15 CCA kitchen workers hostage and seized control of the chow hall.
SORTs, Special Operations Response Teams, from two nearby CCA prisons joined the WCF SORT team in quelling the disturbance. Also involved were members of the Whiteville and Bolivar police departments, and Hardeman County Sheriff's deputies. Although not directly involved in retaking the prison, the Tennessee Highway Patrol had eight cars at the scene, and its Special operations Division was on standby. After a two-hour standoff, the police and SORT teams stormed and retook the prison using tear gas.
"We were hoping we could outwait them and get them to calm down," Whiteville Police Chief Billy Henson told the (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. "But then they started beating some of the staff."
Warden Pitzer downplayed the damage to the facility. But police chief Henson said the dining hall ...
On November 30, 1999, Wisconsin state prison officials were touring the Whiteville Correctional Facility (WCF) in Tennessee. The prison is operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and houses 1,500 Wisconsin prisoners.
[The following is an excerpt from "My Statement in Response to the Setting of an Execution Date and the State of Texas' Plan to Murder Me," by Ponchai Kamau Wilkerson]
The 13th Amendment abolished slavery "...except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have. been duly convicted." Slavery has never ended; prison slavery is legal. The mentality of the Confederacy still exists and persists today in Texas, especially among its lawmakers and its law enforcement system, the courts, prisons, and police.
My participation [in this execution] would be an insult to the working, oppressed class -- the underclass -- who know and understand the political nature of the death penalty and therefore work to bring it to an end. An insult to the citizens of this young country who would like for it to grow, mature and prosper, and to do away with such things as the death penalty that prevent this, but who cannot because of the stranglehold its greedy capitalist rulers have over it.
Those privileged few own and control all of the wealth and means of production and distribution and, therefore, dictate the lives and control the minds of the masses. (Do the citizens ...
by Kamau "Ponchai" Wilkerson
Kamau was among seven Texas death row prisoners who stunned the world with a bold escape attempt on Thanksgiving Day 1998 [See: Daring Death Row Escape Shakes Up Texas, PLN, April '99]. In reaction to that incident (one of the seven actually escaped but later drowned in a creek about a mile from the prison), Texas prison officials instituted harsh reprisals. One of the changes involved relocating death row from the old Huntsville prison to a newer high-tech supermax prison, the Terrell Unit, near Livingston, Texas [See: Texas Death Row Hunger Strike, PLN, April '00].
On February 21, Kamau Wilkerson and Howard Guidry (another participant in the 1998 Thanksgiving Day escape attempt) took a Terrell Unit guard hostage and held her for nearly 13 hours. Prison officials said the guard, 57-year-old Jeanette Bledsoe, was escorting Guidry back to his cell at about 4:15 p.m. when she was overpowered by Wilkerson who had somehow managed to jimmie his cell door open.
Bledsoe was taken to a small cage-like room adjacent to death row and placed on the floor ...
On March 15, 2000, the state of Texas killed Kamau (Ponchai) Wilkerson. He proved to be a fighter to the end.
A federal district court in New York has held that officials of the New York Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) subjected a prisoner to cruel and unusual punishment through their deficient treatment of his mental illness and by the brutal conditions under which he was incarcerated ...
by Matthew T. Clarke
On April 15, 1999, a federal district court in Georgia issued a directed verdict awarding a blind Georgia state prisoner $2,000 in damages. Eddy Stephens, a blind prisoner, was denied access to braile books and writing instruments. He was also not allowed to take prison vocational courses due to ...
The U.S. district court for the East- ern District of California held that a prisoner was not precluded from introducing evidence contradicting factual findings of disciplinary proceeding instituted against prisoner as a result of incident.
Vincent Marquez, a California state prisoner, brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil action against R.J. Gutierrez, a California Department of Corrections prison guard. "It is undisputed that during a prison-yard melee at California State Prison-Sacramento" Gutierrez shot Marquez in the leg with a rifle. The bullet wound caused considerable tissue and bone damage. In his suit, Marquez asserted that Gutierrez employed excessive force when he shot him, "thereby subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment ...."
Marquez indicated in pretrial declarations that he intended to "introduce evidence that he was an innocent bystander during the scuffle, or that, to the extent he was physically engaged, it was in self-defense. Marquez maintained "that the firing of lethal ammunition at an unarmed prisoner was unjustified, even if he was culpable of battery prior to the shooting."
In preparation for trial, Gutierrez "filed a motion in limine seeking an order prohibiting Marquez from introducing evidence which ...
By Ronald Young
Howard Dean Rouse is an Iowa state prisoner who requested a transfer to a Minnesota prison in order to practice his Native American religion. He is also a snitch. In 1993 Rouse was duly transferred to the Minnesota Correctional Facility (MCF) in Stillwater. While at MCF, Rouse complained about the religious programs available and ghostwrote grievances for other prisoners on religious issues. In 1994 Rouse stated he was unhappy at MCF and Timothy Lanz, Rouse's unit director, requested Rouse's transfer back to Iowa.
In the meantime, prison officials discovered Rouse was involved in a prisoner drug smuggling and money laundering operation. In exchange for immunity from prosecution, Rouse agreed to testify against his fellow conspirators. To ensure Rouse was available to testify, Lanz withdrew the transfer request. Apparently after Rouse ...
The court of appeals for the Eighth circuit held that a trial was required to determine if a prisoner was retaliated against for exercising his right to religious freedom. The court also held that prisoners have no right to encourage other prisoners to file grievances or lawsuits and that an equal protection claim will fail unless the plaintiff can identify who he claims to be similarly situated to.
On July 2, 1999, a federal jury in Columbus, Ohio, awarded Ohio prisoner James Morrison 115,000 in damages. Morrison filed suit claiming he was taken to a secluded area of a prison (unnamed in reports), where he was beaten and kicked by guards Karl Davis, Jeffrey Felts and Charles ...
On February 15, 2000, a federal judge approved a settlement in which New York State is to pay $8 million to the prisoners who were beaten and tortured after the 1971 Attica riot, closing one of the longest, ugliest chapters in criminal justice history. The settlement provides an additional $4 ...
On September 9, 1971, a riot erupted at the Attica Correctional Facility and prisoners quickly seized control of the prison, taking 49 hostages. Guards regained control of portions of the prison that day and 11 hostages were released. But prisoners retained control of parts of the prison for several days as attempts were made to negotiate an end to the uprising and the release of the remaining hostages.
On September 13, 1971, negotiations broke down and authorities stormed the prison under a cloud of tear gas, firing more than 2,000 rounds and reclaiming control in just six bloody minutes of murder and mayhem. When the smoke cleared, 10 hostages and 29 prisoners had been slaughtered and another 3 hostages ...
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals added insult to brutal injury when it overturned two jury awards - totaling $4 million and $75,000 - stemming from the murder of 39 people and the torture of hundreds of prisoners immediately following the 1971 Attica riot. Holding that bifurcation of the liability and damages phases of the trial violated the Seventh Amendment and that the liability jury's verdict failed to establish class-wide liability, the court remanded the case to the district court.
Two former Kankakee (Illinois) County Jail guards and a civilian face multiple felony counts in connection with a dramatic December 22, 1999 jailbreak.
Newly-hired guards Melody Burdunice and Michael Cutler allegedly smuggled cellular telephone batteries to accused killer and jail detainee John "Buck Wild" Shannon. The civilian, Robert Strickland, 25, is accused of providing the handgun to Burdunice, 20, who smuggled it into the jail and delivered it to Shannon. Police sources told the Kankakee Sunday Journal that Burdunice and Shannon were former lovers.
Somehow the smuggled gun came into the possession of another prisoner, Terrance "T-Money" Springer, an alleged associate of Shannon, who used it to escape from the facility in the early morning hours of December 22.
Police sources say that Springer brandished the gun shortly after being escorted to the jail's property room to pick up his eyeglasses. He allegedly forced two guards to lay on the floor and had one of them make a radio call to instruct other guards to release Shannon and another prisoner, Aarano Gandy, from their cells. He apparently intended to break Shannon and Gandy out of the jail with him.
Springer then put ...
Illinois Jail Guards Charged With Smuggling Gun
During the calendar years 1995 to 1998, approximately 31,400 women prisoners in the three largest U.S. jurisdictions made a total of 506 allegations of staff sexual misconduct; of these only 92, or 18 percent, were sustained. "Because many female [prisoners] may be reluctant or unwilling to report staff sexual misconduct and jurisdictions lack systematic data collection and analysis of reported allegations, the overall extent of staff-on-[prisoner] sexual misconduct in female prisons is largely unknown." This, from the June 1999 Government Accounting Office (GAO) report, Women in Prison,,Sexual Misconduct by Correctional Staff`; to Eleanor Holmes Norton, who had requested the report, puts the figures quoted in good perspective: clearly they do not represent the true situation. Norton is the District of Colombia's non voting Congressional Representative.
The report is based on information gathered primarily from these three jurisdictions representing almost forty percent of the approximately 80,000 women prisoners in the United States at the end of 1998: the Bureau of Prisons (BOP; 9,200), the California Department of Corrections (CDC; 11,500) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ; 10,700). Also included are the 320 prisoners in the District ...
Reviewed by Julia Lutsky
Review by Allan Parmelee
This book is must reading for anyone interested in knowing what their rights are when dealing with police in general as well as every aspect of the law as it concerns the use, possession, growing and sale of marijuana. The book is written well and concisely and contains legal information written in plain English for the layperson, while also including case cites for those who want to use it as a research guide. This book is bad for police, devastating to prosecutors but exceptionally good for criminal defendants and rights oriented citizens. Every criminal defendant or citizen who has an encounter with police should read this book. Despite its title, it contains invaluable information for everyone, not just marijuana users.
In twelve concise chapters the author discusses everything from marijuana's legal definition to drug testing. This is not some light weight story, but an exceptionally detailed step by step analysis of marijuana, its growth, sale, use, possession and criminal penalties around the country. Of greater interest to a general audience, the book discusses in detail the constitutional law basics of searches, stops, seizures and other encounters with police ...
By Richard Glen Boire, Ronin, 271 pages
A ticked-off federal judge in Miami interrupted the fraud and money-laundering trial of jewel dealer Jack Hasson February 2, 2000, for an "extraordinary display of judicial pique and power," the Palm Beach Post reported.
U.S. District Court Judge James Lawrence King ordered arrest warrants for the Bureau of Prisons warden and medical director of the Federal Detention Center (FDC Miami) for failing to provide a medical test repeatedly requested for Hasson's codefendant, Clifford Sloan.
"I'm tired of this," King told the Palm Beach Post. "I'm tired of fooling with it. This is somewhat drastic, but I guess it's what you need to get the attention of a stubborn mule, a two-by-four."
King later rescinded the arrest orders, but hauled the warden, the doctor, and their lawyer, U.S. Attorney Tom Scott and his deputy into court for an impromptu contempt hearing that left Scott "steaming with anger and the warden bearing the marks of a tongue-lashing," The Post reported.
The trial, which was in its third week, was in danger of ending in a mistrial because of defendant Sloan's detriorating medical condition. Sloan, 62, had quadruple heart ...
Federal Judge Hits BOP Mule With Two-by-Four
On May 22, 1998, voters in Ireland, north and south, voted overwhelmingly in favor of adopting what has become known as the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). This agreement was meant to bring to an end over thirty years of bitter conflict in the six counties of Ireland which to this day remain under English colonial occupation. Recognizing the need for an equality agenda, for a radical reform of the sectarian police force and for a devolved parliament, the agreement also called for the release by July of this year of all political prisoners affiliated with organizations observing a cease-fire. On the Republican side, this affected about three hundred prisoners who were serving long terms (very frequently life) for Irish Republican Army (IRA) activities.
The GFA was the result of ten solid years' effort to create the conditions under which the Anglo-Irish conflict could be resolved through political, rather than military, means. The part of the agreement which called for the release of POWs was the culmination of a series of prison protests which spanned the thirty years of the current conflict. To understand what is going on in the north of Ireland today, and ...
by David Fanning, Irish Northern Aid
In 1995, John Bauman was a New York state prisoner confined to Ulster Correctional Facility (UCF). Initially, he injured his elbow falling out of an upper bunk. He subsequently reinjured the elbow on two separate occassions, while working in the UCF State Shop.
Later that year, Bauman sued five prison officials, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for allegedly violating his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. He also asserted three state law claims.
After both parties moved for summary judgment, a magistrate judge recommended denying Bauman's motion, while granting the defendants' in part.
The only claims to survive the. magistrate's determination were Bauman's Eighth Amendment claims against UCF State Shop supervisor Ms. McCollum, who was Bauman's boss.
Since only the defendants objected to the magistrate's report and recommendation, the district court's review was limited to Bauman's surviving claims ...
A federal district court in New York held that fact issues existed as to whether a prison official was deliberately indifferent to a prisoner's health, and whether she was aware of unsafe working conditions. Since both situations fall within the purview of the Eighth Amendment, a trial was necessary to resolve the factual disputes.
Mark was convicted of participating in a GJB bank robbery and securing the release of GJB member John Sherman by shooting Sherman's police escort. A longtime prisoner rights activist and member of the Black Panther Party before his 1976 imprisonment, Mark continued his activism on behalf of prisoner and human rights throughout his captivity.
Mark will remain on Washington parole for three years. Mark was one of the longest held political prisoners in the United States. Former GJB member Ed Mead was also PLN's co-founder and co-editor from 1990 through 1993.
The Washington Prison Project raised $7,000 for Mark, which will ease his transition back into minimum security society. We wish Mark and his family the best after the last ...
On April 3, 2000, PLN contributing writer Mark Cook was released from the Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington. Mark was imprisoned for more than 24 years in Washington and federal prisons after being captured and charged in 1976 with carrying out action on behalf of the George Jackson Brigade (GJB). The GJB was a leftist urban guerrilla group in the Pacific Northwest that carried out bombings, bank robberies and other actions to overthrow the U.S. government.
The question to be decided by the Supreme Court is: "Can otherwise valid civil statute be divested of its civil nature and held to violate Double Jeopardy and Ex Post Facto Clauses because administrative agency operating commitment facility fails to provide for treatment and other conditions of confinement mandated by statute at some time during individual's commitment?" See: Seling v. Young, No. 99-1185. The underlying ruling is Young v. Weston, 192 F.3d 870 (9th Cir. 1999) [not previously reported by PLN].
Andre Young filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which was granted by the federal district court for the Western District of Washington on August 25, 1995. The district court, ruling on cross motions for summary judgement and without holding an evidentiary hearing, held Washington's civil commitment statute unconstitutional on ex post facto, double jeopardy, and substantive ...
On March 20, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Certiorari to the State of Washington appealing a ninth. Circuit order for the district court to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine if the state's civil commitment statute "as applied" to petitioner renders the statute "punitive" in nature and thus violates ex post facto and double jeopardy.
On March 23, 2000, federal district court judge William Hibbler ordered the suit dismissed on the defendants' motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs in the suit consisted of prisoners phoning people outside prison and free citizens desiring phone contact with prisoners. The defendants are the Illinois Department of Corrections and various Illinois county jails that have entered into exclusive phone service contracts with phone companies. Also being sued are the phone companies that provide phone services to Illinois prisons and jails and charge rates significantly higher than those charged for collect calls by non prisoners. The plaintiffs claimed that the high rates violated numerous provisions of the U.S. and Illinois constitutions, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the federal 1996 federal telecommunications act and various state laws. (See the August, 1999, PLN for the full details on the suit.)
The court held the issues were non justiciable under the "filed rate" and "primary jurisdiction" doctrines. Under 47 U.S.C. § 203(a) phone companies file tariffs ...
In the August, 1999, issue of PLN we reported that a class action suit had been filed in federal court in Illinois challenging the extortionate phone rates charged to those who accept collect calls from prisoners.
More than 200 prisoners gathered in the prison's recreation yard and sat down. Most of them had walked away .from industry jobs. After 90 minutes Warden Howard Painter promised to meet with four prisoner leaders and said he will begin a weekly closed-circuit television address to keep the prison population informed about what the administration is doing.
The protesters complained about restrictive visitation policies enacted after a female visitor smuggled a gun inside the maximum-security prison August 8. They also cited interruptions in telephone service, and demanded that prisoners locked-down in the Quilliams II unit (a "supermax" segregation unit) be given back lost privileges.
Warden Painter agreed to restore privileges to the Quilliams II prisoners, who had been without showers, hot meals, or television since the August 8th gun-smuggling incident.
"I do know that [Painter] made cigarettes and coffee available to [the Quilliams II prisoners]," Corrections Commissioner Paul Kirby told the Charleston Gazette. "We're going to see if we're looking at a communication problem," he added ...
Prisoners at the Mount Olive Correctional Center in West Virginia staged a walkout on Monday morning August 30, 1999 to protest a new visitation policy and problems with the phone system.
Quinlan resigned as director of the prisons bureau two months after McPeek's sexual harassment claim was settled, a move BOP officials attributed to "health problems." At the time, Quinlan was also being investigated on suspicion of trying to silence a federal prisoner who was about to go public with claims that the prisoner sold marijuana to then-vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle in the 1970's.
After retiring from the BOP, Quinlan joined the management team of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). McPeek was re-assigned to another job within the Department of Justice (DOJ).
But McPeek now alleges that the terms of the 1992 settlement, which required that the complaint remain confidential and that there would be no retaliation against him, were breached by DOJ officials who used the information in a subsequent "campaign of retaliation" against him. He now seeks $800,000 in damages, alleging that his ...
In 1992 Bureau of Prisons (BOP) em- ployee Steven McPeek quietly settled a sexual harassment complaint he leveled against then-BOP director J. Michael Quinlan, according to recently filed court papers. McPeek alleged in his 1992 complaint that Quinlan made sexual advances beginning in August 1990 while they traveled together on government business.
As a result of the parole board's actions, Colorado will now need a 2,500 bed megaprison every two years. That amounts to daily prison construction in perpetuity. It also means less and less of the state's $10 billion annual budget will go to education, health care, road construction and other infrastructure improvements.
Colorado already spent $645 million for new prisons in the 1990's and now needs $85 million per year (or $21.50 from every man, woman and child) just in new construction funds, plus another half-billion annually in operating costs. Since an amendment to the ...
Last summer the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, John Suthers, announced to the Colorado Legislature that Colorado's male prison population is growing at its fastest rate ever. In fact, at an average of 1.3% per month in the second quarter of 1999, the prison population grew at twice the rate it did during the same period in 1998. This sudden expansion is the result of conservative appointments to Colorado's parole board by newly elected Republican Governor Bill Owens. The board's chairman, Larry Schwarz, admits their parole denials directly reflect the governor's intentions.
The four were arrested January 24, 2000 after walking into an undercover sting orchestrated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Internal Affairs office and the Goliad County Sheriff's Office. Three of the suspects, Eliseo Martinez, 29, his wife Kimberly Martinez, 23, and brother-in-law Ronald Belcher, 24, were guards at the McConnell Unit in Beeville, about 40 miles northwest of Corpus Christi. The fourth was Mark Valdez, 31, a guard at the nearby Garza West Unit.
Investigators developed the case after receiving an informant tip that "free world individuals along with people at the prison" were involved in a drug money laundering operation, TDCJ spokesman Larry Todd said. He refused to elaborate on the alleged conspiracy and said investigators do not know whether the guards had succeeded in laundering any money.
The Martinezes and Belcher were arrested in an "undisclosed location" [probably a parking lot] after Eliseo Martinez accepted a package from an undercover officer. Martinez believed the package contained $60,000, Todd said, and agreed to launder $50,000 for an unnamed prisoner and ...
Four Texas state prison guards face felony bribery charges after agreeing to launder supposed drug money for prisoners, authorities told The Associated Press.
On June 22, 1999, a Macomb county jury in Michigan awarded $200,000 in damages to David Dempsey after he was wrongly medicated in the Macomb county jail. Dempsey suffers from bipolar disorder. While imprisoned on the psychiatric floor of the Macomb county jail, Suzanne Pease, a nurse with St ...
On January 26, 2000, Westchester county, New York, jail guards Carlos Aldarondo, 33, Javier Corona, 31, Michael Downey, 39 and Robert Escalera, 39, were charged in Westchester county court with assorted felony charges stemming from their rape and sexual abuse of women prisoners in the jail.
County executive Andrew Spano said "These are not isolated incidents. This is an abuse of power by the officers involved. We think that a change of procedures is warranted. We don't want men any longer to have access to the living quarters of female prisoners." Spano announced that henceforth only women guards would be assigned to work in the women's living quarters section of the jail.
The guards' arrest was the result of a six month investigation that began after a victim's friend complained of the sexual abuse to county jail officials and Westchester district attorney Jeanine Pirro.
Aldarondo is charged with raping and orally sodomizing a woman prisoner in her cell. Corona is charged with raping a woman in a jail supply closet. Downey is charged with sexual abuse and official misconduct for forcing three women prisoners to strip and expose their ...
New York Jail Guards Charged With Raping Prisoners
In 1986, Brandt Sappenfield was convicted of crimes in Benton and King counties. He was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution in both counties.
Sappenfield was released from prison on August 16, 1987. But he was returned to prison on a murder conviction in 1989.
In 1997, Sappenfield filed two Personal Restraint Petitions (PRPs) in the Court of Appeals, challenging the Department of Corrections' (DOC) ongoing attempt to collect restitution on the 1986 orders.
The PRP regarding the Benton County restitution order was filed in Division Three and the PRP regarding the King County orders was filed in Division One.
In both PRPs Sappenfield claimed that the restitution orders expired in 1996 under RCW 9.94A.142(1986). The State argued that Sappenfield's 1989 reincarceration tolled the court's jurisdiction under RCW 9.94A.142(1994).
Division Three issued an unpublished order dismissing the PRP and allowing the DOC to continue collecting on the Benton county restitution order. But Division One issued ...
The Washington state Supreme Court, sitting En Banc, held that the 10 year life of restitution orders begins to run upon release from confinement and is not tolled by any subsequent imprisonment on unrelated charges.
The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association and several other members of the media challenged a series of rules promulgated by the ODOC which imposed various conditions and restrictions on persons who witness executions of death sentences which are carried out by the ODOC. The Court described those rules as nondisclosure and limited access rules.
The nondisclosure rules required all witnesses to agree, as a condition of attending the execution, that they would waive their rights to free expression with respect to certain things they might see. The limited access rules restricted what the witnesses see when the lethal injection is actually administered and causes death.
The Court of Appeals upheld the challenged rules, holding that they did not violate the First Amendment, or Oregon's free expression clause, in any of the ways that petitioners asserted. Oregon Newspaper Publishers v. Dept. of Corrections, 966 P.2d 819 (Or.App. 1998). The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals decision, however, resolving the case on statutory rather than constitutional ...
The Oregon Supreme Court invalidated several administrative rules of the Oregon Department of Corrections, (ODOC), regarding the witnessing of executions. The Court held that the challenged rules exceeded the ODOC's rulemaking authority.
Since 1994, numerous instances of sexual abuse of prisoners by guards at the Federal Correctional Institution, (FCI), in Danbury, Connecticut, have been investigated. FCI guard Opher Cephas was the subject of those investigations. Yet, throughout 1995 and 1996 Cephas was placed in positions which allowed him to regularly grope the breasts and groin area of FCI prison Sharon Peddle and to compel her to engage in oral and vaginal sex.
On May 25, 1996, after forcing Peddle to perform oral sex, Cephas was arrested by FBI agents. He later pled guilty to six counts of sexually abusing a prisoner. Peddle then sued present and former prison officials, alleging that her rights under the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments and the VAWA were violated by Cephas' repeated sexual assaults. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss.
The court noted that under the ...
A federal district court held that the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirement does not apply to assault claims. It also held that a cause of action under the Violence Against Women Act, (VAWA), is analogous to a cause of action under Section 1983, and that supervisors are liable under the VAWA for the actions of their subordinates.
Smoot had been under the care of Feil when he was at Patuxent. For over a year the couple enjoyed a deep love affair through both physical contact and extensive letters. The affair continued even after she was fired.
On May 18, 1999, eleven months after Feil was fired, Smoot and Gregory Lawrence, 39, escaped by sneaking out a front door past a guard tower to an awaiting Feil who whisked them away. They were apprehended two days later in a motel in Baltimore.
During the subsequent investigation it was revealed that over 100 love letters were found in a shoe box in Feil's home. Even detailed escape plans were found there. Meanwhile, Smoot had a photo of a scantilly clad Feil taken while she was on vacation with her husband, Glenn Bosshard. When deputies asked Bosshard to identify his wife in the photo a shocked husband said, "I thought we were deeply in love. You have no idea how ...
Elizabeth Feil, 43, a former psychologist at the Patuxent Institution in Baltimore, MD has pled guilty to accessory to escape for her role in helping her lover, Byron Smoot, 29, escape from a medium security prison in Jessup, Maryland.
Canada: On March 6, 2000, 90 prisoners at the Regina Correctional Institution in Saskatchewan lit fires, broke windows and refused to return to their cells to protest a ban on tobacco smoking in the jail.
Colombia: On April 1, 2000, an unknown number of Marxist guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) stormed the jail in Cucuta, a town near the Venezuelan border, with small arms fire. Prisoners inside the jail took part in the fighting and after an hour of intense combat 74 prisoners escaped, taking a guard with them as a hostage. Two guards were wounded and four prisoners killed in the firefight. A car bomb was used to blast a hole in the prison wall. Most of the ...
Brazil: On March 11, 2000, 17 prisoners armed with knives overpowered four guards at the Mata Grande Penitentiary in Rondonopolis and forced them to open the cellblock of a rival gang. The armed prisoners then proceeded to kill 13 and wound 3 of their rivals. Three hours later police stormed the prison and regained control. This was the fourth uprising since the prison opened in November, 1999. The dispute was allegedly over control of the drug trade in prison.
In 1992 the USPC denied Wilson parole, holding that the murder solicitation charges constituted "new criminal behavior." The USPC recalculated Wilson's parole score as if he had committed new crimes while on parole. This effectively doubled Wilson's presumptive sentence and he was scheduled for a reconsideration hearing 15 years later, in 2007. Wilson filed a petition for habeas corpus which the district court denied. The court of appeals vacated and remanded the case to the USPC with directions.
The relevant USPC rule at issue in this case is 28 C.F.R. § 2.36, which plainly states that it applies ...
The court of appeals for the Third circuit held that the U.S. Parole Commission (USPC) was bound by its own rules and erred in calculating a prisoner's parole eligibility date. Former CIA agent Edwin Wilson was convicted in 1982 of transporting firearms in interstate commerce for the purpose of committing a felony and conspiring to sell 20 tons of plastic explosives to Libya. While awaiting trial on those charges, Wilson solicited the murder of eight people. The FBI orchestrated the solicitation charges as a sting operation and Wilson was later convicted of those charges as well.