Years of Deliberate Foot-dragging by California State Officials on Death Penalty Ends With Announcement of One Drug Protocol

[Michele Hanisee]

After years of deliberate foot-dragging by state officials who refused to adopt an execution protocol to avoid the uncomfortable possibility of anyone actually being executed, Governor Brown will soon announce that California, once again, has an execution protocol.  This progress was not motivated by the fact that an initiative to end capital punishment was defeated by voters in 2012.  Nor was it the 49 new death verdicts handed down by California juries since the defeat of Proposition 34.  In the end, it was a lawsuit by crime victims that forced a state agency to do what it is supposed to do – enforce the law.

Thankfully, it appears that the state will finally opt for the single-drug lethal injection method that death penalty opponents and proponents alike have documented as being a more humane and reliable method of execution.

California’s last execution occurred over 9 years ago when Clarence Ray Allen was executed for a triple murder.  Allen was already serving a life sentence for the murder of Mary Sue Kitts who he had killed to prevent her informing on him for a robbery he had committed at Fran’s Market in Fresno.  While in Folsom Prison, Allen conspired to murder three of the witnesses who had testified against him at trial.  When Allen’s co-conspirator, Billy Ray Hamilton was paroled, Hamilton drove to Fran’s Market where he executed the owner’s son, Bryon Schletewitz, and two teenage employees with a shotgun.

Attempt to Circumvent the Law

The sordid history of this attempt to circumvent the law began in 2006 when convicted murderer Michael Morales filed a lawsuit under the 8th Amendment challenging California’s three-drug protocol on the eve of his execution, claiming it was cruel and unusual.

Morales, is on death row for the rape and murder of 17-year-old Terri Winchell.  Morales first tried to strangle Winchell to death with a belt, then beat her on the head with a hammer, crushing her skull. He then dragged the unconscious, but still living girl into a vineyard where he raped her.  After raping her, Morales stabbed Winchell multiple times.

Experts at the court hearings testified that a single-drug method of execution using an anesthetic alone would avoid the problems that the petitioners claimed were inherent in the three-drug method.  Federal Judge Jeremy Fogel, ordered a conditional stay of execution that would have permitted the state to execute Morales if the state used the single-drug method.  During the lawsuit, Judge Fogel requested the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to enact a new protocol and encouraged the state to consider the single-drug method then being successfully used in other states.

Numerous other states had, by that time, switched to a single-drug method of execution and performed executions without any problems.  Motions to stay those executions were denied by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.  Inexplicably, California developed a new protocol that once-again, called for a three-drug method of execution.  The state began the process of enacting the regulation, which required review under the Administrative Procedures Act.

For the 99.999% of people unfamiliar with the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), it is a state law created with the laudable goal of requiring state agencies to consider input from those who would be affected by a proposed regulation.  The APA allows individuals to comment on a proposed regulation or suggest alternatives.  It also requires the state agency to respond meaningfully to all comments and suggestions.

Predictably, when CDCR began the APA process to enact the new execution protocol, it was flooded with over 30,000 comments from death penalty opponents, each of which required, by the terms of the APA, a meaningful response.  In December of 2011, Judge Faye D’Opal found that the state failed to respond meaningfully to each and every public comment and failed to consider meaningfully a single-drug method as an alternative to the three-drug method the state was then clinging to.

In response, the State of California did—nothing; for the nine years since it was suggested by experts and recommended by a federal judge, the State made no attempt to adopt an effective one-drug method. It took a successful 2014 lawsuit by Bradley Winchell and Kermit Alexander, who have family members killed by those on death row, to force the State to act.  The lawsuit was settled when the State agreed to begin development of a new protocol within 120 days of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Glossip v. Gross.

The Midazolam Issue

Glossip v. Gross was a U.S. Supreme Court case in which Oklahoma death row inmates challenged Oklahoma’s use of a two-drug method of execution that used midazolam as the sedative.  Midazolam, the lawsuit claimed, fails to fully sedate inmates and provide the level of deep unconsciousness that surgical grade barbiturates produce.  The petitioners pointed to Oklahoma’s “botched” execution of Clayton Lockett who failed to die promptly after the drugs were administered but died, some 43 minutes later of a heart attack.  It was later found that the problem arose from an improperly placed I.V.  The U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition and upheld as Constitutional Oklahoma’s two-drug method using midazolam.

New Protocol

California finally started paying attention.  The new protocol to be announced by the Governor is a single-drug method that does not call for midazolam, but instead uses, tried and true, surgical-quality barbiturates.  This method, which many other states have already switched to, is the same method used to humanely euthanize our beloved pets.  The drugs used in California’s new protocol are the same class of drugs used to provide a merciful end of life to terminally ill patients in Oregon, Washington and Vermont, where assisted suicide has been legal for years.  It is presumably the same drugs that will be used to end life under the new Death With Dignity Act that Governor Brown just signed into law.

There are 17 inmates on California’s death row who have exhausted all appeals and are eligible for execution.  As detailed below, their crimes are brutal, and it has only been as a result of deliberate attempts by California officials to sabotage capital punishment that they have not yet been executed.  As we discuss the resumption of capital punishment, it is critical to remind the public of the horrific crimes which resulted in juries voting to impose death.

17 Acts of Horror

1. Albert Greenwood Brown – Date of Crime: 1980

Albert Brown was sentenced to die for the rape and murder of a California high school student. Brown abducted 15-year-old Susan Louise Jordan while she was on her way to Arlington High School in Riverside. He had been posing as a jogger on the route. After dragging her to an orange grove, Brown brutally raped and sodomized her and strangled her to death with her own shoelace; he also took her identification cards and school books. After finding the family’s number in a phone book, Brown called Angelina Jordan from a payphone to tell her where he left her daughter’s body.  According to court documents, he said: “Hello, Mrs. Jordan, Susie isn’t home from school yet, is she? You will never see your daughter again. You can find her body on the corner of Victoria and Gibson.” Susan’s body was found after Brown repeatedly made calls to the Riverside Police Department and the Jordan residence.

2. David Allen Raley – Date of Crime: 1985

David Raley was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Jeanine Grinsell on February 2, 1985, in San Mateo County. The jury also found Raley guilty of attempted murder of a second girl who survived the ordeal, Laurie McKenna, then 17.  Raley, who worked as a security guard at the Carolands mansion, stabbed both girls dozens of times, then locked them in the trunk of his car and went home to play Monopoly with his family. Later, thinking they were both dead, he dumped both girls in a nearby ravine. McKenna, bloodied and battered, pulled herself out the next morning and flagged down a passing car. At the time, both girls were still alive but Grinsell was later pronounced dead in a hospital. An autopsy disclosed 41 stab wounds and a skull fracture.

3. Douglas S. Mickey – Date of Crime: 1980

Douglas Mickey killed Placer County residents, Eric Hanson, 29, and Catherine Blount, 19. The two were killed in their rural home off Wise Road in Ophir. Mickey first bludgeoned Hanson with a baseball bat and slit his throat from ear to ear down to the spinal cord. He then stabbed Blount seven times in the chest. Three of the blows pierced her heart. Mickey left the house, taking substantial property with him, and drove away in Hanson’s Volkswagen.

4. Fernando Belmontes, Jr. – Date of crime: 1981

Fernando Belmontes drove to the San Joaquin Valley home of acquaintance, Steacy McConnell, hoping to steal her stereo while she was out. Unfortunately, Belmontes had miscalculated, and McConnell was home – and in an apparent effort to do away with the only witness to his crime, Belmontes pounded her head 15 to 20 times with an iron dumbbell, crushing her skull. McConnell’s parents arrived home later to find their 19-year-old daughter dead on the floor in a pool of blood. Meanwhile, Belmontes and two accomplices had sold McConnell’s stolen stereo for $100 and bought some beer.

5. Harvey Lee Heishman III – Date of Crime: 1979

Harvey Lee Heishman III was convicted of the first-degree murder of Nancy Lugassy, with the special circumstance that she was a witness to a crime who was intentionally killed to prevent her testimony. Nancy lived in a cottage in Oakland. On July 22, 1979, about 11 p.m., she ran screaming to her neighbor’s and said she had just been raped. On August 9, she unhesitatingly selected Heishman’s picture from a photo lineup. She continually expressed fear of him. On August 10, a complaint was filed against him on the rape charge. While out on bail, Heishman returned to Lugassy’s home and shot her to death.  Heishman was identified as the killer by two women who testified, under grants of immunity from prosecution, that they were involved in his murder plot.

6. James Nelson Blair – Date of Crime: 1986

James Nelson Blair was convicted on July 19, 1985, of the attempted murders of Dorothy Green and Rhoda Miller by placing cyanide in a bottle of gin from which they drank. He was sentenced to a term of 14 years and 4 months, and his conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. In October 1986, after Dorothy Green died as a result of complications from the poisoning, Blair was charged with murder. On May 2, 1989, a jury found him guilty of murder in the first degree and found true the special circumstance that he intentionally killed the victim by poison.

7. Kevin Cooper – Date of Crime: 1983

Kevin Cooper killed Bill Hughes in cold blood.  Bill Hughes arrived at the home in Chino Hills where his 11-year-old son Christopher had spent the night with his friend, Josh Ryen. Inside, he found Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and his own son dead. They had been chopped with a hatchet, sliced with a knife, and stabbed with an icepick. Josh, the 8-year-old son of Douglas and Peggy, had survived. His throat had been cut. The family station wagon was gone. Hours before he was to be put to death in San Quentin in 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave Cooper a stay, allowing the defense to file more motions and eventually conduct new DNA results. Those tests found his DNA on several key pieces of evidence, supporting his guilt.

8. Michael Angelo Morales – Date of Crime: 1981

Michael Angelo Morales murdered 17-year-old Terri Winchell on January 8, 1981. Winchell’s boyfriend at the time was also secretly involved in a gay relationship with Richard Ortega, a cousin of Morales. Ortega hired Morales to kill Winchell so that Ortega could have an exclusive relationship with his male lover. Ortega invited Winchell to accompany him on a shopping excursion. Morales, who was also in the automobile, attacked Winchell and tried to strangle her with his belt. When the belt broke, Morales then struck her multiple times in the head with a hammer, beating her into unconsciousness, and crushing her skull. Ortega and Morales then drove to an isolated area, where Morales dragged Winchell facedown across the road and into a vineyard, where he raped her and stabbed her four times in the chest. Winchell died from both the head and chest wounds.  The police found Morales’ broken belt, containing Terri Winchell’s blood, the hammer bearing traces of blood and Terri’s purse and credit card in Morales’ home.  Morales had used $11 from Terri’s purse to buy beer, wine, and cigarettes on the night of the murder.

9. Mitchell Carlton Sims – Date of Crime: 1985

After robbing and shooting to death his two co-workers at a South Carolina Domino’s Pizza, Mitchell Sims and his girlfriend Ruby Padgett fled to California to continue the murder spree.  Mitchell Sims rented a Glendale motel room then ordered a Domino’s pizza.  When pizza deliveryman, John Harrington, entered the motel room, Sims and Padgett held him at gunpoint.  They then hogtied Harrigan, shoved a sock in his mouth, put a pillowcase over his head and tied a shoelace so tightly around Harrigan’s neck that it would have caused strangulation.  But while Harrigan was still alive, Sims placed him face-down in a bathtub full of water.  After watching Harrigan’s last struggle for life, Sims put on Harrigan’s uniform, and went to the Domino’s where Harrigan worked.  Sims robbed the two other employees and then left them locked in the freezer, bound in such a way that they were forced to stand on tip-toe to avoid hanging themselves. Sims and Padgett were apprehended in a Las Vegas motel room with the cash bag from the Glendale Domino’s and the Las Vegas Yellow Pages listing for local Domino’s Pizza.

10. Richard Gonzales Samayoa – Date of Crime: 1985

Richard Samayoa beat Nelia Silva to death with a wrench in the course of burglarizing her home. Samayoa also beat to death Nelia’s two-year-old daughter, Katherine. The pathologist estimated that Nelia was struck in the head 24 times. The jury heard testimony that the faces of both mother and daughter were smashed in, their skulls crushed, and fragments of bone penetrated their brains. It is undisputed that Samayoa left Nelia and Katherine naked from the waist down – he said he did that to make the crime look like a rape – and then he stole jewelry from the Silva house that he gave away as gifts to members of his family. The mutilated bodies of both victims were found by Rolando Silva, Nelia’s husband and Katherine’s father.

11. Robert G. Fairbank – Date of Crime: 1985

Four days after a San Francisco judge released Robert Fairbank without bail on a rape charge,  Fairbank waylaid 24-year-old graduate student Wendy Cheek as she was on her way to a party.  Fairbank, raped Cheek then stabbed her with multiple objects, described by the coroner as being consistent with a knife, a Phillips-head screwdriver,  and a barbecue fork.  Fairbank then set Cheek’s body on fire.

12. Ronald Lee Deere – Date of Crime: 1982

Apparently despondent over the termination of his relationship with Cindy Gleason, Ronald Deere shot and killed the husband and two young children of Ms. Gleason’s sister, Kathy Davis. Defendant had previously threatened to kill “everyone” in Ms. Gleason’s family if she stopped seeing him. Shortly before the killings, Ms. Gleason received a telephone call from defendant telling her that “I’m not going to be responsible for what I do today.” Later that night, Ms. Gleason and Ms. Davis discovered the bodies of Don, Michelle and Melissa Davis in Don’s trailer. Deere fled and hid from the police; he was arrested several days later.

13. Royal Kenneth Hayes – Date of Crime: 1982

In December of 1981, Donald MacVicar and Lauren de Laet sought to buy cocaine from Royal Hayes. Instead, Hayes and his co-conspirators lured the two to a secluded location in the woods where Hayes had already dug graves.  Hayes shot each victim in the head and buried them.  Nearly two months later, a mushroom hunter discovered fragments of what later turned out to be de Laet’s skull.

14. Scott Lynn Pinholster – Date of Crime: 1982

Scott Pinholster was convicted of murdering Robert Beckett, 29, and Thomas Johnson, 25, on January 9, 1982.  Pinholster solicited two other men to join him in robbing a local drug dealer. The plot quickly went awry.  Pinholster repeatedly stabbed one victim in the chest with a buck knife, killing him. He kicked in the head another victim, who had been mortally wounded by one of Pinholster’s associates. At the apartment, Pinholster washed his knife, and the three split the proceeds of the robbery: $23 and one quarter-ounce of marijuana.

15. Stevie Lamar Fields – Date of Crime: 1978

Stevie Lamar Fields’ case is one of the oldest on California’s Death Row. Fields was on parole for manslaughter when he went on a three-week wave of violent crimes in September 1978. He had been out of prison for just two weeks. Fields was convicted of three rapes, one robbery, two kidnappings and the murder of Rosemary Cobbs, a 26-year-old graduate student and librarian at the University of Southern California. According to the trial record, he tied her to the rails of his bed, forced her to write checks to him, ordered her into a car, then shot her six times and beat her until she died.

16. Tiequon Aundray “Lil Fee” Cox – Date of Crime: 1984

Tiequon Cox, a Los Angles gang member, went to carry out a retaliatory gang shooting, but went to the wrong address.  In the early morning hours on Aug. 31, 1984, Cox and Darren Williams entered a home on 59th Street in Los Angeles after Williams mistakenly wrote the wrong address on a sheet of paper. A “scene of horror” is how Judge Graber described what police saw when they found.  Cox and Williams shot to death Ebora Alexander, 58, and her daughter Dietra Alexander.  Cox and his conspirators then shot to death Dietra’s sons, 6-year-old Damon Boner and 12-year-old Damani Alexander as they slept in their beds.

17. William Charles Payton – Date of Crime: 1980

Patricia Pensinger operated a boarding house in Garden Grove California where she lived with her sons. On May 26, 1980, William Payton, a former boarder, came to the boardinghouse.  Pensinger gave Payton permission to sleep on her couch then returned to her bed, where her ten-year-old son Blaine was asleep. Payton later entered Pensinger’s bedroom, jumped on top of her, and stabbed her and her son repeatedly with a butcher knife. In all, Payton stabbed Pensinger forty times and Blaine twenty-three times, but both survived. When the police arrived, they discovered the lifeless body of another boarder, Pamela Montgomery. She had been stabbed twelve times and sexually assaulted.  Payton’s saliva and semen were found on Montgomery’s body.  Payton’s wife testified at his trial that he arrived at their home that night with his clothes, face, hands, chest, and genitals covered in blood.

(Note: Hyperlinks in the description of the crimes above indicates the primary source for the narrative)

Michele Hanisee is Vice President of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA). She can be contacted at mhanisee@laadda.com.  The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ADDA, which is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.

One Pension Scheme Shelved – New Ballot Measure Planned

Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio announced they will not be circulating for signatures the pension initiative they previously announced earlier this year-while promising to announce two more pension initiatives. The decision reflects, again, that Reed and company can’t “handle the truth” about their pension schemes.

The recently aborted initiative was a full-fledged assault on the pensions of current employees, and an attempt to eviscerate collective bargaining. As mandated by law, the California Attorney General accurately and truthfully created a ballot initiative title and summary, exposing as a lie Reed and DeMaio’s characterization of the initiative. No doubt mindful of a 2014 court ruling that upheld the Attorney General’s title and summary of Reed’s previous pension initiative; the duo chose not the challenge the interpretation in court.

This of course, did not stop Reed and DeMaio from attacking the summary-but that backfired. Even allies called them out for their duplicity. For example, newspaper columnist Daniel Borenstein wrote that the Attorney General’s summary was accurate, and bluntly stated Reed and DeMaio “shouldn’t continue to falsely pitch the measure.”

However, Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio are clearly desperate to try to avoid accurate descriptions of their initiatives because there is no public support for what they wish to do. A recent public opinion poll revealed that a less than 1/3 of voters believe public employee pensions are a big problem, the lowest number in a decade.

Chuck Reed has had a rough summer, with the San Jose City Council voting to ask a judge to invalidate Reed’s 2012 Measure B pension initiative, a pension initiative that led to the devastation of public safety in San Jose. Carl DeMaio has fared no better — his new occupation of radio talk show host, following failed mayoral and Congressional campaigns, saw his co-host quit after several months rather than continue to work with DeMaio.

Carl DeMaio has recently promised not one, but two, new pension initiatives which he boasts will get around the “political obstacles” of the Attorney General Title and Summaries of Initiatives. However, both the courts and even his close political allies agree that the Title and Summaries of pension initiatives which Reed and DeMaio consider obstacles are simply accurate statements of what the dangerous duo have proposed. What Reed and DeMaio can’t get around, and what they can’t handle, is the truth.

Please read our five previous blogs that detail the pension issue and the financial disaster that Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio still want to create: (1) Attorney General: Reed initiative eliminates constitutional protections for vested pension benefits (2) The destruction Chuck Reed wants to bring to California (3) Attention Shoppers: Don’t Sign that Misleading Pension Petition! (4) Your Pension is Under Attack and (5) Fuzzy Math Continues To Drive Public Pension Hysteria.  If you want to learn more about pensions, we encourage you to visit Let’s Talk Pensions.

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The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.

President’s Update – 09/17/15

In early February this year, shortly after our Membership overwhelming voted to disaffiliate from AFSCME, the Board of Directors engaged in a brutally frank strategic planning conference.  Among other key decisions, the Board decided that it was time to re-invent/re-brand our Association.

Rather than continuing with the same failed labor-management relationship with both the County and District Attorney management that could be characterized as “adversarial to the extreme,” a decision was made: to the extent practical—we would attempt to work in a productive and collaborative manner with the District Attorney and the County.

As a result of this sea-change decision, we were able to achieve unprecedented progress at the bargaining table with both the DA Administration and the CAO [Chief Administrative Office] management.  This, of course, resulted in a contract that was subsequently ratified by 96.99% of the Membership.

On Tuesday, September 15, 2015, the ADDA’s Contract Negotiation Team met for a pleasant lunch with DA Jackie Lacey herself and two of the key members of her negotiation team. Trying to hold a casual summit meeting in the past would have been unthinkable.  In short, this is yet another example that the new ADDA approach to conducting Membership business has radically changed and is already paying constructive dividends.

  • Also on Tuesday, the ADDA Board met with several elected California District Attorneys to learn of a proposed new citizens’ initiative involving the death penalty.Much more will be coming your way in the near future regarding this important topic through separate messages.
  • Finally, later that same evening ADDA Board Members and staff joined many of you and numerous members of the law enforcement community at Law Enforcement Night at Dodgers Stadium.  As the chief law enforcement officer of Los Angeles County, Jackie Lacey threw a beautiful pitch straight and over the plate!  We are reliably informed that Jackie’s successful effort was the product of weeks of practice with her coach, Gina Satriana.
  • Thursday, the Board’s Bylaw Review Committee met to consider additional adjustments to our exiting governing document.We hope to be able to present the final product to the Membership for adoption in the near future, and shortly thereafter to hold an election for the Board of Directors.
  • Next week, two more items of critical Membership business will be addressed.First, on Tuesdaythe Board of Supervisors should be adopting our new Memorandum of Understanding so that on10/30/15 you will see the 3% increase effective 10/1/15.   And second, at its regular September meeting, the Board of Directors will review the results of the 2014 audit conducted by Rita Villa, CPA.

Marc Debbaudt
President ADDA

Public Safety Community Applauds the Rejection SB 443

The public safety community in California is pleased with the defeat yesterday of Senate Bill 443 by Senator Holly Mitchell, a bill that would have impeded the ability of law enforcement agencies to go after drug kingpins. In response to the defeat of SB 443, Marc Debbaudt, President of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, issued the following statement:

“The legislation would have denied every law enforcement agency in California direct receipt of any forfeited assets. California’s asset forfeiture law would have been changed for the worse and this dangerous piece of legislation would have crippled the ability of law enforcement to forfeit assets from drug dealers, especially now, when current laws make arrest and incarceration an incomplete strategy for combating drug trafficking. Narcotics investigations are costly, and the California asset forfeiture law’s dedication of forfeiture proceeds to the seizing law enforcement agencies supplements their serious resource needs when they pursue drug traffickers and their ill gotten gains. SB 443 would have undermined one of the most important tools used to combat complex transnational criminal enterprises.

“After the passage of Proposition 47 and Criminal Justice Realignment, incarceration is NOT a deterrent to narcotics trafficking. To drug dealers, custody time is looked at as a minimal “cost of doing business.” If drug assets are still available to dealers upon release, they go back to the business of selling narcotics. In more sophisticated operations, the drug dealer facing time in custody is merely a foot soldier for the bigger fish to whom the assets actually belong. Passage of the bill would have caused a severe public safety threat – it would have been a license to expand for drug cartels and narcotics trafficking on all levels, endangering our communities and schools.

“I am pleased to see the unified effort of public safety labor and management groups throughout the state who came together to defeat this dangerous bill. Public Safety advocates representing the Association Of Deputy District Attorneys; Association For Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs; California Association Of Code Enforcement Officers; California College & University Police Chiefs Association; California Narcotic Officers Association; Los Angeles Police Protective League; Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, Cal. Chiefs, and many other groups worked tirelessly to educate elected officials regarding this dangerous piece of legislation.”

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The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.

What Realignment Has Done to Restitution Collection and How It Can Be Fixed

[Lydia Bodin]

In October of 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bills 109 and 117 that created Public Safety Realignment.  Prosecutors are very familiar with the effect and influence of realignment on sentencing and incarceration but are, perhaps, less familiar with the unintentional collateral consequence that made restitution collection impossible at the county level for offenders who are now both supervised and incarcerated locally.

Before the Public Safety Realignment, restitution was and continues to be collected by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and local probation departments. Well-defined collection and distribution systems that were and remain statutorily authorized are in place to ensure that victims could collect on court ordered restitution.  Unfortunately, following realignment, newly created classes of convicted individuals locally supervised and incarcerated were not made subject to any complementary statutory authority to collect restitution.

Many victims in this county are currently not receiving the restitution to which they are entitled because this county has not yet established a collection mechanism that has responded to the negative changes Realignment has brought to the collection of restitution.  As of January 1, 2015, the law fully supported the collection of restitution at the county level from Realignment created classes of convicted individuals.  Our county must now rise to the challenge of collecting restitution in the post-Realignment environment. Article 1, section 28 of the California Constitution gives victims the right to restitution.  In order for that right to be a reality, it is imperative that collection now begin from individuals sentenced pursuant to Penal Code section 1170(h); on mandatory supervision; and, on post-release community supervision.  It should be noted that if these individuals were in state prison as they used to be, they would be subject to restitution collection at the level of 50% from all deposits into their inmate wage and trust accounts.

The following convicted individuals may now be made subject to restitution collection at the county level:

  • County prisoners sentenced pursuant to Penal Code section 1170(h)(A) who serve their time on a blended sentence or who serve their full term in county jail and who are released with no supervision currently could be subject to collection from their inmate wage and trust accounts for up to 50% of each deposit.  Unfortunately there is no agency or mechanism set up to collect in this county.  Penal Code section 2085.5 allows a county board of supervisors to appoint an agency or the Sheriff to collect from inmates in county jail.
  • County prisoners sentenced pursuant to Penal Code section 1170(h)(B) who are on a so-called split sentence and released into the community under the mandatory supervision of  the Probation Department can be subject to statutory authorized collection as of January 1, 2015 pursuant to Penal Code 2085.6. Collection is based upon an ability to pay as determined by the Probation Department.
  • State prisoners who are now on post release community supervision pursuant to Penal Code section 3451 are under the supervision of Probation and will can be subject to statutory authorized collection as of January 1, 2015 pursuant to the newly created Penal Code 2085.6.  Collection is based upon an ability to pay as determined by the Probation Department.

Pursuant to statute, a county board of supervisors must determine who is the collecting agency or agencies in a county.  Once that initial threshold decision is made, counties can establish collection mechanisms and can then collect and distribute restitution.  In this county, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized a working group in November of 2014 to make recommendations to them through the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee for the purpose of establishing a restitution collection system in this county.  The committee is chaired by the Office of the Los Angeles District Attorney.  Work has been ongoing for the last eight months to establish a multi-agency integrated system that will collect and distribute restitution in this county from convicted populations created by Public Safety Realignment. The committee is a multi-agency taskforce comprised of the Sheriff; the District Attorney; Public Defender; Probation; the Treasurer-Tax Collector, the Internal Services Division; and, the Auditor Controller.

Prosecutors are keenly aware of the toll that crime takes on victims.  Crime is not just a violation of a law – it is frequently a devastating financial event for many victims.  Recently, I got a call from a woman whose family business had been deeply harmed through the loss of $100,000.00 in embezzled money.  I had to tell her that the defendant, an individual who this woman had assisted and allowed to live in her home, was in county jail on an 1170(h) sentence and that currently there was no collection mechanism in this county.  Several months ago an elderly gentleman asked me if I could get even just a nickel because he wanted to know that the defendant was paying at least something. This same conversation with victims is currently repeated multiple times a day by personnel in the Restitution Enhancement Program.  Victims are consistently incensed and angered by the fact that they cannot get their restitution. Most sadly, their confidence in the justice system is failing.

Absent collection from supervised and incarcerated individuals, victims are left to obtain justice in civil courts by executing the restitution judgment in that arena.  Victims are ill equipped to champion their own restitution collection.  In addition, a greater burden is placed on the civil courts to execute restitution judgments.  It just makes sense to create and strengthen restitution collection in this county.

On September 15, 2015, the Board of Supervisors will vote on the foundational aspects of a collection system in this county. These foundational components include who are the collectors and at what percentage level collection will occur from inmate wage and trust accounts.  Following this initial approval by the supervisors, many more months of work are ahead to establish protocols and a working system that will include county criminal justice partners.  With the approval of the Board of Supervisors to create a viable restitution collection and distribution system, victims will be better served and will have confidence in our ability to both protect and to obtain justice for them.

Lydia Bodin is a member of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys(ADDA) and is currently serving as the Deputy In Charge of the Restitution Enhancement Program and Abolish Chronic Truancy.  The ADDA is the collective bargaining agent that represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.

Increase In Attacks On Police Officers Should Be A National Wake-Up Call

Over the last several months, our nation has seen rhetorical attacks on police morphing into unprovoked ambushes and murders of police officers across the nation. In response, ADDA President Marc Debbaudt issued the following statement:

“The spike in unprovoked ambushes and murders on police officers across the nation demands further public attention.  While a handful of leaders including President Obama and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have spoken out about this issue, where is a sustained public outcry?  A successful police department is a department that not only protects its community, but is also supported by the community and elected officials.

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys calls on our public leaders and the public, to speak out against this disturbing spate of violence.  In our professional roles, we honor police officers who have been murdered in the line of duty by seeking justice for them and their families.  As Deputy District Attorneys, we don’t only honor the memory of the officers at the time of the crime but also seek justice after the trial and sentencing.  As prosecutors, our obligation continues years later, when the crime has faded from the headlines and the killers seek freedom.  We appear at the parole hearings of these killers to ensure the memory of the murdered officer remains vivid and alive, and that justice continues to be done for the families of the officers.

Public safety requires a strong two-way partnership. The ADDA calls on community leaders across the nation to speak out and make it clear that violence against law enforcement will never be tolerated. Those who threaten or bring violence against police officers threaten the safety and security of our own communities.”

If you have friends who would like to receive future ADDA press releases, blogs or our popular Monday Morning Memo, please click here.

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.

Coalition Letter Opposing Parole for Voltaire Williams

Coalition Letter Opposing Parole for Voltaire Williams (8-31-15)

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August 31, 2015

Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Governor of the State of California
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 915814

Dear Governor Brown:

The  Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the California College and University Police Chiefs Association, the California Correctional Supervisors Organization, the California Narcotic Officers Association and the Riverside Sheriffs Association all join with the Los Angeles Police Protective League in expressing our strongest opposition to the   finding of suitability and grant of parole to inmate Voltaire Williams (CDCR # E17796), who is serving a life sentence for his critical role in the assassination of LAPD Detective Thomas Williams in 1985.  Inmate Williams was a key participant in what has been described as one of the worst murder plots in Los Angeles history.

On Halloween night 1985 Detective Williams was picking up his young son from school.  As they were preparing to leave, Officer Williams was shot and killed when eight bullets from a fully automatic assault weapon struck him.  Detective Williams only had time to order his young son, Ryan, to duck, causing the other nine bullets to fly past him.  The Medal of Valor, the LAPD’s highest award for bravery, was given to Detective Williams posthumously for saving his son’s life at the cost of his own.

Inmate Voltaire Williams (no relation to Detective Williams), has admitted his profound role in the death of Detective Williams.   The assassination of Detective Williams began when he successfully arrested Daniel Steven Jenkins for a 1984 street robbery that escalated into a near-fatal hit on the victim of that robbery and ended with Detective Williams’ murder during the Jenkins robbery trial.  The plot was initially hatched to sabotage Jenkins’ robbery trial since Detective Williams was the lead investigator on the Jenkins robbery case.

The original plan was for Voltaire Williams to murder Detective Williams, but Williams elected to sub-contract the job to a friend, Aladron Hunter, to be the actual triggerman working under Voltaire Williams’ close supervision.  Ultimately Hunter declined to murder Detective Williams. Voltaire Williams attempted to persuade Hunter’s to change his mind, but to no avail, and Jenkins (who was on a low bail release from his robbery trial) ultimately murdered Detective Williams.  Immediately after the murder, Aladron Hunter informed the police and was ultimately a prosecution witness in both the trials of Voltaire Williams and Daniel Steven Jenkins.

Although Voltaire Williams had ample opportunity to inform law enforcement of the plot, he declined to do so “out of loyalty to Jenkins.”   All parties agreed that if Voltaire Williams had called police before the actual hit, it would have saved Detective Williams life.  His “loyalty” to Jenkins effectively sealed Detective Williams’ fate.

Although Detective Williams was the victim of this callous plot, he is only one victim.  In a very real sense, the target of this plot is the integrity of the entire criminal justice system.

We believe this parole grant jeopardizes public safety due to Voltaire Williams’ minimization of the true “execution” nature of the killing and his admission that he helped orchestrate and permitted these events to go forward out of a greater loyalty to Daniel Jenkins.

Moreover, the larger public policy implications of the release of persons who murder police officers are significant and should not be ignored when considering whether or not to release someone who has murdered a police officer. Simply put, such releases send a message that we do not value the lives of front-line officers on any serious level.  Daily, police officers confront situations where the possibility they will not return home at the end of the day is very real. Feasibly, the only protection – albeit a decidedly intangible protection – is awareness (on the part of the criminal) that if he murders a police officer he does so with certain knowledge that his own freedom will be forever forfeited.  This is a tenuous shield for an officer, but a shield nonetheless. The moment we begin releasing persons who participate in the murder of  peace officers in the line of duty will, in essence, begin the dissolution of even that most fragile of shields.

In closing, and as it pertains to Voltaire Williams, there is nothing he has presented that suggests any mitigating circumstances which would now make parole appropriate; he is still the key conspirator in the murder of Detective Williams and should not have been granted parole by the Board of Parole Hearings. Voltaire Williams’ release is not only unjustified given his individual circumstances, but from a larger policy perspective, this release constitutes an unreasonable risk of harm to all police officers who work our streets every day.

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the California College and University Police Chiefs Association, the California Correctional Supervisors Organization, the California Narcotic Officers Association, and the Riverside Sheriffs Association all join  Los Angeles Police Protective League respectfully requesting this parole grant be reversed pursuant to Penal Code §3041.2.

Sincerely,

Tim Yaryan
Legislative Counsel
Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs
Association of Deputy District Attorneys
Riverside Sheriffs Association

John Lovell
Legislative Counsel
California College and University Police Chiefs Association
California Narcotic Officers Association
California Correctional Supervisors Organization

Cc:  Nancy McFadden, Executive Secretary to the Governor
June Clark, Deputy Legislative Secretary, Office of the Governor
Thomas Remy, Board of Parole Hearings/ Legal

More madness: Second cop killer gets parole hearing

On November 4, 1978, Jesus Cecena executed San Diego Police Officer Archie Buggs.

On August 28, 2015, the onetime gang member has a parole hearing.

Cecena had been drinking beer and smoking PCP-laced marijuana when Buggs, a Vietnam veteran, pulled him and a fellow gang member over during a routine nighttime traffic stop in San Diego. After firing five shots at Buggs, Cecena pumped another round into the officer’s head as he lay dying in a gutter, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Now, despite his merciless slaughter of a man who dedicated his life to keeping his city’s citizens safe and secure, Cecena is asking the state to be merciful to him. This, courtesy of a new state law that makes it easier for criminals who committed heinous crimes as juveniles to be freed. (Cecena was four months shy of his 18th birthday when he murdered Buggs, who was one of a handful of black officers on the San Diego police force.)

Cecena’s case would be troubling if it stood alone. Sadly, it does not.

The state parole board freed a record 902 “lifers” this past year, far surpassing the numbers released in prior years. One of them was Voltaire Alphonse Williams, who, as we reported in a recent posting, played a central role in the brutal 1985 murder of LAPD detective Thomas Williams (no relation) in front of his six year-old son. The parole board, very quietly and without cause, freed Williams on Aug. 4, according to a detailed piece by Arnold Friedman in LA Observed. And the gang member with Cecena the night he murdered Buggs could add to the list of hardened criminals freely roaming the streets. Jose Arteaga, who was 20 at the time, likely will have a parole hearing later this year or in early 2016, according to the Times.

There is certainly room for compassion in criminal justice. But not for cop killers – no matter how difficult their childhoods were or their age when they committed the crime. There are few crimes more monstrous than murdering law enforcement officers. These killings are not just murders of individuals, they are attacks on the very foundation of our society. Law enforcement professionals – be they police or prosecutors – are on the front lines of a largely invisible but constant struggle to maintain order and protect innocent citizens against those who seek to do them harm.

To be sure, there is some cause for hope.

Last year, the parole board recommended that Cecena be freed. Gov. Jerry Brown rejected that incomprehensible suggestion, agreeing with prosecutors that Cecena remains a threat to the public and has not taken full responsibility for murdering Buggs. And a long list of current and retired law enforcement professionals vigorously oppose the release of the cold-blooded killer, including San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. Dumanis said she will take the unusual step of attending Friday’s parole board hearing, according to the Times. We urge Gov. Brown to display the same wisdom and courage he displayed last year if the parole board again recommends freeing the callous cop killer.

But while there are glimmers of hope, there is much more cause for concern.

As evidenced by its decisions to free hundreds of lifers in the past year alone, the parole board appears to be hell-bent on emptying the state’s prisons, no matter what kind of mayhem they unleash on the state’s unsuspecting civilians. We’re also under assault from Prop. 47, which, as we have previously reported, turned a host of felonies into misdemeanors, allowing thousands of hardened criminals to be eligible for early release. Law enforcement professionals agree that the surge in crime in many parts of the state – including here in Los Angeles – is directly tied to this horribly misguided voter-approved initiative.

It is imperative that all Californians rally against the increasing tide of threats to every man, woman and child who reside in, or visit, this state. We will do our part by informing you immediately and in detail about all broad threats to public safety as we become aware of them. Today, we repeat the call that we issued earlier this month for Gov. Brown to dim the din of insanity, and fix a travesty of justice, by demanding a change in the parole board’s decision in the Williams case. If you want to contact the Governor directly about Williams or Cecena, click here.

If you have friends who would like to receive future ADDA blogs or our popular Monday Morning Memo, please click here.

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.

Attorney General: Reed initiative eliminates constitutional protections for vested pension benefits

The California Attorney General has acknowledged that the scope of Chuck Reed’s initiative is to eliminate constitutional protection for the vested pension benefits for all current public employees, and subject their future salaries and benefits to a public vote.

In the  official “Title and Summary” for the initiative, the Attorney General states that the initiative, “Eliminates constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree healthcare benefits for current public employees, including those working in K-12 schools, higher education, hospitals, and police protection, for future work performed.”   The summary also found the initiative would subject all public employee compensation to public vote.

This initiative is directed at every current public employee in the state, whether they are a Deputy District Attorney, Judge, police officer, firefighters, teacher, college professor or clerk. The Attorney General summary exposes as false Reed’s claim that his initiative is narrowly focused on pensions for future employees, not the vested benefits of current public employees.  Instead, the Attorney General analysis concludes that in addition to eliminating constitutional protection of vested benefits, it also lets voters direct the scope of collective bargaining, or disapprove agreements reached in collective bargaining.

The Attorney General was not the only public entity to provide analysis of the initiative.  We wrote about the initiative’s threat to the stability and existence of all pensions plans and its impact on disability benefits for future public employees, including police officers and firefighters.  CALPERS, meanwhile, issued a letter stating the initiative could cause IRS issues that would “affect the system’s tax exempt status;” and would “make providing death or disability benefits extremely impracticable.”

It is noteworthy that three days after the Attorney General’s “Title and Summary,” the San Jose City Council voted to ask a Judge to invalidate Reed’s 2012 Measure B — a pension initiative which devastated public safety in San Jose.  To quote a Bay Area columnist, “The city conceded that Measure B was a mistake, an error, a massive foot fault.  The council agreed to ask a judge to invalidate it, to brand it formally as incorrectly designed law.”   Unfortunately for San Jose, the damage Reed caused will take years to repair.

Reed has promised legal review of the Attorney General’s Title and Summary before attempting to collect signatures to qualify the initiative.  In the meantime, he has resorted to his familiar playbook of lies and invective labeling those opposing his initiative as “government union bosses” and repeating his false claim that the initiative doesn’t eliminate constitutional protections for vested benefits.

Please read our previous pension blogs, The destruction Chuck Reed wants to bring to California, Attention Shoppers: Don’t Sign that Misleading Pension Petition!, Your Pension is Under Attack and Fuzzy Math Continues To Drive Public Pension Hysteria.  If you want to learn more about pensions, we encourage you to visit Let’s Talk Pensions.

If you have friends who would like to receive future ADDA blogs or our popular Monday Morning Memo, please click here.

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.

Announcement of Tentative Agreement for Successor MOU 7/25/15

BACKGROUND

As you know, our MOU with the County was scheduled to expire on September 30th of this year.  The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that after several months of informal discussions and formal negotiations, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys has executed a Tentative Agreement (TA) for a successor MOU with the County of Los Angeles.  The TA was executed by ADDA’s Contract Negotiation Team (CNT) on July 23, 2015 at 11:45 a.m.

The Board of Directors and the CNT believes that this successor MOU is fair and equitable and recommends that the ADDA Membership vote in favor of ratification.

TERMS OF THE PROPOSED SUCCESSOR MOU

    • Term of Agreement

3 years (10/1/15 – 9/30/18)

    • Negotiated Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA)

10% over 3 years:

3%         10/01/15

3%         10/01/16

2%         10/01/17

2%         04/01/18

    • Promotional Testing

In an extensive parallel dialog with DA management, including District Attorney Jackie Lacey herself, the parties have agreed to review the existing practice and investigate alternatives to the much-despised written knowledge test component of the promotional exam process.  This portends a historic modification to what has become an onerous and disruptive ordeal. One sign of this you may have already noticed: The promotional lists were extended for a year, until June and August of 2016, while DA Management and the ADDA work out the details of the new promotional process.

Further, in a virtually unprecedented demonstration of management’s good faith interest in improving this process, rather than merely asking us to trust her, District Attorney Lacey has provided a written statement of her interest in ameliorating the process with ADDA working alongside her management team. We are sharing that letter as an attachment here.

    • New Article 33 — MCLE Professional Development & Training

The ADDA agreed to a new contract provision that states in pertinent part:

… [M]anagement will grant as equitably as possible to all members of the bargaining unit paid County time to attend work-related educational programs such as conferences, workshops, seminars, or symposiums that offer approved MCLEs ….  Such approval shall not be unreasonably denied.

The long and the short of it is should any ADDA Member have concerns over the administration of what has been an exclusive management right, the matter will become subject to appeal through the previously negotiated Grievance Procedure.

    • Additional Protections

1. COLA Protection

In addition the ADDA negotiated protection for ADDA Members with a Most Favored Nations (sometimes referred to as a “Me Too”) Clause.  In short, should any other LA County bargaining unit secure a more favorable general COLA, then ADDA Members shall receive the same benefit.

2. Longevity Pay Protection

While the County rejected our proposals for Longevity Pay, we were able to negotiate protection for ADDA Members.  Should any other LA County bargaining unit that does not currently have this benefit secure Longevity Pay during this cycle of bargaining, ADDA Members shall receive the same benefit.

3. Other Represented County Attorney Unit Protection

Additionally, recognizing that ADDA is not the only represented LA County attorney group, we negotiated protection for ADDA Members.  Specifically, any and all compensation increase(s) that the County agrees to grant to any other represented County attorneys will be extended to ADDA Members.

    • Other Terms & Conditions

Will be addressed in a separate explanatory message that accompanies the ratification ballot that will be mailed to your home address on record on August 10, 2015.  Perhaps the most important thing for you to know is that the CNT avoided any concessions or “give-backs” to the County or the DA’s Office by ADDA Members.

RATIFICATION PROCESS

To ensure Membership confidence, Haynie & Company—a highly regarded independent CPA firm with considerable experience in conducting such elections for unions—is conducting the entire ratification process.  They have agreed to make certain changes to the balloting process to eliminate any controversy as to the confidentiality of the vote.

This has been a long time coming, and we appreciate your patience while we have rebuilt ADDA and simultaneously negotiated on your behalf.  We know that our work is far from finished, but this marks a great step forward for the world’s finest District Attorney’s Office.  We hope you will see that this contract confirms that your dedication and sacrifice as public servants has not gone unnoticed, and we are very proud to represent you.

If you have any questions or comments, as well as to avoid circulating unsubstantiated rumors and conjecture about the details of the proposed MOU, please contact President Marc Debbaudt at (818) 489-9603 or mdebbaudt@laadda.com.

I want to personally thank the Contract Negotiating Team: Vice President Michele Hanisee and our Treasurer James Evans, and the other Board Members who strongly support ratification of this agreement—Bobby Grace, Craig Gold, and Eric Siddall.  I also extend our thanks to the County’s Chief Negotiator, Maurice Cooper, and Assistant District Attorney Pam Booth with whom we worked closely.  After you read the letter about the promotional testing signed by District Attorney Jackie Lacey, please consider thanking her when you see her in the hallway.

Finally, none of this would have happened if we hadn’t hired our highly experienced Executive Director & Chief Negotiator, John Rees, our subject-matter expert, Cathy O’Brien, and our Executive Assistant, Juliana Konze.  The retention of these invaluable staff members was made possible by the ADDA Members who voted to stop giving our dues money to the financial vampire known as AFSCME.

Finally, I sincerely believe this agreement is proof that we were absolutely right to disaffiliate from AFSCME.  We have demonstrated that an independent ADDA could both save significant amounts of money and do as well, if not better, than anything AFSCME could have achieved. I believe the prestige and clout of your ADDA is growing and the future is promising, and the ADDA looks forward to continue to advance your interests.

Thank you for your support and confidence.

Sincerely,

Marc