Thursday, July 2, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Stephanie Sumell, Thousand Oaks Acorn

Patrick Jefferson assured teens at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility that it was OK to smile during a milestone some may have thought they would never experience: their high school graduation.

The speaker said men, especially those of color, too often hide their emotions in an attempt to look tough in front of their peers.
Where's the story? PointsMentioned Map 2 Points Mentioned


Nic Coury, Monterey County Weekly

A 35-year-old convicted murderer already serving a life sentence pleaded guilty today to killing another inmate with a homemade weapon at Salinas Valley State Prison in 2012.

Just after 11am on September 15, 2012, Gregory Hoenshell and Barry Storey, 37, stabbed 42-year-old Edgar Sultan to death in a maximum security yard. According to a press release from the California Department Corrections and Rehabilitation, the attack on Sultan set off a riot after thirty other inmates started attacking each other.

Patrick Kearns Leach, 29, showed up to his sentencing a day early and got 15 years for rage-filled shooting of a neighbor.
Paige Austin, Patch

A son of the creator of the children’s character “Barney” was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for shooting and wounding his neighbor after an argument in January 2013.

Patrick Kearns Leach, 29, of Malibu, pleaded no contest May 28 to one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and shooting from a motor vehicle.


Vivian Ho, SF Gate

Homicides, robberies and overall violent crimes fell statewide in 2014 to levels not seen in decades, according to a Department of Justice report released Wednesday.

The 1,697 killings last year were the fewest in California since 1971. At its bloody peak, in 1993, the state recorded 4,095 homicides.

Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, San Jose Inside‎

Michael Mendoza made the worst decision of his life when was just 15 years old. He had recently joined a new family—a gang—to replace the troubled relationship with his father. Eager for approval, he went out for a ride with some of his new family members. The drive ended with a passenger in the front aiming a gun out the window and killing a rival gang member.

“At that moment, I was totally ignorant,” Mendoza says. “I didn’t consider the impact that this decision would have, not just on this man, but on his family, on my family and on the community. All I cared about was me—all I could think about was me.”

What comes after mass incarceration? Local incarceration.
Anat Rubin, The Marshall Project

Indio, California – In this desert city halfway between Los Angeles and the Arizona border, a small monument to the state’s prison downsizing experiment is materializing in a shopping center storefront, where former felons will soon have access to health screenings, substance-abuse treatment, job training, therapy, and probation officers who look and sound more like social workers than law enforcement officials.

Less than a mile away, a far more ambitious project is taking shape. Across from the local courthouse, workers will soon break ground on a massive expansion of a county jail, a renovation that will ultimately more than quadruple its size from 353 to 1,626 beds. It’s the first of several jail expansions planned in Riverside County, where the local Sheriff has called for 10,000 new jail beds in the next thirteen years.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Mariana Hicks, KION

NOTE: The reporter has been informed that Salinas Valley State Prison and Correctional Training Facility are two separate institutions.

SOLEDAD, Calif. - Incarcerated veterans at Soledad Correctional Training Facility are helping other vets in the community. On Monday, a group inside the prison gave more than a $1,000 to local veteran groups on the Central Coast.

"These men have good hearts, yes they've made mistakes," warden Marion Spearman said.

But the men that make up the Incarcerated Vietnam Veterans group are trying to pay back their debt to society.


William Bigelow, Breitbart

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld Oklahoma’s three-drug lethal injection method, California can resume carrying out the death penalty, although mandatory administrative procedures and hearings could slow the process.

California prison officials recently consulted with families of murder victims and said they would propose a new single-drug execution method within 120 days of the Supreme Court’s ruling if Oklahoma won in the Supreme Court.


The Press Enterprise

While state prison realignment has been blamed for much of Riverside County’s jail population problems, the reality is the county long has failed to maintain adequate jail space.

On Tuesday, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with Imperial County to confine Riverside County inmates at the Imperial County jail for up to four years. The county will spend as much as $1 million a year to house up to 35 inmates, using Proposition 172 public safety revenues.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Maura Dolan, The Los Angeles Times

The Supreme Court's decision Monday giving a green light to an execution drug triggered a renewed attempt in California to create a single-drug method of lethal injection for inmates on America's largest death row.

Under a legal settlement reached earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown's administration agreed to propose a new lethal injection method 120 days after the Supreme Court decided a challenge to a lethal injection drug used in Oklahoma.

Howard Mintz, Bay Area News Group

California’s death penalty is back on the clock.

A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday reinforced the ability of states to rely on lethal injection to carry out executions, handing down a ruling out of Oklahoma that unlocks California’s long dormant effort to revive the death penalty in this state.

The Supreme Court’s decision triggers what promises to be a tangled, prolonged legal process that could ultimately lead to a resumption of executions in the Golden State — although it could still be years before the doors reopen in San Quentin’s death chamber.

Nina Totenberg, NPR                                                           

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday issued the last of its opinions for this term — on the death penalty, anti-pollution regulations and the power of independent commissions to draw congressional and state legislative districts. In addition, the court issued a set of orders that set up cases to be heard next term on affirmative action and abortion.

By a 5-4 vote, the court upheld the use of the controversial drug midazolam as part of a three-drug cocktail used in carrying out the death penalty.

Sarah Burge, The PressEnterprise

Death penalty supporters say a U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday upholding the use of a controversial drug in lethal injections may be the catalyst to resume executions in California as early as next year.

“It’s a great day for justice,” said Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation. “I think it’s an important step forward.”

Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News

San Quentin >> Raynard Cummings says he has been “fighting to live” on California’s death row for nearly three decades.

It’s not just in the courtroom, where the convicted killer of LAPD motor officer Paul Verna hopes to have his death sentence overturned. Cummings, who was raised in Pacoima, says he is also waging a battle of survival within the walls of the notorious San Quentin State Prison.

Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News

NORTH HOLLYWOOD >> Desarie Saravia was a tough little girl who could carry a gallon of milk at the age of 2 and fall out of a bunk bed with hardly a whimper.

But at 5, she died after being sexually assaulted and brutally beaten in 2004 by her mother’s boyfriend in a women’s restroom at Hasley Canyon Park in Castaic. Antonio Rodriguez, who was convicted of numerous charges, including murder, torture and assault on a child causing death, was sentenced to death in 2010 in what a judge called the worst case of torture he had seen in his 37-year career.

Katherine Proctor, Courthouse News

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The Ninth Circuit on Friday revived a transgender California inmate's legal action for sexual-reassignment surgery.

The reversal for Mia Rosati, whom California records call her Philip, comes a short three weeks after the federal appeals court held oral arguments in the case.
Rosati filed a 60-page handwritten pro se complaint from San Diego's R.J. Donovan State Prison, where she is serving 80 years to life for murder.


Sam McManis, The Sacramento Bee

IONE- Dad always told me if I didn’t behave – “clean up my act” were his exact words, actually – that I would end up in a place like this. Meaning, reform school. Meaning, I’d get pummeled by some kid whose crimes far exceeded my rap sheet of sassing back and chronic failure to clean my room. Meaning, I would regret how good I once had it at home.

Until recently, I had managed to avoid such a fate.

But when I finally set foot into the Preston Castle, the crumbling yet still regal brick building on a hill looking over this Amador County burg, and heard stories, absolutely hair-curling tales, of life and times of “youthful offenders” in the euphemistically dubbed Preston School of Industry from 1894 to 1960, it certainly made me appreciate that I did, indeed, clean up my act enough to be spared the indignities of forced confinement.

Thor Benson, ATTN

Freddy Negrete is a 58-year-old tattoo artist in Los Angeles, California. He's been involved in tattoo culture for over 40 years. Unlike most tattoo artists, who developed a passion for drawing over the years and eventually decided to apprentice under an artist, Negrete received his initial education in a less traditional manner.

Negrete grew up a troubled youth in a bad neighborhood, and he was a gang member as a kid. When Negrete was 11 or 12-years-old, he ended up in juvenile hall for running away from home. While he was in a cell waiting to be taken to court, the guards brought in a 17-year-old "cholo kid," as he puts it, who had prison tattoos. "I'm sure normally an older kid like that wouldn't have even given me the time of day, but he had all these tattoos--writing and crosses--and I was so impressed with his tattoos," Negrete told ATTN:. Negrete asked how the tattoos were done, and the 17-year-old explained they were done by dipping a needle in ink and poking it into the skin. Negrete was intrigued. The kid also told him he could poke mascara into his skin to do a simple tattoo. That night, Negrete got his sister's mascara and did his first tattoo on himself. It was the first of many tattoos he would produce.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Note: CDCR played a large role in this year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Representatives joined the run, Secretary Jeff Beard spoke on the steps of the Capitol about CDCR’s commitment to Special Olympics, and Dr. Diana Toche, Undersecretary of Health Care Services, and Undersecretary (A), Administration and Offender Services, lit the Special Olympics Cauldron at the Summer Games opening ceremony. CDCR was recognized as the top fundraising agency in 2014, raising $133,000 for Special Olympics.

KCRA 3 News

The opening ceremony of the Northern California Special Olympics was held at UC Davis Friday evening, and welcoming the athletes to the games were a line of law enforcement officers.

KCRA 3 News

Dozens of law enforcement officers ran with the Special Olympics torch from Folsom Lake to the state Capitol.


Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – State prison officials may be violating a transgender California inmate’s rights by denying her sex reassignment surgery, a federal appeals court ruled Friday as it revived the prisoner’s lawsuit against the state.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not rule on the merits of Philip Rosati’s case, but it said her allegations were plausible and sufficient to warrant further review by a court. The 9th Circuit overturned a lower court’s decision to dismiss Rosati’s lawsuit.

Tevis Stephens found at McDonald's near Salinas Valley State Prison
Daily Midway Driller

A Taft man serving a prison sentence for a drug conviction walked away from a minimum security prison facility in Monterey County last week but was was recaptured about less than two hours later.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported Tevis Stephens, who was serving his sentence in the minimum support facility of Salinas Valley State Prison in south Monterey County, near Soledad, was discovered missing at 9:15 p.m. on June 22

The San Francisco Chronicle

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A man serving 25 years to life for a drug-related killing has been sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for running an eastern Montana drug ring from a California prison using smuggled cellphones.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters sentenced Jason Neel of Taft, California, on Wednesday. Neel, 32, earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit money laundering.


Don Thompson, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. » Gov. Jerry Brown decided Friday to block parole for the killer of a developmentally disabled California man who was buried alive.

Brown decided Friday that 52-year-old David Weidert still is too dangerous to be released, despite the recommendation by a state panel that parole should be granted.

John Ellis and Troy Pope, The Fresno Bee

The parole of David Weidert, who was convicted of torturing Mike Morganti and burying him alive in 1980, has been reversed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the governor’s office announced Friday.

Weidert lured Morganti from his Clovis apartment and drove him to a remote foothill location. There, he forced Morganti to dig his own grave, and then Weidert beat him with an aluminum bat and stabbed him with a knife before burying him in the shallow grave.


The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has upheld the use of a controversial drug that has been implicated in several botched executions.

The justices on Monday voted 5-4 in a case from Oklahoma that the sedative midazolam can be used in executions without violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News

For three decades, Sandy Verna Jackson has longed for the day her husband’s killers would be executed.

Raynard Cummings and Kenneth Gay were convicted of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Los Angeles police motorcycle Officer Paul Verna six times during a traffic stop in Lake View Terrace in June 1983. The parolees, who authorities said were trying to avoid arrest for a series of violent robberies in the San Fernando Valley, were sentenced to death in 1985. Gay’s death verdict was overturned for a second time in 2008.

Josh Dulaney, Long Beach Press Telegram

Santiago Martinez Jr. has been sitting on death row at San Quentin State Prison since Dec. 7, 2009.

With the state’s slow-churning appeals process, he may outlive the 67-year-old mother of one of his victims, who says the sooner Martinez dies, the better.

“I think it’s a real shame for families that have to go through years of waiting for something to happen,” said Loraine Wilkerson, the mother of one of the two women Martinez murdered last decade. “Whether it’s an appeal or an execution, I think it’s really hard on the family.”

Stephanie K. Baer, The San Gabriel Valley Tribune

For Claude Chenet, the lasting effects of his daughter’s murder have been immeasurable.

But as the man who killed his 23-year-old daughter more than 10 years ago sits on death row in San Quentin State Prison, Chenet is trying to regain his spirit.

“It was tough for me to get through,” said Chenet, 56, who fell into a spiral of crack cocaine and alcohol after the notorious Azusa 13 gang enforcer Ralph “Swifty” Flores fatally shot his only daughter and mother of his three grandchildren.

Sarah Favot, Los Angeles Daily News

Chivalry and traditional roles between men and women influence jurors when deciding whether to issue a death sentence, according to a researcher who studies capital murder.

Steven Shatz, a University of San Francisco law professor, studied 1,000 California murder cases where the defendant was eligible for the death penalty and found that killers of women were seven times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed men. The data rang true when Shatz examined 404 similar cases in Los Angeles County between 2003 and 2005.


Stephanie Stone, abc 30 News

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An already unusual case takes another unusual turn. The teen mom who left her young kids to fend for themselves in a Southwest Fresno apartment fire pled guilty to three counts of child abuse.

Jamela Brown, 19, was arrested in January after firefighters rescued her children from their burning home.


Tammerlin Drummond,  Oakland Tribune Columnist

Xitlally Lupian took her very first steps in the visiting area at Corcoran State Prison. When she was little, her mother explained her father's absence as a "big people timeout" for breaking the rules.

She is 16 now, and her father is still serving a 38-year, nine-month sentence for gun-related felonies. He has been in prison since she was 8 months old. Yet the soft-spoken teen from Oakland is determined to maintain her relationship with her father despite all the obstacles. He's now in Pelican Bay State Prison, in Crescent City, a seven-hour haul by car. She says he's in solitary and can't make phone calls. Visits are rare because it costs a lot of money for gas and to stay in a motel near the prison. Lupian saw her father three weeks ago through a thick plate glass window, when she talked to him on a static-filled prison phone. Before that, she hadn't seen him in three years.