Category Archives: Prison Abuse

Concerning Johnny Boone…

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December 19, 2017, John Robert Boone, “Johnny Boone”, plead guilty to possession of more than 1000 marijuana plants, and to trafficking in Washington County Kentucky.  He was known as the “Godfather of Grass” and the leader of the “Cornbread Mafia” in Marion County Kentucky.

 U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III in Louisville sentenced John Robert “Johnny” Boone, 74, formerly of Marion County, Kentucky, to 57 months.

He had previously fled to Canada for a number of years after having a grow operation spotted by the KSP near Springfield Kentucky in 2008 where he remained a fugitive until his arrest in 2016 when he was deported from Canada back to Kentucky.

On April 11th I received the first email from Johnny Boone’s niece regarding the conditions that her Uncle was living in while being incarcerated at the Elkton Federal Prison, located in Lisbon, Ohio.

He was due to be transferred to a “Half-Way” house on April 15th, but COVID-19 came into the picture and his release was postponed.  He is 76 years old and in in a setting that could cause him to lose his life to this horrid virus. 

His family is pleading for his release, and have done everything they can to attain it.  They are asking for our help! He could very well lose his life in this prison because of this Virus, and nobody seems to be acting fast enough to take care of the emergent situation, in regards to prisoner’s.  He is not the only one!  There are many more all over the Country and each State’s Citizen’s should inform their Governor’s that this is not acceptable!

If you remove the non-violent offenders from the system there will be much more room for the ones who do need to be contained, and there will be better medical care afforded to them – hopefully.

We’re not criminals, we’re not,” he said. “We’re not the kind of people who go out and harm people.”

On April 8, the National Guard arrived at Elkton Federal Prison in Columbiana County to assist the medical staff when a large number of prisoners became ill with the virus.[67] On April 18, the National Guard and Highway Patrol arrived at the state prison in Marion county to assist with “mission critical functions” after infections of correctional workers and prisoners.[68] By April 19, over 1800 prisoners at Marion Correctional Institution, approximately 3/4ths of the population, plus 100 staff had tested positive.[69] Overall, the prison system had almost 2500 cases by April 19, representing almost a fifth of Ohio’s cases.[69]

How Johnny Boone ended up in an Ohio Correctional Facility, instead of a Kentucky Facility is not known.  But regardless of that fact, he should have been transferred back to Kentucky, at the very least, when this outbreak began.  Now it seems that he is stuck in there with no recourse as the Virus continues to reek havoc on the prison industrial complex overall.

Why has Governor Beshear let this happen?  Although I understand the way that we were hit with this “attack” of the Virus it would have to be hard to manage it, but these people who are incarcerated are supposed to be properly cared for by the “System”. 

Even the most chronic or hardened inmates have basic rights that are protected by the U.S. Constitution. If you are facing incarceration, or if you have a family member or friend who is in prison or jail, you should know about inmates’ rights.

Considering Johnny Boone’s age and medical status, he should have been released early on.  There is absolutely no reason to keep this man incarcerated. 

Since Barr’s memorandum on April 3 directing Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal to consider measures to move minimum security inmates out of prison, few inmates have actually been released with the exception of those who were already planned for release.

With the following information in mind, I am urging everyone to send a memo to Gov. Beshear to request that he step in and make a decision to have Johnny Boone removed from Elkton Correctional Institute immediately and brought back home to Kentucky!

 On April 13, 2020, inmates at Elkton Federal Correctional Institution, brought an emergency court action seeking release from Elkton due to the spread of COVID-19 within the prison (Reference United States District Court Northern District of Ohio, Craig Wilson, et v Mark Williams, et al, Case: 4:20-cv-00794). The action sought the release of some inmates from prison to Home Confinement or by Furlough, particularly those who were old or had an underlying conditions consistent with the guidelines provided by the Center for Decision Control. Noted in the lawsuit was the “dorm-style” design of most minimum and low prisons where inmates live in close proximity to one another.

Please do not let either Johnny Boone or any other Inmates suffer and die needlessly in such condition!

This is the Government’s responsibility to keep these people safe from harm as they serve their time.  There is no reason to keep a non-violent offender in a prison system in these conditions!

Please take this into consideration and free Johnny Boone to his family!

Governor Andy Beshear

700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Main Line: (502) 564-2611
Fax: (502) 564-2517

SEND EMAIL ONLINE THRU THIS LINK!

Joe Keith Bickett- Author: Cornbread Mafia Origins to Outlaws

RELATED:

https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.wordpress.com/?s=Johnny+Boone

https://governor.ky.gov/contact/contact-us

https://www.forbes.com/sites/walterpavlo/2020/04/23/federal-judge-in-ohio-says-fci-elkton-meets-cruel-and-unusual-punishment-standard/?fbclid=IwAR1n2U-S6F_F08Fa1jSVoq7xGm74aMZoILNp77s9tCAGVuRUg3LCcMvKZm8#1f906b2a20d4

https://civilrights.findlaw.com/other-constitutional-rights/rights-of-inmates.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_of_the_COVID-19_pandemic_on_prisons#Ohio

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12926917-the-cornbread-mafia

https://www.kentucky.com/news/local/crime/article159441349.html

https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/godfather-of-grass-sentenced-to-57-months-in-prison-1.3845091

https://www.lebanonenterprise.com/content/johnny-boone-pleads-guilty

https://cavecitykentucky.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/legendary-pot-grower-johnny-boone-leader-of-kentuckys-cornbread-mafia-back-in-u-s/

https://www.civilized.life/articles/the-godfather-of-grass-deported-from-canada-to-the-u-s/

http://www.corizonhealth.com/Corizon-News/connections/landmark-case-guarantees-prisoners-the-right-to-medical-care

1st federal inmate to die of coronavirus wrote heartbreaking letter to judge

Patrick Jones “spent the last 12 years contesting a sentence that ultimately killed him,” one of his former lawyers said.

thief-on-the-cross-large

April 5, 2020, 7:35 AM CDT

By Rich Schapiro

In the months before the coronavirus infiltrated the U.S., a 49-year-old inmate began drafting a letter inside the walls of a federal prison in Louisiana.

The man, Patrick Jones, had been locked up for nearly 13 years on a nonviolent drug charge. He hadn’t seen his youngest son, then 16, since the boy was a toddler.

“I feel that my conviction and sentence was also a punishment that my child has had to endure also and there are no words for how remorseful I am,” Jones wrote to U.S. District Judge Alan Albright in a letter dated Oct. 15, 2019. “Years of ‘I am sorry’ don’t seem to justify the absence of a father or the chance of having purpose in life by raising my child.”

Patrick Jones contracted coronavirus at a low-security prison in Oakdale, La.Courtesy of the Jones Family

Jones had been arrested in 2007 after cops found 19 grams of crack and 21 grams of powder cocaine inside the apartment he shared with his wife in Temple, Texas. His wife testified against him and was spared a prison sentence.

Jones wasn’t so fortunate. He was ultimately ordered to spend 27 years behind bars, in part because he lived within 1,000 feet of a junior college and already had a long rap sheet, mostly burglaries that he committed when he was a teenager living on the streets.

He was now writing the judge in the hope of receiving a sentence reduction through the newly-signed First Step Act, which offered relief to some inmates convicted of nonviolent drug crimes.

“My child having his own experience of raising his own child would validate my life experience and give meaning to my existence in this world, because 83582-180 has no meaning,” he wrote, referring to his federal inmate number.

“It is just a number to be forgotten in time. But Mr. Patrick Estell Jones is a very good person. Caring, hard working, free and clean of drugs and a lot smarter now, with a balanced outlook on life.”

The judge denied the request on Feb. 26, 2020. Twenty two days later, Patrick Estell Jones was dead, the first federal inmate to die of the coronavirus.

He had contracted COVID-19 at the low-security prison in Oakdale, La., a penitentiary now dealing with the deadliest outbreak of any of the 122 federal facilities.

“He spent the last 12 years contesting a sentence that ultimately killed him,” said Alison Looman, a New York-based attorney who had represented Jones in an earlier unsuccessful bid for clemency. “Ironically, it seems it is his death that might finally bring his case some attention.”

The U.S. has seen a movement in the past several years to reduce the sentences of nonviolent drug offenders, but criminal justice reform advocates say Jones’s case illustrates the limits of that effort.

“You see everything that is wrong with our sentencing system in this case,” said Kevin Ring, president of the criminal justice advocacy group FAMM.

Ring ticked off the series of factors that led to Jones’s lengthy prison term: a questionable accounting of the amount of drugs he was selling, his apartment’s proximity to a junior college, his decision to go to trial rather than take a plea and a criminal record that was largely made up of teenage offenses.

“He was no choir boy but his life had meaning,” Ring said. “I feel like his life was taken from him when he was sentenced and then he was killed in prison, and both of those things should trouble us.”

Jones’s death also focused attention on the beleaguered prison in southern Louisiana. A total of five Oakdale prisoners have died from COVID-19, officials said, and so many have come down with presumed cases that officials had temporarily stopped testing them for it.

At least 18 inmates and four staffers have tested positive, according to the Bureau of Prisons, but prison union leaders say the numbers are significantly higher.

“You’re just afraid all the time,” said an Oakdale corrections officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak to the media. “You’re afraid of catching it and bringing it home to your family. You’re afraid of spreading it in the community.”

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on jails and prisons across the country. Earlier this week, the federal Bureau of Prisons announced that it was locking down all inmates in their cells or quarters, with limited exceptions, for 14 days, but new cases keep popping up.

“There’s a feeling of terror not knowing when this is going to end,” the Oakdale staffer said.

Jones arrived at the prison in April 2017. It would be the last stop in a hardscrabble life that began in Temple, Texas.

His childhood was marked by tumult. Jones was initially raised by his great grandmother but he spent much of his pre-teen years at a group home for children and shuffling between relatives and friends, according to his clemency petition and a government court filing quoting an interview with him. He was on and off the streets during his teenage years, the clemency petition says.

His first run-in with the law came when he was 17, court filings say. Jones was arrested twice in the span of two months on theft and burglary charges. He was charged as an adult and ultimately spent two years in prison.

Jones was released in August 1991 but he didn’t stay out of trouble. He was arrested in May 1992 after he sold cocaine to an undercover officer, according to court records. Jones pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

He was released on parole in 2000 and eventually settled in an apartment in Temple, a few blocks from the local community college. Temple police officers showed up at his home in January 2007 looking for a woman on an outstanding warrant, court records say.

After discovering crack and powder cocaine inside the residence, they arrested Jones and his wife of two months, Sharon, court documents say.

The woman targeted by police wasn’t at the apartment but she was later taken into custody. The woman, Frances Whitlock, told police she sold crack cocaine for the Joneses, averaging about five to ten deliveries a day and sometimes made as many as 30, court documents say.

Sharon Jones agreed to testify against her husband. At his trial, she testified that they had been selling the drugs for about two months. She said they would sell a half ounce of crack every other day, earning about $1,000 every day, court documents say.

The jury found Patrick Jones guilty of possession with intent to distribute at least 5 grams of crack cocaine. His wife received a term of three years’ probation after the government recommended a reduced sentence citing her cooperation, court filings say.

At his sentencing, Jones was held accountable for 425 grams of crack – 22 times the amount that was in his apartment – based on the testimony from his wife that they sold a half ounce every other day from Thanksgiving 2006 until the day of their arrest in January 2007.

The government also used several other factors to enhance Jones’s sentencing guidelines: his apartment’s proximity to Temple College, his role as an “organizer” of criminal activity for enlisting Whitlock to deliver the drugs, his decision to fight the charges at trial and his offenses when he was 17 and 21.

In the case of his previous arrests, the government treated each charge as a separate sentence, which had the effect of further driving up his sentencing guidelines.

Jones was sentenced to the minimum term under the guidelines, but it was still 30 years. His sentence was later reduced to 27 years after the U.S. Sentencing Commission amended the crack guidelines to reduce the disparity between powder and crack cocaine.

Jones’s younger sister recalled being stunned by the severity of his sentence. “My brother made some bad decisions in life but that doesn’t make him a bad person,” Debra Canady told NBC News.

In the years after his sentencing, she remained in close touch with her brother who wrote frequently, she said, asking for updates on the youngest of his three sons, Kyrell.

Jones filed a bid for clemency in Oct. 2016 pointing to court rulings and changes in sentencing guidelines that would have directly impacted his case. Jones’s lawyers argued that if he were sentenced then he likely would have received a term at least 10 years less than the one he had received.

“With good time credit,” the petition said, “Mr. Jones would have already served his entire sentence.”

The petition noted that he had no history of violence or ties to gangs, had spent his childhood “with no permanent home,” and that he was a model inmate who worked his way up to head baker–”a profession he hopes to pursue upon his release.”

In January 2017, his lawyers received word from the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney: the petition was denied.

Looman recalled that when she delivered the news to Jones, he immediately expressed concern about her and wondered aloud if she might lose her job as a result.

“It is a telling example of what a kind and compassionate person Patrick is,” Looman later wrote to his judge.

The First Step Act signed by President Donald Trump in December 2018 offered Jones a glimmer of hope.

In his motion for a sentence reduction under the law, Jones’s lawyers said shaving off years of his prison term would “support the mandate from Congress and President Trump to reduce unnecessarily lengthy sentences for defendants like Mr. Jones.”

Prosecutors took a starkly different position, emphasizing his previous convictions and his “leadership role” in his “‘crack’ distribution enterprise.”

“Jones was not a small time crack dealer whose sentence far outweighed the scope of his criminal activity,” prosecutors said in court papers.

The judge, in a ruling filed in February, sided with the government.

“Jones is a career offender with multiple prior offenses and a history of recidivating each time he is placed on parole,” Albright said in his order.

“Though the bulk of Jones’s offenses were committed at age 17, Jones displayed his continuing criminal tendencies by committing offenses each time he was released from custody.”

Albright couldn’t be reached for comment.

Looman didn’t handle Jones’s effort to get relief through the First Step Act, but she kept in touch with him via the federal prison email system.

“Happy New Year to you and may this year bring great things your way,” Jones wrote to her this past New Year’s Eve.

On Feb. 27, the day after the judge’s ruling, Jones sent her a message that made it clear he had yet to get the news.

“I’ve just been awaiting to hear something good for a change as far as legal issues go,” Jones wrote. “…But I have not got anymore info to what may be coming forth It’s been a lot of movement around here lately I hope I’m in the making for that kind of release also.”

The following month, Jones and Looman exchanged messages that referenced the coronavirus. The deadly illness was sweeping across the U.S. and there were escalating concerns of outbreaks inside detention facilities.

“I am doing well as fare (sic) as coronavirus goes and staying safe and healthy,” Jones wrote on March 14, five days before he would complain to Oakdale staffers about a persistent cough, according to federal prison officials.

He went on to say in his message to Looman that he found out the judge ruled against him, which was news even to Looman, and he revealed why it took him so long to get word: his lawyer had left the public defender’s office two months earlier.

“I talked to the head person and he said it was on him that I was not contacted and that he was going to get his people on top of the appeal,” Jones wrote. “…Anyway, enough about my problems. Are you likening (sic) the work from home thing?”

Looman replied a few days later.

She never heard back.

Rich Schapiro

Rich Schapiro is a reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

CONTINUE READING AND TO VIDEO….

Ultimate choice: Tennessee inmates wrestle with how to die

Image result for DEATH PENALY,

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Attorneys for Tennessee’s death row inmates say their clients face a unique and unenviable choice: choosing between two questionable and painful methods of execution.

The national Death Penalty Information Center notes that Tennessee is one of only six states that allow inmates to choose between lethal injection and the electric chair.

Four of the six inmates executed in Tennessee since 2018 have chosen electrocution.

A fifth inmate who has chosen this method is Nicholas Sutton, who is scheduled to die on Feb. 20 for the 1985 murder of a fellow inmate. Tennessee is the only state to use the electric chair since 2013.

CONTINUE READING…

RELATED:

https://fee.org/articles/if-you-hate-big-government-you-should-oppose-the-death-penalty/

Arrangements Being Made for TKP Thorne Peters

tkp cemetery

Arrangements for burial are in the process of being made at Elmwood Cemetery located at;

824 S. Dudley Street
Memphis, Tennessee 38104

LINK above…

So far, costs are at approximately $ 5,795.00, which includes;

$ 2,995.00 Cemetery Costs; $ 1,200.00 Open/Close, $ 1,500.00 Preparation Fees. 

DONATIONS are desperately needed!  You can donate thru the link above by contacting the Cemetery, or thru the “Freedom Fund” on ThornePeters.com.

Further information will be made available as it is planned.

Please help our “Freedom Fighter” to be laid to rest in a most appropriate place!

Additionally, Ms. Linda Harrah will need help with legal fee’s, etc.,

Any small amount is most appreciated!

Thank You!

tkp 1

https://www.facebook.com/thorne.peters/videos/2583959581684371/UzpfSTEwMDAwMDA1MjI4MDUxNDpWSzo3Njc0NzE0MzcwMTI0OTc/

http://www.elmwoodcemetery.org/

https://www.facebook.com/thorne.peters/videos/2585574071522922/?__tn__=%2CdlC-R&eid=ARCZFIvKjmvA8BboKF6oPqNNENXHVuPqGJHNVj6X__6xYIwmuFdBO7N-9v45asuelZ376UniyUfgr0RE&hc_ref=ARTfvDLn31JUqYbrBEsjzP9gddGabcIAB90-upzvriC7RCUyk5SXycn4S0ISwBYol1Q

Tennessee Deputy Sued Twice In The Same Day Over A Roadside Anal Search And A Forced Baptism

from the yeah-I’ve-never-seen-those-words-lined-up-like-that-before-either

Wed, Oct 16th 2019 12:17pm — Tim Cushing

You’ve got to be a special kind of law enforcement officer to have two lawsuits filed against you in the same day. Hamilton County Deputy Daniel Wilkey is that kind of special. The Tennessee law enforcement officer managed to violate rights against enough people that two of them retained lawyers. This suggests Deputy Wilkey violates rights on a regular basis, but maybe not egregiously enough to merit a lawsuit in every case.

Both cases here are disturbing. And they’re disturbing in very different ways. I’ve never read a civil rights lawsuit against an officer that included claims of a forcible religious experience, but here we are. (h/t Peter Bonilla)

The first lawsuit [PDF], filed by Shandle Riley, alleges that Deputy Wilkey followed her to a friend’s house from a nearby gas station. Once he had (sort of) pulled her over, things got weird quick.

First, Deputy Wilkey claimed Riley was holding meth. To prove this, he engaged in a full body patdown. Then he ordered her to take off her bra and “shake her bra and shirt” to prove she hadn’t stashed any meth there. Riley asked for a female officer to be present during this “search” but the deputy told her the law doesn’t require female cops to search female citizens.

He then asked if she had anything illegal in her car. She said she had a marijuana roach stashed in a pack of cigarettes. At that point, Deputy Wilkey became verbally abusive. Then he decided to strike a deal with the alleged criminal. We’ll go to the lawsuit for that because… well, it offers the driest recounting of a positively insane situation.

Wilkey then approached Plaintiff and asked her if she was “saved” and believed in Jesus Christ.

Plaintiff stated that she believed in Jesus Christ, but that she was not “saved” by her own choice.

Wilkey then told Plaintiff that God was talking to him during the vehicle search, and Wilkey felt the Lord wanted him to baptize the Plaintiff.

Wilkey further told Plaintiff that he felt “the spirit.”

Um. Do what now?

These are words coming from the mouth of a sworn peace officer. And that’s not the end of it. The option given to Riley was to participate in this highly-unconventional baptism presided over by an officer of the law or get thrown into the gaping maw of the criminal justice system with as much force as Deputy Wilkey could muster. If Riley agreed to a baptism, Wilkey said he would only cite her for marijuana possession and speak to the judge on her behalf. Riley complied with Wilkey’s demands, which included grabbing towels from her friends house and following Wilkey’s cruiser out to a nearby lake.

At the lake, Riley and Wilkey were joined by Deputy Jacob Goforth, who did nothing as Wilkey proceeded with the “baptism.”

Wilkey told Plaintiff that Goforth was present because, in order for a baptism to be valid, a witness must “attest” to the ritual.

Wilkey then stripped nearly naked, with only his boxer shorts on.

Wilkey then gave Plaintiff the option to strip too, but Plaintiff declined.

Wilkey then lead Plaintiff into the near waist deep and frigid water, placed one hand on Plaintiff’s back, and his other hand on Plaintiff’s breasts, and completely submerged Plaintiff under the water.

Wilkey held Plaintiff under water for several moments, then with his hands still positioned on her back and breasts, raised Plaintiff from the cold water.

Plaintiff was shivering uncontrollably, and felt horribly violated.

Unfortunately for Riley, I doubt there’s a case on point that will easily eliminate Wilkey’s qualified immunity defense. But hopefully, the court will recognize this is batshit insane enough it doesn’t need to find a case on point to find Wilkey violated her rights. To top it all off, Riley held up her end of the under-the-color-of-law bargain. Deputy Wilkey did not.

At no time did Wilkey ever [go to] court on Plaintiff’s behalf and speak to the judge.

If that was the only thing Wilkey was being sued about, it would be enough to question his fitness for duty. But as you already know, this isn’t the end of the accusations against the deputy.

The second lawsuit, filed in the same court on the same day, alleges Deputy Wilkey engaged in a suspicionless stop that turned into an impromptu roadside anal cavity search and the beating of a handcuffed man. And oh my god does it start with one of the dumbest things an officer has ever said to defend a pretextual stop. From the lawsuit [PDF]:

Wilkey followed Plaintiffs, and conducted a traffic stop of the Plaintiffs on the false claims of “window tint violation” and that he could smell the odor of marijuana as Wilkey followed the plaintiffs.

This assertion of Wilkey’s exceptional olfactory senses is followed by a parade of brutalities inflicted on the passenger of the pulled-over vehicle at the hands of the deputy. Fortunately for the plaintiffs, this whole interaction was recorded.

Untitled

Here’s the lawsuit’s description of those events:

Wilkey handcuffed James, and the individual Defendants took James to the front of one of their police vehicles.

Wilkey then began to grab James’ genitals. When James told Wilkey that James had an untreated and large hernia and that Wilkey’s actions were causing James pain, Brewer and Wilkey jerked James’ arms high above his back, and slammed James face-down onto the hot engine hood, causing injury to James.

Wilkey and Brewer then beat James with fists, knees, and feet, slammed James to the ground, and continued their brutalization of James.

Wilkey and Brewer then removed James’ pants and shoes, while still beating James.

Wilkey and Brewer then forced James’ face back onto the hot hood of the same police vehicle and continued to jerk his arms high above his back, and beat James.

While Brewer continued to force James’ face back onto the hot hood of the same police vehicle and jerk his arms high above his back Wilkey donned a set of gloves, pulled down James’ underwear, and conducted an anal cavity search of James.

The lawsuit goes on to note that James suffered numerous injuries including “tearing of his anus” and an aggravation of his existing hernia. The charges brought against James (the deputies discovered drugs in his underwear) were all dropped after the dashcam video was made public.

Deputy Wilkey has been suspended, but it’s the nice kind that means he’ll be paid to do nothing while the Sheriff’s Office decides what to do with him. It would seem obvious he’s too expensive to keep around.

CONTINUE READING…

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20191003/15342343118/tennessee-deputy-sued-twice-same-day-over-roadside-anal-search-forced-baptism.shtml?fbclid=IwAR3EfWx6P_sA7K12dedwfjNns4F6lULxIh4JUAt5WxHt37zCGKhDmlXasg4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=iDI0V4-3Wbg

Cases against NJ Weedman up in smoke. Prosecutors cite changing views of marijuana

Updated 9:11 AM; Posted Jun 6, 3:15 PM

Ed "NJ Weedman" Forchion reacts to someone who beeped their horn in support as he talked in front of his shuttered restaurant Friday, May 25, 2018 in Trenton, a day after he was acquitted of witness tampering and was released from jail. (Kevin Shea | For NJ.com)

Above:  Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion reacts to someone who beeped their horn in support as he talked in front of his shuttered restaurant Friday, May 25, 2018 in Trenton, a day after he was acquitted of witness tampering and was released from jail. (Kevin Shea | For NJ.com)

By Paige Gross   pgross@njadvancemedia.com,   For NJ.com

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday it will be dropping most of the remaining drug and related charges against Edward “NJ Weedman” stemming from a 2016 raid on his Trenton restaurant.

What is not dismissed will be downgraded to municipal court, where jail time is unlikely.

But Forchion’s not seeing this as all good news. 

Late last month, Forchion was found not guilty by a jury on third-degree witness tampering charges – a case that also grew from the drug raid.

The marijuana activist spent about 15 months detained in the Mercer County jail during two trials, and was set free hours after he was acquitted.

The prosecutor’s office said the decision to not move forward in prosecuting Forchion came after considering the shift in climate of marijuana legislation in New Jersey.

“They’re about 10 years too late,” Forchion said of a change in public opinion of marijuana. 

The office also considered the changes in law regarding the state’s bail reform – an issue Forchion railed against during his time in jail.

“I’m half-way happy and half-way mad,” he said Wednesday night. “Now the state just drops the charges, and I’ve already spent 16 months in jail. I had 42 charges against me total. It was a campaign of terror by the police department.”

NJ Weedman spent 400-plus days in jail. Turns out he was not guilty

Can he get anything for all the time he spent locked up?

“These factors call for an adjustment in the way the office most appropriately uses its resources and assistance from other law enforcement agencies in order to prioritize detention cases such as murders, attempted murders and violent crime,” the prosecutor’s statement said.

“The fact that the defendant has served more than a year in prison while these cases were pending was also taken into consideration,” it continued.

In all, Forchion had been indicted in 2016 and 2017 and was facing 11 charges related to narcotics dealings and cyber harassment. The prosecutor’s office has dismissed most of the charges, and downgraded five to “disorderly persons offenses,” all of which will be tried in Trenton Municipal Court.

The state is currently wrestling with ideas of how to deal with the hundreds of thousands of people who have been charged with marijuana crimes. Some legislators are considering expunging low-level convictions, but aren’t yet sure of the logistics.

“After a review of the defendant’s pending cases,” the prosecutor’s office said in its statement, “We feel the downgrade and dismissal of the charges is an appropriate resolution.”

Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @By_paigegross. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

CONTINUE READING….

The East Mississippi Correctional Facility Is ‘Hell on Earth’

By Carl Takei, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality

March 5, 2018

E. Mississippi Correctional Fire

At the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, where Mississippi sends some of the most seriously mentally ill people in the state prison system, even the most troubled patients are routinely ignored and the worst cases of self-harm are treated with certain neglect. The conditions at EMCF have cost some prisoners their limbs, their eyesight, and even their lives.

In 2013, the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, and prisoner rights attorney Elizabeth Alexander filed a class-action complaint on behalf of all the prisoners held at EMCF. As the case heated up, the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP joined as co-counsel, providing major staffing and support. Despite years of attempts by Mississippi to derail the lawsuit before our clients even saw the inside of the courtroom, the case will finally proceed to trial Monday.

The lawsuit against EMCF describes horrific conditions at the facility: rampant violence, including by staff against prisoners; solitary confinement used to excess, with particular harm to prisoners with mental illnesses; and filthy cells and showers that lack functional toilets or lights. It also sheds light on a dysfunctional medical and mental healthcare delivery system that puts patients at risk of serious injury and has contributed to deaths in custody.

Nowhere was this institutionalized neglect more clear than in the life, and death, of T.H., a patient at EMCF with a history of severe mental illness and self-harm. On Jan. 31, 2016, T.H. stuck glass into his arm. Instead of sending him to the emergency room, a nurse merely cleaned the wound with soap and water. The following day, he broke a light bulb and inserted the shards into his arm. This time he required eight stitches.

Less than two weeks later, he cut himself with a blade hidden in his cell and then tried to hang himself. It was only later that month, after he reopened his arm wound with more glass, that mental health staff finally placed him on special psychiatric observation status.
Yet, because he wasn’t properly monitored, T.H.’s series of self-injury continued unabated until April 4, 2016. Early that afternoon, he stuck his arm, dripping in blood, through a slot in his cell door and asked to see the warden. A lieutenant saw T.H.’s bloodied arm, but, rather than call for emergency assistance, simply left the area. Two hours later, T.H. was observed unresponsive on the floor of his cell.

E. Mississippi Correctional Blood on the Door
In response, the prison warden opted to call for a K-9 team to enter the cell with dogs before letting medical professionals examine the patient. By then it was too late — T.H. was dead, having strangled himself with materials from inside his cell. He never once had a proper suicide risk assessment or any treatment to address his self-harm.

The lackadaisical and unconstitutional approach that EMCF staff takes toward prisoner healthcare cost T.H. his life and has caused well-documented suffering among countless other mentally ill prisoners. And it all happens in the context of a prison rife with violence, where security staff often react with excessive force to mental health crises and allow prison gangs to control access to necessities of life, including at times food.

The Constitution requires that if the state takes someone into custody, it must also take on the responsibility of providing treatment for their serious medical and mental health needs. This means, among other measures, hiring qualified medical staff to provide necessary care for people with mental health disorders, creating systems for access to care so sick patients can see a mental health or medical clinician, and making sure that medical care is provided without security staff impeding it.

The ACLU and our co-counsel are fighting to ensure that such care is available at EMCF, where the state of Mississippi has continued to lock some of the most vulnerable prisoners in dangerous and filthy conditions and deny them access to constitutionally required mental health and medical care.

I witnessed those conditions firsthand when I visited EMCF in January 2011 with fellow ACLU attorney Gabriel Eber and two medical and mental health experts. At that time, we were horrified to discover that Mississippi’s designated mental health prison was closer to a vision of hell on earth than a therapeutic treatment facility.

When I walked into one of the solitary confinement units, the entire place reeked of smoke from recent fires. I tried to speak to patients about their experiences, but I could barely hear them over the sounds of others moaning and screaming while they slammed their hands into metal cell doors.

Despite repeated warnings from nationally renowned experts brought in to assess conditions at the prisons, a meeting with top Mississippi Department of Corrections officials, and an offer by the ACLU to help MDOC pay to diagnose and fix the problems at EMCF, Mississippi officials permitted these conditions to continue unabated. Rather than take responsibility for fixing this prison, these officials merely switched contractors. In 2012, they swapped out private prison giant GEO Group, Inc. and replaced them with another private prison company, Management & Training Corp., which is perhaps best known for its horrific record of abusing and neglecting immigrant detainees. The state has also switched prison medical contractors multiple times, with little improvement from one to the next.

But the nightmare might soon be over. Over seven years since we first visited the cesspool that is EMCF, our clients will be allowed in court for the first time, asking that their constitutional rights finally be recognized. That recognition won’t undo the great harms they’ve suffered. But by fulfilling the Constitution’s promise of protection, we can stop new harms and horrors at EMCF, of which there have been too many for too long.

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Former Kentucky jail guard convicted of beating inmate who later died

 

 

KYRiverJail2.jpg

A former Kentucky jail guard was convicted of beating an inmate and leaving him lying with blood on his face, until another jail employee saw the victim and he was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead, officials said on Friday.

A federal jury deliberated for an hour and a half before returning the verdict late on Thursday against William Howell, a former deputy jailer at Kentucky River Regional Jail in the town of Hazard, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

The panel found Howell guilty of excessive force and of ignoring the inmate’s injuries and he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each criminal count when he is sentenced on Aug. 16 at a federal court in London, Kentucky.

Howell, 60, and another guard beat inmate Larry Trent, 54, on July 9, 2013, after he was booked on a charge of drunken driving.

It started when the two guards opened Trent’s cell door to remove a sleeping mat. Trent ran out and the jailers punched, kicked and stomped on Trent before taking him back to his cell, where Howell kicked Trent in the head while he lay on the ground, the Department of Justice statement said.

An autopsy found Trent died of a fracture to his pelvis that caused hemorrhaging and from blunt force trauma to his head, chest and limbs.

Damon Hickman, the other guard, pleaded guilty last year to depriving Trent of his legal rights and falsifying records for his role in the beating, according to court records. He has not yet been sentenced for those convictions.

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http://perrycounty.ky.gov/da/Pages/jail.aspx

Milwaukee Inmate Died After Being Deprived of Water for 7 Days

Milwaukee Inmate Died After Being Deprived of Water for 7 Days

By DANIEL VICTORAPRIL 25, 2017

 

Terrill Thomas had bipolar disorder, a lawyer for his estate said.

Inmates, correction officers and investigators are testifying in Milwaukee this week to help determine whether jail employees will be charged with abuse in the dehydration death of an inmate who the authorities say was deprived of water for a week.

Prosecutors and a lawyer representing the estate of the inmate, Terrill Thomas, say that correction officers turned off the man’s water supply in an isolation cell in April 2016, and that he was unable to ask for help because he was having a mental health crisis. He died on April 24, 2016.

In March, the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office requested an inquest, a relatively uncommon legal procedure in which a cause of death is examined for possible criminal charges. After a week of testimony, jurors will decide whether to recommend charges against jail employees, though the district attorney is not bound by the recommendation.

Erik Heipt, the lawyer representing Mr. Thomas’s estate, said in an interview on Monday that Mr. Thomas, 38, had bipolar disorder, and that “he was not operating in a world of reality” when he was jailed.

 

“He needed mental health treatment, but instead of the jail treating his very serious mental health needs, they responded by punishing him for acting out,” he said. “They treated his mental illness as a behavioral problem and disciplined him.”

Mr. Thomas was arrested on April 15, 2016, on charges that he shot a man and later fired two gunshots inside the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

He was placed in a cell at the Milwaukee County Jail with no mattress, blanket or pillow, Mr. Heipt said. There was a toilet, but it wouldn’t flush after the water was turned off, he said.

Mr. Thomas was not given drinks with his food, which was an unsavory, brick-shaped dish called “Nutraloaf” that some states have banned. He did not eat the meals and lost at least 30 pounds, Mr. Heipt said.

While other inmates told correction officers that Mr. Thomas needed water, Mr. Thomas could not advocate this himself, Mr. Heipt said. On April 24, Mr. Thomas was found dead on the floor of his cell.

 

“Inmates are at the mercy of their jailers for basic life-sustaining necessities like water, food and medical care,” a court filing signed by Kurt Benkley, an assistant district attorney, said in March. “When a mentally ill inmate, like Mr. Thomas, is locked in solitary confinement without access to water, his life is totally in his jailers’ hands.”

The sheriff’s office did not respond to messages on Tuesday seeking comment.

Mr. Benkley said at the opening of the inquest on Monday that video showed three officers turning off the water in Mr. Thomas’s cell as punishment for flooding another cell, The Journal Sentinel reported. The officers did not notify supervisors or document the cutoff, Mr. Benkley said.

“This order to shut off Mr. Thomas’s water was highly irregular and contrary to standard operating procedure in the jail,” the assistant district attorney said, according to the newspaper.

Two correction officers who testified on Monday said they were unaware that the water in Mr. Thomas’s cell had been turned off, according to Fox 6, a Milwaukee television station.

Mr. Heipt said he planned to file a federal civil rights case on behalf of Mr. Thomas’s estate, and one of Mr. Thomas’s children has filed a separate federal civil suit against Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County and his staff. Mr. Clarke gained national prominence last year as one of President Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters in law enforcement, delivering a speech at the Republican National Convention in which he declared, “Blue lives matter.”

Mr. Heipt praised the district attorney’s office for “really digging deeply into this,” which he described as unusual for abuse that’s reported behind bars. Families who believe their loved ones were abused often have trouble getting prosecutions, and typically rely more on the civil court system, where they can obtain monetary damages, he said.

While public interest in police shootings has grown in recent years, abuse in the prison system is more likely to remain hidden from the public, he said. That’s partly because police shootings in public spaces are often captured by videos that go viral and stoke widespread calls for justice, he said.

“That type of evidence doesn’t always exist in jail-related deaths, and so the people are often not demanding the same level of accountability,” Mr. Heipt said. “These things are often poorly investigated and get swept under the rug, and the citizens don’t even know it’s happening.”

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