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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