Monday, September 26, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


Durant and Green Attend Annual Event Featuring Pickup Game Against Prison Inmates

The Warriors made their annual trip to San Quentin State Prison on Saturday. As has been the case in each of the last five years, members of the Warriors front office staff and basketball operations department played a pickup game against select prison inmates in front of a crowd of prison guards and other inmates.

While Warriors President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Bob Myers headlined the Warriors contingent on the court, Warriors players Kevin Durant and Draymond Green took in the action from the sidelines. There, they sat among the inmates to watch the action, sign autographs and even play some dominos.

Modern Machine Shop

The TV program “Titans of CNC”—formerly “Titan: American Built”—posted the promo above of its upcoming third season. Titan Gilroy, the show’s star and creator, has obtained permission to establish a modern CNC machining program within San Quentin State Prison and film there. This video shows the new San Quentin machine shop taking shape, as Mr. Gilroy (himself a former prison inmate) works alongside inmates to renovate and equip the space, and prepare the new CNC shop for the instruction of students.


Prisoners and P.J. the Chihuahua mix both are benefiting from his service-dog training.
Mark Muckenfuss, The Press Enterprise

Prison is changing P.J.

But in a good way.

The little black-and-white Chihuahua mix is learning to heel, fetch and even open doors. So far, he has not learned how to pick any locks. But his trainers want to teach him how to turn light switches on and off.

And they want him to learn how to alert his future owner of an impending seizure.

P.J. is not a canine offender. He’s one of five dogs that are part of a new program at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco in which inmates train service dogs.


Pablo Lopez, The Fresno Bee

By all accounts, Jeffrey Snyder has had a screwed-up life.

His parents divorced because of his father’s alcoholism. Around age 10, he was introduced to drugs and alcohol and homosexual sex by older boys in his Fresno neighborhood.

When he tried to talk to his parents about it, they didn’t know how to deal with it.

In 1974, he joined the Army, but was honorably discharged six months later because he could not adjust to military life.


Hannah Fry, The Los Angeles Times

Convicted double-murderer Daniel Wozniak looked toward the front of the Santa Ana courtroom, his expression void of emotion as an Orange County Superior Court judge on Friday affirmed his death sentence.

The courtroom fell silent. The victims' family and friends wiped away tears as Judge John Conley sentenced the former Costa Mesa community actor, 32, to death for killing Irvine resident Juri "Julie" Kibuishi, 23, and her Army veteran friend Samuel Herr, 26.

Sean Cockerham, McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON >> The last inmate executed in California was Clarence Ray Allen, legally blind and suffering from diabetes, whose heart was stopped with lethal chemicals as punishment for a triple homicide in Fresno he ordered from a Folsom Prison cell a quarter century earlier.

It was more than a decade ago when Allen spoke his last words — “Hoka Hey, it’s a good day to die” — and the poisons flowed into his veins at San Quentin State Prison.

Now, with the death penalty dying across the U.S., the nation is watching California as its voters consider competing initiatives meant to either revive executions or abolish capital punishment. Several states in recent years ended their death penalties through court decisions or legislation, but California is a test of whether voters think executions are worth trying to save.


Roelle Balan, Ohlone Monitor

There is one way to describe Fiani Johnson and that is nosy. While laughing with peers, she said that she was so nosy she used to follow the ambulance,firetrucks and police cars when something big happened. She eventually stopped after getting a ticket for following these emergency cars. Her curiosity got the best of her because now she wants to change the lives of inmates.

Fiani Johnson is like most Ohlone students, she grew up in a home with parents and siblings and went to school, very eager to learn. There was one problem, she was caught up by the law and ended up going to jail for a year.

During her time in jail, her compassion for people in prison grew. Her observations while in jail inspired and moved her to try to help those who are incarcerated. “I just want to give them that opportunity to show they are good (people),” she said.

Susan Abram, Los Angeles Daily News

Nearly two years after a state law passed that turned some serious drug offenses into minor ones, a new study has stirred up renewed discussion on whether the measure is working.

Voters gave Prop. 47 the nod in November 2014, mandating that six low-level property and drug offenses would be reclassified from felonies to misdemeanors.

From Los Angeles to the Inland Empire, it meant that felons got resentenced. Many received reduced time. And some were simply released for time already served.


Mercury News

The best California ballot measures state clear intentions and leave little or no room for debate over how they will be implemented.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s initiative to roll back fixed prison terms for non-violent felons fails this basic test. Vote no on Proposition 57 on the November ballot.

We agree with the governor’s intent, but the proposition is sloppily written. It fails to clearly identify which crimes would fall under it and how an inmate’s criminal history would affect eligibility for parole. Brown or other reform advocates need to try again

Friday, September 23, 2016

Daily Corections Clips


The Associated Press

SUSANVILLE, Calif. (AP) - Police are launching a homicide investigation after an inmate who was attacked by his cellmate at a prison north of Sacramento last month has died.

State prison authorities say 54-year-old Martin Hall, the victim of the attack at the High Desert State Prison in Susanville, died Wednesday.

In a news release Thursday they say Hall was attacked by 51-year-old Donald Wilson on August 31 in the cell they shared.


Rob McMillan, abc 7 News

CHINO, Calif. (KABC) -- After spending nearly 40 years in prison, a convicted killer has again been denied parole for the murder of a Cypress police officer.

Bobby Joe Denney, now 72, will remain in state prison, but will be eligible for another parole hearing in five years, according to family members of the victim who attended Thursday's parole hearing.

The hearing was held at the state prison in Chino.


Christopher Cadelago, The Sacramento Bee

A plurality of likely voters backs the latest ballot effort to repeal the death penalty in California and shutter the nation’s largest death row, but support remains below the 50 percent threshold needed, a new poll shows.

The survey, completed jointly by the Field Poll and the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley, found Proposition 62 ahead 48 to 37 percent, with 15 percent of likely voters undecided.

Meanwhile, barely a third (35 percent) support Proposition 66, a competing initiative aimed at expediting the death-penalty process. With 42 percent undecided, it appears far less familiar to voters. Twenty-three percent are opposed.


The Press Democrat

California was slow in responding to a federal mandate to alleviate overcrowding in state prisons. But it has reached its stride through several initiatives. These include the adoption of legislation authorizing the release of low-risk inmates, voter approval of Proposition 47 in 2014, which reduced certain drug possession felonies to misdemeanors, and the statewide prison realignment program, which has shifted thousands of prisoners to county jails.

On the Nov. 8 ballot, the governor is proposing another early-release plan — but this time he has gone too far. Proposition 57, if approved, would allow felons sentenced for less-violent crimes to earn early parole by receiving credit for education and good behavior opportunities. It also would allow judges, rather than prosecutors, to decide whether to try certain juveniles as adults.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips



SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) is opposing the parole of an inmate convicted of the first-degree murder of a Cypress Police Department (CPD) officer responding to a burglary being perpetrated by the inmate. Bobby Joe Denney, 72, is currently being held at the California Institute for Men in Chino. Denney pleaded guilty on May 16, 1977, to one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon, and was convicted by a jury on June 15, 1977, of one felony count of first degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for being armed with a deadly weapon. In 1977, before life without parole or the death penalty were enacted, Denney was sentenced to life in state prison.

Denney is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, Sept. 22, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings (Panel), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This case was originally prosecuted by then Senior Deputy District Attorney Bryan Brown.


Scott Shafer, KQED

There are two completely opposite November ballot measures dealing with capital punishment, and a new poll shows neither one is getting support from a majority of voters.

Proposition 62 would repeal the state’s death penalty and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole. It falls just short of the simple majority it needs to pass.

Forty-eight percent of likely voters support it, while 37 percent are against it. Fifteen percent are undecided.

Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal

The Board of Supervisors decided provisionally Tuesday to throw its support behind propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot that would increase parole chances for some felons and repeal the death penalty.

Four of the board’s five members — Supervisor Steve Kinsey was absent — discussed what their positions should be on the other 15 propositions on the ballot as well. A resolution making their choices official will be considered for a formal vote on Oct. 4. They decided not to take a position on Proposition 64, which would legalize the recreational use of marijuana.


Brooke L. Williams, City Limits

For this theatrical performance, there are no props. No costumes. No elaborately adorned stage. There are only voices. Voices that tell powerful stories and that evoke the raw emotion that can only come from baring one’s soul.

This is “The Castle”, the play that The Fortune Society’s founder, David Rothenberg, first conceived nearly a decade ago. Clients of the non-profit organization, which is focused on helping the formerly incarcerated, are the stars of the show.

Arts programming for the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated has been shown to have therapeutic benefits. A 2014 Justice Policy article found that arts education in prisons led to increased participation in academic and vocational programs as well as a decrease in disciplinary reports.

Julie Caine, KALW

In January 1969, two members of the Black Panther Party – Alprentice ‘Bunchy’ Carter and John Huggins – were shot and killed on the campus of UCLA.

Larry 'Watani' Stiner and his brother were arrested and convicted for the murders. They were members of Organization US – a black nationalist group active at the time. The brothers were sent to San Quentin State Prison. 

The Times-Standard

The 43-year-old sentenced last week for fatally beating a man in Blue Lake in 2015 was scheduled to be transferred into state prison custody today.

Jonas Randall Semore will be transferred into the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation following a court appearance in front of Judge John Feeney.

Daily Corrections Clips


Sweetwater Now

SWEETWATER COUNTY — A California man has been charged for his involvement in a 1977 Sweetwater County homicide.

In a joint press release from the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office and the Sweetwater County Attorney’s Office, Sheriff Mike Lowell and County Attorney Dan Erramouspe announced that murder charges have been filed against Rodney James Alcala, 73, of California following a 34 year investigation by the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office.

Alcala, a condemned California Department of Corrections inmate, has been charged with first-degree murder, though it is unknown when he will be returned to Wyoming to answer the charges against him.

Tribune Media Wire

LOS ANGELES — A 28-year-old Pomona, California, man was sentenced to life in prison Monday for “brutally” killing his girlfriend and cutting out her lung while she was still alive, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Alexander Anthony Clever, who pleaded no contest to a first-degree murder charge in July, will not be eligible for parole, the DA’s office said in a news release.

In addition to the no contest plea, the defendant also admitted to special circumstance allegations of torture and mayhem, prosecutors said.


CBS Los Angeles

NORWALK ( — A Norwalk family is pleading with the California Department of Correction’s parole board not to release the man convicted of killing their 3-year-old daughter more than two decades ago.

Chuck Johnson is up for parole in November after serving 23 years of his 25-years-to-life sentence.

He was convicted of killing Brittany Lynn Rethorn-Riggs on Oct. 10, 1993.

Holly V. Hays, IndyStar

An attempted traffic stop and a police chase ended in a five-car accident that closed down westbound lanes of I-70 on the city's east side Tuesday afternoon.

At 3:30 p.m., detectives attempted to stop an SUV with California plates that was traveling westbound into Marion County, according to a news release.

When the detective turned on his lights, the driver of the SUV fled. The vehicle exited the interstate and made a U-turn in the parking lot of a business on Post Road before again heading south back toward the interstate.


Chris Nichols, Politifact Californian

California billionaire and potential gubernatorial candidate Tom Steyer joined the debate over ending the state’s death penalty last week by repeating a questionable claim.

"Since 1978, California has spent $5 billion to put 13 people to death," Steyer said in a press release announcing his support for Proposition 62.

The measure would abolish capital punishment in the state.

Proposition 66, a competing measure on November’s ballot, would keep the death penalty but proposes speeding up its appeals process.

Peter Jesserer Smith, Angelus

Kirk Bloodsworth had everything a young man could hope for in 1984. At 23 years old, he had served honorably in the U.S. Marines, was married, and had a good job on Maryland’s eastern shore.

But then “my entire world went sideways,” Bloodsworth recounted to Angelus News. Over a period of eight months, he was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to die in the gas chamber for the brutal rape-murder of 9-year-old Dawn Hamilton — a horrific crime he never committed.

Bloodsworth spent two years on death row, served another six years, and converted to the Catholic faith before he was finally able to prove his innocence through DNA testing in 1993.

Kellie Chudzinski, Loyolan

A YES vote supports repealing the death penalty and making life without the possibility of parole the maximum punishment for murder.

A NO vote opposes repealing the death penalty.

Things to know:

Dylan Bryant, The Renegade Rip

Californians have had what some might call a “love-hate relationship” with the death penalty. From 1778 to 1972, the state carried out 708 executions. Then, in 1972, the State Supreme Court found capital punishment to be in violation of the state constitution. A few months later, Californians voted to reinstate the death penalty, superseding the court’s ruling. The courts have since handed down hundreds of death penalty convictions.

Despite this, only 13 of those executions to have been issued since the reinstatement have taken place. In fact, California’s “Death Row” at San Quentin State Prison now houses more inmates than Florida or Texas, over 700 condemned to death. While all have been found guilty, these inmates are not being executed for a variety of reasons.


Corrections News

LAKEPORT, Calif. — In lieu of expanding the Hill Road Correctional Facility in Lakeport, the Lake County Board of Supervisors voted on Sept. 13 to return a $20 million jail improvement grant received in January 2014. County officials have cited financial constraints related to long-term operation of the expanded facility as well as a decrease in jail population for their decision to return the funds.

Allocated by the California Board of State and Community Corrections, the grant was originally intended to ease overcrowding and help bring the jail in line with California’s public safety realignment goals under AB 109. The $20 million grant was issued under SB 1022. Lake County was then one of 15 counties to receive jail modification funding; 36 counties originally applied.

UC Berkeley News

The Prison University Project, founded by UC Berkeley Ph.D. Jody Lewen to give inmates in San Quentin greater access to higher education, has been named a recipient of this year’s  National Humanities Medal, the White House has announced.

President Obama will award the medal to a distinguished list of recipients — including poet Louise Gl├╝ck, radio host Terry Gross and composer and musician Wynton Marsalis — at a ceremony in the East Room on Thursday. First Lady Michelle Obama is expected to attend.