Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Daily Corrections Clips


Yolo County Day Reporting Center grads are 'breaking barriers'
76 graduates celebrated
Sarah Dowling, Daily Democrat

Note: The reporter has been informed that state prisoners are not sent to local jails.

"Breaking barriers" was the theme of the Yolo County Day Reporting Center fall celebration, which recognized more than 70 graduates.

The Day Reporting Center, which opened in February 2013, provides vocational training and life skills programs designed to teach former inmates and offenders the skills needed to find and keep a job.


DEVELOPING STORY: District Attorney asks for man who cut out heart of coworker to be sent back to Fresno

LiLi Tan, KSBY News

In a formal letter to the State Board of Parole Hearings, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office has requested that convicted killer Theodore Leleaux be sent back to Fresno, where he stabbed his coworker Kenneth Carlock 77 times, cut out the victim's heart and put it in his pocket.

District Attorney Dan Dow lays out several points in the correspondence, mailed Tuesday, why he believes Leleaux should not have been paroled in San Luis Obispo County.


Obama’s action puts public safety at risk
Margaret A. Bengs, The Sacramento Bee

One of the most overlooked aspects of President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration is its impact on public safety.

Last week, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones released a YouTube message to Obama, pleading with him to carry out federal responsibility on immigration for the sake of public safety – a video that has gone viral, signaling similar concerns throughout the country. The sheriff spoke of the recent killings of one of his deputies and of a Placer County sheriff’s detective, allegedly by an illegal immigrant who had been deported twice for previous crimes.


Contra Costa County groups, re-entry advocates working to accommodate Prop. 47 releases
Bay City News

RICHMOND - On "Freedom Fridays," Contra Costa County inmates convicted or charged with certain low-level crimes are able to walk out of a Martinez courtroom as free men and women.

More than 100 inmates so far have been released in Contra Costa County over the past several weeks since California voters approved Proposition 47, an initiative that lowers criminal penalties for some drug and property crimes - changing them from felonies to misdemeanors.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Daily Corrections Clips


Wrongfully Convicted California Man Released After 36 Years
Charlotte Alter, TIME

He was the longest-serving wrongfully convicted inmate in the state

A California man will leave prison Monday after 36 year behind bars, after new DNA evidence proved his innocence.

Michael Hanline, 68, will be released after DNA from the crime scene failed to match Hanline’s, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 1980, Hanline was convicted of the first-degree murder of J.T. McGarry, also known as Mike Mathers, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Michael Hanline, wrongly convicted in 1978 killing, freed

Amanda Covarrubias, The Los Angeles Times

When he first stepped outside, Michael Hanline looked up at the sky as if for the first time.

Wearing a dark sweatshirt with "XONER8" across the front, his white hair pulled into a ponytail and a cane in hand, California's longest-serving wrongfully convicted inmate walked out of jail Monday a free man.


GPS, cellphone data led to serial-killing confession, authorities say
Emily Foxhall, Steve Marble, The Los Angeles Times

A convicted felon confessed to authorities that he and a fellow sex offender strangled four prostitutes in Orange County and dumped their bodies in trash bins, according to grand jury testimony revealed Monday.

The case, which baffled authorities for months, was cracked by matching data from the GPS devices worn by Franc Cano and Steven Dean Gordon with location data from cellphones belonging to the women, all who called or texted relatives frequently, according to testimony in the matter.

District attorney protests Fresno murderer's release to SLO

Matt Fountain, The San Luis Obispo Tribune

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow is fighting the release of a Fresno murderer to San Luis Obispo on the grounds that local authorities were not properly notified.

Theodore Allen LeLeaux Jr., who had been imprisoned at California Men’s Colony, was paroled to San Luis Obispo on Nov. 13 after a Fresno County judge ruled LeLeaux was no longer a danger to society.

DEVELOPING STORY: Man who cut out heart of coworker released to San Luis Obispo area
LiLi Tan, KSBY News

Note: This story has been updated to include information from CDCR.

Documents reveal state parole board notified top law enforcement officials in San Luis Obispo County about release of convicted killer Theodore Leleaux on the Central Coast before he got out; however, it wasn't enough time for local authorities to fight it.

The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation sent messages via teletype, an electromechanical typewriter used to send messages from one agency to another, to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office, and San Luis Obispo Police Department.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Daily Corrections Clips


At San Quentin, Learning Web Coding Without the Internet
Georgia Wells, The Wall Street Journal

Eighteen students are learning how to code Web pages. There’s one catch: They can’t use the Internet.

The men, in matching jeans and blue shirts, are inmates at California’s San Quentin prison. They learn about smartphones from newspaper ads, and take classes in HTML, CSS and JavaScript in the hope the skills may someday help them find jobs outside of prison.


Teaching ex-inmates how to stay free
Agencies develop novel programs to help offenders leave crime behind, rebuild their lives
Dana Littlefield, U-T San Diego

Less than a week after moving to her new living quarters, Angelic Williams celebrated her 36th birthday.

It may not have been the first time she marked the passing of a year while in the custody of state prison authorities, but this time was different. Here, in San Diego, there were no crowded gymnasiums, no guard towers, no razor wire.

Mike Alvarez mentors at-risk youth in Cutler/Orosi

Teresa Douglass, Visalia Times-Delta

At 16 years old, Mike Alvarez started hanging out with a handful of people from the wrong crowd in Cutler-Orosi.

"I did things I wasn't proud of," he said.

He got in fights and stole things after he lost his brother and his father.

"I was spiraling," he said.

Wrongly convicted woman declared factually innocent by Los Angeles judge

TORRANCE, Calif. (KABC)- A woman who spent 17 years in a California prison for a murder she did not commit was declared factually innocent Friday, clearing the way for her to collect about $600,000 in compensation from the state of California.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Arnold made the ruling in the case of Susan Mellen.

"I feel really badly about what happened to you, and I'm sorry," Arnold said.


Ironwood State Prison honors its veterans during Nov. 7 ceremony
Palo Verde Valley Times

BLYTHE, Calif. - Ironwood State Prison (ISP) honored its United States military veterans at a Veterans' Day ceremony at the institution Nov. 7.

Although the ceremony paid tribute to all veterans, the ceremony focused on honoring ISP's United States Armed Forces veteran employees. ISP's Honor Guard posted colors and Kolby Robertson sang the National Anthem.


It’s a great time to find a job - and here are a few leads

Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) expects to hire about 7,000 correctional officers over the next three years due to an increase in retirements.

New cadets are paid a monthly salary while attending the CDCR Basic Correctional Officer Academy and the jobs offer competitive health, dental, vision and retirement benefits.



Santa Rosa women denied parole in 1996 killing, 2009 attempted murder
Matt Brown, The Press Democrat

Two Santa Rosa women serving life sentences were denied parole Thursday, District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced.

The Board of Parole Hearings denied the parole for Nicole Bradley, 36, and Patricia Kirk, 51, both currently incarcerated at the California Institute for Women. Bradley will have another parole hearing in five years, and Kirk in three years.

Parole denied West Sacramento man convicted in 1984 strangling
Cathy Locke, The Sacramento Bee

A West Sacramento man convicted of second-degree murder in a 1984 slaying has been denied parole.

The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office announced that a Board of Parole Hearings panel on Thursday denied parole for Kevin Bruce. The hearing took place at California State Prison, Solano.

Man who cut out heart of coworker released to San Luis Obispo area without notice
LiLi Tan, KSBY News

The State Board of Parole Hearings failed to notify top law enforcement officials before a convicted killer was released on the Central Coast. Now, a Fresno man who stabbed his coworker 77 times in 1984 and then cut out the man's heart and put it in his jacket pocket has been released from prison and is living in the San Luis Obispo area.

"We should have been notified according to the statute 60 days prior to the release of a prisoner convicted of a violent crime, and we were not notified," San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said. County Sheriff Ian Parkinson also says he was not told. They said if they had, they would have gone to the Parole Board to object.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Daily Corrections Clips


Inmates readied for modern-world jobs
Gap between prison system, technology sector bridged through new computer education
Soren Hemmila, Twin Cities Times

Computer coding has been called the “new literacy.” First graders in Marin County have begun to attend programming clubs, and now prisoners are learning the same skills with the promise of well-paying jobs once they leave their locked-up life behind.


NORCO: Suit accuses state of neglecting Lake Norconian Club
The state Department of Corrections, which owns the property, is accused of failing to maintain it
Peter Fischetti, The Press Enterprise

A Norco nonprofit group has sued the California Department of Corrections, alleging it has neglected the historic Lake Norconian Club, which the group says is deteriorating.

The suit seeks a court order to force the department, which owns the land that’s now part of California Rehabilitation Center, to maintain the club, a Spanish-style resort built beside a lake. It attracted Hollywood celebrities, such as Charlie Chaplin, Babe Ruth and Eddie Albert, beginning in the late 1920s and was the background for several movies.


Killer given release date but previous parole grant blocked
Michelle Durand, The Daily Journal

A convicted murderer serving time for fatally beating and choking a fellow transient before laying his body on the Redwood City train tracks 28 years ago has a shot at parole after a two-person board at his eighth hearing found him suitable for release.

A previous panel also found Aaron Gillum, 54, a candidate for parole in 2007 after he had served 20 years but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed the decision. Three years later, another Board of Parole Hearings denied him release for five years after he argued with them during a hearing.


Here’s a Consequence Voters Didn’t Foresee
Lake Arrowhead Mountain News

Sociologists refer to unexpected outcomes of well-intended actions as “unintended consequences.” They’re a frequent occurrence when people try to rectify bad situations without having carefully considered the range of implications in their intended approach.

Proposition 47, dubbed the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” on the Nov. 4 ballot, may prove to be such a case, where the goal of fixing one problem leads to the creation of others.

Prop 47 prep: California needs to help prisoners re-enter society
Dani Fishman, Mercury News

This month The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, also known as Proposition 47, was passed into law in California. This landmark proposition is the first in the country to reclassify select nonviolent and drug-related felonies as misdemeanors and redirect state resources to community mental health services and rehabilitation programs.

Prop. 47 supporters are confident that this new legislation will bring financial benefits to the state, increase public safety, and change the lives of countless individuals and families wrapped up in our overcrowded prison system. Opponents argue that reduced criminal sentencing and early releases will pose a threat to the public.


Two more prisons on horizon
Adelanto plans pass first steps for approval at packed, hours-long meeting
Desert Dispatch, Brooke Self

ADELANTO — Despite several critical comments in a meeting that lasted into the wee hours of Thursday morning, two separate prison proposals that could potentially alleviate the city’s current fiscal crisis passed preliminary steps for approval by the Adelanto City Council.

The council met in its packed chambers and listened to at least 30 public comments during the 5 1/2-hour meeting. The five-member board approved the first reading of development agreements to construct both a 1,050-bed prison and 3,264-bed prison within the city limits.

San Joaquin County leaders, police react to passage of Proposition 47
James Striplin, Lodi News-Sentinel

Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, was approved by voters earlier this month, but the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office has not released any inmates because of the new bill, spokesman Deputy Les Garcia said.

“We are working with the (district attorney) to establish a process on how this will be executed,” Garcia said.

The new law reduces certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, such as non-violent drug crimes and thefts.

California Black Brown Summit welcomes speaker
The Record

Rev. Willie A. Douglas, co-founder of the California Black Brown Summit on Re-entry/ Recidivism, was the opening guest speaker during the California Black Brown Summit held Nov. 12 to 14 at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield.

With emphasis on AB109, known as Public Safety Realignment, thousands of felons now serve their sentences in county jails instead of state prisons. Many offenders released from prison after completing their sentences are now supervised by County Probation instead of State Parole.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Daily Corrections Clips


Let's Review: Shakespeare goes to prison and all’s well that ends well
Diana Saenger, La Jolla Light

For a few short hours on a recent Thursday, the daily regime for more than 100 inmates at Centinela State Prison was drastically altered. The inmates were brought into the prison gym to partake in the Old Globe’s touring production of Shakespeare's “All's Well That Ends Well,” part of the Globe For All program.

Envisioned by Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, the touring production has made its way through San Diego, presenting at several underserved venues. Getting permission to bring actors, cameras and media into the prison facility took some work, but was welcomed by the prison staff.

California Sued Over Old Movie Stars' Hangout
Jamie Henneman, Courthouse News

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - California's prisons department is letting an 85-year-old resort patronized by Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable and others fall into ruin, the nonprofit Lake Norconian Club Foundation claims in court.

The Lake Norconian Club opened in 1929 in Norco, a small inland city north of Corona, in Riverside County. Buster Keaton, Spencer Tracy, Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey were among its many patrons. The club's private airstrip was used by Amelia Earhart for practice landings and takeoffs.


Fresno woman wants answers to why brother’s killer released from prison
Pablo Lopez, The Fresno Bee

A Fresno man who killed a co-worker in 1984 and then cut out the man’s heart and put it in a jacket pocket has been released from prison.

Theodore LeLeaux Jr. was serving 16 years to life for killing 25-year-old Kenneth Carlock.

He was set free last week after a Fresno County judge determined LeLeaux no longer posed a threat to society.


Ex-teacher Copithorne released from jail
Kerana Todorov, Napa Valley Register

A Napa County Superior Court judge on Wednesday ordered a former teacher be released from jail after a California Court of Appeal on Oct. 2 reversed his 2012 conviction for molesting a former student.

Michael Copithorne, 40, a former teacher at Napa Christian School, a Seventh-day Adventist school, was sentenced to five years in prison in August 2012 for sex crimes against the teenager. He would have been released on Dec. 28 for good behavior, according to court records.

Prisoner's Civil Rights Case Revived by 9th Cir.
Elizabeth Warmerdam, Courthouse News

(CN) - Citing improper jury instructions, the 9th Circuit threw out a jury verdict Tuesday against a man who says California prison officials roughed him up.
Adonai El-Shaddai, also known as James Wilkerson, says the altercation occurred while he was in the law library at High Desert State Prison under the escort of two guards so that he could make copies of his legal documents.

When Officer Bobby Wheeler and Lt. Nickolus Albonico allegedly tried to take El-Shaddai back to his cell, the inmate says he told them that he wanted to wait for his documents and that he needed to use a stapler located in another office.

Michael Hanline's Murder Conviction Overturned After 36 Years In Prison

Alex Dobuzinskis, Reuters

LOS ANGELES, Nov 19 (Reuters) - A man convicted of murder in the 1978 shooting death of a Southern California man should be freed after 36 years behind bars, based on DNA analysis and investigative reports withheld from his trial attorney, a prosecutor said on Wednesday after a judge overturned the conviction.

The California Innocence Project, which worked to win the freedom of Michael Hanline, now 69, and pressed local prosecutors to re-examine the evidence, said his case represents the oldest conviction ever reversed in state history.



Why a California Town Wants Yet Another Prison
Kate Linthicum, Tribune News

The budget deficit and the detention centers are about the only things growing in this economically depressed High Desert city.

Amid the tumbleweeds on the edge of town, construction crews are adding 650 beds at a privately run detention facility for immigrants facing deportation. A few blocks away, San Bernardino County recently completed a $145 million expansion of its jail. A third prison down the street started housing state inmates last year.

Prop. 47: What de-felonizing some crimes means for SLO County
Law enforcement says it will make treating addicts harder, but advocates hail it as progress
Matt Fountain, The San Luis Obispo Tribune

With the approval of Proposition 47, officials at every level of San Luis Obispo County’s criminal justice system — like those in other counties throughout California — are scrambling to determine what the new rules mean for existing treatment programs and public safety.

On Nov. 4, voters made California the first state in the nation to de-felonize simple drug possession and several other low-level, nonviolent offenses. The victory has been interpreted as a mandate to move away from tough-on-crime policies and toward prevention and rehabilitation.