Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

“California prisoners’ rights often trampled”

with 2 comments

That’s the headline of this Sacramento Bee investigation into the “602 process,” or the set of procedures by which the California prison system adjudicates grievances and disputes. Based on a review of CDCR data as well as a number of interviews, reporter Charles Piller found a pattern of “widespread suppression of inmates’ rights to contest allegations by guards or pursue claims of mistreatment”:

Current and retired officers, prisoners and parolees allege that correctional officers and their superiors routinely file bogus or misleading reports, destroy or falsify documentation of abuses, and intimidate colleagues or inmates who push back.

Sources with firsthand knowledge called the problem pervasive, offering dozens of examples. Even if the allegations are valid for a fraction of cases, thousands of prison terms could have been extended improperly at vast cost to taxpayers.

One of the more disturbing stories in the article is that of Kenneth Hernandez, who suffered from a skull fracture, facial paralysis, seizures, and vomiting after a prison guard threw him head-first into a metal locker, then was found guilty of assaulting an officer and lost five months of good-time credit and a year of family visits.


Written by sara

August 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I want to mention Officer Sharpe here….of the numerous reports that come to me not only from inmates but various organizations that investigate prisoner issues. Officer Sharpe’s name comes up repeatedly for using ‘brute’ force and humiliation when dealing with inmates at High Desert State Prison. I hope that now there is media attention focused on his heinous & very unprofessional behavior that CDCR will finally terminate him and send him on his way with no state pension. Its long past due……


    August 2, 2010 at 4:31 pm

  2. Please sign the petition:

    Calling upon the UN Human Rights Council to issue an honest and effectual 2010 Report on the US justice system and Human Rights in the United States

    We, the undersigned, who live in the United States and elsewhere, call upon the Human Rights Council of the United Nations to engage in a thorough review of the justice system in the United States as part of the first ever – November 2010 – UPR (Universal Periodic Review) of Human Rights in the United States

    We call upon the Human Rights Council to issue in November 2010 an honest and effectual UPR Report, calling upon the United States to take effective measures to restore integrity of its judiciary and its justice system.

    Conditions now prevailing in the United States amount to large scale abuse of the people by the government of the United States. Moreover, such conditions pose risks that are difficult to assess to world peace and welfare.

    Such conditions were documented in both state and United States courts, be it civil, criminal, bankruptcy, or family courts.

    Reports, which were filed by stakeholders as part of the UPR process, provided evidence of widespread corruption of the justice system in the United States:

    * Executions continue, at times, as the outcome of judicial conduct that would be deemed unreasonable by any reasonable person.

    * Torture was allowed to become part of government conduct, and confessions extracted through torture were admitted in courts.

    * With privatized, for profit prisons, the United States holds a prisoner population that is entirely out of proportion with any other developed, democratic nation; Minorities are imprisoned in vastly disproportionate numbers.

    * Large-scale false imprisonment of juvenile was exposed in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, as part of the Kids for Cash scandal, and is yet to be fully corrected; Large-scale false imprisonments were exposed in Los Angeles County, California, as part of the Rampart scandal a decade ago, which the US government is refusing to correct.

    * Regardless of United States government promises, detentions in Guantanamo Bay were never brought to an end; Proceedings, which such detainees were subjected to, violate international conventions.

    * Attorneys, who represented clients in civil rights matters, or in causes that were not favored by government or by judges, suffered harsh retaliation, or even imprisonment.

    * Whistleblowers were routinely subjected to harsh retaliation, while the perpetrators – be it government officials, large corporations, or others, suffered no consequence at all.

    * Judges, who racketeered in some courts in the United States, were and are prosecuted, but in other cases, even when exposed with indisputable evidence, the United States government refused to take action.

    * Large banks and financial institutions colluded with judges in looting of homeowners across the United States under the current financial crisis; Even when fraud in the courts by financial institutions and law-firms was exposed and acknowledged by the courts, such financial institutions and law-firms suffered no consequences at all.

    * Credible evidence was provided of racketeering by judges, attorneys, and/or judicial officers in receiverships and conservatorships.

    * Judges, all the way from state courts to the Supreme Court of the United States, introduced the practice of issuing rulings, orders, and judgments, that were not signed by judges and/or were not authenticated/attested by clerks; Such rulings, orders, and judgments could not possibly be deemed valid court records; They were enforced nevertheless.

    * Computerized case management and online public access systems were installed in the US and state courts, which effectively denied public access to true and honest court records – to inspect and to copy – a fundamental Human Right; Such systems effectively concealed what the courts deem effectual signatures and stamps that were required to set such records honest, valid, and effectual court records.

    If not for the sake of safeguarding the Human Rights of the people of the United States, the United Nations should be concerned with dysfunctional banking regulation in the United States; There simply is no way to establish honest and effectual banking and corporate regulation under current conditions at the United States courts. Reckless conduct by United States banks and large financial corporations inflicted harm on workers and investors worldwide. An integrity crisis is at the foundation of the current economic depression, and economic conditions are not likely to improve unless integrity of government is restored.



    * “On July 26, 2010, Laurence Tribe, Senior Counsel for the United States Department of Justice, Access to Justice Initiative, delivered an important speech to the Conference of Chief Justices, challenging them to halt the disintegration of our state justice systems before they become indistinguishable from courts of third world nations. ”

    National Defender Leadership Institute


    * “Innocent people remain in prison”* “…the LA Superior Court and the DA office, the two other parts of the justice system that the Blue Panel Report recommends must be investigated relative to the integrity of the system, have not produced any response that we know of…”
    LAPD Blue Ribbon Review Panel Report (2006)* .”…judges tried and sentenced a staggering number of people for crimes they did not commit.” Prof David Burcham, Dean, Loyola Law School, LA (2000)
    * “This is conduct associated with the most repressive dictators and police states… and judges must share responsibility when innocent people are convicted.”
    Prof Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, Irvine Law School (2000)

    Joseph Zernik

    August 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm

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