Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


Nick Cahill, Courthouse News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — Revered by civil rights activists for his role in California's 1960s prisoner-rights movement and one of the "San Quentin Six," Hugo Pinell was "assassinated" days after being released into general population in 2015 after 43 years in solitary confinement. Pinell's murder sparked a massive inmate riot at a California prison and left his family questioning why the 71-year-old inmate who was serving multiple life sentences was ever allowed on the prison yard.

Claiming a set-up by California prison officials, Pinell's daughter sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in Federal Court on claims of wrongful death and negligent supervision on Friday.

Born in Nicaragua, Hugo "Yogi" Pinell was convicted of rape at the age of 19 and sentenced to life in 1965. He soon gained notoriety for his role in a botched 1971 San Quentin Prison escape that left six people dead, including three prison employees and Black Panther Party activist and inmate George Jackson.


The Sacramento Bee

Hoping to fix a mistake he believes he made 40 years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown has turned to the politically unpopular task of reducing prison terms for certain felons.

As governor the first time, Brown signed legislation creating determinate prison terms for most crimes, rather the old system by which felons received indeterminate sentences of from a few years to life behind bars.

Now, nearing the end of his career in elective office, Brown has put $5 million-plus of his campaign money behind Proposition 57. The initiative, which would create a state constitutional amendment, would take a small step back to indeterminate sentences for certain inmates.

Highland News

Californians have strong feelings regarding the death penalty. A lot of the discussion this year has been about the fiscal impacts of competing death penalty measures. Those who want to repeal the death penalty say the system is broken and can’t be fixed, and that it has become overly expensive. Those in favor of reform of the death penalty believe that housing heinous criminals for the rest of their lives is what’s too expensive. Asking taxpayers to clothe, house, feed, guard and provide healthcare to the nearly 750 convicts currently on death row will clearly cost more money than fixing the system.

But while the fiscal debate around the death penalty is important, for me, the issue at hand is not dollars and cents, but justice.

Whatever your feelings are toward the death penalty, one thing most people will never know is the pain experienced when a family member, or in my case, family members are brutally tortured and murdered. They’ll never experience the heartache, the anger, or the frustration with our criminal justice system. I hope no one has to experience the pain I’ve been through, yet I live with these emotions every day and have done so for more than 30 years.

Chris Nichols, POLITIFACT

Brock Turner’s brief jail term for sexual assault sparked outcry across California and the nation earlier this year.

A judge sentenced the former Stanford University swimmer to just six months in jail even though Turner -- who had been convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman -- faced a minimum two-year prison term, and prosecutors sought six years.

On Sept. 2, Turner was released after serving half his jail term, for good behavior. Early release is standard practice in California’s overflowing jails.