Monday, September 19, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips



SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) honored 125 employees today during its 31st annual Medal of Valor Ceremony. The Medal of Valor is earned by employees distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service. It is the highest honor CDCR bestows upon its employees. 

“At the end of the day, the strength of a society is not its money, or its elections, much less its elected officials,” said Gov. Jerry Brown, who attended the ceremony.

Chelcey Adami, The Californian

A correctional officer from Salinas Valley State Prison received the Medal of Valor this week for entering a burning vehicle to pull a woman to safety.

SVSP Correctional Officer Mike Johnson was driving home from work when he came upon a burning vehicle with a woman on the ground just feet from the flames. Johnson moved her away from danger, and seeing that there was another woman in the front passenger seat, entered the vehicle and also pulled her to safety with seconds to spare before it ignited, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Johnson was burned several times in the process.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado, The Fresno Bee

Three Avenal State Prison employees on Wednesday earned the highest honor given to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation employees.

The Silver Star for bravery was presented to the three employees during the 31st Medal of Valor Ceremony.

Dorian Hargrove, San Diego Reader

A Muslim woman is suing guards at San Diego's Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for discriminating against her and her inmate husband over their religious beliefs.

The woman, Marissa Loftis, has visited her husband Marquise Deangelo Loftis on a weekly basis since 2010, when he was sentenced to a 20-year prison term for shooting a San Diego trolley security guard and assaulting two others at a trolley station in Encanto in 2009.

Gary Klien, Marin Independent Journal

A school aide accused of smuggling heroin to a death row inmate at San Quentin State Prison denied the allegations Thursday and said she wants the prison to investigate how the contraband got through security.

“I did not bring that in,” Teri Orina Nichols said in a brief interview after her arraignment in Marin Superior Court.

Neal Putnam, The Star News

An appeals court has reversed the sentence and guilty plea of a National City man who admitted stabbing his estranged wife to death in 2010, citing judicial errors after the defendant acted as his own lawyer.

The 4th District Court of Appeals struck down the guilty plea of Armando Gabriel Perez, now 43, to first-degree murder in the Oct. 12, 2010 slaying of Diana Gonzalez, 19, in a San Diego City College bathroom. He also had pleaded guilty to the special circumstance of lying in wait, and that is stricken as well.

Bryan Lynn, VOA

Californians will vote in November on whether to stop using execution as a form of punishment, or reform the legal process leading up to the death sentence.
The state of California currently has about 750 people on death row. A lot of them were sentenced to die many years ago, but their cases are still being appealed in the courts.

Death penalty process broken
Activists on both sides of the issue agree that the current system needs to be fixed. Two competing ballot measures attempt to do this.

Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle

Dameion Brown couldn’t have imagined two years ago, when he was doing a life sentence in the state prison at Solano, that he’d be making his professional acting debut on a summer night in 2016 in the starring role of “Othello” at Marin Shakespeare.

“That was nowhere near my realm of possibilities,” says Brown, whose uncommonly potent and convincing portrayal of Othello — the proud, tragic Moor who murders his beloved Desdemona after being tricked into believing she cheated on him — is infused with his painful life experiences.

Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle

Luna Garcia swipes through the photos on her phone until she finds it — the one of a young man with a slight mustache standing against a wall, his blue shirt neatly pressed, holding a chubby baby girl.

It’s the kind of picture someone might snap at a holiday dinner, a grainy image of a girl and her dad. But just out of the frame are armed guards and metal doors. It was visiting day at San Quentin State Prison.

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle

Proposition 57, Gov. Jerry Brown’s initiative to make some of the state’s less-violent felons eligible for earlier parole, is at least a partial rollback of the fixed-term sentencing system that Brown signed into law 40 years ago, a change that led to a 600 percent increase in the California prison population and to a U.S. Supreme Court order to reduce overcrowding.

It’s also a power struggle between Brown and most of the 58 county district attorneys over who will control the agenda for everyday criminal defendants — their incentives to go to trial or plead guilty, and the length of their potential sentences.

Sheyanne Romero, Visalia Times-Delta

Voter will have serious decisions to make come Nov. 8, from the future president to propositions that could impact the safety of communities.

Proposition 57 or the “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016”, should be carefully reviewed before voters check ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ according to local law enforcement.

Anthony Bambocci, Morning Consult

Imagine being cut off from the world, having no communication, even with your family, perhaps for years. You can’t talk to anyone, share a joke or inquire about loved ones. If you get sick, if you need help, there’s no way to let anyone know.

You’re isolated. But then one day, somebody hands you a lifeline. This is what’s happening for thousands of deaf inmates across the country.

An Jones, The Orange County Register

Philando Castile. Eric Garner. Alton Sterling. It goes on and on. Terrifying displays of violence against innocent black men and communities of color are fueling national attention on racial inequality across the country. The criminal justice system, in particular, demonstrates these inequalities.

While disparate treatment by police has garnered the most attention, racial inequalities exist at every stage of the criminal justice process — all the way to the ultimate punishment: the imposition of the death penalty. This fall in California, the repercussions of racial disparities in death penalty sentencing could become much worse if voters enact a reckless ballot measure: Proposition 66.

The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board

Gov. Jerry Brown’s response to factual criticism of his favorite November ballot measure — Proposition 57 — isn’t helping its cause.
In its original incarnation, what became Proposition 57 was a simple measure to reverse language included in a 2000 ballot measure that gave prosecutors, not judges, the authority to decide whether to try teenagers as adults.

But with the blessing of Attorney General Kamala Harris, which a Sacramento County Superior Court judge later equated to Harris abusing her discretion, Brown rewrote the measure as a much broader reform: an amendment to the California Constitution making it easier for convicts the governor described as “nonviolent” felons to win parole and try to rebuild their lives. Critics called the revised initiative illegal because it wouldn’t get scrutiny accorded prospective measures, and the Superior Court judge agreed. But in February, the state Supreme Court voted 6-1 to allow Brown to proceed with signature gathering for the measure.