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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Correctional Officer from Salinas Valley State Prison pulls woman from burning car

A Mercedes SUV burns in the background. A Salinas Valley State Prison Officer pulled Rhea Nabua, 33, from the burning car on Feb. 1.
A Mercedes SUV burns in the background. A Salinas Valley State Prison Officer pulled Rhea Nabua, 33, from the burning car on Feb. 1.

A Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) Correctional Officer recently pulled a woman from a burning car, saving her life. As she lies in a hospital bed in a coma, the officer is still trying to help.

While driving home after completing Third Watch at SVSP, Correctional Officer Mike Johnson came across the scene of an accident. As one of the first on scene, he credits his California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation training for his actions.
The accident
“I observed a vehicle on fire and a second vehicle was smoldering,” he said of the Feb. 1 incident. “It appeared to be a head-on collision. My most immediate concern was an SUV-style Mercedes. The front was engulfed in flames.”
Johnson, a Correctional Officer since July 2009, said his training kicked in.
“The first thing I did was treat it like a Code 2 response and that was to get a quick review of the scene and determine what my assets were,” he said. “There were two people driving by who pulled over. The first guy I told to call 911 and grabbed him to follow me to a vehicle. We went to the first car that wasn’t on fire. There was a lady who was conscious and breathing. She asked what happened. I told her she’d been in an accident. I said, ‘I’m going to leave this guy here with you and you’ll be OK.’ I left him with her and went to the other car.”
He grabbed the other bystander and put him to work.
Officer Mike Johnson started his CDCR career in July 2009.
Officer Mike Johnson started his CDCR career in July 2009.
“Then I went to the Mercedes, which was on fire. I saw a female had been ejected from the front passenger side and was lying face down on the ground about eight feet away from the vehicle,” he said. “There was a man who was to the right of that, outside the vehicle, kneeling up against the fence and in a great deal of pain. So, the second person on scene, I grabbed him and said, ‘Hey, I need you to help me get this person away from the vehicle.’ So we picked her up and carried her about 50 feet where it was safe and laid her on the ground, closer to the man.”
Johnson turned his attention back to the burning Mercedes.
“I asked the man if there was anyone else inside the vehicle. He said he didn’t know. I asked him his name and he didn’t answer,” he said. “He was obviously going into shock.”

Friday, February 20, 2015

Nuestra Familia CEO sentenced to 35 years to life

The CalifornianNuestra Familia CEO Vincent “Chente” Garcia was sentenced Friday in Salinas to 35 years to life in prison, a commitment that accounted for two prior strikes for attempted murder and burglary.

Monterey County Superior Court Judge Pamela Butler discounted an argument from defense attorney Bryan Hackett, who represented 47-year-old Garcia, that the 1996 and 1998 convictions were too “remote in time” to be considered as strikes.

Hackett had filed a Romero Motion, which would have allowed the court to disregard prior strikes “in the furtherance of justice.”

Under California’s Three Strikes Law, Garcia earned five years apiece for each prior conviction to run consecutive to 25 years to life for conspiring to sell methamphetamine for the benefit of the Nuestra Familia gang.

Garcia was convicted in December by a jury of 10 women and two men who only needed two hours to render a decision.

On Friday, Garcia was turned over to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to begin his sentence. He enters prison with 1,244 days credited.

Paul Leyba’s nine-year prison sentence pales in comparison to Garcia’s decades-long commitment, Hackett argued. Leyba and Garcia were among 47 arrested during the May 2013 Operation Snake Eyes orchestrated by federal agents. Leyba was the original target, Hackett said. continue reading...

Another prison riot at Ironwood

Palo Verde Valley Times Ironwood State Prison (ISP) was once again the scene of a riot last Friday after approximately 120 inmates started fighting in the "D" yard dining hall.

This time, inmates began fighting using their fists, kicks, and food trays against other inmates during the evening meal.

Officers immediately deployed multiple less lethal force options in an effort to quell the disturbance. While gaining control of the incident, there were approximately 100 inmates walking to the dining hall when the riot spread to the yard. The incident quickly escalated and mutual aid from Chuckawalla Valley State Prison was summoned.

Responding staff arrived and were able to gain control of the disturbance utilizing less lethal 40mm launchers designed to fire rubber and wood projectiles, OC pepper spray, blast dispersion grenades and expandable batons. The rapid response by officers controlled the incident within a few minutes.

All inmates were separated and placed into secure locations. Inmates who were found with injuries requiring more definitive care were transported to Triage Treatment Area (TTA) for treatment. Subsequently, 15 inmates were sent to outside area hospitals for further treatment.

There were no injuries to staff as a result of this incident. Facility "D" is on modified program pending investigation into the cause of this disturbance and identification of participants.

Earlier this month, ISP reported four of its correctional officers were attacked by several inmates during mealtime on "C" yard. In August, six inmates were temporarily hospitalized when a fight broke out, also on "C" yard.


ABC 30A former Mexican Mafia hit man who was sentenced to life in prison will be paroled in a matter of days unless Gov. Jerry Brown intervenes.

Rene Enriquez, 52, is a convicted murderer who has written extensively about the years he spent in the Mexican Mafia. In a YouTube clip, Enriquez promoted one of the books he wrote while behind bars.

He is currently serving two life sentences in state prison, but that hasn't stopped him from getting out to talk about his time as a hit man.

He is also a regular speaker at law enforcement seminars. Last month, Enriquez was the guest speaker at a private reception in downtown Los Angeles.

The LAPD came under fire for providing security for the event. The police department's role in the event remains under review.

Over the past several years, law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles and Orange counties have relied on Enriquez for training purposes or as an expert witness.

Enriquez's willingness to share information with law enforcement was cited as a reason for the state parole board to grant his release. Despite convictions for two murders and a gang rape, Enriquez could go free by Sunday.

On Tuesday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck had little to say about whether or not Enriquez should be set free.

"I don't involve myself in matters of parole. I don't know the standards that they use," Beck said. continue reading...

Prison officials: 2000 inmates involved in prison disturbance

Valley Morning StarWillacy County sheriff’s deputies, Raymondville police, DPS troopers, Border Patrol and every other available law enforcement agency in the region is at the federal prison in Raymondville for what appears to have escalated into a riot.

Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence said several tents at the facility were set on around 1:30 p.m. The prison compound is made up of massive tents commonly known as a "tent city."

In a news release Management and Training Corporation, which runs the prison, said the problems started this morning when inmates refused to eat breakfast and complained about medical services at the facility.

MTC says several inmates broke out of the housing units and made their way to the recreational yard.

Sheriff Spence said at one point he saw 200 to 300 inmates walking around in the recreation yard.

The company says there are now approximately 2,000 inmates taking part in the disturbance. Another 1,000 inmates housed in a separate facility are not involved.

Prison officials say they used tear gas to try to bring the situation under control. They say inmates set fire to three of the 10 prison tents causing minor damages.

"There’s been some shots fired. Guards on top of the tower were firing. What they were using as ammunition, I have no idea," Spence said.

The company says two officers and an inmate suffered minor injuries and were treated at the prison. continue reading...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Vest protects officer from stabbing by inmate

U-T San DiegoAn inmate at an Otay Mesa prison attacked a correctional officer with a homemade weapon Sunday night, a state official said Monday.

Jason Harmon rushed the 27-year-old officer as inmates were getting medication about 8:05 p.m. at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility. Harmon stabbed the officer with the pointed end of the weapon, but struck the officer's protective vest, said Robert Brown, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The officer tried to subdue Harmon, but he continued to attack, Brown said. Other officers stepped in to stop the attack and took away the weapon.

Harmon, 37, was taken to a hospital for a cut on his head and possibly a broken hand, Brown said. He was put into the Administration Segregation Unit at the prison. The officer suffered minor cuts and bruises.

Investigators are looking into what may have prompted the incident, if anything, Brown said.

Harmon is serving a life sentence for attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, carjacking, buying or receiving stolen equipment and evading a peace officer while driving recklessly. He has been imprisoned since 2011.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

More parole agent caseloads exceed limits under new sex offender rules

LA TimesSince two sex offenders were charged with killing four women while under state and federal watch, California has changed how it supervises such parolees, increasing scrutiny of some and relaxing the monitoring of others.

A Times analysis of state data shows that the number of parole agents with caseloads exceeding state limits has increased under the new system, further stretching California's already strained ability to oversee freed sex offenders.

The new regimen, which now ties parolees' supervision to risk-assessmenttools,therapy and their own behavior, "will let us achieve higher levels of public safety," said Douglas Eckenrod, who runs the state's sex offender monitoring program.

He said the program shifts resources from those parolees considered less likely to commit new crimes and toward those deemed a public safety threat. The new system, phased in slowly but fully in place since mid-September, also allows offenders who comply with parole rules to earn less supervision.

"We want them to want to not reoffend," said Eckenrod, an administrator in the California Division of Adult Parole Operations.

All sex offenders must still wear ankle monitors that track their movements, and they must continue to check in with parole agents. But they must now also attend therapy sessions and undergo polygraph testing about their sexual behavior and compliance with treatment. continue reading...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Jail escapee tries to flee courthouse

The RecordAn inmate who was suspected of trying to rob a bank after escaping from the San Joaquin County Jail’s Honor Farm tried to make a run for it again Thursday morning when he appeared in a Stockton courtroom, authorities said.

Pedro Arquiaga, 20, jumped over a barrier and tried to run through a side door in Dept. 25 at the San Joaquin County Superior Courthouse, said Deputy Les Garcia, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.
A deputy positioned near the back door intercepted Arquiaga and physically subdued him without further incident, Garcia said.

Arquiaga sustained minor injuries, Garcia said, but the deputy was not hurt.

Arquiaga was in court to face charges of burglary, auto theft, escape and resisting a peace officer, Garcia said. He now faces an additional escape charge, Garcia said.

Arquiaga escaped from the Honor Farm on Dec. 27, authorities said. He was being held there after police arrested him on suspicion of burglary, possession of burglary tools, receiving stolen property, auto theft, hit-and-run and resisting arrest, officials said.

He was apprehended Jan. 3 after the Stockton Police Department said he entered a Chase Bank in the 7800 block of Tam O Shanter Drive, indicated he had a gun, made a threat and demanded money. A bank employee called police, who were waiting outside the bank. Investigators said that he had arrived at the bank in a stolen vehicle.

From CCPOA Benefit Trust Fund

Many of you in Northern California are participants in the CCPOA Medical Plan and have Sutter health as your primary care physician. Sutter Health and Blue Shield (BSC) are currently in negotiations and there are plenty of speculators out there regarding the outcome. Per the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) (a State Agency) BSC was required to file a plan with DMHC if the negotiations with Sutter did not result in an agreement. In order for BSC to be in compliance with DMHC rules those of us who use Sutter are receiving letters from BSC. While this is an ongoing negotiation I have received the following information from BSC.

Members enrolled in our CCPOA Medical Plan who have a Sutter personal care physician (PCP) will receive the standard 60-day notification of a change in their network. The letters are due to be mailed on January 15th. They will be reassigned to a new provider group effective April 1, 2015. From January 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015, CCPOA Medical Plan enrollees can continue accessing health care services with primary care and specialty physicians affiliated with the terminating Sutter provider groups at in-network benefit levels.

If you have any questions you can call the Trust at 1-800-IN-UNIT-6 We will keep you posted as new information becomes available. Thank you for your patience.

CMC warden accused of doctoring an inmate’s file

Cal Coast NewsThe warden and a captain at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo County were suspended for 10 days after it was discovered that they had destroyed a portion of an inmate’s file in an attempt to promote the prisoner’s parole, prison sources said.

While in prison, the convicted murderer had been busted for drugs. However, shortly before the inmate was to appear before the California Board of Prison Terms, documents of the 115 drug charge were removed from his file.

Nevertheless, board officials discovered a confidential report describing the drug offense. As a result, the prisoner was not paroled.

Following an investigation, Warden Elvin Valenzuela and Captain Jennifer Core were each suspended for 10 days, CMC sources said.

Valenzuela did not respond to requests for comment. Jeffrey Callison, the press secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, confirmed that there had been an investigation into the altering of an inmate’s file.

“In response to your question yesterday, all we can say at this time is that there was an investigation into actions regarding an inmate’s file,” Callison said in an email. “That investigation has been completed and all appropriate actions have been taken. Since this is a personnel matter, there is no further comment that we can make.” continue reading...

Blue Shield, Sutter Impasse About More Than Money

KQEDContract breakdowns between insurance companies and health care providers are nothing new and often blow over after public posturing. But the current failure of Blue Shield and Sutter Health to come to terms on a new contract may be harder to resolve. That’s because the main issues appear to be about much more than money.

While the negotiations grind on, more than 250,000 people in individual and family plans are waiting to see what happens. The contract between Blue Shield and Sutter terminated on Dec. 31.
To be sure, money is a factor. Sutter says that Blue Shield is “demanding reductions in what they pay our organization … that would have a devastating impact,” said Bill Gleeson, a spokesman for Sutter. He says Sutter has asked for “less than a 1 percent increase.”

But Blue Shield claims Sutter is pushing the insurer to accept “new and unprecedented contractual provisions,” says Steven Shivinsky, spokesman for Blue Shield.

The most significant new contractual provision is a requirement to arbitrate disputes.

Now, to any average patient, a request to arbitrate disputes probably doesn’t sound like a big deal. I know I’ve signed plenty of documents with various doctors over the years waiving my right to go to court and agreeing to arbitrate areas of disagreement.

But this is different.

Blue Shield’s Shivinsky says that generally arbitration between insurers and providers goes something like this: A provider and insurer disagree on how much reimbursement there should be for, say, an operation. They can’t agree, they go to arbitration. That happens all the time, he says. “It’s appropriate, it’s inexpensive, it’s fast, and it resolves these issues quickly.” continue reading...

Tax Info for POFF cash out