Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


Michael Barba, San Francisco Examiner

In 1998, Wayne Adam Ford turned himself into authorities in Humboldt County carrying a woman’s severed breast in his pocket. The serial killer did not want to hurt anyone else.

But at the time, he never could have foreseen that, almost two decades later, he would still be rotting away in a dark cell at San Quentin State Prison.

Ford, now 54, is one of the 746 men and women living on death row in California, where court challenges have prevented an execution since 2006 and the appeals process can span decades as cases are passed between state and federal courts.

Mariana Hicks, KION

Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty in the Tami Huntsman murder trial. Huntsman was heard crying when Deputy District Attorney Steve Somers made the announcement in court Wednesday.

UPDATE 8/15/2016 6:30 PM: A high-profile child murder case will be back in a Salinas courtroom this week. On Wednesday, prosecutors are expected to announce if they will seek the death penalty against one of the suspects, Tami Huntsman.

Huntsman and alleged co-conspirator Gonzalo Curiel are accused of killing Delylah, 3, and Shaun Tara, 6, then dumping their bodies in a plastic bin in a Redding storage facility. They’re also accused of abusing another girl who was found in Plumas County.


Caitlin Jill Anders, The Dodo

Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs is a program that trains dogs to be service animals for individuals with autism as well as wounded veterans. The program is pretty similar to many others like it — except that these dogs get trained in prisons.

In 2014, the organization started a program called Prisoners Overcoming Obstacles & Creating Hope (POOCH). The program was developed as a way to increase the number of service dogs who could be trained and then given to those in need, but it ended up becoming so much more than that.

Erica Evans, LA Times

An inmate who walked away from the Los Angeles County Male Community Re-entry Program facility, or halfway house, in South Los Angeles was located and taken back into custody, authorities announced Monday. 

Sarkis Akopyan, 33, left the re-entry facility at South Grand Avenue and removed his GPS tracking device around 10 p.m. Friday. He was apprehended at 8:05 p.m. on Saturday in Glendale by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Special Service Unit and transported to the California Institution for Men in Chino without incident. 

Erica Evans, Los Angeles Times

Two days after the apprehension of an inmate who walked away from a Los Angeles County halfway house, another inmate escaped from the facility on Monday, officials said.

Jeffrey Scott Pine, 47 is at least the ninth offender to walk away from the Male Community Reentry Program facility in 2016.  At least 12 other inmates have left conservation camps and reentry facilities in different cities across the state this year, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation news releases.


Folsom Telegraph

Onalis Giunta was a Supervising Dental Assistant at Folsom State Prison when she filed a lawsuit again the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2012. In her suit, she cited a specific employee who continually made threats against her and who consistently broke the rules and regulations of the Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Giunta sued the department for $ 990,000 for noneconomic losses and mental suffering, and another $ 107,000 for past and future earnings.

Attorney Lawrance Bohm and his BOHM Law Group won a $ 1.1 million verdict from Sacramento jurors, who sided with their client.


Richard Winton, Hailey Branson-Potts, Joseph Serna, LA Times

A suspected serial arsonist charged with starting the Clayton fire that destroyed more than 175 buildings in Northern California this week worked as an inmate firefighter while in prison for drug and weapons charges years ago, authorities said.

Damin Pashilk, of Clearlake, faces 17 counts of arson in connection with the 4,000-acre Clayton fire in Lake County, as well as numerous others set in the area in recent months, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Ken Pimlott said.

Pashilk had been under investigation for about a year and has a lengthy criminal record, authorities said.

Jenna Lyons, SF Gate

Years before an ex-convict allegedly started the 4,000-acre Clayton Fire, he had spent several months as an inmate firefighter in Lake County, prison officials said Tuesday.

Damin Anthony Pashilk, 40, of Clearlake, was arrested on 17 counts of arson Monday. He was suspected of starting multiple fires in the last year. The Clayton Fire has destroyed more than 175 buildings and displaced hundreds of people.

Pashilk had previously served five years in state prison on drug possession and a firearm-related offense beginning in January 2002, said Vicky Waters, a Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman.

Sharon Bernstein, Reuters

Felons incarcerated in California's county jails had their right to vote in state elections affirmed under a bill approved on Tuesday by the state Senate as part of a series of criminal justice reforms in the most-populous U.S. state.

The measure, authored by Democrat Shirley N. Weber, which now goes to Governor Jerry Brown, aims to clear up confusion over the right to vote for felons who were transferred from state prisons to county jails under a reform program known as realignment.

Garth Stapley, Modesto Bee

Jail guards in Stanislaus County and elsewhere have the same right as patrol deputies and state prison guards to carry a concealed weapon when off-duty, appellate justices decided in a ruling affecting most California counties.

The unanimous decision reverses an earlier ruling by a Stanislaus judge who had sided with Sheriff Adam Christianson and county administrators.

Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

If  you heard Frank Morgan play just once, you never forgot it.

There was a glow about his sound on alto saxophone, a sense of serenity that eluded him in life but permeated so much of his music. That he also commanded a brilliant technique and could trigger an avalanche of ideas at will made him the object of considerable adoration among jazz connoisseurs.

Unfortunately, like too many artists who had come under the spell of alto genius Charlie Parker, Morgan was seduced by heroin and other vices, spending roughly 30 years in and out of prison, starting in the 1950s.


Dan Morain, Sacramento Bee

Here’s what’s on our mind: death row, Gitmo, the need to extend paid family leave, and a smart piece in National Review about why conservatives in Congress didn’t stand up to Donald Trump.

Taking a tour

As voters prepare to decide initiatives to abolish or speed the death penalty, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation opened death row at San Quentin for four hours Tuesday to 14 reporters and photographers.