Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


Imperial Valley News

Sacramento, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the following appointments:

Michael Martel, 62, of Rancho Murieta, has been appointed warden at the California Health Care Facility, Stockton, where he has been acting warden since August 2016 and served as chief deputy warden in 2016 and as a correctional lieutenant from 1990 to 1996. Martel served as retired annuitant chief deputy warden at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation headquarters from 2012 to 2014, where he was an associate warden of reception centers in 2007, a lieutenant from 1998 to 2000 and a labor relations specialist from 1996 to 1998. He served as warden at San Quentin State Prison in 2011, where he was a correctional officer from 1981 to 1986. Martel served in several positions at Mule Creek State Prison from 2007 to 2011, including warden and chief deputy warden. He held several positions at California State Prison, Sacramento from 2000 to 2007, including associate warden, facility captain and correctional captain. Martel was a correctional sergeant at Folsom State Prison from 1986 to 1990. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $145,440. Martel is a Republican.

abc News

Officials at Valley State Prison (VSP) are investigating the death of an inmate as a possible homicide.

On Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, around 9:10 a.m., inmate Efrain Rodriguez, 44, was found unresponsive in a dormitory. Life-saving measures were initiated and an ambulance was called to the scene, but Rodriguez was pronounced dead at 9:45 a.m.


Capital Public Radio

What’s life behind bars like at the infamous San Quentin Prison?

The new podcast "Ear Hustle" takes listeners inside the prison to listen to stories from the inmates themselves.

The project won the Radiotopia podquest challenge and a 10-episode season will be funded through 2017.


Christina Gray, Catholic SF

Locally incarcerated men and women will continue to receive handmade cards with messages of hope this Christmas and next year from young Catholic students and others as a prison pen pal program launched by the archdiocese earlier this year is extended into 2017.

The Pen Pal Jr. program introduced by the archdiocese’s office of restorative justice for the Year of Mercy connects adolescent Catholic school and religious education students to prisoners in San Francisco County Jail and San Quentin State Prison.

The program is active at Holy Angels School in Colma, Sacred Heart School in Atherton and St. Finn Barr and St. Stephen’s parishes in San Francisco.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips



(BCN)—A 22-year-old man who was arrested and convicted in Solano County earlier this year was quickly apprehended Sunday afternoon when he escaped from a Central Valley prison facility just hours earlier, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

At about 11:15 a.m., guards at the Deuel Vocational Institution, a minimum security facility located just outside of Tracy, were conducting an inmate count when they noticed that Gilberto Murillo-Padilla was missing, CDCR officials said.


Jessica Cejnar, The Del Norte Triplicate

Del Norters doing their holiday shopping this season should be on the lookout for Christmas trees clad in green and red paper mittens.

Rural Human Services is taking applicants for its Santa’s Workshop program and has planted Christmas trees at Trees of Mystery, Walmart and Suburban Propane. The trees will also be in local banks after Thanksgiving and at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Shoppers are encouraged to take a mitten off a tree. Each mitten, green for boys and red for girls, includes the child’s age as well as his or her interests, likes and dislikes, giving folks an idea of what to get.


Debbie L. Sklar, My News LA

A Garden Grove man recently sentenced to 114-years-to-life in prison for a revenge killing stemming from a soured drug deal allegedly attacked a corrections officer at Wasco State Prison, officials said.

Dustin Sean Ross McDonald, 25, who was sentenced last month to the lengthy prison term, allegedly attacked the correctional officer about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.


The Press Democrat

A Sonoma County judge reversed charges Monday against three Santa Rosa teenagers suspected in a gang shooting, ruling a decision on how the minors are prosecuted must be made by another judge.

Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite’s action came in response to Proposition 57, passed Nov. 8., which strips prosecutors of the right to charge minors as adults, placing that authority solely with judges.

Now, the three teens — two 16 and one 17 — will go before a juvenile court judge for a ruling on whether they can remain in the juvenile system, which focuses on rehabilitation instead of punishment. If convicted in adult court, each teen would face more than 20 years in prison.

Amanda Williams, Village

Local officials say the passage of the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act, aka Proposition 57, on the November ballot could potentially cause an upswing in criminal activity.

Speaking on behalf of El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini, Sgt. Tasha Thompson called Prop. 57 “deceptive.”

“With the passing of Prop. 57 California is going to witness the overturn of 40 years of criminal reform. In addition, it is going to allow the early release of 16,000 violent felons,” Thompson explained. “California will now reclassify violent crimes as nonviolent and add more fear to the victims of crimes already committed.


Tom Elias, Record Searchlight

There was considerable irony when a California parole review panel late on Oct. 27 — just 12 days before the fall election — denied parole for the 17th time to Charles (Tex) Watson, self-described "right hand man" of Charles Manson, participant in at least seven of the Manson "Family" murders and leader of some of those murders.

Watson's parole denial came even as early voters were overwhelmingly backing the idea of eased paroles for "non-violent" convicts, on the ballot as Proposition 57, even though some clearly violent crimes are not legally classified as that. These include things like soliciting murder and rape of an unconscious or dead person.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips



TRACY — California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials announced today that Gilberto Murillo-Padilla, 22, was taken back into custody Sunday afternoon, Nov. 27, less than three hours after he was reported missing from his dorm at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI).

Murillo-Padilla was discovered missing during an inmate count at DVI’s Minimum Support Facility at 11:15 a.m. Nov. 27. Escape protocols were immediately initiated, and agents from CDCR’s Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) were dispatched to locate and apprehend Murillo-Padilla.


CHOWCHILLA — Officials at Valley State Prison (VSP) are investigating the death of an inmate as a possible homicide.

On Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, at approximately 9:10 a.m., a 44-year-old VSP inmate was found unresponsive in a dormitory. Life-saving measures were initiated and an ambulance was called to the scene, but the inmate was pronounced dead at 9:45 a.m.

The deceased inmate was received by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from Los Angeles County in June 2015 and was serving a two-year, eight-month sentence for second-degree burglary and possession of a controlled substance. The inmate’s name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.

Patricia Cassady is one of two appointees named by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Norcal Patch

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA – Gov. Jerry Brown appointed two East Bay residents to the state Board of Parole Hearings on Wednesday.

The first new appointee, Concord resident Patricia Cassady, 64, has been a deputy commissioner at the Board since 1995. Cassady, a Democrat, practiced law from 1988 to 1995 after graduating from the John F. Kennedy University College of Law in Pleasant Hill, according to the governor's office.

The other appointee, Alameda resident Troy Taira, 56, has been a deputy commissioner at the Board since last year. Between 1992 and 2009, Taira served as staff counsel and prosecutor for the U.S. Coast Guard and a senior staff attorney at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


Matt Hamilton, The San Diego Union-Tribune

When Leron Morris summoned guards to his cell at a state prison in Lancaster, he showed them a gruesome, bloody scene and a lifeless body.

Morris and his cellmate, Rashell Clarke Jr., had a furious fight that ended only after Morris bit off part of the other man’s ear and wrapped a shoelace around his neck, strangling him, according to investigative reports.

By the time guards began performing CPR on Clarke, his body was already showing signs of rigor mortis, suggesting he may have been dead for a while.

Ann Scott Tyson, Christian Science Monitor

San Quentin, Calif. — Wearing a blue prison uniform, Chris Schuhmacher sits in a gutted factory building surrounded by the concrete and steel walls of California’s oldest penitentiary, San Quentin. Mr. Schuhmacher stares intently at the computer screen in front of him, then types a line of multicolored code. The windowless room is quiet except for the clacking of keyboards and the occasional squeaking of swivel chairs.

This is Schuhmacher’s day job at the prison – not stamping out license plates or making furniture, but devising complex computer calculations for one of the fastest-growing start-up companies in the United States. It’s a slice of Silicon Valley behind the razor wire of the institution with the largest number of death row inmates in the country.


Lawmaker pledges to introduce a bill that would increase the penalty from 180 days in county jail to three years in state prison for violent parolees who remove their GPS ankle bracelets.
Vicky Nguyen, Mark VIllarreal and Kevin Nious, NBC

A quick search online produces dozens of how-to videos and tutorials for disabling a GPS ankle monitor. Former parole agent Juan Stacey Thomas Castillo saw the problem firsthand during his 20 year career with the California Department of Corrections.

“There’s a bunch of different ways they could beat the GPS device,” Castillo told NBC Bay Area.

It’s a vulnerability that hundreds of parolees exploit each year. The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit reviewed case records from the Department of Corrections from January 2015 through the first half of September 2016. Out of the roughly 6,000 sex offenders and violent gang members currently on parole, records revealed 2,271 cases where a county judge revoked a violator’s parole for tampering, disabling or removing a GPS tracking device. More than 500 parolees were found guilty of doing it more than once.


Chris Mcguinness, New Times

On Nov. 8, voters in SLO County and across California once again got the chance to decide just what the future of the state’s criminal justice system would look like.

This year, voters were asked to weigh in on a sentencing reform initiative that could have a substantial impact on that system.

With its passage, Proposition 57 will increase the number of inmates in state prisons who are eligible for parole after serving the full prison term for their primary crimes—but before they serve additional time tacked on from other crimes and sentencing enhancements. The measure will also allow the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to award sentencing credits to inmates for good behavior who are working toward their rehabilitation while in prison. In addition, it also allows judges, not prosecutors, to determine if minors accused of crimes can be tried as adults.

Dana Littlefield, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Kurese Bell was 17 when he was charged with murder.

Despite his age, his case was handled in adult criminal court based on a determination that both he and the crime he was accused of committing were not suited for the juvenile system.

Until recently, state law allowed prosecuting agencies in California — including the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office — to make those determinations in certain cases without taking the issue to a judge first. It’s a process known as “direct filing.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


Jazmine Ulloa and Julie Westfall, The Los Angeles Times

California voters have chosen to approve a ballot proposition that seeks to speed up the death penalty process, a late count of ballots has shown.

Proposition 66 intends to speed up executions by designating trial courts to hear petitions challenging death row convictions, limiting successive petitions and expanding the pool of lawyers who could take on death penalty appeals. As of Monday, the proposition was leading with 51.3% of the vote and on Tuesday, an Associated Press tally of votes found the proposition had received enough votes to pass.

Brian Melley, The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – California voters have decided to repair the state’s dysfunctional death penalty system by passing a measure intended to speed up appeals, uniting with voters in more conservative states that also supported capital punishment.

Proposition 66 continued to hold a 51 percent margin of support Tuesday after two weeks of counting millions of ballots in a contentious race that also saw voters reject a dueling measure to end executions.


Carol Steiker and Jordan Steiker, The Los Angeles Times

California’s decision on Nov. 8 to reject Proposition 62 came as no surprise to those of us who study capital punishment. No jurisdiction in human history has ever permanently abolished the death penalty via plebiscite. The reason is simple:  referenda ask voters to respond at the level of symbolism, and voters rarely resist abstract appeals to “law and order.”

If citizens confront the death penalty in concrete context, however, they’re willing to end it.

When, for example, elected representatives consider death penalty legislation and are exposed to weeks or months of testimony on how capital punishment actually works, they — unlike often-impulsive voters at polling stations — sour on the practice. Over the past decade, state legislatures have moved in only one direction on the question of capital punishment.  Six state legislatures have jettisoned the death penalty — New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland, and Nebraska — while none has reinstated it.  Two other state legislatures — New York and Delaware — have declined to revive the death penalty after their highest courts struck it down.