Thursday, July 16, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


The San Francisco Chronicle‎

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A reputed gang leader who helped lead a series of hunger strikes has agreed to delay his parole hearing for five years.

Parole board spokesman Luis Patino says 57-year-old Ronnie Dewberry agreed to the delay Wednesday as his parole hearing was set to begin.

Corrections officials say Dewberry is the "minister of education" for a gang known as the Black Guerrilla Family.


William Dotinga, Courthouse News

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The 24 years it took solve a former LAPD officer's murder of her lover's wife did not violate the officer's due-process rights, a state appeals court ruled on Monday.

A jury convicted Stephanie Lazarus, a 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, of murdering the wife of her former lover in 1986.

Cold-case investigators solved the crime in 2009 when DNA from a bite mark on victim Sheri Rasmussen's arm was finally matched to Lazarus.


Carlos and Roby are two ex-convicts with a simple mission: picking up inmates on the day they’re released from prison and guiding them through a changed world.
Jon Mooallem, The New York Times

Two men were sitting in a parked car, waiting to pick someone up. Carlos Cervantes was in the driver’s seat. He was 30, with glassy green eyes — quiet by nature, but with a loaded, restrained intensity about him. He had picked up Roby So at home in Los Angeles around 3 o’clock that morning, and they’d made it here, to this empty parking lot in front of the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, on the outskirts of San Diego, just after 6. Now, the sun was rising over the bare, brown mountains in the windshield. A hummingbird zipped around an air-conditioning unit outside. Already, they’d been waiting close to an hour.

Roby was three years older than Carlos but carried himself like a large and joyful child. He was hungry. He wanted biscuits and gravy and was still laughing about how, earlier, he caught himself telling Carlos that, unfortunately, he’d have to wait until tomorrow for biscuits and gravy, because today was Monday, and Monday was pancakes day. Part of his brain still tracked his old prison breakfast menu. ‘‘Why do I still know these things, man?’’ Roby said. ‘‘It’s been four years. I was supposed to. … ’’ His voice trailed off, so Carlos finished his sentence: ‘‘Delete.’’

Martin Kaste, NPR‎

President Obama has made incarceration reform a White House theme this week. On Monday, he commuted the sentences of 46 mostly nonviolent drug offenders; and on Tuesday, he spoke about reducing the prison population in a speech to the NAACP.

"The United States is home to 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prisoners," Obama said. "Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China's."

Elaine Woo, The Los Angeles Times

Lawrence K. Karlton, a U.S. district judge who played a key role in prodding the state of California to reduce its prison population and improve conditions for mentally ill inmates, died Saturday in Sacramento. He was 80.

His death was confirmed by a spokesman for the U.S. District Court’s Eastern District, where Karlton had served for 35 years until stepping down last October. The cause was not given, but a colleague said Karlton had heart problems.

The veteran jurist, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Carter, had often kindled controversy with his rulings.


The San Diego Union-Tribune

The U.S. criminal-justice system needs close scrutiny, as President Obama said Tuesday in a speech to the NAACP convention in Philadelphia, to determine how much of how it operates actually creates injustice. Thankfully, a reform plan – one that starts with a retreat from flawed mandatory minimum sentences that warehouse prisoners who often are little threat to society – appears to have a solid chance of winning support in Congress and resulting in real change.

Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Rand Paul, R-Tenn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., have all questioned rigid “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” policies that have resulted in America locking up a much higher percentage of its people than any First World nation. So have two of the nation’s heavyweight campaign donors – the Koch brothers – as the president noted Tuesday.

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin‎

There’s no question that prison realignment has put intense pressures on California’s county jails and the sheriffs who run them. San Bernardino County is no exception.

This editorial board got a much better feel for those pressures and what is being done to respond to them in a sit-down session with county Sheriff John McMahon and CEO Greg Devereaux. We appreciated Sheriff McMahon’s quick responsiveness — after an editorial here had called him out for being “too busy” to respond to our reporter’s questions about claims from a nonprofit law office that his jails harbor a “culture of violence” and provide inadequate housing and services for inmates.