Jury delivers first NY death sentence
By MICHAEL McAULIFF
NEW YORK, June 6 (UPI) - A Brooklyn death penalty jury has decided a former hero corrections officer deserves to die for gunning down two men and fatally stabbing a mother of five in a botched robbery.
The decision today makes Darrel Harris the first person to face execution in New York since the state reinstated capitulate punishment in 1995.
The jury of seven women and five men deliberated four days before deciding that nothing in the 40-year-old's life atoned for the act of carnage he committed in Brooklyn's Club Happiness in the early morning on Dec. 7, 1996.
Harris sat silent with his attorneys holding his hands as the verdict was read to the silent courtroom in Brooklyn's state Supreme Court. One juror wept and another collapsed as they filed out.
On Friday, two jurors nearly came to blows as deliberations in the tense, historic case grew heated.
Harris was convicted of six counts of first-degree murder last month. The jury found he should face the ultimate penalty for each count.
According to evidence in the trial, Harris planned to rob the illegal social club and decided to kill all the witnesses, including many who knew him.
He used an antique pistol to shoot Jerome Tucker Sims and Michael Harris, who died, and Eddie ``Shirtman'' Brown, who survived. When the gun refused to fire again, Harris grabbed an ice pick and repeatedly stabbed Evelyn Davis as she begged for mercy.
Harris's lawyers never denied the brutal crime but said Harris was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder brought on in part by his former job. They said he snapped at the end of a nine-month drug binge when his car got towed, and that he did not deserve to die.
They pointed to his long service as a jail guard, when he won a commendation from former Mayor Ed Koch for saving a fellow officer's life.
Harris will be formally sentenced later this month. He faces death by lethal injection.
Copyright 1998 by United Press International.
($760,000=2 YEARS) My Son some old car parts=30 years. Is this JUSTICE?
Saturday, June 13, 1998 Illegal Drug Scene Spurs Rise in Police Corruption Crime: Number of officials jailed has multiplied 5 times in 4 years, study says. Effect is felt in big, little towns. By JACK NELSON, RONALD J. OSTROW, LA Times Staff Writers
WASHINGTON--Law enforcement corruption, sparked mostly by illegal drugs, has become so rampant that the number of federal, state and local officials in federal prisons has multiplied five times in four years, from 107 in 1994 to 548 in 1998, according to a new study. The official corruption, which has raged for years in the nation's big cities, is also spreading to the hinterlands. "It's a big problem across the country, in big towns and small towns, and it's not getting any better," says Chicago Police Supt. Mike Hoke. Hoke was head of the force's narcotics unit until three years ago, when officials, suspecting that some officers were deeply involved in the drug rackets, put him in charge of internal affairs to begin an investigation that is still underway. "So far, we've sent 15 police to the penitentiary," Hoke said. "And we're not done yet." Los Angeles, New York, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington, New Orleans and Savannah, Ga., are among the other cities that have experienced major law enforcement scandals involving illegal drugs in recent years. And many smaller communities, especially in the South and Southwest, have been hit by drug-related corruption in police or sheriff's departments. Police officials from more than 50 major cities are meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho, this weekend to review the new report, "Misconduct to Corruption," compiled by officials from 15 cities with assistance from the FBI. The authors of the report sent questionnaires to 52 cities. Of the 37 that responded, all acknowledged continuing problems with general corruption and misconduct in 1997. Altogether, they reported 187 felony arrests of officers and 265 misdemeanor arrests. Eighty-five officers were charged with illicit use of drugs, 118 with theft, 148 with domestic violence and nine with driving under the influence of alcohol. The report cited several cases of officers robbing drug dealers. In Indianapolis, one of two officers charged with murdering a drug dealer during a robbery admitted that they had been robbing drug dealers for four years. A big-city police chief, the report concluded, "can expect, on average, to have 10 officers charged per year with abuse of police authority, five arrested for a felony, seven for a misdemeanor, three for theft and four for domestic violence. By any estimation, these numbers are unacceptable."
Numbers Tell Only So Much
"You can't just look at the numbers" in measuring the effect on the community of "a police officer abusing citizens through corruption," said Neil J. Gallagher, deputy assistant director of the FBI's criminal investigative division. "Corruption erodes public confidence in government." Gallagher, as special agent in charge of the New Orleans FBI office several years ago, directed an investigation that led to convictions of 11 officers and a sweeping overhaul of the city's police department. Underlying causes of corruption there, he said, ranged from "severely underpaying officers to lack of training, poor selection of officers and very little command and control." Some veteran police executives said that, despite recurring reports of corruption, they have the impression that the problem of police corrupted by drug money has subsided somewhat in recent years. In this camp is Robert S. Warshaw, associate director of the National Drug Control Policy Office at the White House and former Rochester, N.Y., police chief. Warshaw said that law enforcement agencies have become much more aware of the problem and "there's a high level of accountability internally." Many other experts see little or no abatement of police corruption. "It's going on all over the country," said former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara, "and corruption ranges from chiefs and sheriffs on down to officers. Every week we read of another police scandal related to the drug war--corruption, brutality and even armed robbery by cops in uniform." McNamara, now a research fellow at the Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, has concluded that preventing drug trafficking is "an impossible job." "The sheer hopelessness of the task has led many officers to rationalize their own corruption," McNamara said. "They say: 'Why should the enemy get to keep all the profits?' Guys with modest salaries are suddenly looking at $10,000 or more, and they go for it." Even veteran officers can succumb. One is Rene De La Cova, a federal Drug Enforcement Administration supervisor in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., whose photograph ran in newspapers from coast to coast in 1989 when he took custody of Panamanian strongman Manuel A. Noriega from the U.S. military forces who had captured him. Five years later, De La Cova pleaded guilty to stealing $760,000 in laundered drug money and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Protecting Others Seen as a Virtue
Police often work in a culture in which protecting their colleagues is a virtue. Ed Samarra, police chief in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Va., learned that during his five years in the internal affairs section of Washington's police department. "I never encountered an officer willing to talk about the conduct of another officer, even if he was videotaped committing a crime," Samarra said. "Some went to prison even though they could have remained free if they had agreed to cooperate." More than 100 Washington officers were arrested during Samarra's five years in internal security. In every instance, he complained, the police union "said our responsibility is to defend our people regardless of whether they are guilty." In Alexandria, by contrast, the police department has a reputation for zero tolerance of misconduct. The police union tells new officers to report misconduct by their colleagues. Those who lie, it warns, will be fired. In Los Angeles County, Sheriff Sherman Block credited his own task force with directing an investigation from 1988 to 1994 that led to the conviction of 26 former narcotics deputies--about 13% of those assigned to narcotics enforcement--for skimming drug money they had seized. Not all county officials agreed with Block that his aggressive internal investigation had been so successful that the scandal actually "somewhat enhanced" the sheriff's department's reputation. He was widely praised, however, for rooting out corruption and condemning the deputies for violating their oaths and dishonoring their badges. The Los Angeles Police Department, while sharply criticized for use of excessive force, has been remarkably free of corruption linked to money or drugs. The independent commission that examined the department in the wake of the Rodney G. King beating noted in its 1991 report that the department had done "an outstanding job, by all accounts, of creating a culture in which officers generally do not steal, take bribes, or use drugs. The LAPD must apply the same management tools that have been successful in attacking those problems to the problem of excessive force." New Orleans, which had one of the nation's most corrupt police departments in the early 1990s, is widely recognized today for its reforms--a sharp increase in hiring standards, pay increases of up to 25% and a reorganization and restaffing of the internal affairs unit. New Orleans officials, working with the FBI, uprooted the bad cops and tightened controls that not only curbed corruption and drug dealing but also helped reduce homicide and other crime rates.
Sting Operation Becomes Violent
In the FBI's New Orleans sting operation, undercover agents acted as drug couriers who were protected by police officers. The situation became so violent that at one point FBI agents overheard a policeman using his bugged patrol-car phone to order another policeman to kill a woman who had filed a brutality complaint against him. Ten minutes later, before the agents could act, the woman was shot to death. An FBI memo on the killing noted that the undercover operation was terminated earlier than scheduled "because of the extreme violence exhibited by the officers, which included threats to kill the undercover FBI agents acting as couriers and also to steal the cocaine being shipped." Eleven officers and a civilian police employee were convicted of corruption and about 200 police officers were fired. In another major FBI sting operation earlier this year, 59 people in metropolitan Cleveland, including 51 law enforcement and corrections officers, were arrested on charges of protecting the transfer or sale of large amounts of cocaine. DEA Administrator Thomas A. Constantine, a former New York state police superintendent, said that many police departments have adopted policies similar to Alexandria's zero tolerance for misconduct. These departments, he said, have beefed up their internal security units and are recruiting better quality officers by providing better salaries and conducting thorough background checks. But many police departments have failed to take these steps. Raymond Kelly, the U.S. Treasury Department's undersecretary for enforcement and a former New York City police commissioner, contended that many departments conduct inadequate background checks and some are using internal affairs units as "dumping grounds" for problem officers. Kelly said that police forces should be careful to check the lifestyles of their drug investigators. "I've never seen an officer get involved in corruption to put food on the table," he said. "It's always for something like cars or drugs or girlfriends." As New York's deputy police commissioner in 1992, Kelly headed an investigation of the department's internal affairs unit during a drug-linked corruption inquiry. Kelly, seeking to become more directly involved in law enforcement and the war on drugs, has stepped down as the No. 2 Treasury Department official to become commissioner of the Customs Service. In that role, which he will begin next week, his first challenge will be to take a hard look at Customs' internal affairs unit.
Copyright Los Angeles Times
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
Date: Saturday, July 04, 1998 8:02 PM
A VISITOR FROM THE PAST - Thelen Paulk -
I had a dream the other night, I didn't understand. A figure walking through the mist, with flintlock in his hand. His clothes were torn and dirty, as he stood there by my bed. He took off his three-cornered hat, and speaking low, he said:
"We fought a revolution, to secure our liberty. We wrote the Constitution, as a shield from tyranny. For future generations, this legacy we gave. In this, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
"The freedom we secured for you, we hoped you'd always keep. But tyrants labored endlessly while your parents were asleep. Your freedom gone, your courage lost, you're no more than a slave. In this, the land of the free and home of the brave.
"You buy permits to travel, and permits to own a gun, Permits to start a business, or to build a place for one. On land that you believe you own, you pay a yearly rent. Although you have no voice in choosing, how the money's spent.
"Your children must attend a school that doesn't educate. Your Christian values can't be taught, according to the state. You read about the current news, in a regulated press. You pay a tax you do not owe, to please the I.R.S.
"Your money is no longer made of Silver or of Gold. You trade your wealth for paper, so your life can be controlled. You pay for crimes that make our Nation, turn from God in shame. You've taken Satan's number, as you've traded in your name.
"You've given government control, to those who do you harm, So they can padlock churches, and steal the family farm, And keep our country deep in debt, put men of God in jail, Harass your fellow countrymen, while corrupted courts prevail.
"Your public servants don't uphold the solemn oath they've sworn. Your daughters visit doctors, so their children won't be born. Your leaders ship artillery, and guns to foreign shores, And send your sons to slaughter, fighting other people's wars.
"Can you regain the freedom for which we fought and died? Or don't you have the courage, or the faith to stand with pride? Are there no more values for which you'll fight to save? Or do you wish your children, to live in fear and be a slave?
"People of the Republic, arise and take a stand! Defend the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land! Preserve our Great Republic, and God-Given Right! And pray to God, to keep the torch of Freedom burning bright!"
As I awoke he vanished, in the mist from whence he came. His words were true, we are not Free, we have ourselves to blame. For even now as tyrants, trample each God-Given Right. We only watch and tremble, too afraid to stand and fight.
If he stood by your bedside, in a dream, while you're asleep, And wonders what remains of our Rights he fought to keep, What would be your answer, if he called out from the grave: "IS THIS STILL THE LAND OF THE FREE AND HOME OF THE BRAVE???"
July 23, 1998
Jailhouse Nurses Indicted in Death
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Two jailhouse nurses were indicted on second-degree manslaughter charges in the death of a prisoner whose ulcer had ruptured, making him scream ``I'm dying'' and ``I can't breathe.''
Troy R. Desonia and Charlene Annette Crawford also were indicted on a charge of preparing false evidence in the death of Charles Edward Guffey, 39, who died Oct. 14.
Desonia, 37, and Ms. Crawford, 31, worked for Wexford Health Sources Inc., a private company contracted by the Tulsa County Jail. Both were scheduled to appear in court Monday.
Guffey, a drug suspect, requested medical care on Oct. 4 and was seen by a doctor three days later. On the day before he died, Guffey's condition worsened and fellow prisoners reported that he was throwing up and defecating on himself.
The Oklahoma attorney general's office said grand jury testimony indicated that neither Ms. Crawford nor Desonia would agree to move Guffey to a medical cell as requested by jailers who heard him scream ``I'm dying'' and ``I can't breathe.''
According to a statement by the attorney general's office Thursday, Desonia examined the inmate but sent him back to his cell, and Ms. Crawford said, ``LET INMATE JUSTICE TAKE ITS COURSE.''
TULSA, Okla. - Two former Tulsa jail nurses have been ordered to stand trial in the case of an inmate who died of a ruptured ulcer after repeatedly asking for medical attention. A district judge ruled Friday that there was enough evidence to try former nursing director Troy Desonia and former nurse Charlene Crawford on charges of second-degree manslaughter and preparing false evidence. Defense lawyers said they will appeal and seek to have the matter removed from criminal to civil court. Charles E. Guffey, 39, died Oct. 14, 1997, 10 days after he first complained to staff members at the Adult Detention Center about his ulcer. Witnesses testified at a preliminary hearing that Mr. Desonia did treat the inmate the night before he died but refused to send him to the hospital despite a staff nurse's recommendation. Witnesses said Ms. Crawford gave Mr. Guffey a liquid of some sort but refused further treatment before he died, telling jail workers to return him to the jail's general population to allow "inmate justice" to take its course.
An ambulance technician found Guffey dead on the floor.
Wexford's $2 million annual contract for jail medical services expired July 15. It was not renewed.
Guffey's family has filed a lawsuit against Wexford and the jail.
Tampa officer fired after police say he bought sex
Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 1999
TAMPA -- A Tampa police officer was dismissed from the department last week after he was found to have paid an escort to have sex with him, authorities said. Mario Sanchez, 44, who had been a member of the department since 1989, was accused of violating the law outlawing prostitution. He had no previous disciplinary record, according to police records, and he has not been criminally charged. The acts came to light in 1997 when two officers conducting an undercover money laundering investigation discovered that Sanchez had used his Visa card to pay an escort service $450. According to police, the escort arrived at Sanchez's home at approximately 1 p.m. on Jan. 27, 1997. He was off-duty at the time. She stayed at his home two or three hours, police said. After having consensual sex with Sanchez, the woman asked for $450 for three hours of work and Sanchez paid her, police said.
Officer put on leave after wife says
he pointed a gun at her
By BRYAN GILMER
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 4, 1999
TARPON SPRINGS -- A city police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave while Pasco County authorities investigate his wife's accusation that he pulled a handgun on her during a Jan. 27 argument. Officer James Darnell Campbell, 30, of Holiday had not been charged with a crime late Wednesday, according to Pasco County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jon Powers and Pinellas-Pasco Assistant State Attorney Richard Mensh. "The state attorney's office held a rather lengthy investigation on that case today," Powers said. Mensh confirmed the investigation is taking place and is not finished. He declined to comment further. Campbell has been a full-time police officer in Tarpon Springs since April 8, 1993. His current assignment is to the Cops & Kids Youth Center on Harrison Street, Tarpon Springs police Capt. Ron Holt said. The Police Department runs community programs, including sports and homework tutoring, at the center. The complaint against Campbell stems from an argument his wife, Denise Elizabeth Campbell, 30, said they had about their relationship Jan. 27. Denise Campbell filed a report with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday. "She stated she was in the kid's room and he came up to her and then put a gun to her head," a sheriff's deputy wrote. "When he did this, she thought he was going to kill her and she heard the children yelling." Denise Campbell told the deputy her husband used a gun that looked like the service handgun of the deputy taking the report, the report states. Contacted at her home Wednesday, Denise Campbell said her husband did not put the gun to her head. "I said he either pointed the gun to the ground or toward me," she said, adding that she may have become confused because of shock. "He didn't point the gun to my head." The sheriff's report says Denise Campbell "went to her husband's chief and told him about the incident" but was told "there was nothing he could do about it." Tarpon Springs police Chief Mark LeCouris said Denise Campbell spoke with Holt. Holt said, "Her statement is not completely accurate," but said he is bound by state law not to comment further on an internal affairs investigation. James Campbell could not be located Wednesday to answer questions about the report. Holt said James Campbell was placed on leave as a "normal precaution" Wednesday until the Pasco County investigation is complete, and that an internal affairs investigation would be conducted at that time. "We're taking the normal precautions we have to take," Holt said, stressing that Campbell has only been accused and not found guilty of any wrongdoing. Campbell, who was honorably discharged after serving more than three years in the Army, has received consistent satisfactory annual performance reviews, his personnel file shows. However, he has been disciplined on three occasions. On Jan. 25, 1993, he was reprimanded for failing to write a report about a burglary. On July 11, 1994, he was reprimanded for an improper vehicle pursuit that resulted in the suspect's car striking and causing minor damage to a patrol car. On June 19, 1995, he was suspended for one day for allowing a prisoner to escape from the back seat of his patrol car.
JERRY NACHTIGAL, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, February 16, 1999
WEST PHOENIX (AP) -- He houses prisoners in sweltering tents, feeds them green bologna sandwiches and dresses them in pink underwear. He bans coffee, skin magazines and R-rated movies, and dispatches chain gangs in old-style striped uniforms to cut weeds and paint curbs. A hard-line approach to crime has won Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio accolades as ``America's toughest sheriff,'' a title bestowed by a tabloid magazine after his 1992 election. The public loves him: polls frequently rate Arpaio as Arizona's most popular lawman. But now Arpaio is being accused of running a jail that's too tough. The FBI and the county attorney's office are investigating whether detention officers crossed the line when they subdued an inmate, killed him and then allegedly tried to cover it up. On Jan. 7, the county and its insurance carrier paid $8.25 million to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Scott Norberg's family. They allege Arpaio's officers suffocated Norberg in 1996 and that the medical examiner's office covered up evidence of a beating when it ruled the death accidental. Arpaio called the insurance company ``gutless.'' ``We were looking to go to trial and tell the true story,'' said Arpaio, who contends Norberg caused his own death during a violent, drug-induced psychosis. Arpaio's jailers have been accused before of brutalizing prisoners. The U.S. Justice Department spent two years investigating alleged inmate abuse and civil-rights violations in the county jail system, the nation's fourth largest. The case ended last year with a settlement between Arpaio and the U.S. Attorney's Office after the government was satisfied the sheriff had taken steps to prevent excessive force against inmates. Arpaio said he runs harsh but humane jails that treat their 6,800 inmates fairly and save taxpayers millions of dollars by serving up bologna and ostrich meat for just pennies a meal. The vast majority of his officers are dedicated and professional, said Arpaio, adding that he fired three jailers who were caught on videotape beating an inmate. ``When people think we are out of control, that's garbage,'' he said. However, the Norberg case has given new ammunition to groups like Amnesty International which decries Arpaio's jails as inhumane. An internal investigation concluded that detention officers were justified in handcuffing Norberg, zapping him repeatedly with a stun gun, gagging him with a towel and shoving his head into his chest. The medical examiner's office said Norberg, 35, arrested for assaulting a police officer, died accidentally from ``positional asphyxia.'' In pretrial depositions, however, some of Arpaio's employees and inmate eyewitnesses said the half-dozen detention officers who scuffled with Norberg used excessive force. Norberg was dazed and confused when officers went to his cell to serve him with court papers, and a scuffle ensued, witnesses said. Grainy videotape from a jail camera captured officers dragging Norberg down a hallway to a black metal restraint chair. Detention officer Kimberly Walsh, who held the towel clamped over Norberg's mouth, testified she told two fellow officers that Norberg wasn't breathing. According to Walsh, the officers didn't care. Walsh and another officer were unable to revive Norberg. Arpaio, who spent 25 years as a federal narcotics agent, claims the FBI and county criminal investigations are politically motivated, the result of his long feud with County Attorney Rick Romley over jail funding and other issues. Romley spokesman Bill FitzGerald said bad blood wasn't an issue. Former Attorney General Grant Woods, who lauds Arpaio's get-tough approach to criminals, says the Norberg case nonetheless raises legitimate questions about how the sheriff runs his jails. ``I'm sure most people are hopeful that steps will be taken so this doesn't happen again. You can be tough on prisoners and not violate their basic rights,'' Woods said. ``That's what the public expects.'' Despite the spate of bad publicity, politicians and celebrities still clamor to appear at the sheriff's side. Gov. Jane Hull, syndicated columnist Ken Hamblen, singer Merle Haggard and ``Politically Incorrect'' host Bill Mahr roasted the sheriff at a recent charity dinner. Arpaio gleefully recalls the reception he got during last month's Fiesta Bowl parade in Phoenix. ``Everyone was cheering, cheering, cheering. I don't get maybe four boos out of 400,000 people,'' he said. ``They still like me.'' Prison guard arrested
was arrested Friday and accused of
accepting bribes in a scheme to
smuggle drugs into the prison, according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials.
TDCJ internal affairs agents arrested Sgt. Oswald Ramirez, 35, Friday night in connection with a sting operation at the prison, said Larry Todd, spokesman for TDCJ. Working on tips from informants, agents made contact with Ramirez and arranged to deliver $15,000 and three pounds of marijuana to him. Ramirez allegedly was planning to smuggle the drugs and money into the prison, Todd said. "Our agents believe that Ramirez was involved in planning to traffic marijuana to inmates inside the unit," Todd said. "Our agents also believe that he may already have smuggled smaller amounts of marijuana to some inmates inside the unit." Ramirez was booked into Potter County Jail and charged with two counts of bribery, court records show. He also was charged with one count of forgery in another matter, court records show. Ramirez posted bond and was released Monday, a jail spokesman said. The bribery charges that Ramirez face are second-degree felonies, which carry a possible sentence two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on each count, said Mike Meredith, spokesman for the 47th District Attorney's office.
Crackdown on Drug Trafficking in State Prisons
Jim Doyle, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 16, 1999
©1999 San Francisco Chronicle
The drug trade is so cash-flush, dazzling and powerful that there are always a few prison workers willing to risk their livelihoods and freedom for some extra spending money -- they agree to smuggle heroin and other drugs into prison. Now, with the formation of a new internal affairs unit, prison drug traffickers are on the run. A major initiative by the California Department of Corrections to clean up its drug-infested prisons and clear up its tarnished image is beginning to bear fruit. The agency's investigators recently cracked a narcotics smuggling ring at San Quentin Prison whose members allegedly included a prison guard, a prison cook and a paroled inmate. It has also broken narcotics cases involving sworn peace officers and other personnel at Ironwood and New Folsom state prisons. The internal affairs unit was created in July 1997 in the wake of allegations that Corcoran State Prison guards had staged gladiator-style fights among inmates. Headed by former Oakland police officer Rick Ehle, its staff of 100 includes veteran narcotics agents. According to grand jury transcripts, internal affairs investigators penetrated the San Quentin ring in late November with the aid of informants within and outside the prison. The suspects smuggled heroin, cocaine and marijuana to an inmate dealer, and his runners distributed the drugs to the ``415'' prison gang. Inmates' families paid for the drug shipments by wiring money to a Western Union account. ``There is a serious problem of drug trafficking in the prisons,'' said Dan Carson, of the legislative analyst's office in Sacramento. ``It's a real concern. And there have been a number of incidents of correctional staff being part and parcel of the drug trade. ``There's a lot of evidence drugs are finding their way into prison,'' he said. ``Heroin, meth -- just about everything seems to find its way behind the walls. Whatever is out there is clearly getting inside the joint.'' The Department of Corrections estimates that at least 70 percent of the state prison system's 160,000 inmates have a substance abuse problem of one kind or another, but it is unclear how many inmates use drugs in prison daily. Tiny capfuls of cocaine usually sell in prison for $20 in cash or $25 in canteen goods from the prison store, Special Agent Tom Moore told a Contra Costa County grand jury in December. Drugs are often traded by inmates for radios, stereos and televisions, and sometimes traded for sexual favors and to solicit acts of violence against other inmates, he said. ``Dope in prison is a very lucrative business,'' Special Agent Mark Roussopoulos of internal affairs told the grand jury. Some guards are coerced by inmates into smuggling drugs. Inmates may first ask a friendly guard to procure insignificant personal items for them, then later blackmail the guard -- who has broken the law by bringing contraband into the prison -- into supplying drugs. Agents used a sting operation to bust the San Quentin narcotics ring. Three suspects were arrested on November 22 and 23 in Richmond, after an undercover agent provided them with drugs that they allegedly agreed to smuggle into San Quentin. Correctional Officer April C. Reynolds, 36, of San Francisco, was charged with two felony counts of heroin trafficking. Reynolds, a single mother who began working at San Quentin three years ago, was released this month from the Contra Costa County Jail after her bail was reduced from $40,000 to $5,000. Her arraignment is scheduled today in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez. She could not be reached for comment. Terry R. Clay, 27, a parolee, was also charged with heroin trafficking. He had been released from San Quentin the day before his arrest. Sherwood Dwayne Coleman, 25, of Hercules -- a supervising cook at San Quentin -- was charged with cocaine trafficking. He was arrested in Richmond after an undercover agent provided him with a packet of cocaine to smuggle into the prison. His trial is scheduled for February 22. Coleman was unavailable for comment. In December, at Ironwood State Prison near Blythe in Riverside County, agents arrested Correctional Officer Richard Melendez, 28. In July, another San Quentin cook, Daniel O'Callaghan, 27, was arrested when he allegedly tried to smuggle methamphetamine into the prison. In May, agents arrested Correctional Officer Michael Laurin, 54, at the California State Prison, Sacramento -- also known as New Folsom. Laurin allegedly bought a pound of marijuana from inmates' relatives who were working undercover for agents. State officials have begun a pilot project to crack down on drug smuggling at two institutions: California State Prison, Solano (in Vacaville) and the Central California Women's facility in Chowchilla. Guard dogs and high-tech equipment such as ion detectors that can detect small traces of narcotics are being used to screen visitors and inmates. Inmates and new prison employees are being subjected to random searches and random drug testing. A collective bargaining agreement forbids random drug tests of existing staff. In addition, the prison system is expanding its substance abuse program -- with plans to add 2,000 drug treatment beds in the prisons and 1,000 beds in residential treatment centers. There are now 3,000 drug treatment beds in the prisons. Early results show that the program improves the recidivism rate of parolees and also helps reduce drug usage inside prison. Internal affairs began investigating Reynolds in July at the request of Arthur Calderon, San Quentin's warden. A prison official had overhead inmates discussing how the female prison guard was supplying drugs to the ``415'' gang, which is composed of inmates from the Bay Area. An informant also told officials that inmate Navarro Van Hook was dealing heroin that he received from prison employees. Van Hook was paroled as scheduled on January 2 in return for his informing on Reynolds. His wife, Earline Whitmore, who arranged for Reynolds to bring ``black tar'' heroin into the prison, received immunity from prosecution in return for her testimony. Agents used Whitmore to set up a meeting with Reynolds, who allegedly agreed to smuggle a shipment of heroin in return for $500. Reynolds and Clay were arrested November 22 at a gas station in Richmond after an agent wearing a body wire gave them 22 grams of heroin to smuggle into San Quentin. The next evening, Coleman was arrested after Whitmore lured him to a shopping mall in Richmond, where an undercover agent provided him with an ounce of cocaine to smuggle into the prison. Coleman told agents that he had smuggled drugs on three prior occasions to the prison's main kitchen, where Van Hook worked as an inmate in the sandwich room. Investigators described Van Hook as a ``middle manager'' in the drug ring. An ounce of cocaine, worth $2,000 wholesale, could be cut with baking soda in the kitchen, then distributed on the prison yard, they said.
NYC Cop Faces Murder Trial
By LARRY McSHANE=
AP National Writer=
NEW YORK (AP) _ It was no surprise when Hessy Phelan died too young, a police officer's bullet in his head. He had once belonged to a violent Irish Republican Army splinter group. Arrests for rioting and hijacking landed him in Northern Ireland's jails for most of a decade. But Phelan, 39, did not die a martyr; he did not even die in his beloved homeland. Nine years after fleeing the ``Troubles,'' a drunken Hessy Phelan was killed by an off-duty New York City cop, authorities charge _ shot point-blank in the face, Jan. 21, 1996. The cop tells a different tale: The 5-foot, 100-pound Irishman killed himself after a day-long drinking binge. Officer Richard Molloy says the tiny, drunken man snatched his gun and committed suicide. On Feb. 22, three years after the bullet from his .38 caliber weapon killed Hessy Phelan, Molloy goes on trial for murder. He says he fears the verdict might be moot, believing the dead man's IRA pals plan their own justice. Phelan's family and friends call Molloy a liar. The happy-go-lucky Phelan was not suicidal, they say, but planning a reunion with an old roommate. And it was no surprise, they charge, that Molloy wound up killing an innocent man. Molloy, a second-generation cop assigned to the Bronx, amassed 74 commendations and more than 400 arrests over an 11-year career. But there were allegations of brutality and two lawsuits against him, including a pending $18 million assault case. ``I'd been hearing about Molloy in the neighborhood,'' recalls Graham Friel, co-owner of the Oak Bar in Bainbridge, a heavily Irish enclave in the Bronx, where Phelan downed his last drink. ``A lot more came to light after the (Phelan) shooting.'' The elfin Phelan was ``very much a local character,'' says New York attorney Martin Galvin, a veteran supporter of republican causes. ``He was involved in supporting political prisoners.'' No surprise there: Phelan was once among their ranks. Patrick Heslin Phelan grew up one of five children in Londonderry, a militant IRA outpost and the site of 1972's ``Bloody Sunday'' massacre. Like many other locals, he embraced the often-violent cause of Irish nationalism, joining the Irish National Liberation Army. A botched car-jacking in 1977 nearly killed him; Phelan dodged bullets as a cohort died on a Londonderry street. Over the next 10 years, Phelan was in and out of British jails, once attempting escape by squeezing his diminutive frame inside a prison pool table. He grew tight with the IRA brethren during their time behind bars. Released in 1987, Phelan moved to the United States and lived with his sister in Connecticut before relocating to the Bronx. ``He was here one week and he said, `I'm not going back to 'Derry,''' recalls his sister, Martina Boback, her voice choked with emotion. ``There was no way he was getting involved with the `Troubles' again.'' Phelan took a job as a house painter and started anew. ``He didn't talk much about the past,'' says his roommate of five years, Brian Brolly. ``He just got on with his life.'' Phelan's supporters don't paint him as a saint; he liked his liquor a bit too much, and a few drinks turned his tongue sharp. But they can't imagine what words could have caused his death that night at the Oak Bar. Molloy's girlfriend, barmaid Maggie McGrath, had grown tired of Phelan's drunken prattle. She asked Molloy to toss Phelan out, and the cop steered him into McGrath's nearby apartment. The three had a history: McGrath had previously dated a Phelan pal named Barney Logue, taking up with Molloy after Logue's death. Phelan did not look kindly on her new relationship. According to Molloy, the drunken Phelan began throwing up in McGrath's apartment _ and yet, at some point, was still able to steal the cop's gun. Phelan jammed the weapon against his left eye and fired, Molloy said, telling investigators that it was a suicide. But the medical examiner determined the bullet's angle made the officer's version improbable. A different scenario now surfaced: Phelan taunting Molloy until the infuriated cop, bent on shutting him up, fired a single gunshot. The new story gained believers after a third man in the apartment, Cormac Lee, spoke with authorities. Lee said he walked in from the kitchen to see Phelan dying and Molloy's hand returning from the back of his pants. It appeared, Lee said, that Molloy had just returned his weapon to his waistband. ``You saw nothing,'' Molloy allegedly announced. Defense attorney George Vallario dismisses the autopsy and Lee's tale, claiming the prosecution is being driven by pressure from Phelan's family and the local Irish community. ``What is Richie's reason for killing this guy?'' Vallario asks. ``He had nothing against this guy. Hessy Phelan was just a poor soul.'' Others disagree. ``You think a little drunken man can take a gun off a big sober cop?'' bar-owner Friel asks. ``That's what swayed me.'' The evidence that could have quickly cleared Molloy was botched by police: Phelan's hands were never bagged and checked for gunpowder residue, Vallario says. And the lawyer insists stories of Phelan's good spirits are exaggerated. Phelan was depressed by the recent deaths of his father, uncle and best friend and was resigned to a life away from Ireland, the lawyer says. He was drinking heavily. In the end, Phelan's death caused many involved to revisit the ``Troubles'' that he'd so eagerly left behind. The initial suicide ruling, coupled with a nine-month delay in the indictment, conjured up parallels to British injustices. ``There are cases where people get shot by British troopers and some sort of whitewash goes on,'' Galvin explained. ``For the family and for the Irish community here, that was deeply felt.'' Preliminary hearings were held in a courtroom divided; the hatred inside was palpable, Vallario says. Phelan's mother twice made the trip from Ireland, and other friends and relatives stared down Molloy and his backers. Vallario insists the IRA threats are real, that Molloy has already been the target of vandalism and hang-up phone calls. Married to Maggie McGrath last year, Molloy now has more to lose: the couple had a son in January. ``That's our biggest fear,'' the lawyer said. ``These are not playboys. These guys mean business.'' Brolly, Phelan's old roommate, abandoned the Bronx for sunny Florida. ;;One day after receiving word of Hessy's death, he received something else _ a letter from Phelan, mailed several days earlier. ``It was all about how he was looking forward to my coming out to stay with him,'' Brolly recalls. ``The very next day it came. The next day. Reading this letter, it was weird. ``He didn't sound suicidal to me.''
Federal prison guard charged with sex acts
BOB EGELKO, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, February 18, 1999
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A guard has been charged with 17 counts of sexual conduct with female inmates at the federal prison in nearby Dublin, which has been hit by repeated accusations of sexual abuse. Jon C. Hyson, 38, of San Jose, a former guard at the Federal Correctional Institution, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on 16 charges of sexual contact and another charge of attempted sexual contact, all misdemeanors. He was also charged with five felonies: lying to federal agents about sexual acts and other conduct. In a separate case last March, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons agreed to pay $500,000 to three women at the same prison who said guards put them in a men's prison unit in 1995 and arranged for male prisoners to rape them. Prison officials did not acknowledge any wrongdoing in that case but agreed to strengthen rules against sexual assault and harassment at all federal prisons and increase medical and psychiatric care for victims. No one was prosecuted or forced to resign, Geri Lynn Green, a lawyer for the three women, said Thursday. Though Hyson was not involved in the case, she said his prosecution was a sign that ``the U.S. attorney's office is finally taking the matter of sexual abuse at Dublin seriously enough to file charges.'' Carleen Arlidge, Hyson's lawyer, said she was ``surprised and disappointed'' that the federal prosecutor's office had announced the charges in a news release. Noting that an indictment did not prove guilt, she said, ``We look forward to addressing the charges in court.'' Two other Dublin prison employees have been prosecuted for sexual conduct with female inmates in the last two years, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Jacobs. He said a trade instructor was sentenced to five months in jail and five months of home detention in 1997 for six counts of consensual sex, and a male guard got 18 months' probation last October for one count of oral sex. Hyson's indictment, released Thursday by U.S. Attorney Robert Mueller's office, said the illegal sexual conduct occurred at the prison and an adjoining prison camp on different occasions between last April and December. The indictment specified only two sex acts, intentionally touching a prisoner's breast, and did not describe the others. The charges are only misdemeanors, punishable by six months or a year in jail, because no forcible acts were alleged. One of the felony charges, punishable by up to five years in prison, involves Hyson's questioning by FBI agents in February 1994. He is accused of lying when he denied having sexual contact with any prisoner; denied being alone in a room with two female prisoners in September 1992, and denied asking them to perform sex acts with each other. The grand jury said Hyson received oral sex from a female prisoner in about September 1992; he was not charged with a separate crime for that, however, as the legal deadline has expired. Mueller's news release did not say why Hyson was not charged after his 1994 interrogation or why the investigation was apparently reopened last year. Hyson was also accused of lying last December, to an agent of the Justice Department's Inspector General, by denying sexual acts with several inmates and denying that he had brought ``any contraband ... like perfume, makeup or hair dye'' to a particular prisoner. Arlidge, Hyson's lawyer, declined to say how long Hyson worked for the Bureau of Prisons or give any other information about him. Dominic Gutierrez, executive assistant to the prison warden, said he could not release any information except Hyson's salary range as a senior officer specialist, $34,900 to $44,000 a year. ``We do take a zero tolerance on any type of abuse of inmates,'' Gutierrez said.