Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report – Vol. 4 no. 3 Summer 2014

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Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report
“Veritas in Caritatis”             
Vol. 4, No 3, Summer Issue 2014
THEME: “Audi alterum partem” – Listen to the other side!
“Voice of the Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report”
Website: Nvjprudence.wordpress.com (this issue here)
Statement of Purpose:
The NJPR Newsletter reports on current prison conditions, good and bad; more importantly it looks at and evaluates the legal processes and the substantive laws which are designed to keep men in prison: Pre-trial issues, probation and parole policy, sentencing structures, post-conviction law, and most important, the philosophy underlying policy in practice.
The purpose of the NJPR Website is to provide a repository of affidavits, declarations and grievances in Web-Dossiers organized by categories of intuitional behavior. Fundamentally, this is a whistleblowing organization trying to associate with other “transparency” projects at an intrastate, national and global level. We seek to identify patterns which can be utilized by the U.S. Department of Justice.
We invite any resident, and especially judicial officers of the Courts and government Administration to write letters to the NJPR.
Index to this Issue:
Section One: Conditions
1. Cameras: For Us, or Against Us? By Rahsquo
2. Crowding, Violence and Nevada Stickney Report
3. Uppity Inmate: Engineering Submission, by Cal
4. Government Pushback, Small Town Style
Section Two: Law, Equity and Policy
1.     The Darkness Deepens
2.     Sicherungverwahrung and the Male Peril
Section Three: Art, Culture, Education and Religion
1.    Report: Nevada Appellate and Post-Conviction Project Now Defunct
2.    Justice Brandeis Innocence Project
3.    New College Program: New Free Dom College
4.    Sociological Study Underway
5.    Obamacare Now Covers Ex-Felons
6.    Poem: The Man in Me by John Fenton
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Section One: Conditions
1) Cameras: For Us or Against Us? By Rahsquo
In a putative effort to curb violence and other illegal activity at NNCC (a medical/retirement facility) cameras were installed in 2011. Prior to this installation of cameras in all units (except the human barn unit 10), the only areas where cameras were active was the infirmary and the visiting room.
The British author George Orwell (ne Eric Blair) in his visionary novel, 1984, described a futuristic society that furnished cameras almost everywhere. “Big Brother” would be individually monitoring your whereabouts. Mr. Orwell’s book was published in the 1930’s, and may have inspired the voyeuristic practices that are today disguised as legal surveillance.
Immediately, I can attest to have witnessed grown men stimulated by the camera installation to exhibit behaviors of hysterical panic about the sudden lack of privacy. They wondered what the cameras were for? Some speculated that they were there to deter and ward off any further assaults by a rogue group of correctional officers under the leadership of a sadistic lieutenant that harassed and physically abused old and crippled prisoners. The mutual occasional fisticuffs that are bound to transpire among 1500 men did not seem to warrant the rise in “get tough” measures imposed by the administration. After all, NNCC, in addition to being a medical facility, is a low-medium yard. Surely the majority of the elderly sick and dying prisoners were no threat to the safety and security of the institution.
Here is an example of the seemly side of camera usage in prison:
After the cameras were up-and-running, a newly admitted prisoner was allegedly assaulted by one of two prisoners in general population. When the “alleged” assault victim reported the incident, the cameras were “played back” and the prison investigator swiftly apprehended the two perpetrator caught on camera—or so the officials thought. In fact, there was no coverage where the actual assault took place— inside the bathrooms. Only the hallways have video monitors in the units. Two black men who appeared on the hallway video “around” the time of the assault. These mistakenly accused were pressured to randomly name two others, who were then charged with the assault. One of the now falsely accused had an alibi that arbitrarily disregarded; he had been in the infirmary for a doctor’s visit and had proof of it. The other black man lived in another wing, and no video footage was use to prove he left that wing to go to the other at the time of the assault. Both innocent men did serious hole time, while the actual bully went home 2 days after the beating!
On the other hand, video evidence has brought some justice to the yard. On Thanksgiving Day 2009, an official lynching occurred in the mental health wards of the prison infirmary, and because of the existence of a video tape of the “cell extraction” the killer correctional officials were removed from duty (at this time there is no knowledge of and criminal changes ever brought against them). Rumors coming out of the correction staff community report the mentally deranged inmate was gassed, tazed, and deprived of air with a plastic bag. One of the rogue cops, before the excrement hit the fan, retired.
The video evidence reportedly resulted in the firing of two officials, the suspension of two others.
So, are the cameras for us or against us? It appears to depend on the practice of a virtue called justice by the controllers of the cameras.
2)   Crowding, Violence and the Nevada Stickney Report
On and off the NNCC situation has included the usage of dayrooms for use as temporary housing in order to upgrade the facility’s Unit bathrooms, increasing the mandated 90 to 1 ratio of staff to inmate to about 140 to 1 in the two housing barns 10A and 10B. this Unit did not need any retrofit, having been built in 2007, so it was used as overflow. The work is now done and the overflow was moved out on July 28.
The mandates of population-staff ratios stem from a lawsuit in the early 1980’s that lasted until 2002. It is captioned Stickney v. List, CR-R-79_11_ECR. I am told stories by old timers, that in those days, correctional officers made minimum wage and supplemented their income by selling drugs, hookers and booze to inmate. The ratio of officers to inmates was 1 UNIT to 1 GUARD, resulting in shockingly high levels of rape (yes, man rape) and assault, obviously exacerbated by drugs and alcohol.
3)   Uppity Inmate: Engineery Total Submission
It is unfortunate duty to report on the retaliation by an NDOC official against a fellow inmate. It is truly troubling because, as a witness, it was clear to me the inmate was innocent of any wrongdoing. It was even more disturbing to witness the capricious, arbitrary, irrational behavior of a high-ranking NDOC official, who was so drunk on her own infallible power, she lost custody of her mind.
The NDOC was in the midst of implementing its standard [unwritten] institutional procedure of geno-punitive retribution. This term describes the practice of operant conditioning of groups. It is a practice consistent with the deprivation theory of corrections that justifies subtle forms of terrorism against target populations aimed at deterring future bad acts.
An inmate of the Unit that [illegally] houses 140 inmates was caught making pruno, or home-made fruit wine. The police found it in the ceiling. He [the winermaker] was sequestered to the disciplinary housing unit. But the [unwritten] policy of NDOC is to punish the entire community in which the transgressor lives. The policy requires acts of aggression by the prison officials against the entire cohort, and in this case included:
The arbitrary and capricious taking of property under color of a law or housing code,
The disestablishment of practices and customs of the inmate community, in this case the use of curtains in front of the defecation toilets and in and around the bank beds for sleeping privacy,
The drastic and absurd removal of the ceiling tiles in the rooms where the pruno was hidden ;
The invention of cosmetic rules of prohibition regarding the placement of fans and television reception antennas, and the storage of clothes, and usage of shelf space.
The sudden capricious demand that “this place has to look like a military barracks”.
The officials made people straighten out the towels hanging at the ends of beds and take down decorative items, or intensive micromanage
Although these seem extremely mild irritants the psychological exacerbation of fear was impressive, due to the mere increase of police presence in the unit. Normally there is one officer on duty 24 hours a duty, and visits by “suits” (high ranking officials) are extremely unusual. During the height of the government hysterical overreaction to the pruno crime, an uppity inmate had the gumption to ask the ringleader of the high rankers applying the operant retribution what the provocation was for such an attack. The Ringleader government thug responded by demanding the inmates Identification card, and ordering his “level reduction” by moving him out of his “Level One” unit into a level Two unit. The level reduction may cause the loss of his job, which would directly increase the amount of time spent in prison because non-workers do not get “good time” credit. The loss of lower custody status reduced his privileges, but he is too terrified to file a grievance, because he fears escalated government push-back by his being moved to a higher custody yard.
The aider and abettor of the Ringleader carrying out the orders of his superior official told me personally, when I asked “why all this hubbub?” “The inmate who confronted the Glorious Ringleader really pissed her off, he should have known his place”.
The practice of harem scarem mass punishments (geno-punitive retribution) has a counterproductive effect of causing inmate-on-inmate violence which is the exact opposite of the job of a correctional facility. The behaviors of the officials trigger mimetic behaviors of the inmates. Because of the immature example of bullying and irrational scapegoating of 139 men to pay for the act of one alcoholic inmate, (violence begets violence), the inmates experienced a huge community increase of blaming, finger pointing, character assassination, backstabbing and faultfinding—against each other. Only a tiny fraction had the gumption to file a grievance, which will be reported on next issue.
4) Government Push-Back, Small Town Style: How to Chill a Prisoner
A recent exposé in the Rolling Stone, (Putin Clamps Down by Janet Reitman 5/8/14) there is an interesting series of observations. Each phenomena has an American homologue.
First, this sentence uses a category of relation between the government and an individual or group:
“Wary of government push-back, the protesters played by the rules,…” (53)
Here, the term push-back refers to the use of the police power of the national government of Russia. Here is an example of how push-back works at a prison facility in the backwood polity of Nevada.
A prisoner at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, run under an experimental regime that imposes collective psychological conditioning (mind control) through a “level system”, suffered head trauma from a piece of falling concrete. He received treatment and was even taken out in chains to be checked at a local hospital. Several days later he found out another man had suffered from a near miss of falling concrete in the same Unit 4 (the lowest level of the operant conditioning system). He filed an emergency grievance, stating he wanted an official to take pictures of the dilapidated concrete ceiling and to be compensated for the pain suffered.
The officer in charge called the victim of falling concrete up to the main administrative office. When he got there he was met by a bizarre sight: all of the correctional staff assigned to the Mayberry control center had collected up into a choral group of 5-7 persons and when the inmate arrived inside the building, they all sang out, in UNISON, the same words, in the same voice:
HIIII ROBERT!
Wha…? Really
Robert filed suit later, and it passed screening, because in addition to the bizarre stage show, these clowns took him to administrative segregation under the color of law.
Section Two: Law and Equity
1)   The Darkness Deepens
The Nevada Department of Corrections is generally exempt from all rulemaking procedures which executive branch officials must use. These Rules are found in Chapter 233B of the Revised Statutes (NRS). 
There was an exception, until recently. The prison store fund rules used to require that the Administrative rulemaking process had to be utilized. It appears that this requirement might have been revoked. This rules requirement penciled in at NRS 209.221 (7) and (8) is referred to in the 233B, stating “except as provided in 209.221, NDOC is exempt from 233B rules”. However, this language is deleted in a recent computer printout of the statute, making NDOC’s discretionary rulemaking power absolute, and thus a despotic dominion.
Chapter 176, NRS 176.0125 establishes the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice, at paragraph 4, states that the commission shall:

“Evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department of Corrections… with consideration as to whether it is feasible… to establish an oversight or advisory board…(c) policies for the operation of the Department of Corrections;”

There’s some hope in that.
Now, any warden with common sense would want to obtain the intelligence of circumspection by offering to receive “input” from all parties possible. The unwritten rules of reason require this. There are cases where this is done. In 2008, this writer was witness to the actions of Chaplain Garcia at Lovelock. He asked for inmate participation, he was delivered an article of the Prison Legal News article regarding the case at Pelican Bay Prison in California where the officials refused to allow hardbound books. (PLN, July, 07, pg 19)
The result of that case was a court order for the officials to cut the cover off. Garcia brought that law to the meeting and a policy was established to do this. Another example of rulemaking input is at AR 802, Community Volunteers. At 802.04(i) it states “A volunteer is encouraged to submit suggestions for conducting, enhancing or improving volunteer services”. What needs to happen is to change the language to say,
“The warden shall request, on a yearly basis, the volunteers and families of convicts and the general public to submit suggestions. The input shall be tallied and formatted, and a copy delivered to the survey participants, and to the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice, and the Legislative Counsel Bureau, who shall make said survey report available to the general public in both formats, digital and hardcopy”.
A third example of current potential input for policy review and rules process is the Inmate Advisory Committee (IAC). This practice is being used at the medium yard at NNCC, and in general is used for conveying decrees from the Glorious Leader, and as a pressure release value that deals with cosmetic issues regarding the conditions of confinement. It’s basically a place to whine for whiners and moaners  about trivialities like television reception.
The Principle of Government Secrecy is necessary in some situations, such as in times of war, and the executive war machine needs to conceal its hand from the enemy. The so-called War-on-Crime justifies civil government secrecy. But the “war-on-crime is a product of the ideological apparatus of the official anarchists trying to escalate the war-on-crime for economic good. Malinski v. NY 68 S. Ct 781 demands no ear be given to loose talk about war on crime!
2)   Sicherungverwahrungand the Male Peril—Myth, Spin and Therapeutic Economy
In the April 2014 CURE Civil Commitment Newsletter, the article “The Presumption of Dangerousness” did an excellent job describing the state of affairs. This reports on two dimensions which are important if we attempt to be scientifically circumspect. The first dimension is the historical, and the second is the normative, or “ethical”.
The historical dimensions open upon the Germanic homologue of “civil commitment”, or a “non-punitive” taking by the government of some normal civil right. Traditional German law has something called Massregeln, which seem, like civil commitment, to fall between civil and criminal forms of law. Massregeln include sanctions such a taking away a privilege, like the right to drive a car or work in a particular industry. The non-punitive taking of physical liberty is called Sicherungsverwarung.
Like here, the taking of a right in the realm of civil law have fewer procedural safeguards. In the1871 German penal code they did not distinguish between penalties civil and criminal. Because the civil taking causes suffering, the taking cannot logically be thought of as a non-penalty.
There was a movement to bifurcate the Massregelnfrom criminal law that could not get legislated. The German lawmakers did not want to make it easier for the executive branch to impose civil penalties. However, that increase of power to impose civil removal of physical was gained by guess who? Adolph Hitler and his fascist regime. Although abused by that regime, it has not gone away.
However, today civil commitment must be pronounced at original sentencing (like many American enhancement laws here). It must also be reviewed and confirmed by due process hearing upon termination of the criminal sentence. Also the civil penalty of post-punitive confinement is safeguarded from abuse by the legal principles of proportionality and equity (fairness). Safeguards are built-in in ways that don’t happen in America. This information is taken from “Abusing State Power or Controlling Risk?: Sex Offender Commitment” by Nora Demleitner, 30 Fordham Urb. L. J. [http://law.fordham.edu/fordham-urban-law-journal/ulj.htm] 1621.
The second dimension is the normative, or the moral aspect of law, in its most traditional sense. The current ideological apparatus uses a positivistic rhetoric which colonizes the public discourse to a point of exclusive monopoly, even among the most strident critics of the American law-and-order regime. This means an exclusion of the moral-virtue dimension of law. The historical dimension is tolerated, but the moral is absolutely dismissed as mere opinion. Therefore, all public discourse is a soliloquy of the actuarial statistical mathematics, which appears and sounds impressively scientific. But it is not. The usage of the rhetoric is done purposely by the law-and-order regime to stir up widespread panic, sway the minds of juries and judges, and colonize the minds of the offenders the regime seeks to over-control. This thesis is support by the well-concealed thesis the critical analyses of academics who have exposed the validity of psychotherapeutics as entirely non-scientific.
For example, William M. Epstein, a clinical social worker and professor at University of Nevada -Las Vegas, writes “Psychotherapy as Religion: The Civil Divine in America,” [http://www.amazon.com/Psychotherapy-As-Religion-Divine-America/dp/0874176786] in which he demonstrates convincingly that “The meaning of the field [of psycho-therapy] is derived not from objective evidence of effectiveness but from the preferences of the culture– a sociological marvel rather than a clinical one”.(4)
What this implies is that the normative/moral dimensions of society has been expropriated from its traditional religious institutions and monopolized by a secular institution which conceals its religiosity behind a spurious mythology of a morally neutral “science”. 
This amounts to an expropriation of meaning by the forces of the dominant economic naturalism—“science” merely means “knowledge”, and there can be a “science” of the now shunned realm of reality called the divine, which has been imprisoned into the non-scientific realm of the subjective opinion. Thus human institutions that relate to the divine are targeted and labeled as “non-scientific”, and therefore rejected as a valid source of moral and ethical discipline, in both the day-to-day practicalities of life and in the sphere of political governance.
In fact, the so-called legal principal of the “separation of church and state”, in operation, serves the merge and conflate the functions of the church (and religion generally) into itself. This phenomena did not happen overnight, but the process has a history, and is taken up in the next section of this essay, which is forthcoming.
The current Massregeln of the United States tends to point its violence on the weakest and most morally suspect of society. In the Supreme Court case, Buck v. Bell, it upheld the eugenic therapeutics of purifying the whole fabric of society by sterilizing the morons, mentally retarded, racially impure and sexually deviant, with a minimum of administrative due process—given notice and a one-sided hearing. Only the glaring evils of Adolph Hitler wiped out the statutes in the state legislatures. It is a known fact that Hitler modeled his reforms after the genocidal cleansing statutes of California.
 Civil commitment laws are nothing less than euphemized forms of eugenics, seeking to “cleanse” society not only now, but in the future, of all risk of the new genetic peril: the sex offender. The latest “peril” of (mostly male) is added to the perennial list of targeted classes in the prosecution of national warfare. The First World War saw the mass psychological manipulation of the state psychologist to rouse the American public to war against the “German peril”. In World War II it was the “Yellow peril”. In the cold war it was the “Red Peril”. During the drug wars it was the “Black Peril”. Today we see a gender war, creating the target of the “Male Peril”. [See “The Emerging Criminal War on Sex Offenders” by Corey Raybarn Yung, 45 Harv. C. R. –C.L.L. Rev. 435]. Since the vast majority of sex offenders are male, it is not illogical to see the current Massregeln in terms of a military offensive in the broader Gender War. [See “The Feminist War on Crime” by Aya Gruber, 92 Iowa L. Rev. 741]
   
As an “enemy combatant” labeled as a “sex offender”, men convicted of such an offense against the “state” all face civil commitment, especially if we evaluate the phenomena with sophistication. In other words, there are now increasing restrictions attached to the regular penal sentences that constitute indirect and constructive forms of civil commitment in operation, yet not called civil commitment. They are imposed without due process.
Men released from prison are paroled, because the vast majority, no matter the degree of the crime, are given life sentences with possibility of parole. So they are on life time parole, which federally or locally mandated residence restrictions, and are subjected to lengthy sentences for failing to register every three months or being found within three or four football fields locations of any congregations of minors. So, we see the presumption of dangerousness not only upon release. We find the presumption in the pre-trial stage during incarceration, at parole hearings and when granted parole—for the rest of the offenders life.
The other observation with an American homologue is this:
“A second and even more crucial change in the law gave the prosecutor’s office unlimited discretion on whom to prosecute [in violations of public assembly law].”
So, the implication here is twofold:
          That prior to this liberation of state prosecutors from limitations on their discretion, there were more stringent rules in place;
          That the hallmark and measure of how despotic and tyrannical a government is, one looks at the constraints in place on the state prosecutors.
Therefore, we can conclude that there is no greater tyranny and no great despot in the international scene than the USA. Why? Because only in the United States does the government prosecutor have absolute discretion, unfettered by any rules, any oversight, or any power greater than themselves; and this power is not hierarchic and inefficient.
The absolute power is networked in a polycentric grip through 3,144 county district attorneys, plus the huge staffs of 50 state attorney general’s office (not counting territories). Add to that number the massive United States Attorney General’s office spread out through the federal district court system, with each deputy exercising with not a single constraint on their discretion—they have despotic dominion. All that exist is a hollow and meaningless, as well as non-binding, codes of professional ethics, all of which clearly and expressly do not give legal rights or cause of action to hold the network of District Adversaries accountable.
   
Section Three: Art, Culture, Education and Religion
1) Report on the Nevada Appellate and Post-Conviction Project
NJPR editorial policy is to maintain a letter-of-inquiry campaign to follow-up on people, organizations and writers who show concern about the American police state. Recent solicitations to the national office of “Critical Resistance” [at 1904 Franklin Street, Ste. 504, Oakland CA, 94612] produced a national “Pro Bono Legal Resource” list. The only outfit listed for Nevada is:
Nevada Appellate & Post Conviction Project
When this reporter wrote to the address on the Resource list, he was replied to by Michael Pescetta, Chief of the Capital Habeus Corpus Unit at the Federal Public Defender office [at 411 E. Bonneville Avenue, Ste. 250, Las Vegas, NV 89101]. Says Mr. Pescetta “The Project no longer exists. The capital habeus unit of the FPD now does the work that the Project formerly did”.
The guy goes on to say he might be able to provide referral services if a concise clear summary of the case was sent to the Federal Public Defender. Here is the follow-up letter which has been sent to the Federal Public Defender, Michael Pescetta:
Dear Sir,
Thank you for your letter of July 15, 2014. You implied in your letter that you might be able to provide a referral if a clear status summary of the case is provided. I’m just checking to see if I understood you correctly.
Also, I’m enclosing a copy of a letter received from the Justice Brandeis Innocence Project. It identifies a Non-DNA technique of fighting actual innocence cases. As a contributing editor to an all-prisoner written whistleblower newsletter, Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report, I am seeking referral to investigative journalists who might be interested in starting a West Coast Iinnocence Project that serves the horrifying embarrassment of the Nevada criminal justice administration. You can send an email to nvjprudence@gmail.com .”
2) Justice Brandeis Innocence Project
As mentioned above, NJPR has discovered (through the Critical Resistance Resource List) the Innocence Project at Brandeis University. The Project is run by the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at 415 South Street, MS 043, Waltham MA 02454. The Project does not use forensic DNA evidence as all other innocence projects. Also, as all other innocence projects, the Brandeis Project serves an exclusive region without exceptions.
NJPR is attempting to compile a list of investigative journalist in order to organize a Western United States Innocence Project that would utilize the journalistic method, as it is sorely needed.
Let us remind ourselves that the Motherland of the U.S., Merry Old England, has a permanent, government funded innocence commission, which excludes all police and prosecutors from its review board.  Here are some authors of investigative reports on the criminal administration:
karmstrong@seattletimes.com
mauricepossley@gmail.com
bmoushey@pointpark.edu
3) New College Program for Prisoners
New Freedom College is a non-profit school recently established with non-accredited college courses available on a sliding-scale starting at $33.00 per unit ($99. Per 3 unit course), a price which INCLUDES the price of the textbook.
NFC has applied for official accreditation from the nationwide Distance Education and Training Council. The mandatory probationary period for the school began in June 2013 and the school officials fully expect to pass master in June 2015, less than a year from now.
The low price above applies to those who have agreed to pursue a 2 or 4 year degree program. There are fear: Business/Entrepreneur Paralegal Studies Drug and Alcohol Counseling, and English Language.
New Freedom College
1957 West Burnside St. #1660
Portland, OR 97209
4) Sociological Study Underway
The July 2014 Prison Legal News article titled “BOP Grievance System Contributes to Compliance or Defiance of Prisoners” will serve as an inspiration for an upcoming investigative piece on the NDOC grievance system. A contributor to the NJPN whistleblowing project will poll inmate populations and create a statistical analysis of the data collected.
The Editors of NJPN invite contributions from all sources to add to the data set, such as ideas for polling questions and the name and location of sociological prison studies or ideas for future research projects. Contact our public e-mail address:
The data of this study will be situated in comparison to the study “Procedural Justice and Prison: Examining Complaints Among Federal Inmates 2000-2007” by the U.S. Marshalls Service and the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland.
5)  Obamacare Will Cover Prisoners? Uh, No.
It is interesting that prison officials are refusing to disseminate to all prisoners the great hope-creating news that affects the future well-being of prisoners. Inmates are thus once again deprived of the comforting sentiment of hope.
The National CURE outfit reports that “Some [un-named] correctional systems are helping” to get inmates enrolled into Obamacare prior to release. For older invalid inmates, this means release can be to a community nursing home. CURE also reports that the Affordable Care Act also covers, if the state applies, prison and jail inmates who have to go to outside hospitals for intensive care.
It’s a complex law that will be research and report on later. Family and friends can call 1-800-318-2596 for information. That the prison population of America is deprived of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act is an expression of the general policy of the ”deprivation theory” of corrections. To extend this hypothesis further, the exclusion of prisoners from basic care is sure evidence of a government advancement of the religious principle of the “unworthy poor”.
6) Poem: The Man in Me, by John Fenton
Before it’s too late
I saw the man in my house
And he could hardly breath
I pursued the man to desperate end
I’d see him here and there again
Standing there in my refracted dreams
Too scared to bleed, to ‘fraid to fight
Steal away into the night
Where only a thief should have the right
Leaping through every hide-and-find
Ever allusive not quite in my grasp
I finally met the man where I could see
Behind the mirror he wept, the man cries for me.

Voices from Solitary: “Death Row Diary” of Florida Man Scheduled to Die Tonight

From: SolitaryWatch

Voices from Solitary: “Death Row Diary” of Florida Man Scheduled to Die Tonight
June 12, 2013 By Voices from Solitary

William Van Poyck, 58 years old and on death row at the Florida State Prison in Starke, is scheduled to die at the hands of the state tonight at 7 pm. In 1987 he was convicted of murdering prison guard Fred Griffis in a failed jailbreak attempt. Poyck has spent nearly 26 years on death row in solitary confinement. He has written to his sister about his life in prison, and in recent years she has published his letters to a blog called Death Row Diary. In these letters, Poyck writes about everything from the novels and history books he is reading and shows he has watched on PBS to the state of the world and his own philosophy of life–punctuated by news of the deaths of those around him, from illness, suicide, and execution. He also comments on the bill recently passed by the Florida legislature that will accelerate the schedule of executions in Florida. The excerpts selected here focus on the inhumane treatment he and other individuals on death row endure as they move ever closer to their own finalities. His last entry was written on May 28, when he had “15 days left to live.” –Abby Taskier

. . . . . . . . . . .

January 4, 2012
Well, another year is upon us. I feel like I ought to have something profound to say but all I can think of is the too many – over 40 – years I’ve spent sitting in a cell or prison dormitory watching another new year slide into my life. New Year’s is supposed to represent hope and potential but it’s hard to convince yourself that hope and potential abounds when you’re doing hard time! Anyway, 2012 is the supposed end of the world according to the Mayan calendar…I don’t put too much stock in apocalyptic predictions; humans have been making them since the dawn of time, after all, without any success, and I’m an optimist by nature. But I confess that as I survey the world around me and what we humans are doing to planet earth it is increasingly difficult to envision a good ending…

The search team came and tore up my cell last week; it was a surgical strike (they came for me alone) and I was later told that “someone” wrote a snitch kite on me claiming (falsely) I had a weapon in my cell. I’m fairly certain it was someone trying to get a DR (disciplinary report) dismissed by dropping a dime on me on the hope they’d shake me down and find something, any kind of contraband, and the rat would then get credit for it. But I had no contraband so the snitch struck out. If the administration had any integrity they’d write the rat a DR for “lying to staff.” I spent several hours putting my cell back in order; it looked like a hurricane came through, all my property scattered everywhere. This is the kind of bullshit you have to put up with in prison; it’s the nature of the beast…

I just learned that Governor Scott has signed another death warrant and someone is on death watch on the bottom floor of Q-wing. Scott didn’t waste any time after the holidays; he seems determined to execute a record number of people at the pace he is setting…This is a depressing turn of events, a lousy way to begin the new year, at least from my perspective. The execution, when it occurs, will undoubtedly please some people, so it’s all a matter of perspective…

February 9, 2012
Yesterday the prison was locked down all day for the standard “mock execution”, the practice run which occurs a week prior to the actual premeditated killing. For the mock execution they lock down the joint, bring in an array of big wigs, and go through a dry run to make sure the death machine is in working order, everyone on their toes. The big wigs are just voyeurs, here to vicariously kill someone while allowing themselves the bare moral cover of not actually pushing the knife between the ribs. Their minions do the actual dirty deed while they can go home with technically clean hands. These mock executions are as depressing as the real thing, in the sense that it’s dispiriting to watch an entire organization (a prison, with all its constituent parts) so seriously dedicate their time and energies to practice killing a fellow human being, as if this is a good and natural thing to do. It takes some peculiar mental (not to mention moral) gymnastics to justify this to oneself, but we humans have proven ourselves immensely adept at self-delusion and hypocrisy, especially when we bring religion into the equation. We are really, really good at killing others in the name of God. We are a strange species, aren’t we?

February 25, 2012
Robert Waterhouse was scheduled for execution at 6:00pm this evening. In accordance with the established execution protocol he was strapped to the gurney and the needles were inserted into each arm about 45 minutes prior to his appointed time. Just before 6:00, however, he received a 45-minute stay which morphed into an almost 3-hour endurance test as he remained on the gurney as the seconds, minutes and then hours slid by at an excruciatingly slow pace, waiting for someone to tell him if hope was at hand, if he would live or die. Just before 9:00 he received his answer, the plungers were depressed, the syringes emptied and he was summarily killed. Here on the row we can discern the approximate time of death when we see the old white Cadillac hearse trundle in through the back sally port gate to pick up the body, the same familiar 1960′s era hearse I’ve watched for almost 40 years, coming in to retrieve the bodies of murdered prisoners, which used to happen on a regular basis back when I was in open population. I’ve seen a lot of guys, both friends and foes, carted off in that old hearse. Anyway, pause for a moment to imagine being on that gurney for over three hours, the needles in your arms. You’ve already come to terms with your imminent death, you are reconciled with the reality that this is it, this is how you will die, that there will be no reprieve. Then, at the last moment, a cruel trick, you’re given that slim hope, which you instinctively grasp. Some court, somewhere, has given you a temporary stay. You stare at the ceiling while the clock on the wall ticks away. You are totally alone, not a friendly soul in sight, surrounded by grim-faced men who are determined to kill you. Your heart pounds, your body feels electrified and every second seems like an eternity as a Kaleidoscope of wild thoughts crash around franticly in your compressed mind. After 3 hours you are drained, exhausted, terrorized, and then the phone on the wall rings and you’re told it’s time to die…

June 10, 2012
…Doing my own laundry (most of us do it) has become even more of an imperative over the last year or two. For starters, you cannot exchange your state clothes for clean stuff at the weekly laundry exchange because all the laundry issues now are old, ripped-up rags, stuff right out of a cartoon version of the rags Napoleon’s army wore as they withdrew from Russia. There is no money available here for any new clothing. The sheets, towels, socks, T-shirts and drawers are almost black with filth; they look like what mechanics use in garages to clean up with. The laundry has taken to cutting all the sheets in half lengthwise and cutting all the towels in half (sewing up the edges) to try to make things stretch. More basic than that, though, is that for at least a year, maybe two, the laundry has simply quit using any soap when it “washes” the clothes. They stuff they pass out stinks worse than it does when it’s turned in. If you do get something from the laundry, the first thing you and have to do is wash it. Most people do what I do, they bribe someone to get ahold of a couple of new sheets and a new towel, and then they just keep them, washing them by hand every week. Since we cannot obtain any laundry soap (for reasons unknown they stopped selling it to us 10 years ago) we’ve gotta use canteen-bought shampoo to do our laundry (VO-5 is the cheapest). And of course, we’ve gotta wash all our stuff in our toilets; this sounds gross to the uninitiated, but we keep our stainless steel toilets scrubbed clean. You then plug it up and flush it until it fills, then add shampoo and laundry and go to work. This is old-school and is universal in prisons around the country (although 95% of prisons have made this obsolete by offering real laundry services. But Florida in general and Florida State Prison in particular are 30 years behind the times and the administration seems to revel in its backwardness). Hell, this prison doesn’t even have hot water to the cells…

September 13, 2012
In the early morning hours of August 30, my friend Tom, who lived 2 cells down from me groggily awoke to find his face and pillow covered in blood and his tongue bitten about half off. He had no memory of what occurred. That morning his speech was slurred (over and above his extreme difficulty in speaking with a then-swollen, bloody tongue) and I noticed his thinking was confused. I told him he’d most likely had a seizure in his sleep (he has no history of seizures) and that because he was on high cholesterol medication he may have had a small stroke. Over the following days Tom suffered progressively severe headaches almost constantly and began sleeping excessively. His speech became increasingly slurred and his mental faculties were clearly compromised. I, and others, constantly urged Tom to try to get up to the clinic to see a doctor (even though the two doctors here are notorious quacks) and so he began trying to stop any passing nurses (who go down our row to deliver medications to some) to explain his situation, but none of them were interested. Most just said “put in a sick call slip.” At my urging Tom declared a “medical emergency” which is supposed to get you right up to the clinic. But instead, a nurse came to the wing, briefly examined Tom’s swollen (and now infected) tongue, gave him two Tylenol and told him he was just “out of luck” since no doctor was on duty on a Saturday night.

Meanwhile, day by day, Tom got worse. He knew something was wrong with him but seemed unable to figure out what to do. I wrote up a sick call slip for him (by this time his handwriting was illegible and he could not put his thoughts together) and the next day a “nurse” or M.T. (medical technician) came to “examine” him. He listened as Tom labored to explain what happened, starting with the seizure, then told Tom “Well, some people do this [bite their tongues almost in half] to get attention.” The M.T. then walked away…

October 2, 2012
…I stuck my mirror out, upon hearing the door roll, and saw Tom, a big bandage on his head, tottering slowly and unsteadily down the tier to his cell. That was on the 13th. For the next 5 days he laid on his bunk, often moaning, while receiving no medication at all (despite the surgeons having prescribed many drugs). Finally, after 5 days he began getting some, but not all, of the prescribed meds (no pain meds, of course). Importantly, he did not get the most crucial one, the one to stop his brain from swelling. So he was suffering mightily until just 5 or 6 days ago when he finally saw a free-world oncologist who was shocked that he was not getting the brain swelling medication. After another 3 days he finally began getting that one and he told me the relief was immediate. I knew it was bad when he kept telling me he had fluid coming out of his ears. He’s been told he’ll get chemo and radiation treatment but that remains to be seen…

October 25, 2012
Well, the execution has been cancelled, to the dismay of some around here. Ferguson was scheduled to die on the 16th, but just before then he got a 48-hour stay. Over the next week he got three such temporary stays from three different courts, with the sole issue being his sanity to be executed. Finally, it was supposed to happen for sure 2 days ago, on the 23rd, and we woke up to the standard execution-day procedures, eating all three meals very early, the entire prison being on lockdown, and all guards wearing their dress uniforms. As execution time (6:00 pm) neared the old white hearse pulled up outside the back sally port gate waiting to come in and pick up the body. As 6:00 came and went I assumed the execution had occurred but around 7:30 a guy on the other side of my wing, which looks out on the back gate and the rear of Q-wing (the death house), called me through the vent and said the hearse never came in, but instead had finally driven off. On the 11:00 news it was reported that the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, had given Ferguson a stay of execution and that the US Supreme Court then approved the stay. (The accuracy of that precise chronology is debatable because reporters are notorious for mangling stories involving court decisions). At any rate, he got some kind of stay; how long that stay is remains unknown to me. I heard on one news report that the Eleventh Circuit granted the stay in order to decide “whether it is unconstitutional to execute the insane”…Now we go back on lottery watch, waiting to see whose death warrant the governor signs next, which is a great mood elevator for the upcoming holidays…

Last night’s mail brought me (and others) a notice that the mailroom had impounded and confiscated the latest issue of Newsweek because, the notice stated, it contained an article about “pot use in America.” Censorship like this, which implies serious First Amendment principles, used to be, and is supposed to be, rare. Only when an article clearly and unequivocally creates a substantial threat to the security of a prison should it be censored. But, over the years, the Florida DOC has gotten progressively petty (and ignorant) on this issue (since the law now practically forbids prisoners from filing law suits anymore) until we’ve reached our present state where these impoundments have become almost daily and for the most absurd reasons imaginable… With nothing to keep them in check (lawsuit-wise) the prisons do just whatever the hell they want to, knowing they are immune from challenge…

November 8, 2012
Another death row guy has died of cancer. I ran into Michael Bruno (whom I’ve known for over 20 years) in late July when I took a day trip to RMC (Regional Medical Center) for my upper GI tests. Bruno looked weak and had a persistent cough (the same cough Tom now has) and he’d just been diagnosed with lung cancer…He seemed to be doing pretty well, but on Friday, October 19th, he suddenly got ill and two days later he was dead. The cause of death, we were told, was septic shock, and I’m guessing the infection found its way into his system via the “port” they’d inserted into his chest to funnel the chemo directly into his lung. Prisons are filthy so putting a port into a guy’s chest while making him live in a cell is pretty much a prescription for disaster. This is especially true here in Florida where the DOC long ago quit issuing and buying (we used to manufacture them) the various cleaning chemicals we used to use to clean our cells and the whole prison, from powdered soap, liquid soap, disinfectants, bleach; all that is gone now and we must buy and use shampoo from the canteen to wash our clothes and clean our cells. This whole decrepit building is filthy and falling apart…

February 27, 2013
My old pal Tom died on Friday, Feb 8th at 4:10 pm, alone in the clinic isolation cell at UCI. I hate that he died alone, locked in a tiny cell with no property (no radio, TV or anything to occupy his mind) and nobody to converse with, just laying on his bunk, staring at the ceiling, waiting for his final escape. His loved ones, who were able to travel from Texas and North Carolina to visit him for three hours just two days before he passed away wrote and told me that he was very weak and gaunt, could not keep down any food or liquids, but was lucid enough for a meaningful visit, though just barely so. Although I know his death was inevitable and imminent, I’m surprised at how much it has affected me. I’ve seen an awful lot of death during my many years in prison (way too much death, in all its myriad variations), including some friends, but Tom’s has knocked the wind out of me.

Later last night they moved Paul off death watch on Q-wing and put him in the lone empty cell on my floor [after he received a stay of execution]. That’s gotta be a Hell of a transition; you are hours away from execution, you’ve had your final visits (imagine how emotional that is), made your peace with the inevitable, perhaps eaten your last meal, then, in a finger snap, you’re told you won’t be dying after all (at least not that night) and you are back on a regular death row cell talking with the Fellas. I’ve seen a number of guys go through this over the years, one of whom was just twenty minutes from execution in the electric chair when he got his unexpected stay. They moved him next to me and I was startled to see that his hair had turned almost entirely white during the six weeks he was on death watch. He died quietly in his sleep from a heart attack about six years later, right here on this floor.

It’s surprising to me that more prisoners here don’t kill themselves given the long term extreme isolation and punitive conditions, the hopelessness that comes from being confined for years in a tiny cage with virtually no property and certainly no programs or anything to engage the mind or offer any shred of hope. I’m referring specifically to the 1,000 men in close management status here (close management being a euphemism for long-term solitary confinement lasting years and years). Death row conditions are marginally better; at least we get visits and we can buy a little TV or radio (or now an MP3 player), but the flip side is that we spend decades in these cells and unless you possess a stout mind (and body) this inevitably erodes your constitution, often without you even knowing it. I’ve seen too many men go insane, a sad and scary thing to behold, or just throw in the towel and kill themselves, or get the state to do it for them by giving up their appeals and demanding to be executed…

April 10, 2013
On April 10, Larry Mann was executed downstairs. Seven days later Governor Scott signed another death warrant, for a guy out of Orlando named Elmer Carroll, who happened to be my next door neighbor. We were out on the rec yard when a lieutenant holding a bunch of chains showed up and took Elmer away, and while they didn’t tell him why they were taking him in I knew something was up. When I came back in, his cell was stripped and he was down on the bottom floor of Q-Wing on death watch…

The governor is wasting no time executing people, he’s killing a guy every 60 days, as regular as a metronome. Still, that is insufficiently bloodthirsty for a majority of our state representatives. This morning I watched, on the local Public Television Channel, the floor debate in the House on a bill designed to “speed up the death penalty.” Various politicians stood up to argue pro and con, and several invoked the Bible (notably the Old Testament) to justify killing us all as quickly as possible, while one guy repeatedly referred to all of us as “animals.” I have not read the bill so all I know about its particulars is what I could glean from the comments made by those who spoke up for or against it…One representative stated that if the bill becomes law (and it surely will) Florida “will execute between 13 and 90 prisoners in the next six months.” I don’t know if that’s accurate but he must have had some basis to come up with those particular numbers. Those who argued against the bill, urging caution and reminding the crowd that Florida leads the nation (by far) in death row prisoners exonerated, often 10, 15, 20 years after conviction, were steamrolled down by the Republican supermajority and the bill passed by a wide margin…

May 3, 2013
Today Governor Scott signed my death warrant and my execution date has been scheduled for June 12th, at 6pm. I wasn’t really surprised when they showed up at my cell door with the chains and shackles; for the last month or so I’ve had a strong premonition that my warrant was about to be signed, but that wasn’t something I wanted to share with you.

Sis, you know I’m a straight shooter, I’m not into sugar coating things, so I don’t want you to have any illusions about this. I do not expect any delays or stays. This is it. In 40 days these folks will take me into the room next door and kill me…

When your warrant gets signed so many things suddenly become trivial. I’ve already thrown or given away 95% of my personal property, the stuff that for years seemed so important. All those great books I’ll never get to read; reams and reams of legal work I’ve been dragging around, and studying, for 2 decades and which has suddenly lost its relevance. My magazines and newspapers stack up unread; I have little appetite to waste valuable, irreplaceable hours reading up on current events. Does it really matter to me now what’s happening in the Middle East, or on Wall Street, or how my Miami Dolphins are looking for the upcoming new season? What’s the point? Ditto the TV; I’m uninterested in wasting time watching programs that now mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. The other day I caught myself reaching for my daily vitamin. Really?, I wondered, as the absurdity hit me. Likewise, after 40 years of working out religiously, that’s out the window now. Again, what’s the point?…

May 12, 2013
On Tuesday they came and measured me for my execution/burial suit. Sometime soon I’ll be given the details on how “the body” will be disposed of following the legally required autopsy (will my cause of death really be a mystery?). I understand the State will pay for a cremation should I choose this form of disposal (I do) and my ashes will be available at a Gainesville Funeral home; but don’t quote me on that yet. Discussing the practical aspects of my upcoming death was a little disconcerting, but I took it in stride.
I’ve been on death watch for 10 days now and I have 31 days left to live. (It seems surreal when I write that out, and just as surreal that all those around me accept this as a normal and natural thing). My cell (one of three) is next to the execution chamber so I won’t have far to walk. There’s another guy down here with me, his execution is set for 2 weeks before mine so assuming he doesn’t get a stay I’ll have a front row seat to how the final days and hours play out. Aren’t I lucky?

May 19, 2013
I’ve got 25 days left to live. It isn’t normal to be able to write something like that, and that sense of surrealism permeates every hour down here. Making a man spend his last six weeks ticking off every minute, hour and day of his life left on earth constitutes cruel and unusual punishment by any definition. And it certainly constitutes, as a matter of law, two of Florida’s statutory aggravating circumstances (used by the state to justify the imposition of death sentences), to wit: 1) the killing is cold, calculated and premeditated; and, 2) the killing is heinous, atrocious and cruel. Although I’ve fully accepted my circumstances, I know it’s going to happen and I’ve come to terms with it, that does not obviate the fact that it just isn’t right to do this to people, and for society to accept this as normal or natural, well, it speaks more about our society than it does about those being so efficiently dispatched down here in the bowels of this penitentiary…

There are now three of us down here on death watch; all our executions are spaced 2 weeks apart. The guy with senior status (Elmer) is set to die on May 29th, 2 weeks before me. Last week the Florida Supreme Court denied his last-ditch appeal and he’s got no place left to go. He does not know much about the law or court procedures but he told me he knows there is now nothing between him and his date with death. He’s resigned to his fate and I hear him pacing the floor a lot, a pacing that is gradually morphing into a listless shuffling, as if all hope has deflated from his body, like air leaking from a punctured tire. It’s a sad, melancholy sound when you know its context. I choose to remain active, vital and alive, my spirit, intellect and even my humor undiminished, and I’ll remain so until they shoot that poison into my veins and snuff out the candle of this physical vehicle…

May 22, 2013
I have 21 days left to live. The fickleness, the arbitrariness, the fleeting nature of life itself is on display daily throughout our world but as good an example as any occurred here on Monday morning when, as I was being dressed out here on Q-Wing for a visit, a sudden radio call brought the wing officers rushing upstairs where they found a prisoner (non-death row) hanging in his cell. After 20+ years in prison this guy (Earl) had finally given in to the utter hopelessness that can seize the heart and spirit of any man mired forever in an American maximum security prison. The irony wasn’t lost on me that while 3 of us on death watch are fighting to live, this poor soul, living just 10 feet above us, stripped of all hope, had voluntarily surrendered his life rather than continue his dismal existence. When nothing but a lifetime of suffering lays ahead – with no hope, no promise, no opportunity to change your fate – the idea of utter annihilation can come to look appealing in contrast. When everything has been taken from you, the one thing you have left, that nobody can take away, is the decision to live or die. In that context choosing death can look like freedom…

Today my neighbor, Elmer, went on Phase II of death watch, which begins 7 days prior to execution. They remove all your property from your cell while an officer sits in front of your cell 24/7 recording everything you do. Staff also performs a “dry run” or “mock execution”, basically duplicating the procedures that will occur 7 days later. This is when you know you’re making the final turn off the back stretch, you know your death is imminent, easily within reach, you can count it by hours instead of by days. Right now I’m on deck; when Elmer goes I’ll be up to bat (that’s enough sports metaphors for now)…

May 28, 2013
Tomorrow Elmer will be executed and I’ll be next up to bat, with 15 days to live. A situation like this tends to make you reflect on the elusive nature of time itself, which some folks – physicists and metaphysicists alike – claim is an illusion anyway. Real or not it sure seems to be going someplace quickly!…

This may be my last letter to reach you before you begin your journey down south to be by my side for my final days. These many visits I’ve recently received from those who love me have been a blessing for me. I’m acutely aware that some guys on death watch have absolutely nobody to help them bear their burden during their last days and hours on earth, not a soul willing to share some love. It’s a terrible thing to die all alone…

I read in a recent newspaper article that the brother and sister of Fred Griffis, the victim in my case, are angry that I’m still alive and eager for my execution. These are understandable human feelings. I have a brother and sister myself and I cannot honestly say how I would deal with it if something happened to you or Jeff at the hands of another. I have thought of Fred many times over the years and grieved over his senseless death. I feel bad for Fred’s siblings though if seeing another human being die will truly give them pleasure. I suspect when I’m gone, if they search their hearts, they will grasp the emptiness of the closure promised by the revenge of capital punishment. There’s a lot of wisdom in the old saying “An eye for an eye soon makes the whole world blind…
. . . . . . . . . . .
Update: William Van Poyck was executed by lethal injection, and pronounced dead at 7:24 pm on June 12, 2013.

Letter from Jalil Muntaqim

This is a letter written by Jalil Muntaqim who is incarcerated in Attica, and published on his weblog by his supporters.
This is a direct link to his letter and his blog.

Greetings, As Jalil’s Blog keeper, I want to give you the information Jalil sent out regarding on going harassment at Attica, a NYS prison. Please read and respond to his request. Many thanks.

The Facts of Disciplinary Charges:
105.14 Unauthorized Organization
and Disciplinary Hearing of 1/13/12-1/23/12

On the morning of January 5, 2012 , three officers searched D-37-32, the cell where I was being held. As I observed the cell search, Correctional Officer Wagnor removed my photo album and took it with him at the conclusion of the cell search. At approximately 11:20 AM, Officer Wagnor returned the photo album, absent the 14 photos. On January 6, 2012 , I was issued a non-confinement Tier III misbehavior report for violation of 105.14 Unauthorized Organization.

On 1/5/12, during a scheduled counselor interview that I had requested that afternoon, Counselor Schiffer called the correspondence department while I sat in his office and inquired about the photos confiscated from my photo album. He was told by correspondence personnel that the photos should not have been confiscated since they had been approved by correspondence for me to receive. Mr. Krumph refused to allow me to call Correctional Counselor Schiffer to testify on my behalf on January 23, 2012.

On 1/13/12, Superintendent Mark L. Bradt designated Mr. George Krumph to conduct the disciplinary hearing. At that time I informed Mr. Krumph I wanted to call as witnesses Correctional Counselor Schiffer, the correspondence officer, and Sergeant Cochran. Mr. Krumph then postponed the hearing so he could speak to my witnesses.

The correspondence officer would have addressed during the disciplinary hearing whether all procedures pursuant to Directive #4422: Inmate Correspondence were fulfilled, permitting me to receive the photos.

Furthermore, he would have addressed the proper procedure for the process of contraband photos in accord with Directive #4422 to be disposed of if found to be contraband. Mr. Krumph refused to allow me to call the correspondence officer to testify on my behalf on 1/23/12.

Sergeant Cochran, who had been acting as Attica’s “gang intelligence officer,” would have testified as to what should be considered an “unauthorized organization” from his years of intelligence experience at Attica. Also, he would be able to attest to the fact he was present during the processing of my personal property from Auburn. At that time, no contraband photos or literature were found in my personal property, including anything pertaining to “unauthorized organization.” Mr. Krumph refused to allow Sergeant Cochran to testify on my behalf on 1/23/12.
On 1/23/12, Mr. Krumph recommended the disciplinary hearing be postponed again, following the postponement on 1/13/12 to speak to my witnesses. He provided a form for me to sign indicating an extension had been secured for the time delay in conducting the hearing. I respectfully declined to sign the form.

Mr. Krumph then summarily denied all three of my witnesses to testify, and over my objections called Lt. Simmons and introduced him as an expert on “unauthorized organizations.” Lt. Simmons reviewed the 14 photos, immediately declaring them representative of an unauthorized organization. Lt. Simmons never stated what made him an expert; he never identified what in the photos made them unauthorized organizations; he never described or indicated what was in the photos that was incriminating. He just looked at them and parroted that they were indeed “unauthorized organization.”
It was obvious that Lt. Simmons was called specifically to violate each and every opportunity for me to refute the disciplinary charges, having them dismissed and the photos returned to me.

I objected to Lt. Simmons’ testimony and proceeded to present how my defense against the charges was essentially sabotaged, not permitting me to call any of my witnesses. I then presented the Bay View newspaper received on 1/13/12 from the correspondence department.

The front page showed two large photos—one of a picket sign with a large clenched fist, and the other of a young Black guy holding a protest sign in one hand, with the other hand held in the air with a clenched fist. Also, I previously offered other materials received from the correspondence department of similar nature, including the memorial ceremony programs of Cetewayo, Smitty and Karim. None of these, like the photos, had been submitted to media review or any other scrutiny for contraband by the correspondence department before being delivered to me.

Mr. Krumph did not deny or refute that the 14 photos or other materials were delivered to me by the correspondence department in accord with Directive #4422. Mr. Krumph did not respond or refute that I had not violated any rule subject to correspondence in order to obtain the 14 photos. In fact, Mr. Krumph remained mute when I argued I should not be disciplined for photos the correspondence department permitted me to receive.

I objected to the entire proceedings, including the harsh 6 months SHU time, loss of commissary, packages, phone calls, and good time.
I was immediately handcuffed and escorted to SHU.

It should be noted that the 14 photos depicted the memorial ceremony of Cetewayo (Michael Tabor) held at City College in March 2011, in which a Black Panther Party banner was hanging on a wall. Also, a photo at the ceremony depicted young people wearing blue and black giving clenched fist salutes. There were a couple of photos of the 14 that were of Smitty’s memorial with the banner hanging on the back wall while people spoke at the podium. Nothing inflammatory was depicted—hence, the correspondence department approved them to be received.

This is pure harassment indicating the administration’s propensity to flagrantly violate its own rules and regulations.

Anthony Jalil Bottom
#77A-4283
Attica Correctional Facility, SHU

Jalil has been in SHU since Monday, January 23, 2012, with only the clothes on his back. He has not been given any personal property, and was told he probably won’t receive any of it for weeks. He has no phone privileges, no commissary, no packages, and will eventually be allowed 5 books and limited legal materials. He will have only one visit weekly for the duration, and these are no-contact visits which take place in Attica’s SHU.

He is asking that people contact NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Commissioner Brian Fischer, Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry and the New York State Commission on Corrections to demand that the charges be dropped, that he be released from SHU immediately, and that this campaign of harassment come to AN IMMEDIATE END! These charges are entirely fabricated and show premeditation on behalf of the prison administration to lock Jalil away until his next parole hearing in June and to negatively affect the outcome of that hearing.

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman:
Office of the Attorney General
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341
(518) 474-5481

Commissioner Brian Fischer
NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Building 2
1220 Washington Ave
Albany, New York 12226-2050
(518) 457-8126
Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry
LOB 526
Albany, NY 12248
(518) 455-4561

Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry
98-09 Northern Blvd.
Corona, NY 11368
(718) 457-3615
AubryJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Thomas A. Beilein, Chairman
Phyllis Harrison-Ross M.D., Commissioner
New York State Commission on Corrections
80 Wolf Road, 4th Floor
Albany, New York 12205
Phone: (518) 485-2346
Fax: (518) 485-2467

When you call and/or write, be sure to use Jalil’s DIN number (#77A4283) and refer to him as Anthony Bottom, currently at Attica. We would like to know what responses people receive.

Please send an email to nycjericho@gmail.com or mxcc519@verizon.net to let us know. Also, please take the time to write to Jalil:

Anthony Bottom #77A4283,
Attica Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 149,
Attica, NY 14011-0149

It is very important that he receive lots of correspondence at this time so he knows he is not forgotten and has our support. Send him a copy of the letters you have written or a short report of your phone calls.