…Every day here one or another person breaks down, begins to scream out uncontrollably, banging on the walls, overcome with rage. They´ve lost their minds. The other prisoners yell and curse at them “Shut the f. uuup”… After so many years of this shit I´ve learned to block it out. But often I wonder if one day it´ll be me the other prisoners are cursing at..
News in from the desks and mailbags of Nevada Prisoner Voice:
22 JUNE 2009
I’M THINKING WHAT I’M DOING IS WORKING
(NOTE: transcribed as written…)
“Guess what, these clowns tried to break my right wrist. I’m thinking what I’m doing is working. If I haven’t already told you, I’m telling you now my case, that rape case was dismissed. But N.D.O.C. has written me up and I was found guilty. I only got 60-days hole time. But I still think things are going to change for the better. You think I need to study english. Maybe your right, I’ll cheeck up on that.
After I mail off a… report on how N.D.O.C’s officials break the law criminally here… then, I pretty much did what I could do. Malm please excuss my pinmentship, the pens they give us now are just the inserts. Well malm my rist is starting to hurt, so I’ll go ahead and let you go for now.”
22 JUNE 09
PRAY I LIVE TO GET OUT
(NOTE: transcribed as written…)
“Daily its the retaliation — punishment and interference by way of my religious kosher diet meals — open — outdated products inadequate and it goes on with the Ely State Prison officials.
For example, today 06/14/09 my breakfast hot-?-? Denied my Kosher juice package again, denied my Kosher milk. I have not had any real milk inside my body since September 25, 2005. Ely State Prison is the only Nevada prison with powdered milk that is an FDA violator, no label, no ingredients, the boxes not match the packs – packs not match the box.
My lunch meal main course open, I had to refuse it daily, give peanut butter — jelly with peanuts for lunch. They failure to rotate it daily. Over nine months eggs seven days a week 4 breakfast, peanut butter jelly, peanuts today for lunch good until 7/20/09. My ? bagel good until 6/22/09.
Dinner given a Passover meal they claim not to have 4/16/09. My dinner ? bagel outdated 04/06/09. Cho chip cookies outdated 06/03/09. Daily my dietary laws is interfer with under Lev. II: its my food — mail — medical — dental — personal — legal calls showers –
intentionally surrounded by mental health inmates that shall not be inside the same units 1, 2, 3, 4 with us non-mental illness. E. K. McDaniel – medical – mental health staffing use these mental illness inmates for another punitive measures here at ESP big time.
Day — night and day beating — yelling not shower and it goes on will force unwanted minutes into inmates but not enforce showers AR 705. Inmate grooming AR 701 crazy huh!?
I am (between) abnormal acting no shower taking inmates.
Anyway I just take it one day at a time. Pray I live to get out this dump home to my family friends Thank you for listen again.
Then it’s all my personal — legal and religious stolen/taken by Ely State Prison officials there retaliation -n- punishment individual racial discrimination and it goes on… did you know we is denied to use a broom, mop and disinfect for our cells/ESP? But now death row can use these cleaning supplies.”
22 JUNE 09
WHAT HAPPENED TO GROUNDS BEAUTIFICATION AT SOUTHERN DESERT CORRECTIONAL CENTER, INDIAN SPRINGS, NEVADA…?
“… One of the nicer guards who left… told me that he knew things were getting worse. There was another officer … and he too commented on the terrible conditions.
The outside play area is now a shambles and dismantled and there are no areas where the kids can amuse themselves any longer and no flowers or plants… Inmates are no longer allowed to go out there, not even with their visitors, as was the custom in the past.”
18 JUNE 09
SOUTHERN DESERT CORRECTIONAL CENTER, INDIAN SPRINGS, NEVADA… GRADUATION… THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY
“There are some radical changes at SDCC and while I enjoyed my visit with my son and also my grandkids who I took up to see him, it became very obvious that the inmates were having a more difficult time.
A new head guard took over and all the other guards, with the exception of one female guard, apparently quit en masse as they refused to work for this man who they did not like or respect. So it was a new staff there when I arrived and one of the new guards did not want to let me in because he said my written notarized letter from the mother of my grandkids was out of date.
I replied it was good for all time and in their file but he told me that from then on a new notarized letter allowing me or their granddad to take the kids (still minors) had to be received at SDCC every 60 days – in other words, such letters were only good for 2 months. He allowed me in with the kids because my visit had been approved prior to their new rule!! How kind!
Then when we got in we saw this new stiff upper lip type sargeant major who stood with arms akimbo and checked all around the room that all was in order. He walked around the room, sometimes from table to table, never cracked a smile and announced in a loud and unpleasant voice that new rules had been printed and we must all pick one up before we leave. He later on handed some out.
Nothing of the letter authorizing me to bring minors to visit their dad was mentioned in these rules (that these expired every 60 days and had to be renewed). My son was not sure if they were even approved by NDOC… (NOTE: the renewal of notarizations has reportedly since been dropped, thank goodness.)
On another note, my son and other inmates were not happy when they needed to use the toilet facilities as there were always 5 guards to watch them as they did their business! Talk about lack of any type of privacy. Some of the men, incl. my son, avoided having to use the facilities due to this invasive situation. Again, the routine is more strict, clothing is more strictly enforced, and there were no happy campers!
The one event that went well was the Graduation Ceremony…
The formal part of the Graduation Ceremonies at SDCC were held from 9 to 10 AM, on Tues. June 2, 2009. My son and 2 other inmates received their Assoc. Deg’s. from the College of Southern NV (CSN), as well as the Braille Certificate for Math Translation (he was the only one) and he and a number of others received the literature transription Braille certificates.
The graduating procession was led by several recipients of the Assoc. Degrees from CSN, followed by the High School graduates, all in cap and gown. Those receiving Braille Certification and other various Certificates were already seated in the nicely arranged visiting Room for this occasion.
Speeches were given by dignitaries including the Warden, teachers and other staff members. An hour of mingling with those in attendance at the ceremony took place from 10 until 11 AM and refreshments were served in the form of either chocolate or white cake and juice and enjoyed by staff, graduates, speakers and visitors alike. The event was very well organized. Refreshements were served and it was quite informal after all the speeches and well organized and I was able to sit beside my son for this special day and talk to him.
There were quite a few High School diplomas and certificates for other studies handed out. (My son) lead the procession into the visiting room so of course I was very proud of him. All his teachers seemed so as well and came over to speak to us (his dad and my sister were there also).
We did get a couple of photos taken of the occasion and one of the Braille teachers brought her camera and took some more so I guess we will get that one too soon.
Well, that is the news out of SDCC…”
As an Advocate for the Innocent I will be attending the first of what will be many “Marching for Awareness for Wrongful Convictions” on June 27, 2009. I will be arriving at noon in front of the (Nevada) State Capitol. Hope to see you there at our State Capitol.
For those who would like to participate in the first annual event for “Marching for Awareness for Wrongful Convictions” we will be meeting at the Community Center in Carson City at 11:00 am and will be walking to the State’s Capitol located on the cornor of Carson St. and Musser st. We will be arriving at Noon in front of our State’s Capitol.
Please come and support us and the wrongfully convicted. Hope to see you there.
For more information you may contact me at Tonjamasrod40 at aol.com for more information regarding signs, and directions.
Carson City, NV
More information about this national action: www.freedommarchusa.org
Footsteps echo across the nation from days past. It was the spring of 1965, and the start of a five-day Freedom March began, focused on civil rights and segregation. Dr. Martin Luther King and the Freedom Marchers brought awareness to their cause as they flooded the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama. Thousands of voices united as one as their cries for fair treatment and equality were heard around the world. Forty-four years later, with the election of our first black president, the Freedom Marchers from lo ng ago have fulfilled their “dream.”
Today, Freedom Marchers have a new agenda. It is awareness for wrongful convictions and an end to the archaic practice of putting our nation’s offenders to death. On June 27, 2009 at 10 am C.S.T., it is our dream to see every State Capitol in the nation filled with the cries of concerned citizens; a unified voice for freedom. The members of http://www.RayeofHope.org are organizing a nationwide March for Freedom–www.FreedomMarchUSA.org–and to date, the response has been overwhelming. However, volunteers and coordinators are needed in every state in the nation to make this March for Freedom a success.
Shall we continue to lock away people who could possibly be innocent? Clearly, many of those who are in prison are mothers. How many children are being raised without a parent due to wrongful convictions? Shall we continue to put to death those who may have be en wrongfully convicted? Nationwide coverage is needed to bring attention to this injustice. Ask yourself, as a society, are we to stand by, quietly thinking “someone else” will bring awareness to wrongful convictions?
Do your part to effect change for a better America. Volunteer! Don’t let another innocent person’s blood be spilled or years of a life stolen by a justice system that continues to put political agendas above the lives of our nation’s people.
On June 27, 2009 marchers will walk approximately one mile to their state capitols with signs containing statistics and the names of those who have been wrongfully convicted. Once marchers reach their capitol steps, there will be educational speeches and booths handing out information on wrongful convictions.
It’s time our nation and its citizens became more informed on the reality of our unjust justice system. Join us for this powerful event! We need March Organizers and volunteers for each state. If you would like to help, please use the form on the Get Involved page.
Washoe County Judge Ordered District Attorney to Turn Over Nolan Klein’s Entire File.
Emailed to us on June 13, 2009, and also published at: Make the Walls Transparent:
If there is anyone who knows of an incarcerated person or has previously been incarcerated that has left our prison system who has ALWAYS MAINTAINED THEIR INNOCENCE and was prosecuted by former Washoe County Assistant District Attorney/Federal Prosecutor Ronald Rachow please contact me.
In a recent development a Washoe County judge has ordered the District Attorney to turn over Nolan Klein’s entire file. This week documents came to light and it was discovered that former ADA Ron Rachow withheld evidence despite a court order to turn over the evidence nearly 21 years ago. This would be in violation of Brady v. Maryland.
There is no doubt that this evidence would have exonerated Nolan Klein had it been turned over during the Discovery Process and it was not.
Nolan has just been informed of this new discovery by his attorney’s and myself. Nolan is in the process of receiving such documents for his viewing because of what has happened it now opens up the door for him at getting his conviction overturned.
If there is anyone who has information about inmates who have been prosecuted by Ron Rachow and again, have always maintained their innocence and have never waivered from that fact, please have them or their loved ones contact me at the following address below.
Hopefully, this new development may be able to help those who have been wrongfully convicted.
2907 Lukens Lane
Carson City, NV 89706
From: Nevada Prisoner Voice:
EXCERPT FROM A NEW BOOK ON THE HORIZON:
By Mercedes Maharis MA MS MA
I’ve been trying to keep track of Nevada prisoner death statistics since my days as Nevada CURE Director and Spartacus Project Co-Founder, since the turn of this century. Nevada prisoner death has haunted both me and my husband Robert for years because we had never experienced the deaths of young people before – until we fell into prison reform.
During the time that I taught meditation at Jean prison, I began to witness the effects that inadequate medical, dental and mental health care were having on Nevada’s prisoners. Further, the stress that they experienced trying to reintegrate into our free society when they got out was difficult to digest. They had to get clothing, find jobs, find places to live, get money since they came out with $25.00 or nothing at all in John Brown’s case. (Names changed to protect identities of the living.) I had to drive Mr. Brown back to High Desert to get his social security card, driver’s license ID, his wallet and personal items that property officials had not given him upon release.
Nevada parole officials had mistakenly held Mr. Brown after he responded to a parole officer’s card he found on his apartment door, going to the parole office to tell officials that there was a mistake, that he was not on parole. But, a parole officer cuffed him up on the spot and jailed him. He ended up in the Nevada Department of Prisons for about six months due to paperwork that the parole board did not have (more on that here)…
Raul Garcia had only a sandwich in a paper bag when he left a northern Nevada prison fire camp to arrive in Las Vegas arriving in Las Vegas after more than 24 hours starving and exhausted. (More on that here) and try to readjust to their new lives. It was like being jettisoned to another planet for them, especially the one in the Las Vegas, Nevada desert.
All the while, Nevada prisoners were doing their best to keep up with parole and probation demands. They often had to travel long distances by city buses clear across town to hopeless job interviews, or to parole and probation appointments. These stressors would often become the straw that broke the camel’s back for some in their fragile, poverty stricken, unhealthy lives, some that we personally knew and cared for. Who gave 100% as they struggled to make a place for themselves in a society that, in general, did not want to give them another chance. Some came to depend upon us because their families were long gone, or they had no means to help them because they were struggling themselves, or they had disowned them completely.
Think about how terrible it must be to die in prison. Especially for those who must, for months or years, have thoughts of suicide… like Mark Emmons, age 38, who decided to end it all by eating his own food utensils at Ely. He died of intestinal hemmoraging in a Nevada hospital 7/10/2000. If he had had effective mental health care, I think that Mark would still be alive today, as would so many other Nevada prisoners who have died in prison, or soon after their release.
If only Nevada prison commissioners officials would focus on creating jobs for everyone, providing more and better education, skills training programs and rehabilitation in general for prisoners. There would be fewer problems for staff and hope would have a chance to grow, instead of wither, in the minds of prisoners and they would not die of despair. They would also gain the ability to pay for simple medicines, comforts and healthcare they need as they live under such rigorous circumstances.
But, I don’t see that happening any time in the near future. So, death seems to be built into the prison system because of the lack of humane support for Nevada prisoners. I see no bright future for this cold, fatalistic approach of prison policy and administration. Unfortunately, legislators do not stand up firmly or speak out vocally to champion positive change in Nevada prison conditions. They could save lives. And currently, there is no outside oversight for prison operations in Nevada, either.
It must have been terrible without family members present, or a friend in the world by his side, or a chaplain to comfort him as Bobby Ford reportedly died in a pool of his own blood in Jean prison in 9/21/2000. He was 48 years young. (His story here…)
Guy Martens, 51, who, in desperation, wrote for our help from Northern Nevada Correctional Center before he died 4/23/2003 was brutal in his description of prison conditions in that facility. (His letters go here.) And how will we ever forget Michael Parcell, who wrote us about the terrible suffering he endured before his death. How much treatment and comfort did he receive? We may never know. (His letters go here.)
Nevada legislative officials have not yet moved to accredit health care in Nevada prisons to professional standards. It is my true conviction that they could save lives if they would enforce standards in prison health care and use professionally trained, certified personnel to fulfill health care professional standards. The deficiencies that the Nevada State Health Officer cites are disturbing, to say the least.
When I was a past Nevada CURE Director, Nevada Department of Prisons personnel respected our request 4/24/2000 for the Nevada prisoner death list from the first year when Nevada prisons opened for business – 1905. No problem. Today, however, it’s different story. Prisoner death stats are hard to get. They seems to be jealously guarded.
But, with renewed vigor, we have been able to catch up somewhat, receiving inmate death information from the Nevada Department of Corrections Statistics and Planning for 01/01/2000 to 06/04/2007. We presented the death list, flaws intact, to the Nevada Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice meeting 11/19/2008. You’ve probably already seen those death lists in the meeting minutes online.
But, the Nevada Department of Corrections Statistics and Planning personnel have not yet provided the update for prisoner deaths that we requested 22 January 2009 for 20 May 2007 to the present. How can death statistics be 23 months behind? Isn’t this important data that needs special attention? Or, when prisoners die, are they insignificant? Prisoners are people, as the saying in reform circles go. We think that each death is significant given the reports of the trials and tribulations that they go through in Nevada’s unregulated to standards prisons.
22 January 2009… Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC)… Mr. Rex Reed wrote: “We don’t get death certificates very quickly. You might receive a faster answer if you contact the White Pine coroner’s office. As for the death statistics, I don’t have a projected date. We are very busy with other projects. The research staff is down by one-third in this time of tight budgets and the legislative session is starting. I don’t have the staff for the research you want.” Rex Reed, PhD, Administrator, Offender Management Division.
We were able to secure updated Ely State Prison deaths through the White Pine County Sheriff’s office and the White Pine County Coroner’s office. The coroner’s office sends bodies from Ely State Prison to Washoe County for autopsies. There are cordial employees both there and at the Sheriff’s office, too.
23 January 2009… Only one other sheriff in Nevada, however, replied to my death list statistics email requests about prisoner deaths in their counties. Sheriffs Kilgore, DeMeo, Elgan, Furlong, Ingram, Unger and the Elko Sheriff did not reply.
“I am unsure what you are asking for and need clarification. If you are asking for records of any NDOC inmates that dies in Lyon County during that time period, you will have to check with NDOC. While we did have a Honor Camp in our county during that time period, we don’t record deaths according to residency; we record them by name so I would have no way of verifying this information without hand searching all coroner reports for that time period. I don’t believe that any inmates at the Honor Camp passed away during that period of time.”
27 May 2009 the Public Information Office for the Clark County Sheriff answered by email that “If the person you spoke with at NDOC was unable to help you, perhaps you should ask for someone else to speak with. We do not investigate DOC deaths.”
So much for that.
We decided to ask the Carson City County Coroner, hoping against hope, for some luck at getting information there.
A true professional, Ruth Rhines, Senior Deputy Coroner, D-ABMDI, Carson City Sheriff’s Office had an open mind toward our research efforts and decided to show me the ropes and how it works, at last.
4:15…28 May 2009…Coroner Rhines doesn’t keep the records broken out on inmates, but does make penciled notations on NDOC prisoners, even though it’s not her job. It’s a meticulous search.
After signing off on the deaths, Nevada prisoner death data make their way through Vital Statistics, the prison doctor, or the hospital doctors. If prisoners die on death row, she signs off, or the doctor on the scene signs off. If Coroner Rhines goes to a prison and NDOC officials need an autopsy, she signs online and signs an electronic death registry.
So, now, thanks to Coroner Rhines of Carson City County, we finally have a piece of Nevada prisoner death information from May 2007 through 2008, but from only two Nevada institutions – Nevada State Prison and Northern Nevada Correctional Center. She signed off on 15 deaths in 2007 and 23 in 2008. I thought there would be only a few deaths, but, here we have it.
Coroner Rhines reminded me that her list is incomplete. She stated that there are people missing from her list. She is out of the loop, so to speak, if Nevada prisoners in her area are in the hospital more than 12 hours before they die. The hospital or prison doctors sign off in that case.
Coronor Rhines’ 2007 Nevada prisoner 15 death notations in Carson City County include:
Anthony Weber 05/02/07
Richard Adams 05/10/07
Michael Kisling 05/19/07
Warren Staden 06/06/07
Anthony Melchor 06/08/07
Pioquinto Herrera 06/27/07
Virgil Stephens 07/06/07
Virgil Perry 07/29/07
Maynard Humphrey 08/09/07
Mark Miller 08/15/07
Ronald Royston 09/03/07
Michael Wallace 09/03/07
Robert Boswell 11/25/07
Dale Burroughs 12/19/07
Edwin Chartier 12/20/07
Coroner Rhines signed off on these 23 Nevada prisoner deaths in Carson City County in 2008:
James Bey 02/13/08
Jack Leafdale 03/06/08
Lawrence Booker 03/10/08
Luther Hayslip 03/21/08
Armondo Claro-Garcia 03/26/08
Johnnie McGraw 05/18/08
John Stafford 05/27/08
Darren Enlow 05/29/08
Thomas Smith 05/31/08
Hermenegildo Escalara-Barragan 06/02/08
John Dillon 06/04/08
Sylvester Azbill 06/08/08
Bobby Boswell 06/12/08
Felipe Azanon 06/21/08
David St. Pierre 07/07/08
Thomas Zanetti 08/22/08
Pinkus Ralzin 08/29/08
Jose Obregon 09/23/08
William Barney 10/15/08
Donald Tanner 11/04/08
Sever Marga 12/05/08
Raymond Price 12/06/08
Michael Bowman 12/25/08
Coroner Rhines told me that the medical director for the prisons has the complete list of Nevada prisoner deaths in all of the prisons and prison camps.
Why didn’t Mr. Reed direct me to the NDOC medical director’s office forthwith when I asked him about getting the updates on prisoner deaths? Surely he knew that. But, then again, maybe not. Coroner Rhines thought that it didn’t make sense if they were waiting for death certificates from vital statistics. She said that it was very convoluted, that they should have that. Some think that the prison just plain doesn’t want to give out the information. But, why?
Coroner Rhines referred me to Janis de Longchamps, R. N., NDOC Director of Nursing, 775 887 3294. She said that R. N de Longchamps is a quality assurance specialist utilization review coordinator. But, 29 May 2009 R. N. de Longchamps did not reveal Nevada prisoner death list information. She stated that she would have to ask Dr. Bannister about that, to call back on Monday because he wasn’t there.
8:10 AM… Tuesday… 02 June 2009… R. N. de Longchamps stated on the phone, “We have been instructed by the attorney general not to talk to you about anything and to refer all your calls to them.” Then, she hung up. Right in my ear. Ouch! She hung up before I could even ask who to talk to at the Nevada Attorney General’s office.
How is the NDOC be fulfilling its goal “Improve Communication” with staff hanging up on callers? Or, abide by its philosophy: “We will pursue our mission with integrity, act in a professional and ethical manner, be responsible for our actions, and raise the department to the highest standards.”
Read the Department Mission Statement:
8:11 AM… 02 June 2009… We called the Nevada Attorney General’s office forthwith. The operator connected me to Edie Cartwright, Public Information Officer (775) 684 1189 and left a request for the Nevada prisoner death lsts from 20 May 2007 to the present.
8:31 AM… 02 June 2009… We called again asking for the use of excessive force reports for the past five years in NDOC, including shooting incidences. Maybe we could get more insight on that by seeing the reports, especially since we’ve had more reports of shootings lately. Maybe we would learn something about the disturbance that Director Skolnik mentioned at the 14 April 2009 meeting of the Nevada State Board of Prison Commissioners.
8:46 AM… 02 June 2009… Edie Cartwright called back. She said that the attorney general doesn’t have those statistics and started to give me the NDOC telephone number. Interrupting, I read the quote from Janis de Longchamps, R. N., NDOC Director of Nursing, which caused her to pause. She said to let her give a call back.
8:54 AM… 02 June 2009… still wondering about who was dying at Indian Springs Correctional Center and High Desert State Prison in southern Nevada, we called the Clark County Coroner’s office. Inez Cohen, open and hospitable on the phone, said that her office only gets trauma related deaths, accidents, suicides. There is no separate category for the incarcerated who suffer these fates in their database for Clark County, that includes Las Vegas, Nevada.
She would have to research on a case to case basis to discover whether those in their data were prisoners. But her office documented over 10,000 deaths in 2007 and 11,000 deaths in 2008. Going through that data was simply not possible now because they are so busy. I suggested that we ask Derek Dubasik, Departmental Administrative Services Administrator about adding a category for the incarcerated. I left a message for him, then called again about 8: 45 AM 11 June 2009, but he was going to a meeting and couldn’t talk.
Ms. Cohen, was kind enough, however, to refer us to Nevada Vital Statistics in Carson City and in Las Vegas. After I told her that I had been trying to get the info from NDOC, she said, “The prison just doesn’t want to give it to you.”
We then called the Nevada Vital Statistics Office in Las Vegas. Chris said, “We don’t keep stats like that. I’ve never heard of anybody keeping stats on incarcerated deaths… maybe the prison?” Chris referred me to the Nevada Vital Statistics Department in Carson City… 775 684 4242.
9:10 AM… 02 June 2009… Adriana connected me to the statistics department, Alicia Hansen, the chief biostatistician. She wasn’t there, but I left a message about our inquiry.
4:16 PM… 03 June 2009… Alicia Hansen called back. She said that there is nothing on the death certificates to show whether those who have died were incarcerated or not. Her office uses a national, standardized form that does not have a place to put incarceration information.
A very professional and courteous Ms. Hansen directed me to http://www.doc.nv.gov and click statistics/annual statistical abstracts by fiscal year – 2007, p. 51. (Nevada’s fiscal year is from 01 July to 30 June yearly.) 46 prisoners died in fiscal year 2007. But, the death list itself was not there. That would have been too much to ask.
A note at the bottom of the last graph states: “*For the second half of Fiscal Year 2007 causes of death were classified as other due to a database conversion.” Hummm… what were the causes of death? And what does death by natural causes mean?
09 June 2009… I received word of a suicide at High Desert State Prison, that happened on 03 June 2009. I decided to call the public information officer (PIO) for NDOC to see who had died and how. The call was interesting. I ended up sending an email to the PIO. I CC’d a copy to Mr. Ross Miller, the current Nevada Secretary of State, also a current Nevada prison commissioner. Here’s how it went:
cc: SOS Exec
dateTue, Jun 9, 2009 at 12:39 PM
subjectATT: Suzanne Pardee, NDOC Public Information Officer
This communication is to follow up on my inquiry at 8:43 AM about a recent suicide at High Desert State Prison, Indian Springs, Nevada.
You confirmed that there was a suicide a week or so ago and that it had been investigated, but did not provide the name of the prisoner who took his own life, stating that you did “not have the name handy”… I asked you to call back with it, gave you my name and telephone number.
You replied, “OK.”
When you called back at 9:00 AM you stated that you forgot that the director had asked you to tell me to submit questions in writing. I would email you, I said, and you replied, with emphasis, “in writing.”
Barry Smith of the Nevada Press Association confirms that email is writing, so, here are my requests for public information about the suicide at High Desert State Prison and and a couple more additional requests.
How did Bryan Tyler Nowell (the Clark County Coroner’s Office provided his name to us) hang himself at High Desert State Prison, Indian Springs, Nevada, and with what did he hang himself?
How much health care training are officers and staff receiving in order to recognize Nevada prisoners’ mental and medical health crises to help prevent death?
Please provide the Nevada prisoner death list update from 20 May 2007 to the present.
Please send the Use of Force reports inside Nevada prisons for the last five years. I’m sure there are not that man.[sic] Please include firearm discharges.
Please advise of any duplication charges, or if you charge for electronic transmission (send by email in spread sheet form if possible) of this public information, please adivse.
Thank you for this and for all you do.
Have a wonderful day.
4:15… 09 June 2009… PIO Pardee’s reply arrived:
Given current active investigations within the Department we are asking that you contact the Attorney General’s office with any questions or concerns you may have.
To date… our search to secure the updated Nevada prisoner death lists from 20 May 2007 to the present, not that they will be completely accurate when we finally get them. But, we, the public, have the right to know about prisoner deaths and how they occurred. Prisoners are people. Prisons belong to the people, to the taxpayers who pay for them. Their fates are significant.
And so it goes. Maybe one day, things will change. Better service and record keeping will emerge. But, then again, maybe not. We’re not holding our breath. In the meantime, we keep going forward.
In closing, as of today, 10 June 2009, Public Information Officer Edie Cartwright in the Nevada Attorney General’s office has not called back, as she said she would. We’re not holding our breath on that one either.
Source: Nevada Prisoner Voice.
Note: here are figures from the 2007-2008 statistics for NDOC:
NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
FISCAL YEAR 2007
(Reporting July 06-June 07)
Correctional Population Deaths by Fiscal Year and Cause (p. 51)
♦Deaths: The number of deceased offenders each year is included in the annual releases statistical
tables in a preceding section. Deaths encompass less than 1% of prison exits every year. In 2007,
the median dying age was 52 with this being 3 years younger than the median age in 2002.
Type of Death FY 01 – FY 02 – FY 03 – FY 04 – FY 05 – FY 06 – FY 07*
Executions 1 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 0
Illness/Natural 18 – 21 – 27 – 20 – 28 – 29 – 30
AIDS 0 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 0 – 0 – 3
Suicide 3 – 0 – 2 – 0 – 3 – 0 – 6
Accidents 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0
Homicide 0 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 0 – 3 – 1
Other 2 – 1 – 0 – 1- 0 – 0 – 6
Total 24 – 25 – 31 – 25 – 32 – 33 – 46
This was posted on Make the Walls Transparent, June 9, 2009 and received by them as an email from the ACLU.
NOTE TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF INMATES AT ELY STATE PRISON: If you have a loved on inside Ely State Prison, please print this article and send it in to them. This notice should be placed in in the law library, infirmary, and each housing area of Ely State Prison, Ely, Nevada, for the duration of this action. Ely State Prison is a locked down prison where inmates are not allowed go to the law library, or permitted to walk around on the housing units freely. When they are allowed out of their cells it’s only to go to the yard or shower; they are handcuffed and escorted and it is not likely guards are going to allow them to stop and read the postings. If they are in the infirmary, it may not be posted where they can see it. With this in mind, it is very important that every inmate housed inside Ely State Prison knows about this class action lawsuit. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Amy Fettig, National Prison Project of the ACLU, 915 15th Street, NW — 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20005.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEVADA
Riker v. Gibbons, Civil Action No. 3:08-CV-00115-LRH-RAM.
If you are a prisoner at Ely State Prison, a class action
lawsuit may affect your rights.
The Federal Court authorized this notice.
* Prisoners have sued prison officials and other state officials in federal court, alleging inadequate medical care at Ely State Prison (ESP) in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
* The Federal Court has allowed the lawsuit to proceed as a class action on behalf of “All prisoners who are now, or in the future will be, in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections at Ely State Prison in Ely, Nevada.” If you are a prisoner at Ely State Prison, you are a member of this class.
* The Federal Court has not decided whether or not prison officials and other state officials (“the Defendants”) have done anything to violate the rights of the prisoners (“the Plaintiffs”) to adequate medical care. The Plaintiffs’ lawyers must prove their claims against the Defendants at a trial. The United States District Court for the District of Nevada is overseeing this class action.
* The lawsuit is known as Riker v. Gibbons, Civil Action No. 3:08-CV-00115-LRH-RAM.
1. What is this lawsuit about?
This lawsuit claims that the Defendants are violating the constitutional rights of prisoners at
ESP by failing to provide prisoners with access to care for their serious medical needs.
2. What are the Plaintiffs asking for?
The Plaintiffs in this case have asked only for injunctive relief, not for money damages.
Injunctive relief means that if Plaintiffs win the lawsuit, the Court will order the Defendants
to provide access to care for prisoners’ serious medical needs. This class action does not
seek money damages.
3. Am I part of this Class?
All prisoners who are currently incarcerated at ESP are members of the class and any
prisoner who is transferred to ESP in the future will also be part of the class. You are a
member of the class only while you are incarcerated at Ely. If you are transferred out of ESP
or released from ESP, you will no longer be a member of the class.
4. Do I have to participate in this lawsuit?
No. Unless you are a named plaintiff, you are not required to participate in this lawsuit in
any way. Note that if you do not participate in the lawsuit, but you are still a prisoner at ESP,
any changes in medical care ordered by the Court will still apply to you.
5. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
The Court has appointed the National Prison Project of the ACLU, the ACLU of Nevada, and
the law firm of Holland & Knight LLP to represent all class members in this case. These
lawyers are called “Class Counsel.” You will not owe class counsel any money for their
services in this case.
If you want to communicate with Class Counsel about this case, you may write to them at the
National Prison Project of the ACLU
915 15th Street, NW — 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
6. Should I get my own lawyer?
You do not need to hire your own lawyer to be part of this class action lawsuit for injunctive
relief because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. If you want your own lawyer, you
can have a lawyer enter an appearance in this case on your behalf. You will likely have to
pay that lawyer, however.
Class Counsel cannot represent you in any damages case. If you want to sue Defendants for damages, you cannot do so in this Class Action lawsuit. If you wish to bring a damages case you will need to first follow the rules of the Nevada Department of Corrections for
exhausting administrative remedies.
This Notice will be posted in the law library, infirmary, and each housing
area for the duration of this action, by order of the
United States District Court.
ORDER FROM THE COURT ON THE POSTING OF THE INFORMATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEVADA
DAVID RIKER et al., Plaintiffs,
JAMES GIBBONS et al., Defendants
STIPULATED CLASS NOTICE AND ORDER
Pursuant to the Court’s Order, dated March 31, 2009 [Dkt. #40], the parties submit the attached stipulated class notice to be posted in the law library, infirmary, and each housing area of Ely State Prison, Ely, Nevada, for the duration of this action. See Attachment A.
Dated: April 30, 2009
IT IS SO ORDERED:
DATED this 5th day of May, 2009
HON. LARRY R. HICKS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Emailed to MTWT by Amy Fettig of the National Prison Project of the ACLU in Washington, DC.
Article printed from Make The Walls Transparent: http://makethewallstransparent.org
This sad news comes from Make the Walls Transparent and Nevada Prisoner Voice:
Inmate Commits Suicide at High Desert State Prison by asphyxia by hanging, (still under investigation).
I’m sure we are going to wait forever for the autopsy reports as we have for the last seven people that passed away while housed in the NDOC.
Bryan Tyler Nowell
His NDOC record can be seen HERE
Born: May 17, 1964
Died: June, 3, 2009
Administrative Segregation ~ Disciplinary Segregation Unit (Solitary Confinement)
HIGH DESERT STATE PRISON ~ Indian Springs, Nevada
From: Make the Walls Transparent on June 9, 2009
Dear Community Leaders and People for Criminal Justice Reform:
To update you, all the key budget bills that Gov. Gibbons vetoed have been overridden by both houses of the Legislature. We need to thank them and congratulate them all for working together in a non-partisan way for the good of all Nevadans!
Today I’m asking you to write them ASAP, as there is only today and tomorrow before the Legislature will be out of session. The bill we have been honchoing the most almost got lost in the budget fights. But, Senate Finance did pass it out and passed it on the Senate floor today. Now it is in the Assembly Ways & Means Committee instead of Assembly Judiciary—where it should have gone. In it’s original form, it did have a fiscal impact, but that has been amended out of it, at RAIN’s initiative. We need to ask Ways & Means to pass it out of their committee–not to Judiciary because it’s too late for that—but directly to the Assembly floor. It has to be read 3 times there before it can be voted and sent to the Gov. So no time to lose!
Please send them an emergency message asking them to pass SB236, which will set up a fund to accept money with which to fund more re-entry programs for ex-offenders coming out of prison. In it’s current form, it really is a simple, straightforward bill, and it does not have a fiscal impact on state revenue.
You can read what I sent them below, and send a shorter version of that to them.
Subject: PLEASE PASS SB236 AS AMENDED – NO FISCAL IMPACT
First, RAIN and I thank you very much for your nonpartisan working together to override Gov. Gibbons’ vetoes, all of them that you have overridden! This is the way that legislators should be serving the best interests of ALL the people of Nevada.
As for SB236, as amended, there is no fiscal impact. All we are asking for at this time is that a fund be set up that can receive government grants, grants from ngo’s, and churches, in order to assist ex-offenders make a successful re-entry back into the community after they have served their time. Research tells us that 95-98% of people incarcerated will return to the community at some point. Most of them have drug and/or alcohol addiction problems, and the great majority also have some level of mental health deficits or problems (besides being psychotic or sociopathic, many have ADHD; learning disabilities; Fetal Alcohol Syndrome [FAS]; PTSD [especially Vets, but also anyone physically or sexually abused as a child, which again is a majority of them]; brain damage from drug abuse, etc. In order for ex-offenders to learn to live successfully, legally, and addiction-free in society, most of them will need assistance and treatment during the first few months after incarceration.
Wouldn’t you rather see them make a successful transition than be part of the revolving door and recycled back into prison? Prison costs five times what treatment in the community costs, plus community treatment is much more effective for the time and money it costs.
RAIN has worked on this bill for the past two years, in conjunction with members of the Commission on the Administration of Justice, and especially Chief Justice Hardesty. — RAIN has also worked with the few recognized half-way houses and treatment centers in the community to develop this legislation. As amended, it is simple and straightforward. We are trying to get our community programs and official departments to work together to bring about the best results for the community at large. Nevada would be eligible for Federal funds in this category, and we can get the churches to join the cause as well. We need to get his fund established!
PLEASE PASS SB236 OUT OF COMMITTEE, TO THE FLOOR OF THE ASSEMBLY IN TIME FOR IT TO GET PASSED AND TO THE GOVERNOR!
THANK YOU SO MUCH!
The Rev. Dr. Jane Foraker-Thompson
Episcopal Diocese Social Justice and Prison Ministry Coordinator
RAIN Board member and past president
Ret. Criminologist and Prison Chaplain
WHY WE NEED RE-ENTRY PROGRAMS FOR EX-PRISONERS
This is a nonpartisan issue. It affects every citizen regardless of political party,
whether they live in cities or rural areas, regardless of education level, type of work, or family history. This is a subject that affects everyone’s life in Nevada, whether they know it or not.
I. The United States has the highest incarceration rate (number of people in jail or prison per 100,000) in the technologically developed world.
A. A Pew Center on the States Public Safety Performance Project study titled “More than One in 100 Adults are Behind Bars” released in Feb. 2008 found that “for the first time in history more than one in every 100 adults in American are in jail or prison –a fact that significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public safety.”
B. “As prison populations expand, costs to states are on the rise.”
C. In 2008, over $50 billion was spent on state corrections systems and consumed one I every 15 discretionary dollars.1 U.S. prison population in 1987 was 585.084 and in 2007 it was 1.596,197.2
D. In 2007, the U.S. had the highest absolute number of adults in prison in the world: 2.3 million, with a rate of 750 per 100,000. Second highest nation for prison population was China, with 1.5 million adults; and third was Russia with 890,000. Compared with the U.S. rate of 750 per 100,000, Germany had a rate of 93 per 100,000.3
II. The crime rate has been decreasing over-all since 1980, yet growth of prisons and prison population has increased four-fold during that same period. Why?
A. The public was misled by media hype to think that crime was increasing, and media hype created fear of crime in people’s minds.
B. Thanks to media hype about violent crime, it became politically popular for politicians to run for office with a slogan “to get tough on crime.”
C. Part of the same syndrome meant new policies kept offenders in prison longer.
1. Elected legislators passed new sentencing laws which called for longer sentences, and “three times and you’re out” statutes, which often meant that minor offenders who got caught three times ended up doing life or very long sentences, while offenders who committed one violent crime might get out in a few years.
2. Judges gave longer sentences for crimes than they had before the so- called “sentencing reforms” or “truth in sentencing” laws were passed. Minor offenders who might have been sentenced to probation ended up getting prison and longer sentences.
3. Parole Boards started leaving people in prison longer for given crimes.4
4. America now has more than 7.3 million adults under some form of
5. “Prison growth and higher incarceration rates do not reflect a parallel
Increase in crime.”6
III. Recidivism rates show failure of the American corrections system. Recidivism means the return of released prisoners, back to prison within three years, for whatever reasons, i.e., it is a failure rate.
A. In spite of cost of state corrections rising from $11 billion in 1987 to $50 billion in 2007, recidivism rates have remained the same.7
1. Recidivism in 1994 study was 60% for all released prisoners after
2. Recidivism rates for released prisoners aged 18-34 was 66.5%
a) 71.4% had been rearrested
b) 50.3% were reconvicted
c) 53.1% were returned to prison with or without a new prison sentence, i.e., on a technical violation such as positive drug test, missed appointment with parole officer, missed payment of fees, etc.8
3. In a 15 state study, over two-thirds (67.5%) of released prisoners were rearrested within three years.9
a) 68.1% to 73.8% for property crimes
b) 50.4% to 66.7% for drug offenders
c) 54.6% to 62.2% for public order offenders
B. “For all the money spent on corrections today, there hasn’t been a clear and convincing return for public safety.” said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project.10
C. “If a business tried to operate on this kind of deficit and production failure rate, it would go out of business.”11
IV. How to expeditiously make our correctional system more cost-effective, productive. Assumption: dangerous and violent offenders should be locked up to protect society. So which offenders can be safely released and/or kept in the community? How can prison populations safely be decreased?
A. Community Corrections holds a big promise.
1. Probation and Parole, the dominant form of community corrections
“seven times as many new dollars went to prisons as went to probation and parole… while fewer than one out of three offenders is behind bars, almost nine of 10 corrections dollars are spent on prisons.”12
a) “The number of people on probation or parole has skyrocketed to more than 5 million, up from 1.6 million just 25 years ago. This means that 1 in 45 adults in the United States is now under criminal justice supervision in the community, and that combined with those in prison and jail, a stunning 1 in every 31 adults, or 3.2 percent, is under some form of correctional control.”13
b) The daily cost of supervising a person in the community in fiscal 2008 was $3.42; the average daily cost of a prison inmate is $78.95 ($28,816.75/person/year), which is more than 20 times as high as community supervision.14
2. Community Corrections of all sorts are drastically under-funded, even though they are less expensive than incarceration and more often than not, more appropriate for the level of offender. Nevada’s Probation and Parole Officers have caseloads of over 120 parolees; whereas national standards state that P&P officers should have a caseload of no more than 45 parolees. This means that they cannot spend sufficient time per person
for adequate supervision and assistance.
3. “For hundreds of thousands of lower-level inmates, incarceration costs
taxpayers far more than it saves in prevented crime. And new national and state research shows that we are well past the point of diminishing returns, where more imprisonment will prevent less and less crime.”15
4. Half-way Houses, Residential Treatment Centers, Day-Treatment:
Half-way houses and treatment centers can be used as “half-way into the system” or half-way out” of the system.” That is, they can be an alternative to going to jail or prison as a first opportunity to get their lives straightened out, or as a transition help & control for ex-prisoners coming out of prison back into the community.
a) Studies indicate that about 80% of offenders have a drug &/or alcohol addiction problem, which exacerbates their behaviors and often leads them to commit crimes. Addict treatment has been shown to be more effective in community facilities than in incarceration. It would be cheaper for the state to fund community treatment facilities than to pay for incarceration or build new prisons.
b) Numerous criminal justice studies place the number of mentally ill offenders at between 12-15%. This figure usually refers only to prisoners who are psychotic or schizophrenic. Prison psychologists and trained chaplains can testify that many more prisoners have lesser mental health problems such as: bi-polar disease; ADHD; fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS); PTSD, especially among veterans but also those who were abused as children; substance-related disorders; dissociative disorders (especially women offenders who were sexually abused as children, which is a high percentage of women offenders); sexual and gender identify disorders; other impulse control disorders; borderline personality disorders; antisocial personality disorder; narcissistic personality disorder; avoidant personality disorder; obsessive-compulsive disorder; etc.
c) Even people with learning disabilities who became early “failures” in School when parents and teachers did not understand their deficits, often become anti-social due to that rejection and isolation.
d) When one adds all these people in prison together who have these conditions, I would estimate the prison population has more than 60% who have some level of mental health deficit and/or behavior disorder that needs to be addressed before they can become healthy, self-disciplined and self-motivated citizens in society.
e) Again, community treatment of people who fall under these categories would be much less expensive and much more effective if done by trained professionals in the community. Prisoners will never receive adequate or appropriate targeted treatment in prisons, as they lack that kind of trained staff, plus the atmosphere is not conducive to mental health treatment and emotional healing. Such offenders would be best sent to community treatment directly rather than ever being incarcerated, unless they are violent and have uncontrolled behaviors. In most cases, drug courts and mental health courts are very appropriate if combined with treatment facilities to meet the needs of the offenders. At this time, Nevada has two drug courts and is considering a mental health court. This is a move in the right direction. But Nevada also needs to fund the community facilities to treat people who are sentenced by these courts. Currently, Nevada only has a handful of licensed, qualified half-way houses and offender treatment facilities.
B. Policies to reduce prison population: 1) the number of new admissions, and 2) length of time an inmate spends in prison. Small modifications in each decision point can yield marked slowdown–or acceleration–in prison population growth.16 Which offenders can safely diverted to community corrections?
1. Non-violent, and victimless crime offenders, to probation with proviso For restitution, counseling, education, etc.
2. Drug-addiction offenders, sentenced to drug treatment centers
3. Offenders with mental health/mental deficit issues, sent to small, Specialized mental health treatment facilities
4. Probation and Parole violators. In 2005, parole violators accounted for more than one third of all prison admission, 40% of which were for technical violations; not new crimes. One-half of people in U.S. jails are there for probation violation, not new crimes. It would far less expensive to sentence them to community corrections rather than prison.17
5. Since 2004, 13 states have adopted legislation creating an expansion of community corrections options
a) adjust length of prison terms
b) use earned credit for “good time” to reduce time spent, i.e.,
completion of education, drug treatment programs, sex-
offender treatment, pre -release classes, good behavior–
no write-ups for bad behavior. Nevada uses this policy.
C. Who benefits from these policies?
1. The Public benefits. These community residential programs cost about one-fifth of the cost of incarceration, while the treatment effects are found by research studies to be much more effective in helping offenders to change their behavior patterns.
2. Offenders benefit. These are not violent offenders but people with severe behavior disorders. Appropriate, targeted treatment gives them the help they need to learn skills and discipline to lead a responsible, law-abiding life. They would rather do this than waste away in prison where they will receive no such help.
3. This in not “being soft on criminals.” It is an intelligent, targeted approach, and one that can hold the offenders more accountable.
V. Is this approach politically viable? Will any elected officials and judges dare to
buck the current stream of revenge and “lock them up and throw away the key,” and work toward a more intelligent, less expensive treatment and accountability system?
A. “It’s always safer politically to build the next prison, rather than stop and see whether that’s really the smartest thing to do. But we’re at a point where I don’t think we can afford to do that anymore.” John Whitmire,
State Senator from Houston, Texas, Chair of Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee.18
B. Critical shortage of state funds would be better spent on state education and Human services such as health and mental health care. “Collectively,
Correctional agencies now consume 6.8% of state general funds, 2007 data show. That means one in every 15 dollars in the states’ main pool of discretionary money goes to corrections.”19
C. “Between 1987 and 2007, the amount states spent on corrections more than doubled while the increase in higher education spending has been moderate. Higher education grew 21%, while corrections grew 127%.”20
VI. What do ex-prisoners need in order to make a successful transition, or re-entry, to the community?
A. Some need residential treatment from an accredited half-way house such as
The Ridge House in Reno. We need more of these across the state, and in the population centers of Clark County, Washoe, Carson City and Elko.
B. If they don’t have families to go to, they need other support in the community, possibly from faith-based organizations, the Urban League, or whatever solid community organizations exist in each urban center
C. Ex-offenders need mentoring during the first few months to help them learn to deal with a changed society, to learn social and practical skills, and discipline to stay away from drugs and alcohol. They are lonely and scared when they leave prison.
D. They need jobs. Someone needs to be willing to take a chance on them and mentor them in their jobs. They may need more education and job training.
E. They will need long-term housing and be able to pay for it.
F. They will need health care, and possibly mental health care. If they are addicts, they will need on-going contact with an addict recovery group, and to be held accountable to attend consistently.
G. Not only Parole & Probation needs to track the ex-offenders, but they need friendly mentors to encourage them, teach them, believe in them until they get on their feet emotionally, financially, employment-wise, etc.
Faith-based groups and others interested in helping ex-offenders are needed in the community, such as My Journey Home and Kairos in the Reno-Sparks area or the Urban League, Salvation Army, Southwest Prison Ministries, or other prisoner support groups in Clark County and other areas.
F. When they have housing and a job, ex-offenders can begin to pay restitution to victims, where appropriate; pay for their supervision, and begin to get ahead in establishing a life for themselves in the community. When they are working they will join the ranks of tax-payers and become legitimate members of the community.
G. It benefits society when ex-offenders become law-abiding, tax-paying citizens who will be responsible for themselves and can leave a normal, crime-free life.
H. One possible source of funding for some of these program is The Second Chance Act passed by Congress and administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice. The Council of State Government Justice Center is conducting free webinars (seminars Via the web) to help potential applicants apply for grants from The Second chance Act. These funds will be either for mentoring adult ex-offenders of for juveniles through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).21
I. The Justice Center also has an online database that provides a comprehensive inventory of collaborative criminal justice/mental health activity across the country.22
VII. There are solutions for the current dilemma of overbuilding and over-reliance on prisons and over-institutionalization of too many people as prisoners. It is time for society to re-assess where it is going with the handling of offenders, both juvenile and adult. We can undo the damage and build a better system.
It is time for society to wake-up and realize how insane, counter-productive, outrageously expensive and what a failure this current system is of large warehouses for anyone and everyone who has ever inconvenienced society in anyway.
It is also time to realize that if people are really interested in reducing the crime rate in our society, the best way to do that is to intervene with troubled families, protect children from being abused and neglected, and see that children and others who have the mental health and learning disabilities listed above, get the appropriate, compassionately delivered help and treatment required to help them learn to deal with their disabilities and assist them to become self-maintaining, self-respecting individuals in society, rather than punishing them for not being perfect.
There is no good reason that the United States should have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. We have over-criminalized our own society, ourselves.
It is to our shame that we can be thus described by people around the world. How ironic that we have the miss-conception about ourselves that we are a society that loves children, is family-oriented, loves democracy and freedom, and upholds human rights as a high standard that all should live by. We need to learn to live by it ourselves first before we point fingers at others.
“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5
This is a nonpartisan issue. It affects every citizen of Nevada in one way or another. It has to do with our moral, financial, social, commercial, educational and spiritual health. What kind of society are we? Who do we want to be?
The Rev. Dr. Jane Foraker-Thompson
Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, Social Justice & Prison Ministry Coordinator
RAIN Board member and past president
Retired Criminologist and Prison Chaplain
From: Make the Walls Transparent On June 4, 2009
Wishing Petitioners To Death is a 2006 Cornell Law Review article by law professor Shari Lynn Johnson that documents how federal appeals court judges falsified the facts in several capital cases to justify upholding the defendant’s conviction and death sentence. Professor Johnson knows the facts in the cases she writes about because she was a lawyer for those defendants. Law professor Anthony D’Amato similarly described in a 1990 Cardozo Law Review article, The Ultimate Injustice: When a Court Misstates the Facts, that federal appeals court judges fabricated the facts they relied on to justify denying the habeas corpus petition of Dr. John Branion. Professor D’Amato knows the facts of the case because he represented Dr. Branion. The biography Cardozo (1990) by Richard A. Posner describes that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo “defended the right of a judge to deliberately misstate facts.” 1 Although it is a long-standing practice, there is a low-level of public awareness that judges alter or conjure out of thin air key “facts” to justify their ruling in a case.
Relying on what they described as an “admission” by 18-year-old Kirstin Blaise Lobato, on February 5, 2009 three Nevada Supreme Court justices unanimously affirmed her October 2006 conviction for voluntary manslaughter in the death of 44-year-old homeless Duran Bailey near the Las Vegas strip on July 8, 2001. The justice’s opinion states, “based on Lobato’s admission, there was substantial evidence that she committed the murder.” 2 (See, Lobato vs. Nevada, No. 49087 (NV Supreme Ct, 02-05-2009), Order of Affirmance, 4)
I am aware of the facts of Ms. Lobato’s case. I have written several lengthy articles for Justice:Denied magazine and a book about it – Kirstin Blaise Lobato’s Unreasonable Conviction: Possibility Of Guilt Replaces Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (2008). Yet, I am clueless as to what “admission” of guilt the justices are referring to in their opinion. Particularly an “admission” that is so compelling that by itself and to the exclusion of all other evidence constitutes sufficient evidence of her guilt to justify upholding her convictions and sentence.
The Clark County Medical Examiner determined from Mr. Bailey’s autopsy on July 9, 2001 that his cause of death was: “Blunt head trauma. Significant contributing conditions include multiple stab and incised wounds.” One of the incised wounds was a severed carotid artery. Ms. Lobato’s statement when interrogated on July 20, 2001 by two two LVMPD homicide detectives is a matter of public.
Did Ms. Lobato “admit” to bludgeoning Mr. Bailey’s head?
Did she “admit” to stabbing him multiple times?
Did she “admit” to inflicting “incised wounds” that included severing the carotid artery in his neck?
Did she “admit” to any involvement in his death?
Did she “admit” to being present when he was assaulted?
Did she “admit” to being present when he died?
Did she “admit” to having any knowledge of his death?
Did she “admit” to knowing him or ever having met him?
Did she “admit” to knowing anyone who knew him?
Did she “admit” to knowing any details of the location where he was killed?
Did she “admit” to ever having been to the location where he was killed?
The public record in Ms. Lobato’s case is irrefutably crystal clear about one thing: she has not made any “admission” to having any involvement whatsoever in Mr. Bailey’s death.
The lack of an “admission” of guilt by Ms. Lobato is consistent with the crime scene DNA evidence that excludes her but implicates one or more men as Mr. Bailey’s assailant; it is consistent with the crime scene fingerprints that exclude her; it is consistent with the bloody shoeprints leading away from Mr. Bailey’s body that are 2-1/2 sizes larger than her shoe size; it is consistent with the tire tracks at the crime scene that don’t match her car tires; and it is consistent with the confirmation by scientific tests that none of Mr. Bailey’s blood was on any personal item of hers or in her car. Ms. Lobato’s lack of an incriminating “admission” linking her to Mr. Bailey’s death, and the lack of any incriminating physical or forensic evidence is also consistent with the fact that there is no eyewitness or documentary evidence (gas station receipt, surveillance video, etc.) that she was in Las Vegas at any time on the day of Mr. Bailey’s death. Contrasted with that lack of incriminating evidence are the eleven eyewitnesses who saw her at her parent’s home in Panaca 170 miles north of Las Vegas from very early in the morning on the day of Mr. Bailey’s death until after his body was found that night. Telephone records also verify Ms. Lobato was in Panaca from that morning until after his body was found.
There is perfect 100% consistency between the absence of an “admission” by Ms. Lobato to any involvement in Mr. Bailey’s death, the physical and forensic evidence excluding her from involvement in the crime, and the eyewitness and telephone record evidence establishing she was 170 miles from Las Vegas on the day of his death.
The Justices Fabricated Ms. Lobato’s Non-existent “Admission”
It is known from public information that in their February 5 opinion the three justices fabricated the evidence of what is in fact a non-existent “admission” by Ms. Lobato to causing Mr. Bailey’s death. Furthermore, the justices relied on that fabricated material “fact” as their justification to rule that “based on Lobato’s admission, there was substantial evidence that she committed the murder.” The three justices who signed the decision in Ms. Lobato’s case are Chief Justice James W. Hardesty, Justice Ron D Parraguirre and Justice Michael L. Douglas.
Affirming Ms. Lobato’s voluntary manslaughter conviction was a predicate for the three justices to uphold her companion conviction of “sexual penetration of a dead body.” The basis of that charge – which is also known as the “necrophilia law” – was an injury to Mr. Bailey’s anus the medical examiner determined was inflicted after Mr. Bailey’s death. Taking into consideration that Ms. Lobato made no admission to being within 170 miles of Las Vegas at the time of Mr. Bailey’s death – the following questions are presented to further clarify what Ms. Lobato did not make an “admission” to in her statement.
Did Ms. Lobato “admit” to sexually penetrating Mr. Bailey’s anus or otherwise injuring his body after his death?
Did she “admit” to inflicting any injury to his anus while he was alive?
Did she “admit” – since he was found face-up – to turning his body over after he was dead?
There is no physical, forensic or eyewitness evidence supporting Ms. Lobato’s involvement in the alleged sexual penetration of Mr. Bailey’s dead body, and the public record is clear that she has made no “admission” to doing so. The justices, however, upheld her conviction of sexually penetrating Mr. Bailey’s dead body by relying on her phantom “admission” to causing Mr. Bailey’s death that they conjured to justify affirming her voluntary manslaughter conviction.
The prosecution’s theory of Ms. Lobato’s prosecution is that she alone killed Mr. Bailey, and after doing so she alone committed the separate act of sexually penetrating his corpse. Yet the actual record of facts and evidence in her case supports that she was 170 miles north of Las Vegas, and therefore could not have been at the crime scene or had anything to do with Mr. Bailey’s death, and afterwards his body’s alleged sexual penetration. 3
The Justices Falsified The Presumptive Test Results On Ms. Lobato’s Car
The three justices did not stop, however, with fabricating a non-existent “admission” by Ms. Lobato to committing crimes against Mr. Bailey. They also falsified the evidence of a key fact in another issue they addressed in their affirmation of her convictions. Luminol and phenolphthalein are imprecise and indiscriminate presumptive “screening” tests conducted to detect the possible presence of blood. The tests are so non-specific and non-selective that they can produce a positive reaction to an iron bearing substance, normal cleaning agents, vegetable matter, even pollen and horseradish, and they cannot distinguish between animal and human blood. Consequently, if a positive presumptive result is obtained a scientifically precise test must be conducted to confirm if the substance is in fact human blood, one of the other many common substances that can cause a positive luminol and phenolphthalein result, or if the test returned a false positive.
The following is an example to illustrate the relationship and difference between a presumptive screening test and a precise confirmatory test. Imagine that a photograph taken at a particular location on a particular day shows a person at a distance that to an observer looks like it possibly could be Joe. That is the equivalent of a presumptive test. To determine if the person in the photo is Joe the observer has the picture enlarged to show facial details, which unmistakably reveals the person is not Joe. That is the equivalent of a negative confirmatory test. Joe was not in the picture, and so the picture has zero value in proving Joe was at that location on that day. Anyone subsequently shown the original photo by the observer and told that the indistinguishable person might be Joe would be misled, because it had been conclusively proven the person in the photo was not Joe.
After Ms. Lobato’s car was impounded no blood was visibly apparent in it. Luminol and phenolphthalein tests were conducted that registered positives for the possible presence of blood in several spots. The scientific confirmatory tests were negative. No blood was found in Ms. Lobato’s car. That fact is a matter of public record in Ms. Lobato’s case.
Kirstin Blaise Lobato Book
Ms. Lobato’s lawyers made a pre-trial motion to exclude testimony about the presumptive luminol and phenolphthalein tests that detected several possible blood spots that the subsequent confirmatory tests proved were not blood. Ms. Lobato’s lawyers argued she would be prejudiced by the jury being misled and confused by testimony about the presumptive tests that had no probative value because there was in fact no blood found in Ms. Lobato’s car. Trial Judge Valerie Vega decided against Ms. Lobato and ruled the jury could hear testimony about the presumptive tests.
During Ms. Lobato’s trial the prosecution ensured the jury was exposed to much more testimony concerning the presumptive tests conducted because of the possibility there might be blood in her car, than about the subsequent confirmatory tests that proved there was no blood. The prosecutors relied on Judge Vega’s ruling to bombard the jurors with testimony about the possible meaning of the presumptive tests – even though the confirmatory tests established it is a scientific fact as certain as 2+2=4 that there was no blood in Ms. Lobato’s car.
Ms. Lobato argued in her appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court that her right to a fair trial was prejudiced by Judge Vega’s ruling and the subsequent extensive testimony about the presumptive tests. In disposing with that claim the three justices stated in their February 5 opinion, “Lobato argues that the district court abused its discretion when it permitted the State to introduce evidence of positive luminol and phenolphthalein tests for blood when the subsequent confirmatory tests were negative. We disagree.” (p. 2. The justice’s made a similar statement on page 3.) However, the justices falsified the key material fact they relied on as the basis for their ruling: contrary to the justice’s statement there were no “positive luminol and phenolphthalein tests for blood.” There were positive presumptive test results for several spots that subsequent confirmatory tests proved were not blood. It is a scientific fact the positive presumptive tests were not for blood: they either detected one of the many substances other than blood that can produce a positive result, or they registered a false positive.
The Justices Relied On Evidence They Fabricated And Falsified To Deny Ms. Lobato A New Trial
It is known that appeals court judges can and do alter the evidence in a case by fabricating and/or falsifying facts set forth in their opinion to justify arriving at their legal decision. That is what happened in the February 5, 2009 opinion jointly signed by the three Nevada Supreme Court justices in Kirstin Blaise Lobato’s case, and for which they bear equal responsibility.
C.J. Hardesty and Justices Parraguirre and Douglas did not decide Ms. Lobato’s appeal on the record of her case – but instead they fabricated a non-existent “admission” of guilt and falsified a key material fact to obscure the absence of any blood evidence in her car. The justices not only relied on their fabricated and falsified evidence as if it constituted real evidence, but their opinion makes it plain that if they had not done so they would have reversed Ms. Lobato’s conviction on multiple grounds and ordered a new trial.
The action of the three justices can be described as possibly criminal conduct. A police officer can face criminal prosecution for planting false incriminating evidence against a person and filing a false report based on that fake evidence. The three justices “planted” false evidence against Ms. Lobato in their opinion that they filed with the Clerk of the Nevada Supreme Court. Should they be held to a lower standard of honesty, integrity and respect for the public’s trust than a police officer? Furthermore, their opinion can possibly be considered as evinvseal2-transdence the justices had a meeting of the mind in the execution of a criminal conspiracy under Nevada and federal law. 4
The gravity of the justice’s action is compounded because they relieved the Clark County District Attorney’s Office of the need to actually introduce evidence during Ms. Lobato’s trial that the justice’s considered sufficient to justify affirming Ms. Lobato’s conviction.
The evidence and facts in Ms. Lobato’s case support that she had no involvement in Mr. Bailey’s death or anything that happened afterwards to his body. The $64 question is what influence on the three Supreme Court justices could be so powerful as to cause them to not just ignore the evidence and legal arguments favoring Ms. Lobato’s actual innocence, but to fabricate and falsify material “facts” in order to justify their legal rationale for affirming her convictions and denying her a new trial?
The three justices “wished” Ms. Lobato guilty by fabricating and falsifying evidence in their opinion to make it appear to be true. Their creative evidence massaging ensured the continuing imprisonment of a woman who is demonstrably actually innocent.
About the author:Hans Sherrer is the editor and publisher of Justice:Denied – the magazine for the wrongly convicted, and the author of Kirstin Blaise Lobato’s Unreasonable Conviction: Possibility Of Guilt Replaces Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (2008).
1 Richard A. Posner, Cardozo: A Study in Reputation, University of Chicago Press, 43. Another book, The World of Benjamin Cardozo, relates that before he became a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Benjamin Cardozo is known to have falsified facts in at least two opinions while he was a New York Court of Appeals judge to justify arriving at his desired outcome. Richard Polenberg, The World of Benjamin Cardozo, Harvard University Press, 1997. See the sections “Mary E. Schloendorff and the New York Hospital” at 108-114; and, “Hamburger v. Cornell, 1925” at 114-119.
2 The justice’s made their statement about Ms. Lobato’s admission in the portion of their ruling that determined hearsay statements by LVMPD homicide detective Thomas Thowsen were harmless error, because “based on Lobato’s admission, there was substantial evidence that she committed the murder.” (4)
3 The charge of “sexual penetration” of Mr. Bailey’s dead body was based on the prosecution’s assumption that Mr. Bailey’s anal area injuries were caused by penetration of his anus by a knife after he was dead. That assumption is disputable for two reasons. The first reason is Dr. Michael Laufer testified as an expert for the defense that he had seen many anal area injuries similar to those suffered by Mr. Bailey that were caused by the crease of a person’s jeans jammed into their anus when the person was kicked hard. Dr. Laufer conclusion was supported by his testimony that the cutting and slicing wounds to Mr. Bailey’s torso and neck were caused by scissors, and not a knife as the prosecution asserted, and which they also asserted was used to inflict the post-mortem wound to his anus. The second reason is the “sexual penetration” charge is also known as the necrophilia law, and the legislative record of when the law was enacted clearly shows that the legislature intended for the law to only apply to a sexual act on a dead body that would constitute sexual assault on a live person. Even if a knife had been used to penetrate Mr. Bailey’s anus, that would not constitute sexual assault if committed on a live person, and so it did not qualify as a violation of the necrophilia law. See, Hans Sherrer, Kirstin Blaise Lobato’s Unreasonable Conviction: Possibility Of Guilt Replaces Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, The Justice Institute, 2008, 21-23.
4 There is legal support to consider that Chief Justice James W. Hardesty, Justice Ron D Parraguirre and Justice Michael L. Douglas engaged in an unlawful conspiracy under at least two provisions of Nevada’s conspiracy law by their fabrication and falsification of the facts they relied on to affirm Ms. Lobato’s convictions and deny her a new trial. Nevada Revised Statutes 199.480 3(c) states:
3. Whenever two or more persons conspire:
(c) Falsely to institute or maintain any action or proceeding;
each person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
and, NRS 199.480 3(f) states:
3. Whenever two or more persons conspire:
(f) To commit any act injurious to the public health, public morals, trade or commerce, or for the perversion or corruption of public justice or the due administration of the law;
each person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
Additionally, the three justices may have criminal liability under the federal civil rights laws for deprivation of Ms. Lobato’s civil rights.
By Hans Sherrer
(June 1, 2009)
From: Nevada Prisoner Voice:
01 JUNE 2009
LIFE AT HIGH DESERT STATE PRISON
High Desert State prison has really turned the clock back.
Whenever something transpires, all prisoners are retaliated against.
Shots are fired on a regular basis for no reason and we’re threatened daily with shotguns.
Some phones in the units don’t work, mail is still delayed and we only get a three hour visit once a week.
We’re served small portions, spoiled and nasty food.
If I file a grievance I’ll only be retaliated against and transferred up north. I also like being close to my Vegas family members.
I’m positive a shooting took place, a guard was shot as well. I didn’t witness the incident.
XXX allows guards to physically abuse prisoners. He’s afraid to walk the yard. I’ve only seen him once since I’ve been here. They do whatever they want to us here.
We have normal pens here. I remember the tiny fillers at ESP, the nasty powdered milk, but not the packaged meals. The food here is terrible, it’s getting to be less every day, and it’s never the proper temperature.
We get gym once a week, yard once a day for an hour. And this is supposed to be a medium security prison.
Prisoners aren’t clothed properly with state clothing, linen and bedding. Belts, shirts and coats are not sold in the canteen. The canteen never has the items it’s supposed to sell. Belts are not issued by the state, either.
Other prisons I’ve been at remove the unauthorized items and allow the other contents of the missive. One of my correspondents’ missives was returned because it supposedly didn’t have my back number on it, but it actually did.
Thank you for your support.