Thursday, November 12, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


CALIFORNIA INMATES

Veronica Rocha, The Los Angeles Times

Kent Lesporavsky's spa experience was not a relaxing one – and he wasn’t wearing a towel around his waist in a steam room when he was found.

The 43-year-old Russian was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and white pants, a far cry from the orange inmate uniform he was supposed to be wearing before he slipped away a week ago from a fire crew working on clearing weeds.

On Tuesday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmate was found hiding out in a hotel spa in Koreatown.

Press-Enterprise

CORCORAN, Calif.—A 51-year-old double murderer from Moreno Valley appears to have been killed at a Central California prison Monday, and another inmate is a suspect in his death, prison officials said.

Rufus Hodges was found dead in his cell at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran around 8 a.m. Another inmate, Christopher Shirley, is being considered a suspect in Hodges’ death, according to a prison news release.

DEATH PENALTY

Maura Dolan and Joseph Serna, The Los Angeles Times

A federal appeals court on Thursday re­versed a fed­er­al judge’s rul­ing that declared Cali­for­nia’s cap­it­al pun­ish­ment sys­tem un­con­sti­tu­tion­al on the grounds that appeals took too long.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the long delays prisoners face on death row do not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

The idea that death row inmates' sentences have been transformed from one of death to one of “grave uncertainty and torture” has “no support” in legal precedent, “nor is it supported by logic,” the judges wrote in the decision.

David Siders, The Sacramento Bee

A federal appeals court on Thursday reversed a federal judge’s ruling that California’s death penalty is unconstitutional because of excessive delays, saying federal courts should not consider “novel constitutional theories” when reviewing such cases.

In its decision, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a condemned prisoner’s argument that he and other death row prisoners in California, owing to delays, had unusually cruel sentences: “life in prison, with the remote possibility of death.”

Ben Bradford, Capital Public Radio News

Prisoners on death row in California are being invited to comment on the procedure that could kill them.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has proposed a single lethal injection to replace the three-drug method struck down by courts. The state created the rule after a legal settlement to restart the death penalty process, which has stalled since 2005.

Jim McDermott, American Magazine

he state of California announced on Friday that it has developed a new “humane and dignified” method for executing death row inmates.

Since 2006, there have been no executions in the state, after a judge ruled that the state’s three-drug cocktail could constitute cruel and unusual punishment if one of the drugs failed to work.

Then in February of this year Superior Court Judge Shellyane Chang ruled that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation must provide a method for the execution of death row inmates, in response to the arguments of victims’ families that state law mandates that such a protocol should be in place.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Don Thompson, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California is set to award $500 million on Thursday to 15 counties for jail projects that are designed to help rehabilitate prisoners, such as classrooms, visitation and recreation areas or mental health and medical facilities.

State lawmakers approved the money before voters last year lowered penalties for some drug and property crimes, thereby reducing the state's overall jail population by 9,000 inmates at least in the short term.

Jess Sullivan, Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD — A longtime counselor with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was sentenced Tuesday to six months in jail for workers’ compensation fraud and related criminal charges.

Hosea Morgan, 55, of Vacaville, worked at San Quentin State Prison.

Morgan told doctors starting in 2009 of pain in several parts of his body that kept him from walking, sitting and sleeping. Morgan told doctors that 24 years of altercations and fights with inmates had left him disabled. He received more than $50,000 for his workers’ compensation and medical claims, according to testimony during his September jury trial.

Barbara Goldberg, Reuters

Nearly two decades have passed since Josh Gravens, then 12 years old, was playing with his 8-year-old sister and touched her body in an inappropriate way, landing himself on a sex offender registry.

His sister forgave him long ago but Gravens still worries that the incident could force him out of his Dallas home.

Concerns about sexual predators have led communities in 30 U.S. states to adopt laws limiting where registered sex offenders can live, typically keeping them away from schools, parks or other places where children congregate.

California CEO

A rise in violent crime may be an early warning sign of what is to come as a result of California’s sweeping justice realignment system and the passage of Proposition 47.

Violent crime jumped more than 10 percent in Riverside County between January and June this year since 2014. The County’s top prosecutor suspects that the double digit increase may be an early warning sign of the results of California’s justice realignment system and the passage of Proposition 47.

A new study finds that inmates at severely overcrowded prisons are two and a half times more likely to violate their parole.
Leon Neyfakh, Slate Magazine

Criticism of mass incarceration falls roughly into two strains of thought. The first says that imprisoning more than 1.5 million people, and jailing 800,000 others, is a moral disaster. The second says it is a practical disaster, costing taxpayers dearly while destabilizing communities and doing little to lower the crime rate.

The problem of prison overcrowding is usually raised in service of making the first point. Overcrowding, the argument goes, contributes to America’s so-called correctional facilities being hellholes of human suffering. That was the gist of the Supreme Court’s 2011 ruling in Brown v. Plata, which said that overcrowding levels in California prisons—where the average occupancy rate across all state institutions was 187 percent from 1991 through 2010—amounted to a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Chris Roberts, SF Weekly

San Francisco police are the best-paid cops in California. An entry-level officer in San Francisco earns a minimum of $6,782 a month — $1,100 more than the statewide average and $1,500 more than a rookie cop in L.A. (though San Jose police, suffering through the same Bay Area housing crisis, are paid about the same as S.F.'s finest).

For this, credit is due to the Police Officers Association, the SFPD's influential union. Though not a member of the AFL-CIO and thus not a member of the city's Labor Council, the POA is nonetheless one of the city's strongest lobbying bodies and, by its own estimation, possibly the most powerful police union in the United States.

Dennis Romero, LA Weekly

The tough-on-crime crowd is blaming Proposition 47, the voter-approved measure that downgraded some low-level drug and property allegations from felonies to misdemeanors, for a spike in local crime this year.

Total violent crime in the city of Los Angeles is up 21 percent compared to last year; property crime is up nearly 11 percent, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Proposition 47 has been in effect now for one year.