Conviction of ex-CIM guard reinstated

LOS ANGELES – A former Chino prison guard convicted of abusing inmates was sentenced Monday to more than four years in federal prison.

Robert McGowan of Bloomington was convicted by a federal jury three years ago in connection with a May 9, 2002, incident in which, prosecutors said, he and two other correctional officer hurled shackled inmates to the ground and conspired to cover it up.

In November 2007, a federal judge overturned guilty verdicts for the three officers from the California Institution for Men, but McGowan’s conviction – for two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law – was reinstated on appeal.

U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II sentenced McGowan, 41, to 51 months in prison Monday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

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Paul Schrader: Community Responsibility- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

My name is Paul Schrader, and I am running for the position of Sheriff-Coroner of San Bernardino County. My campaign is based on what we call the Fresh Start Initiative. My goal is to bring a Fresh Start to San Bernardino County that the citizens can be proud of, participate in, and see concrete, forward-looking solutions to the problems we face.

Community Responsibility- A Sheriff’s Department that accepts its responsibility to the community, and works with the community to improve
conditions for all.

The other day I was in Chino Hills. I was talking with a guy by the name of John. He said he would like to see the Department executives reaching out to the community, finding out what needs and concerns they have.  He said when he has tried to reach anyone of any rank, he is directed to a patrol deputy.  He is frustrated.

While in Victor Valley I talked to Helen. She had a few of her friends with her. She said she wanted a group to help bring the Department and community together. She said the Department said she could volunteer. She tried to call the Sheriff’s Office and was redirected to a patrol deputy. She does not want to be a volunteer, she would love to be part of a community group that could partner with the Department. She is frustrated.

I hear this throughout the county. Deputies are being utilized to answer questions that should go through Department executives. Our deputies are trying to provide law enforcement services and need tools to do the job even better.

I will have community groups in every area of the county. We will meet and work together, ensuring they are getting service needed in their area. I will be available to citizens. This is being done in Departments all over the State.

CNN poll confirms: Most Americans believe their government is a threat to their welfare

A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

Nebraska State Penitentiary Guards suspended over Facebook posting

Update: LINCOLN — Three Nebraska prison guards have been suspended after one allegedly posted Facebook comments expressing enjoyment at roughing up an inmate, and the others supported his actions. State prison officials said the three were suspended pending an investigation.

LINCOLN — A man who identified himself as a Nebraska State Penitentiary guard posted a Facebook comment this month expressing glee at roughing up a inmate.

“When you work in a prison a good day is getting to smash an inmates face into the ground. … for me today was a VERY good day,” stated the Web posting on the Facebook social networking site page of Caleb Bartels.

Two other men identified in state records as prison guards, Shawn Paulson and Derek Dickey, posted responses that appeared supportive, including this one from Dickey: “very satisfying isnt it!!!”

Now all three find themselves in hot water, with former State Sen. Ernest (Ernie) W. Chambers calling for their dismissal.

In a letter this week to Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, Chambers wrote that such “reprehensible misconduct” discussed so brazenly makes the three unfit to serve.

“Given the nature of their work and the power they exercise over inmates, they have shown themselves to lack fitness to hold employment,” Chambers wrote.

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Arpaio Tactics Causing Fear And Loathing In Maricopa County

Sheriff Joe Arpaio‘s crusade against Maricopa County officials has created a “year-long emotional roller-coaster” for some county employees, they tell the Arizona Republic.

Arpaio, whose controversial immigration enforcement tactics have made him a nationally known figure, is reportedly being probed by a federal grand jury. The investigation is considering whether the sheriff abused his power by going after political opponents and others who crossed him, including several county supervisors and judges.

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LA sheriff’s probe claims of deputy drug smuggling

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigators have begun a criminal investigation into whether two deputies helped smuggle drugs into a gang leader’s jail cell in 2003, officials said Thursday.

The investigation was prompted by testimony this week from another former boss of the Drew Street clique of the Avenues gang, based in northeast Los Angeles, officials said.

Francisco “Pancho” Real, a government witness, testified that while he was being held at a county jail facility, two deputies concealed drugs in a bedroll and sneaked them into the nearby cell of Rigoberto “Toker” Perez. Real identified the deputies by their last names but said he did not know their first names.

Sheriff’s officials said they first learned of the allegations against the deputies from Real’s testimony, and immediately opened a criminal investigation.

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DNA evidence can be fabricated and planted at crime scenes, scientists warn

Scientists have shown it is possible to fake DNA evidence, potentially undermining the credibility of the key forensic technique.

Using equipment found in labs up and down the country, they obliterated all traces of DNA from a blood sample and added someone else’s genetic material in its place.

The swap was so successful it fooled scientists who carry out DNA fingerprinting for U.S. courts.

The development raises the possibility of samples of blood or saliva being planted at crime scenes, leading to the innocent being wrongly convicted and the guilty going free.

Israeli researcher Dan Frumkin, who produced the bogus DNA, said: ‘If you can fake blood, saliva or any other tissue, you can engineer a crime scene. Any biology undergraduate could perform this.’

Dr Frumkin’s company, which has made a kit he claims can distinguish real DNA samples from fake ones, used two techniques to fabricate the evidence.

In the first, they extracted minute samples of genetic material from strands of hair and multiplied them many times over.

They then inserted this DNA into blood cells that had been purged of all genetic clues to their real owner.

The blood then contained the genetic fingerprint of the first person, the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics reports.

In theory, it could then be planted at the scene of a crime.

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Proposed Law Would Extend FOIA Reach to Private Prisons

Congress is considering proposed legislation to extend the Freedom of Information Act to private prisons that contract with government agencies. At present, the companies that run private prisons say they are not subject to FOIA because they are not public agencies.

Read more about H.R. 2450 here. (Private Prison Information Act of 2009)

Sheriff’s deputy accused in off duty death threat faces new charge

Download: Arrest declarationINDIO – A San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputy facing criminal charges for allegedly holding a gun to a man’s head while off duty has been charged with an additional felony for allegedly bringing his service weapon to court on his trial date.

Richard Charles Heverly, 43, of La Verne arrived last week at the Larson Justice Center in Indio in full uniform, with his duty belt and service weapon, according to an arrest declaration written by the bailiff in the courtroom.

His trial date was postponed, and a new court date was set for Monday. Prior to the Monday court appearance, prosecutors filed criminal charges against Heverly for unlawful possession of a weapon in a public building.

When Heverly returned to the court, he was arrested on the gun charges. He was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail.

Heverly appeared in court on Wednesday to be arraigned on the new charge, but the hearing was postponed to Feb. 9. A jury trial in Heverly’s prior case is also set for that date.

Heverly remains employed by the Sheriff’s Department and is assigned to work at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, sheriff’s spokeswoman Arden Wiltshire said.

See also:

Trial date postponed in sheriff’s deputy’s assault case

Court May 19 for San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy Heverly, charged with assault

Sheriff’s deputy must stand trial for alleged death threat, judge rules

Preliminary Hearing for San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Heverly is Postponed

Sheriff’s deputy accused of death threats, gun charges returns to work

Back in court: Sheriff’s depupty accused of assault, threats while off duty

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy Richard Heverly

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Noriega Will Be Extradited to France, His Lawyer Says

Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno will extradited to France after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal against the extradition, his lawyer said, though the final say on the matter belongs to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Noriega “has exhausted all his legal options. He has to go to France,” defense attorney Frank A. Rubino told Efe. “It could be in a week or a month. I don’t know.”

The general, who remains inside a federal prison in Miami, had asked the high court to find that as a prisoner of war, he was entitled to return to the República de Panamá after serving a reduced 17-year sentence in the United States for drug trafficking and money laundering.

A U.S. federal judge found in 1992 that Noriega had POW status by virtue of his having been captured during the December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama.

Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983-1989, was due to be released from prison in September 2007, but has remained in custody pending the outcome of France’s request for his extradition.

As his scheduled release drew near, Paris asked the United States to extradite Noriega, who was sentenced in 1999 to 10 years in prison by a French court that convicted him in absentia on charges of laundering some $3.1 million in drug money through the purchase of an apartment.

“I have no idea how they can know where the money came from,” Rubino said Monday. “We’re extremely discouraged by the (Supreme Court) ruling.”

France has promised to give the Panamanian a new trial if he is extradited.

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Lithuania opens Gulag prison camp for students

Deportation Day website

A recreated Joseph Stalin-era prison camp near Vilnius, a Gulag, has become a peculiar attraction for European Union students. Each day some 40 young people spend the day as prisoners under the surveillance of stern guards.

However, before putting on prisoners’ clothes with numbers, students visit the Genocide Museum and former KGB prison in the Lithuanian capital to learn basic facts about the notorious Gulag system.

The students are then “forced” to travel for one hour in an “authentic Soviet truck ZIL 157 K” to a forest bunker, as the website explaining the Deportation Day program says. Then, for the next two hours, they live through the experience of being “political prisoners”, which includes being interrogated by NKVD (security service) officers, shouted at and insulted by the guards. The roles are performed by professional actors. The “excursion” ends with the announcement of Stalin’s death and subsequent amnesty.

The program will continue until the beginning of March, with four hundred participants from 19 EU countries expected to take part in the role playing. On March 11, 2010, which marks 20 years of Lithuania’s independence, organizers plan to bring together victims of Stalin’s regime and young participants of the program to compare their experiences.

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United Nations report blasts US over human rights abuses

A United Nations report says the US has been violating basic human rights by kidnapping and holding terrorism suspects in secret detention centers during the past nine years.

The US is among dozens of countries that have kidnapped suspects, four independent UN rights investigators said in a year-long study based on flight data and interviews with 30 former detainees.

“On a global scale, secret detention in connection with counter-terrorist policies remains a serious problem,” they wrote in the 226-page report which is expected to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March.

“Secret detention as such may constitute torture or ill-treatment for the direct victims as well as their families,” the report said.

Victims and their families deserve compensation and those responsible should be prosecuted, said the four independent investigators.

The UN report explained that the purpose of the secret detentions was to cover up torture and inhuman treatment of the detainees in an effort to obtain information or silent the subjects.

The rights investigators said running facilities such as those used by the Nazis, the Soviet gulag system and Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and ’80s, was banned under the internationally recognized laws laid out in the Geneva Conventions.

They also said establishment of secret detention could not be justified under any circumstances, including during states of emergency or armed conflict.
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Former Fulton County, GA, Sheriff’s Deputy Convicted on Obstruction of Justice Charges Related to Federal Investigation of Inmate Death

Richard Glasco

ATLANTA, GA—Mitnee Markette Jones, 46, of Atlanta, Georgia, a former Fulton County Sheriff’s Department deputy assigned to work at the Fulton County Jail, was convicted by a federal jury late yesterday in Atlanta for her role in the obstruction of a federal investigation of a 2008 inmate death.

Acting United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “We’re still uncertain exactly why Mr. Glasco died, but this conviction brings us one step closer to learning the truth. Deputy Jones lied and covered up what happened in Mr. Glasco’s cell, and now she is being held accountable.”

Gregory Jones, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, said, “The conviction of Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputy/Jailer Mitnee Jones on charges related to lying to the FBI and providing false statements as part of a serious investigation into the death of a Fulton County jail inmate should serve as a message to others that the FBI expects full cooperation in such matters. For a sworn law enforcement officer to deliberately mislead a federal investigation is unconscionable, and the jury, with a returned verdict of guilty, agreed that it should not be tolerated.”

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Detention Deputies Sentenced In In-Custody Beating Death

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Two former Kern County Sheriff‘s detention deputies are behind bars serving their sentences for the beating death of an inmate over four years ago.

In August of 2005, James Moore died after a fight with deputies at the downtown jail.

Officers, at the time, said he became combative while being booked. But the Kern County District Attorney contended the fatal blows came while Moore was restrained on a gurney.

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Prisons too expensive

The Extravagance of Imprisonment Revisited

How much could the government save by cutting prison costs?

According to a new report issued by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, billions of dollars could be saved through reforming the United States prison system. California alone could save an estimated $1.4 billion.

As of 2006, the United States has imprisoned over 1.6 million people. The United States also has the highest incarceration rates in the world. This rate is predicted to rise as “get tough on crime” laws continue to be issued.

This report “analyzes prison and jail populations in the United States as a whole and in four key states–California, Florida, New York, and Texas–to determine 1) how many prisoners are non-serious offenders and what it costs to lock them up, 2) what proven effective alternatives are in use and what they cost, and 3) what savings could be realized if a portion of the non-serious offenders were sentenced to alternatives instead of prison and jail.”

The Universal Soldier

He’s five foot-two, and he’s six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He’s all of thirty-one, and he’s only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He’a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn’t kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he’s fighting for Canada,
He’s fighting for France,
He’s fighting for the USA,
And he’s fighting for the Russians,
And he’s fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way.

And he’s fighting for Democracy,
He’s fighting for the Reds,
He says it’s for the peace of all.
He’s the one who must decide,
Who’s to live and who’s to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He’s the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can’t go on.

He’s the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can’t you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.

Chords:- F,G7,C,Am Dm,Em

Forensic psychologist inflated IQ scores to secure death penalty

According to an excellent investigative article in the Texas Observer by reporter Renee Feltz (“Cracked,” Jan. 8), seventeen men currently on Texas‘s death row were evaluated by a forensic psychologist using “junk science” who improperly inflated intelligence quotient, or IQ, scores to make them eligible for the death penalty despite Supreme Court case law banning execution of the mentally retarded

Among the cases Dr. George C. Denkowski apparently tainted was that of Michael Wayne Richard, who was executed for capital murder in September 2007. This case was heretofore better known because Judge Sharon Faye Keller at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied receipt of Richard’s final habeas corpus claim with her infamous “We close at 5″ comment. That led to the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct to initiate fact-finding proceedings that may yet lead to her removal.

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Counting Crows Play Wilkes-Barre: New Charges of Justice Run Amok

The allegations in the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania., judicial scandal are ugly enough: In exchange for kickbacks from private detention centers, former county judges Michael T. Conahan and and Mark A. Ciavarella sent hundreds of juveniles off to the centers, sometimes for rather lengthy stays. Click here, here, here, here and here for previous LB posts on the scandal.

But we recently got wind of an allegation tucked into a civil complaint concerning Ciavarella that’s really not for the faint of heart.

According to this story, from the Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice, Ciavarella sentenced one former juvenile defendant to six months at a detention facility based solely on the number of birds perched on the ledge outside his courtroom. The allegation was made by attorneys for the plaintiff, now 21, who filed a lawsuit last week.

The suit has accused Ciavarella, the juvenile court judge from 1999 to May 2008, of inexplicably ordering Raul Clark to look at the ledge outside the courtroom during sentencing. Clark, according to the suit, was told to tell Ciavarella the number of birds he saw, the attorneys said.

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Officials Hid Truth of Immigrant Deaths in Jail

Silence has long shrouded the men and women who die in the nation’s immigration jails. For years, they went uncounted and unnamed in the public record. Even in 2008, when The New York Times obtained and published a federal government list of such deaths, few facts were available about who these people were and how they died.

But behind the scenes, it is now clear, the deaths had already generated thousands of pages of government documents, including scathing investigative reports that were kept under wraps, and a trail of confidential memos and BlackBerry messages that show officials working to stymie outside inquiry.

The documents, obtained over recent months by The Times and the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act, concern most of the 107 deaths in detention counted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since October 2003, after the agency was created within the Department of Homeland Security.

The Obama administration has vowed to overhaul immigration detention, a haphazard network of privately run jails, federal centers and county cells where the government holds noncitizens while it tries to deport them.

But as the administration moves to increase oversight within the agency, the documents show how officials — some still in key positions — used their role as overseers to cover up evidence of mistreatment, deflect scrutiny by the news media or prepare exculpatory public statements after gathering facts that pointed to substandard care or abuse.

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Time for full disclosure of DNA databases

Editorial: Time for full and frank data disclosure

WHEN a defendant’s DNA appears to match DNA found at a crime scene, the probability that this is an unfortunate coincidence can be central to whether the suspect is found guilty. The assumptions used to calculate the likelihood of such a fluke – the “random match probability” – are now being questioned by a group of 41 scientists and lawyers based in the US and the UK.

These assumptions have never been independently verified on a large sample of DNA profiles, says the group. What’s more, whether some RMPs are truly as vanishingly small as assumed has been called into question by recent insights into DNA databases in the US and Australia.

The group, led by Dan Krane of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, is demanding access to CODIS – the US national DNA database, which contains over 7 million profiles – so that they can test the assumptions behind RMPs. They have outlined their arguments in a letter, which was published in Science in December (vol 326, p 5960). “The national US database is a truly enormous source of data,” says signatory Larry Mueller of the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

Such research could reveal if incorrect RMPs are prompting jurors and judges to attach undue weight to DNA evidence, possibly leading to miscarriages of justice. Even if these fears are not borne out, independent checks on the DNA held in large databases like CODIS are vital to maintaining confidence in DNA evidence presented in courts all over the world, the group says. Access would also allow the number of errors in CODIS to be measured.

See also:  FBI resists scrutiny of “matches.”

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Long Island corrections officer charged with rape, sexual abuse

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A Long Island corrections officer is being accused of extorting sexual favors from female inmates.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Maura Rice says 47-year-old Mark Barber, of Levittown, was arrested Wednesday and charged with multiple counts of rape, sexual abuse, and forcible touching.

Rice says Barber used his position as a grievance officer for the Nassau County Correctional Center to engage in various sexual activity with female inmates.

Rice says Barber, a corrections officer since 1987, would target inmates who had histories of drug abuse, prostitution, or mental health treatment.

Barber’s lawyer, Frederick James Annibale Jr., told reporters that his client denies the charges.

Barber is due back in court Jan. 4. If convicted, he faces up to 16 years in prison.

More than 12% of youths in juvenile prisons are sexually abused while in custody

More than 12% of youths in juvenile prisons are sexually abused while in custody there, according to a Justice Department study out Thursday, and the vast majority of cases involve female staff and boys under their supervision.

In the worst facilities surveyed — in Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina and Texas — more than 30% of youths reported they had been sexually victimized. The study, the first of its kind, shows a rate of sexual assault more than seven times higher than that indicated by a 2008 Justice Department report that collected sexual abuse claims to juvenile facility administrators. It is also higher than a similar study of adult prisons because of the “very high rate of staff sexual misconduct,” said Allen Beck, who directed the survey for the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The survey of 9,198 youths ages 13 to 21 — all in custody by order of a juvenile court — included methods to eliminate interviews considered unreliable. The survey covered 195 facilities, at least one in each state. Approximately 26,550 juveniles — 91% of them boys — are held in more than 500 such facilities around the country.

Here comes “Pinky” for his final disgrace

[ Before making a big mistake, insist that "Pinky" Stout debate Mike Ramos in public and make a recording available on the Internet.  This jerk can hardly tie his shoes.  He was put into office by the military/prison-industrial complex mafia bosses, in an era of secrecy and censorship.  He was chosen for his ignorant obedience.  Let's see how he looks when we can really see him. By the way, MID/PID scum:  You don't run this county any more. ]

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SAN BERNARDINO – Former district attorney Dennis Stout says he’s ‘committed’ to winning back his old job.

Stout is determined to root out government corruption…

“During eight years that I was district attorney, we prosecuted over fifty major corruption cases. By the time I completed my second term, corruption in San Bernardino County was pretty much under control. But, during the last seven years, it has reared its ugly head again.”

Stout did not seek re-election in 2002 and was replaced by Mike Ramos.

Stout expects to make a formal campaign announcement within two weeks. (INT)

Story Date: January 6, 2010

Harris County, Texas, Jail Nurse Watches Boyfriend Beat Kids

A nurse at the Harris County jail was arrested Tuesday, accused of watching her boyfriend whip her 19-month-old daughter with a wire clothes hanger and her 12-year-old son with an extension cord.

Lois Renee Wiltz, 32, was charged with child abuse by omission and injury to a child.

Carlton Prejean, 31, who lived with Wiltz was charged with injury to a child, said Harris County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Donna Hawkins.

Child Protective Services spokeswoman Estella Olguin said Wiltz has three children, the son and daughter and a 6-month-old child. Prejean fathered the younger two children and has lived with Wiltz for about three years.

The boy told authorities he was beaten on the backside leaving marks, scars, bruising and open wounds beginning in October 2005 and continuing to Dec. 4, when investigators intervened, court records show.

He said Prejean also hit his 19-month-old half-sister with a wire hanger.

Photos of the children’s injuries corroborate the boy’s story, court records show.

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Kern County’s Monstrous D.A. – Farewell to Ed Jagels, a man who put 25 innocent “child abusers” in prison

On his official government web page, Ed Jagels boasts that “During Jagels’s tenure as District Attorney, Kern County has had the highest per capita prison commitment rate of any major California County.” Note that the D.A. makes no claim about the New Jersey-sized county of farms and oil fields being any safer through his efforts. Instead, he gloats about how many of his constituents he’s put behind bars. It’s a telling bit of braggadocio.

In October, Jagels told the Bakersfield Californian that after 26 years in office, he won’t be running for reelection in 2010. Good riddance to him. You’d be hard pressed to find a law enforcement official anywhere in the country who better embodies the worst excesses of America’s sharp turn toward law-and-order crime policy over last 30 years. From expanding the death penalty to eroding the rights of the accused to jacking up prison populations to formulating crime policy around sports metaphors, Jagels created a high-profile position by backing just about every bad crime policy in a generation.

But if history dispenses justice more honorably than Ed Jagels ever did, the boyish-looking D.A. will be most remembered for his role ruining countless lives in perhaps the most shameful of the Reagan-era “tough on crime” debacles: the coast-to-coast sex abuse panic of the 1980s.

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California’s death row grows as death sentences decline nationwide

Los Angeles County sent more people to death row this year than Texas, Florida or any other state in the nation, condemning 13 convicted murderers — the highest number in a decade, according to a Times review of justice statistics.

The increase comes as a national report projects that the number of death sentences issued across the country this year will reach its lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.

Los Angeles County helped California buck that trend, boosting the state’s death sentences from 20 last year to 29 so far this year, more than a quarter of the nationwide total of 106, according to a report released Friday by the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center. The center attributed the national decline to deepening concerns about the costs of capital punishment and the possibility of wrongful convictions.
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Lithuania ‘hosted at least two secret CIA prisons’

A Lithuanian inquiry has found that the US Central Intelligence Agency set up and used secret prisons on its soil following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US.

Lithuania‘s intelligence agency assisted the CIA-run secret prisons, which were used to hold at least eight al-Qaeda suspects, the parliamentary panel in charge of the probe said in a report on Tuesday.

The National Security Committee report records instances in 2005 and 2006 when chartered planes were allowed to land in Lithuania, adding that all the Lithuanian officials, including President Dalia Grybauskaitė, were kept in the dark about the aircraft’s passengers.

The report, which is based on testimony of top politicians and intelligence officials, also sought to close the door on any charges of human rights violations on the grounds that no official was ever aware of exactly what was happening in the US-run prisons.

It said Lithuania’s State Security Department (Valstybės saugumo departamento) provided two facilities to the CIA.

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63rd District: You need to know Paul Chabot

Paul Chabot,  who is running for California’s 63rd State Assembly District, recently participated in a debate over drug legalization, which included former judge James “Jim” P. Gray of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Chabot was damaged in childhood by incompetent parenting and by the war on drugs. While compassion and support for the handicapped is honorable, outright patronization and exaggerated, unreal flattery is an insult.

The military, the criminal justice system and many religious cults go a step further and recruit from sources such as Alcoholics Anonymous, where a couple of percent of forced participants who actually are handicaps (euphemistically called “addicts“), buy into the concept of helplessness and are anxious to turn the control of their minds and bodies over to a “higher power.”  Chabot has been a subject of their nurturing since age 12.

These are the people sought by the recruiters.  They will do what rational people will not.  Note that 1 in 8 combat troops needs alcohol counseling.  Note the escalated activity by law enforcement to round them up during “wartime.”

Chabot has already proven his helplessness and mindless obedience to both the prison- and military-industrial complexes.  The next step for such victims is abandonment – or “promotion” to public office for one final round of exploitation.

If he is abandoned now, further damage to himself and his family might be avoided.  Even if this was not the case, society cannot accept the threat he will represent to all of us if he is patronized into a political career as a windfall cut-out for his handlers.

Do you want another “leader” who cannot handle his alcohol and/or drugs?  A leader whose goal is to punish all normal, healthy people for his disease and weakness?  It is time to take control of government away from the vulgar, self-serving military- and prison-industrial complexes and put them back under our control where they belong.  Have they not disgraced us all enough?  Listen to the debate…

Listen to the debate here.

His “testimonial-fired” personal website is here.

His political website is here.

His “bio” is here.

Understanding the Punitive White Male

As the chronology of California correctional policies shows, many of the punitive measures in sentencing, corrections, and risk management, emerged from voter initiatives. Whether or not the public is punitive, or is being pushed in that direction by politicians and the media, and what can be done to change public opinion, are complex and delicate questions that we discussed in a previous post. Today, I’d like to turn to the findings of some recent work, pointing to the fact that some potential voters and jurors, namely, white males, are more punitive than others.

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Report Recommends Reconsideration of Death Penalty in the U.S.

Smart on Crime: Reconsidering the Death Penalty in a Time of Economic Crisis

The Death Penalty Information Center today produced this report which combines an analysis of death penalty costs in the U.S. with recent evidence from a poll of police chiefs to recommend that the U.S. reconsider the existence of the death penalty as a law enforcement mechanism.

The report “analyzes the costs of the death penalty as measured in various state studies. It examines why the death penalty is so expensive and why it may be impossible to cut those costs without endangering fundamental rights. The report looks closely at the opinions of law enforcement experts and finds little support for continuing to spend enormous sums on an ineffective program when so many other areas of need are being short changed.”

Jail selling ad space on video visitation monitors

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division started showing advertisements on their video visitation screens. Officials with the jail say they may be the first in the country to implement the idea.

The new advertisement program offers great potential for attorneys and other services of interest for inmates and visitors.

A few months ago, the Charlotte County Jail added video visitation for inmates in a separate building so inmates can have video contact with their friends, loved ones, and professionals.

Visitors are no longer allowed to go into the main jail building for visitations.

Officials with the Bureau of Corrections say the video terminals offer the opportunity to place advertisements that will be seen by both inmates and visitors and say the idea may be the first in the whole country.

The ads have potential for over 500 viewers per day from the in-custody audience and an additional 25 screens available for visitors.

The ad cost is 60-cents for a two minute time frame for 365 days of advertisement, or a total cost for one looped ad will be $1,533 per year.

Currently, there are 50 available ad spaces available and ad spaces will be sold on a first come priority.

Funds collected from this ad program are returned to the Inmate Welfare Fund.

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National Dialogue Needed on Juvenile Justice

The United States may be faltering as an economic powerhouse, but we’re still No. 1 in one important category: locking people up. With one out of every 100 adults behind bars, we’re ahead of China, Rwanda, Cuba and every other country. Our prisoner population has nearly tripled over the past two decades.

This catastrophe calls for a serious national dialogue about our criminal justice policies — an examination that should begin with how we’re treating troubled children.

Just as a minor league baseball team prepares athletes for the majors, our juvenile justice system — aided by mind-boggling, zero-tolerance policies in schools — is doing a bang-up job of feeding new inmates into adult prisons.

Across the country, vulnerable children are being needlessly torn from their families and locked away in detention centers for weeks or months — typically before they have been found guilty of anything. Tragically, too many of these children encounter horrible conditions in these facilities. And too often, instead of finishing high school, they “graduate” to adult prisons.

Our broken juvenile justice system does little to keep our communities safe or help these children. But it does plenty of damage to young lives.

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