Veteran Prince George’s County Maryland Deputy Sheriff Lamar McIntyre Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Raping Female Inmate

June 21, 2012

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND – A deputy sheriff is under arrest after allegedly sexually assaulting a female inmate, according to Prince George’s County police.

The woman, 34, told police that deputy sheriff Lamar McIntyre, 31, of Bowie assaulted her at about 2 p.m. Tuesday while she was being held at the Upper Marlboro courthouse before a trial, a county police release states.

McIntyre admitted the assault when questioned by county detectives and is charged with second-degree rape and second-degree sex offense, according to online Prince George’s County District Court records. He was remanded to the Department of Corrections in Upper Marlboro on a $75,000 bond, according to county police.

McIntyre, who has been a sheriff deputy since September 2009, was put on leave without pay, said Sharon Taylor, an office of the sheriff spokeswoman.

No attorney information was listed for him in online court records as of Thursday.

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TSA High Security = No Security – Man Leaves Jail, Walks Through Emergency Door At San Diego California Airport, Onto Tarmac, And Onto Airplane

May 31, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – Hours after being released from jail, a man walked through an emergency door at San Diego International Airport, onto the tarmac and sat down on a United Express plane Tuesday, according to San Diego authorities.

“He completely bypassed TSA screening,” San Diego Harbor Police Chief John Bolduc said. “He was in a public area and went out an emergency fire door, which gave him access to the tarmac.”

Marc Duncan, 38, was paroled from jail Monday night, according to San Diego County Sheriff’s Department records. He had been serving time for theft.

After it was opened, the emergency door alarm sounded, and Bolduc said police were on site in four minutes, but by then Duncan had blended in with other passengers.

He allegedly boarded a 30-seat United Express aircraft operated by SkyWest, which was heading to Los Angeles, according to airline spokesman Wes Horrocks.

The flight attendant realized she had too many passengers, Nicholas Blasgen, a passenger on the plane told CNN affiliate KGTV. “They said, ‘What is your count?’ She said this is my count, and they said that is wrong.”

The passengers got off the plane and their luggage was searched.

“They had us put all the bags out, they separated the bags by enough distance and had the dog go over everything,” Blasgen said.

Duncan was identified and arrested.

He is being held in the San Diego jail and is scheduled to be in court Thursday.

“I still can’t, in the world, understand how this happened,” Blasgen said. “It sounds like they just have lax security or not enough management. Something was going wrong.”

The Harbor Police chief said they will examine this incident and find out where to make security improvements.

“The guy did breach security, but he was caught,” Bolduc said. “We have multiple layers of security built into our airports, as you know, and the backup systems were able to catch this guy.”

“Security of airports is a shared responsibility, and airports and airlines are required to adhere to TSA-approved security standards.” TSA spokeswoman Sterling Payne said in a statement. “TSA has initiated an investigation and if necessary, will take appropriate action.”

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Honor Student Working 2 Jobs To Support Her Two Siblings Jailed And Fined By Crazed Montgomery County Texas Judge Lanny Moriarty For Being Too Tired – Judge Wanted To Make A Example Of Her

May 25, 2012

HOUSTON, TEXAS – A 17-year-old high school honor student who works two jobs and financially supports her two siblings is heading into summer on a sour note after spending a night in jail for being too tired to attend school.

Diane Tran was arrested in open court and sentenced to 24 hours in jail Wednesday after being repeatedly truant due to exhaustion. KHOU reports that Tran, a junior at Willis High School, was warned by Judge Lanny Moriarty last month to stop missing school. When she missed classes again this month, Moriarty wanted to make an example of Tran.

“If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ‘em? Let them go too?” Moriarty asked, according to KHOU.

Tran told KHOU that in addition to taking advanced and honors classes, she works full-time and part-time jobs in an effort to try to support her older brother at Texas A&M and a younger sister in the Houston area. After Tran’s parents divorced, they both moved away from the honor student and her two siblings.

Tran was also fined $100.

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Riot At Privately Owned Adams County Mississippi Correctional Facilty Leaves One Guard Dead And Others Injured – Contract Facilty Houses Federal Prisoners Including Illegal Immigrants

May 21, 2012

NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI – A prison guard was killed and several employees injured Sunday in a riot at the Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Mississippi, officials said.

The 23-year-old guard appeared to suffer “blunt trauma to the head,” said Adams County Coroner James Lee.

The riot, which began about 2:40 p.m., was still going on Sunday night, the facility’s operator said in a statement. Local and state law enforcement officials as well as authorities from the Federal Bureau of Prisons were helping the facility quell the violence.

“The disturbance is contained within the secure perimeter of the facility, with no threat to public safety,” the statement said.

Five employees and one inmate were taken to a hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries, while additional staff members were being treated at the prison.

Johar Lashin told CNN that he’d heard a lot of noise and commotion when he talked around 6 p.m. with his brother Jawad, an inmate at the Natchez facility serving time for aiding and abetting illegal immigrants. His brother said he was not participating in the riot, despite pressure from other inmates to do so.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Rusty Boyd, a spokesman with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, said Sunday evening that 45 to 55 units from that state agency are helping corrections officers deal with the situation.

The facility is a 2,567-bed prison that houses adult men who are in the United States illegally and charged with crimes. It is owned by the Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America.

Warden Vance Laughlin described the facility as quiet and with “few problems” in a March 2010 article in The Natchez Democrat, a few months after it opened to incarcerate illegal immigrants detained for mostly low-security crimes. At that point, it contained more than 2,000 inmates — more than two-thirds of whom were of Mexican descent, although scores of nationalities were then represented.

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California Governor Jerry Brown Continues Dumping State Prisoners In County Jails, Where Many Are Released Before Serving All Of Their Sentences, As State Goes Broke Incarcerating Them

March 22, 2012

CALIFORNIA – Facing a budget crunch and pressure from the courts, California Gov. Jerry Brown is chipping away at the state’s tough-on-crime approach by shifting 33,000 felons out of the state’s prison system. Releasing prisoners early is rarely popular, so the governor came up with a new plan, coining it realignment.

“People who commit low-level offenses, or parole offenses, are now serving their time in the county jail instead of being sentenced to state prison,” explains California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matt Cate. The state has transferred nearly 22,500 prisoners, or 15 percent of the inmate population, to the counties since last October.

The problem is, many of California’s county jails are already filled to capacity, and are having to release inmates well before their sentences have been served.

In Los Angeles, Lindsay Lohan served only four hours of a month-long sentence. Lesser known offenders, like James Lucio and Angel Espinoza, were re-arrested for committing more crimes just days after their release in Gilroy.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich doesn’t want those extra prisoners, and doesn’t mince words.

“The governor is nuts,” Antonovich says. “He has committed a political malpractice that’s going to threaten the safety economically, and the safety of every individual in this state, through this reckless policy and it ought to be repealed.”

Realignment supporters say that new methods of monitoring and rehabilitation will actually reduce crime from its current historical low, but it’s a strategy never tried on this scale before, and the state needs to shed another 15,000 inmates between now and next summer.

In exchange for taking on all those extra prisoners, California’s 58 counties are getting hundreds of millions of dollars from the state to pay for housing and rehabilitation. But the ACLU just released a report saying too much of that money is going toward rebuilding or expanding jail capacity, rather than on alternatives to incarceration.

Other critics are quick to call the governor ‘soft on crime’ and statistics show that during Brown’s first stint as governor 30 years ago, California’s violent crime rate soared 36 percent.

The governor’s realignment plan is just now being implemented, but bottom line is that, whatever it’s called, thousands of prisoners will be walking the street in the biggest shakeup of California’s criminal justice system in decades.

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JFK Airport TSA Officers Headed For Jail After Pleading Guilty To Stealing $40,000 From Checked Bag

January 11, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Two former Transportation Security Administration officers based at John F. Kennedy Airport are going to jail after admitting to stealing $40,000 in cash from a checked bag.

The Queens District Attorney’s Office says 44-year-old Coumar Persad, of Queens, and 31-year-old Davon Webb, of the Bronx, were sentenced on Tuesday to six months jail and five years’ probation.

Both had pleaded guilty to grand larceny, obstructing governmental administration and official misconduct, the Associated Press reports.

The money was all reportedly stolen from one passenger’s baggage.

Prosecutors said Persad X-rayed a piece of baggage on January 30 last year and noticed money inside. He then phoned Webb, who was in a baggage belt area, to tell him about the discovery.

Authorities said Webb showed up and marked the bag with tape. Persad then intercepted it in another handling area, and removed cash from the bag.

The pair later met in the bathroom to divide the money and hide it in their clothing.

Police say $39,980 was recovered from the suspects’ homes in connection with the investigation.

Persad’s attorney has said his client understands he made a mistake and wishes to move on with his life.

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Morgan County Alabama Corrections Officer Joshua Coppinger Arrested And Charged With Sex With An Inmate

June 30, 2011

DECATUR, Alabama — A Morgan County corrections officer has been arrested after authorities believe he engaged in sexual conduct with an inmate, police said.

Joshua Coppinger, 32, was arrested on charges of sexual conduct with a person in custody and booked into the Morgan County Jail, said Sheriff Ana Franklin in a statement Thursday.

Coppinger was fired and arrested after an internal investigation, Franklin said. He has since been released on a $2,500 bond. No additional details about allegations were released.

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St. Louis Missouri Corrections Officer’s Stupidity To Blame For 2 Escaping From $101 Million “State-Of-The-Art” Jail With Homemade Rope

April 23, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI – A “knuckle-headed corrections officer” is to blame for the escape of two men who apparently climbed down a homemade rope Friday morning to escape from a St. Louis detention center, the mayor’s chief of staff said.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Vernon Collins, 34, and David White, 33, were discovered missing just before 7 a.m., but police believe they might have been gone for 90 minutes by that time.

White was later caught at a gas station wearing what a station clerk described as a “Bruce Lee wig,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He was taken into custody about 4 p.m. after police surrounded an older-model white Cadillac at a Phillips 66 station. Collins remained at large Friday afternoon.

Collins was in jail on a charge of assaulting a law enforcement officer, while White was being held on charges of assault, burglary and property damage. Collins also is accused of overpowering a corrections officer.

Jeff Rainford, Mayor Francis Slay’s chief of staff, told the newspaper the escape was the first at the $101 million, state-of-the-art downtown jail built in 2002 and it happened when a corrections officer failed to fully investigate noises coming from the men’s cell.

Police said the inmates apparently broke out a second-story window and scaled down the front of the building using black cloth tied together with rope. A security camera mounted below the broken window appeared to have been knocked off its mount and was dangling from the building Friday morning.

No blood was visible near the window or on the ground.

Both men were being held in the center’s medical unit, Rainford said. He said a nurse heard noises coming from their cell in the middle of the night and told a corrections officer, who went to the cell and asked what was going on. The inmates told the officer they were exercising.

The nurse heard noises again and the same officer went back to the cell, but didn’t go inside, Rainford said.

“This was not some master-minded scheme,” he said. “This was one knuckle-headed corrections officer.”

White, who had been in the jail’s infirmary with a broken leg, broke the other one while escaping, police said.

Daphne Golden, who was waiting at the jail to bail out her son Friday morning, said she heard corrections officers declare that all inmates were accounted for over an intercom at shift change around 6:30 a.m. Moments later, jailers began running around, yelling to secure all doors and windows, she said.

“They were running around like wild people,” she said.

The jail is run by the city’s Public Safety Department. Corrections superintendent Eugene Stubblefield said the men used a bedsheet to escape.

St. Louis Police Capt. Sam Dotson said police are reviewing video surveillance to see if anyone helped the two escape.

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California’s Incarcerated Criminal Illegal Aliens Jumps 17 Percent To 102,795 – States Spend $1.1 Billion Per Year To Lock Them Up

April 21, 2011

CALIFORNIA – The number of criminal aliens incarcerated in California rose to 102,795 in 2009, a 17 percent increase since 2003, federal auditors reported Thursday.

This isn’t cheap. Nationwide, the Government Accountability Office reports, it costs well over $1.1 billion a year for states to imprison criminal aliens — those who committed a crime after entering the United States illegally. California, moreover, is more expensive than other states. GAO auditors estimated California spends $34,000 to incarcerate a criminal alien for one year; in Texas, it’s only $12,000.

The audit, requested by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, will provide ammunition for states’ perennial effort to secure more federal reimbursement dollars.

More than one in four of the illegal immigrants imprisoned in California are behind bars for drug offenses. Many are also repeat offenders. GAO auditors say that, based on a survey, criminal alien inmates have been arrested an average of seven different times.

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Thieves Target Under Construction Madison Heights Virginia Jail For Copper And Tools – Four Times

April 15, 2011

MADISON HEIGHTS, VIRGINIA – Thieves are targeting a regional jail that’s being built in Madison Heights.

The News & Advance reports that copper wire, plumbing fixtures, tools and other items have been stolen from the Blue Ridge Regional Jail site four times since late January. The most recent theft occurred April 1.

Wayne Wood with contractor HITT says the thefts are slowing the project’s completion. The contract calls for the jail to be finished in November.

Wood says he would like to see a bigger police presence near the site.

Jail authority administrator Elton Blackstock says he’s not responsible for security at the site until the jail is ready to open.

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Etowah County Alabama Sheriff’s Department Corrections Deputy Arrested, Charged With Bringing Cellphones Into Jail To Sell To Inmates

April 1, 2011

ETOWAH COUNTY, ALABAMA – A Gadsden man was arrested Friday and charged with promoting prison contraband.

Lonnie Lee Argo, 48, was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree promoting prison contraband, a felony offense, according to a news release from Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin.

The incidents occurred between February and March inside the Etowah County Detention Center. Entrekin said Argo allegedly brought cellphones into the detention center, illegally selling them to detainees.

Argo, who was employed by the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office as a detention deputy, since has been relieved of his duties.

He turned himself in and was booked into the Etowah County Detention Center before being released on a $7,500 bond.

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Burke-Catawba County North Carolina Jailer Sgt. Thomas Pearson Charged With Sex With A Female Inmate

March 6, 2011

BURKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA – A sergeant at a local jail was charged with a felony after having sex with an inmate, officials at the Burke-Catawba Confinement Facility said.

Thomas Pearson, who worked the night shift at the facility, is charged with sexual activity by a custodian.

“He crossed the line,” said Lt. Becky Weatherman with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office. “He doesn’t belong in this profession.”

Deputies said the allegations involve murder suspect Alicia Goode. Investigators first learned of the allegations Monday, but said they think the inappropriate conduct started a year ago and may have involved favors for Goode.

“Just favors. She’d get to do things she wanted, things like that,” Weatherman said.

Channel 9 learned that other inmates alerted authorities about the alleged inappropriate conduct.

Interim jail administrator Steve Whisenant said he wants the public to know that Pearson does not represent his staff.

“The taxpayers of Burke and Catawba counties are entitled to a good detention facility,” he said. “We’re going to give 100 percent and make sure that’s the case.”

Officers at the facility monitor it through more than a dozen cameras, and Whisenant said he is trying to add more.

Pearson will not be jailed at the facility because he worked there. After his bond was set at $50,000, he was taken to jail in Caldwell County. His first court appearance is set for Monday.

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California Local Lawmakers Plan To Imprison Dumpster Divers

February 1, 2011

A couple of cities in Orange County want to do-away with dumpster diving. City officials in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa say trash scavengers have become such a problem they’re being forced to take drastic measures.

It used to be that digging through someone’s trash in Newport Beach could get you a ticket, now it’s a crime that could get you arrested.

Cops there say people have been doing more than rooting through coffee grounds for Coke cans, they’re collecting printed information that could be used to steal someone’s identity.

In some cases, scavengers have been caught swiping bikes and other stuff from garages.

Costa Mesa officials say they have a similar problem. They’re looking at distributing new trash cans that could secure all that stuff people don’t want with locking lids.

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A-Hole Mississippi Judge, Nutcase Talmadge Littlejohn, Jailed Lawyer Who Refused To Recite The Pledge Of Allegiance In His Courtroom

October 7, 2010

NEW ALBANY, MISSISSIPPI – A Mississippi judge yesterday jailed a lawyer who refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in his courtroom.

Attorney Danny Lampley, 49, was taken into custody Wednesday morning after Chancellor Talmadge Littlejohn cited him for criminal contempt of court for failing to recite the 31-word pledge at the outset of the morning’s proceedings at the Lee County courthouse.

An October 6 order signed by Talmadge notes that Lampley was being charged for his “failure to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance as ordered.” Lampley, the judge added, “shall purge himself of said criminal contempt…by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in open court.”

Lampley, pictured in the mug shots at right, was jailed for nearly five hours before Littlejohn ordered his release so that the lawyer could be present for a “previously set hearing before the Court.” The attorney, no longer in stripes, returned to the Tupelo courthouse after being sprung from jail.

It is unclear whether Lampley, who does not believe citizens are required to recite the pledge, will again be sanctioned by Littlejohn if he takes a pass on the pledge.

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Debt Collectors Turn County Jails Into Debtors’ Prisons

June 10, 2010

HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA – As a sheriff’s deputy dumped the contents of Joy Uhlmeyer’s purse into a sealed bag, she begged to know why she had just been arrested while driving home to Richfield after an Easter visit with her elderly mother.

No one had an answer. Uhlmeyer spent a sleepless night in a frigid Anoka County holding cell, her hands tucked under her armpits for warmth. Then, handcuffed in a squad car, she was taken to downtown Minneapolis for booking. Finally, after 16 hours in limbo, jail officials fingerprinted Uhlmeyer and explained her offense — missing a court hearing over an unpaid debt. “They have no right to do this to me,” said the 57-year-old patient care advocate, her voice as soft as a whisper. “Not for a stupid credit card.”

It’s not a crime to owe money, and debtors’ prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found.

Not every warrant results in an arrest, but in Minnesota many debtors spend up to 48 hours in cells with criminals. Consumer attorneys say such arrests are increasing in many states, including Arkansas, Arizona and Washington, driven by a bad economy, high consumer debt and a growing industry that buys bad debts and employs every means available to collect.

Whether a debtor is locked up depends largely on where the person lives, because enforcement is inconsistent from state to state, and even county to county.

In Illinois and southwest Indiana, some judges jail debtors for missing court-ordered debt payments. In extreme cases, people stay in jail until they raise a minimum payment. In January, a judge sentenced a Kenney, Ill., man “to indefinite incarceration” until he came up with $300 toward a lumber yard debt.

“The law enforcement system has unwittingly become a tool of the debt collectors,” said Michael Kinkley, an attorney in Spokane, Wash., who has represented arrested debtors. “The debt collectors are abusing the system and intimidating people, and law enforcement is going along with it.”

How often are debtors arrested across the country? No one can say. No national statistics are kept, and the practice is largely unnoticed outside legal circles. “My suspicion is the debt collection industry does not want the world to know these arrests are happening, because the practice would be widely condemned,” said Robert Hobbs, deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center in Boston.

Debt collectors defend the practice, saying phone calls, letters and legal actions aren’t always enough to get people to pay.

“Admittedly, it’s a harsh sanction,” said Steven Rosso, a partner in the Como Law Firm of St. Paul, which does collections work. “But sometimes, it’s the only sanction we have.”

Taxpayers foot the bill for arresting and jailing debtors. In many cases, Minnesota judges set bail at the amount owed.

In Minnesota, judges have issued arrest warrants for people who owe as little as $85 — less than half the cost of housing an inmate overnight. Debtors targeted for arrest owed a median of $3,512 in 2009, up from $2,201 five years ago.

Those jailed for debts may be the least able to pay.

“It’s just one more blow for people who are already struggling,” said Beverly Yang, a Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation staff attorney who has represented three Illinois debtors arrested in the past two months. “They don’t like being in court. They don’t have cars. And if they had money to pay these collectors, they would.”

The collection machine

The laws allowing for the arrest of someone for an unpaid debt are not new.

What is new is the rise of well-funded, aggressive and centralized collection firms, in many cases run by attorneys, that buy up unpaid debt and use the courts to collect.

Three debt buyers — Unifund CCR Partners, Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc. and Debt Equities LLC — accounted for 15 percent of all debt-related arrest warrants issued in Minnesota since 2005, court data show. The debt buyers also file tens of thousands of other collection actions in the state, seeking court orders to make people pay.

The debts — often five or six years old — are purchased from companies like cellphone providers and credit card issuers, and cost a few cents on the dollar. Using automated dialing equipment and teams of lawyers, the debt-buyer firms try to collect the debt, plus interest and fees. A firm aims to collect at least twice what it paid for the debt to cover costs. Anything beyond that is profit.

Portfolio Recovery Associates of Norfolk, Va., a publicly traded debt buyer with the biggest profits and market capitalization, earned $44 million last year on $281 million in revenue — a 16 percent net margin. Encore Capital Group, another large debt buyer based in San Diego, had a margin last year of 10 percent. By comparison, Wal-Mart’s profit margin was 3.5 percent.

Todd Lansky, chief operating officer at Resurgence Financial LLC, a Northbrook, Ill.-based debt buyer, said firms like his operate within the law, which says people who ignore court orders can be arrested for contempt. By the time a warrant is issued, a debtor may have been contacted up to 12 times, he said.

“This is a last-ditch effort to say, ‘Look, just show up in court,'” he said.

Go to court — or jail

At 9:30 a.m. on a recent weekday morning, about a dozen people stood in line at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.

Nearly all of them had received court judgments for not paying a delinquent debt. One by one, they stepped forward to fill out a two-page financial disclosure form that gives creditors the information they need to garnish money from their paychecks or bank accounts.

This process happens several times a week in Hennepin County. Those who fail to appear can be held in contempt and an arrest warrant is issued if a collector seeks one. Arrested debtors aren’t officially charged with a crime, but their cases are heard in the same courtroom as drug users.

Greg Williams, who is unemployed and living on state benefits, said he made the trip downtown on the advice of his girlfriend who knew someone who had been arrested for missing such a hearing.

“I was surprised that the police would waste time on my petty debts,” said Williams, 45, of Minneapolis, who had a $5,773 judgment from a credit card debt. “Don’t they have real criminals to catch?”

Few debtors realize they can land in jail simply for ignoring debt-collection legal matters. Debtors also may not recognize the names of companies seeking to collect old debts. Some people are contacted by three or four firms as delinquent debts are bought and sold multiple times after the original creditor writes off the account.

“They may think it’s a mistake. They may think it’s a scam. They may not realize how important it is to respond,” said Mary Spector, a law professor at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law in Dallas.

A year ago, Legal Aid attorneys proposed a change in state law that would have required law enforcement officials to let debtors fill out financial disclosure forms when they are apprehended rather than book them into jail. No legislator introduced the measure.

Joy Uhlmeyer, who was arrested on her way home from spending Easter with her mother, said she defaulted on a $6,200 Chase credit card after a costly divorce in 2006. The firm seeking payment was Resurgence Financial, the Illinois debt buyer. Uhlmeyer said she didn’t recognize the name and ignored the notices.

Uhlmeyer walked free after her nephew posted $2,500 bail. It took another $187 to retrieve her car from the city impound lot. Her 86-year-old mother later asked why she didn’t call home after leaving Duluth. Not wanting to tell the truth, Uhlmeyer said her car broke down and her cell phone died.

“The really maddening part of the whole experience was the complete lack of information,” she said. “I kept thinking, ‘If there was a warrant out for my arrest, then why in the world wasn’t I told about it?'”

Jailed for $250

One afternoon last spring, Deborah Poplawski, 38, of Minneapolis was digging in her purse for coins to feed a downtown parking meter when she saw the flashing lights of a Minneapolis police squad car behind her. Poplawski, a restaurant cook, assumed she had parked illegally. Instead, she was headed to jail over a $250 credit card debt.

Less than a month earlier, she learned by chance from an employment counselor that she had an outstanding warrant. Debt Equities, a Golden Valley debt buyer, had sued her, but she says nobody served her with court documents. Thanks to interest and fees, Poplawski was now on the hook for $1,138.

Though she knew of the warrant and unpaid debt, “I wasn’t equating the warrant with going to jail, because there wasn’t criminal activity associated with it,” she said. “I just thought it was a civil thing.”

She spent nearly 25 hours at the Hennepin County jail.

A year later, she still gets angry recounting the experience. A male inmate groped her behind in a crowded elevator, she said. Poplawski also was ordered to change into the standard jail uniform — gray-white underwear and orange pants, shirt and socks — in a cubicle the size of a telephone booth. She slept in a room with 12 to 16 women and a toilet with no privacy. One woman offered her drugs, she said.

The next day, Poplawski appeared before a Hennepin County district judge. He told her to fill out the form listing her assets and bank account, and released her. Several weeks later, Debt Equities used this information to seize funds from her bank account. The firm didn’t return repeated calls seeking a comment.

“We hear every day about how there’s no money for public services,” Poplawski said. “But it seems like the collectors have found a way to get the police to do their work.”

Threat depends on location

A lot depends on where a debtor lives or is arrested, as Jamie Rodriguez, 41, a bartender from Brooklyn Park, discovered two years ago.

Deputies showed up at his house one evening while he was playing with his 5-year-old daughter, Nicole. They live in Hennepin County, where the Sheriff’s Office has enough staff to seek out people with warrants for civil violations.

If Rodriquez lived in neighboring Wright County, he could have simply handed the officers a check or cash for the amount owed. If he lived in Dakota County, it’s likely no deputy would have shown up because the Sheriff’s Office there says it lacks the staff to pursue civil debt cases.

Knowing that his daughter and wife were watching from the window, Rodriguez politely asked the deputies to drive him around the block, out of sight of his family, before they handcuffed him. The deputies agreed.

“No little girl should have to see her daddy arrested,” said Rodriguez, who spent a night in jail.

“If you talk to 15 different counties, you’ll find 15 different approaches to handling civil warrants,” said Sgt. Robert Shingledecker of the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office. “Everything is based on manpower.”

Local police also can enforce debt-related warrants, but small towns and some suburbs often don’t have enough officers.

The Star Tribune’s comparison of warrant and booking data suggests that at least 1 in 6 Minnesota debtors at risk for arrest actually lands in jail, typically for eight hours. The exact number of such arrests isn’t known because the government doesn’t consistently track what happens to debtor warrants.

“There are no standards here,” said Gail Hillebrand, a senior attorney with the Consumers Union in San Francisco. “A borrower who lives on one side of the river can be arrested while another one goes free. It breeds disrespect for the law.”

Haekyung Nielsen, 27, of Bloomington, said police showed up at her house on a civil warrant two weeks after she gave birth through Caesarean section. A debt buyer had sent her court papers for an old credit-card debt while she was in the hospital; Nielsen said she did not have time to respond.

Her baby boy, Tyler, lay in the crib as she begged the officer not to take her away.

“Thank God, the police had mercy and left me and my baby alone,” said Nielsen, who later paid the debt. “But to send someone to arrest me two weeks after a massive surgery that takes most women eight weeks to recover from was just unbelievable.”

The second surprise

Many debtors, like Robert Vee, 36, of Brooklyn Park, get a second surprise after being arrested — their bail is exactly the amount of money owed.

Hennepin County automatically sets bail at the judgment amount or $2,500, whichever is less. This policy was adopted four years ago in response to the high volume of debtor default cases, say court officials.

Some judges say the practice distorts the purpose of bail, which is to make sure people show up in court.

“It’s certainly an efficient way to collect debts, but it’s also highly distasteful,” said Hennepin County District Judge Jack Nordby. “The amount of bail should have nothing to do with the amount of the debt.”

Judge Robert Blaeser, chief of the county court’s civil division, said linking bail to debt streamlines the process because judges needn’t spend time setting bail.

“It’s arbitrary,” he conceded. “The bigger question is: Should you be allowed to get an order from a court for someone to be arrested because they owe money? You’ve got to remember there are people who have the money but just won’t pay a single penny.”

If friends or family post a debtor’s bail, they can expect to kiss the money goodbye, because it often ends up with creditors, who routinely ask judges for the bail payment.

Vee, a highway construction worker, was arrested one afternoon in February while driving his teenage daughter from school to their home in Brooklyn Park. As he was being cuffed, Vee said his daughter, who has severe asthma, started hyperventilating from the stress.

“All I kept thinking about was whether she was all right and if she was using her [asthma] inhaler,” he said.

From the Hennepin County jail, he made a collect call to his landlord, who promised to bring the bail. It was $1,875.06, the exact amount of a credit card debt.

Later, Vee was reunited with his distraught daughter at home. “We hugged for a long time, and she was bawling her eyes out,” he said.

He still has unpaid medical and credit card bills and owes about $40,000 on an old second mortgage. The sight of a squad car in his rearview mirror is all it takes to set off a fresh wave of anxiety.

“The question always crosses my mind: ‘Are the cops going to arrest me again?'” he said. “So long as I’ve got unpaid bills, the threat is there.”

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Dumbass Lorain Ohio Law Director Mark Provenza Goes To Jail And Resigns After Showing Up Drunk For Court Ordered Alcohol Monitoring Bracelet

April 2, 2009

LORAIN, OHIO  The city of Lorain is looking for a new law director.

Embattled Law Director Mark Provenza resigned Tuesday, a day after being sent back to jail for violating his probation.

Provenza had just been released from jail after serving 90 days for DUI, when he went to get a blood monitoring ankle bracelet as part of his probation release.

According to Lorain City Auditor Ron Mantini, prior to having the bracelet put on, Provenza admitted he had been drinking beer and he was immediately put back in jail.

Lorain Mayor Tony Krasienko says Provenza stepped down after Krasienko sent city officials to speak with Provenza about resigning. Had Provenza not stepped down, Krasienko says he would have pursued action to have him removed.

Provenza pleaded no contest last year to charges from a DUI in Lakewood. He was picked up not long after ramming his wife’s minivan into the front porch of a home on Bunts Road near I-90. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and probation for five years.

In 2004, Provenza spent five days in the Bay Village jail after a DUI arrest. He was also convicted of DUI for hitting a Lakewood fire hydrant and pleaded down a Parma Heights DUI to reckless operation.

Appeared Here


Dumbass Lorain Ohio Law Director Mark Provenza Goes To Jail And Resigns After Showing Up Drunk For Court Ordered Alcohol Monitoring Bracelet

April 2, 2009

LORAIN, OHIO  The city of Lorain is looking for a new law director.

Embattled Law Director Mark Provenza resigned Tuesday, a day after being sent back to jail for violating his probation.

Provenza had just been released from jail after serving 90 days for DUI, when he went to get a blood monitoring ankle bracelet as part of his probation release.

According to Lorain City Auditor Ron Mantini, prior to having the bracelet put on, Provenza admitted he had been drinking beer and he was immediately put back in jail.

Lorain Mayor Tony Krasienko says Provenza stepped down after Krasienko sent city officials to speak with Provenza about resigning. Had Provenza not stepped down, Krasienko says he would have pursued action to have him removed.

Provenza pleaded no contest last year to charges from a DUI in Lakewood. He was picked up not long after ramming his wife’s minivan into the front porch of a home on Bunts Road near I-90. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and probation for five years.

In 2004, Provenza spent five days in the Bay Village jail after a DUI arrest. He was also convicted of DUI for hitting a Lakewood fire hydrant and pleaded down a Parma Heights DUI to reckless operation.

Appeared Here


Dumbass Chicago Illinois Police And Cook County Deputies Let Arrested Man Pass Through Justice System With Loaded Pistol In His Pants

March 31, 2009

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – In an embarrassing security breach, a man arrested on a drug charge was able to bring a loaded gun into the Cook County Jail complex — and into his bond hearing — before dumping it in a jail laundry room, prosecutors said Monday.

Police officers missed the palm-sized, .380 semiautomatic handgun when Bennie Ellison, 39, was arrested March 18 at 78th and Euclid, authorities said.

Bennie Ellison had a gun tied to the inside of the front of his pants and brought the weapon inside his Cook County Court bond hearing, according to prosecutors.

Ellison, of the 8200 block of South Chappel, had used the drawstring of his shorts to tie the gun so it dangled between his legs, Cook County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Patterson said.

The arresting officers patted him down and missed it. He was patted down again at the 4th District police station — where he spent the night — and again at Central Booking, but no one found the gun, authorities said.

The next day, he was taken to Central Bound Court at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California, where a sheriff’s deputy patted him down.

He then appeared in court — uncuffed — and had his bond set by a judge. He was then taken to the county jail, Patterson said.

Ellison managed to avoid a body scanner and a metal detector en route by slipping out of line and into a different line, Patterson said.

But when he was assigned to a jail division and realized he would have to change his clothes, he ditched the gun in a laundry room, Patterson said.

The gun, which had a bullet loaded in the chamber, was found two days later — March 21 — by a jail inmate who showed it to other inmates, although none of them touched it, prosecutors said.

Investigators traced the gun back to a Texas resident who had sold it another person who, in turn, sold it to Ellison, prosecutors said.

When questioned, Ellison gave a handwritten confession admitting he had the gun when he was arrested and brought before the judge. He also admitted dumping it in the laundry room, prosecutors said.

He told authorities he only kept it because he thought he might receive a low bond and be released soon, Patterson said.

Strip searches in the jail were recently ended after questions were raised in court about their legality. But the incident has led the sheriff’s office to re-examine the new procedures for searching detainees, Patterson said.

“Clearly, there were officers at the jail not doing their job and we’re in the process of taking statements from each one of them about how this could have happened,” Patterson said. “We’re taking this seriously and plan to enact discipline up to and including termination, if necessary.”

Ellison had initially been charged with possession of a controlled substance. He is now also charged with possession of contraband in a penal institution and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. He had a previous weapons violation on his record, officials said.

He was ordered held in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond.

Chicago Police officials said the incident is under investigation.

Appeared Here


Dumbass Chicago Illinois Police And Cook County Deputies Let Arrested Man Pass Through Justice System With Loaded Pistol In His Pants

March 31, 2009

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – In an embarrassing security breach, a man arrested on a drug charge was able to bring a loaded gun into the Cook County Jail complex — and into his bond hearing — before dumping it in a jail laundry room, prosecutors said Monday.

Police officers missed the palm-sized, .380 semiautomatic handgun when Bennie Ellison, 39, was arrested March 18 at 78th and Euclid, authorities said.

Bennie Ellison had a gun tied to the inside of the front of his pants and brought the weapon inside his Cook County Court bond hearing, according to prosecutors.

Ellison, of the 8200 block of South Chappel, had used the drawstring of his shorts to tie the gun so it dangled between his legs, Cook County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Patterson said.

The arresting officers patted him down and missed it. He was patted down again at the 4th District police station — where he spent the night — and again at Central Booking, but no one found the gun, authorities said.

The next day, he was taken to Central Bound Court at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California, where a sheriff’s deputy patted him down.

He then appeared in court — uncuffed — and had his bond set by a judge. He was then taken to the county jail, Patterson said.

Ellison managed to avoid a body scanner and a metal detector en route by slipping out of line and into a different line, Patterson said.

But when he was assigned to a jail division and realized he would have to change his clothes, he ditched the gun in a laundry room, Patterson said.

The gun, which had a bullet loaded in the chamber, was found two days later — March 21 — by a jail inmate who showed it to other inmates, although none of them touched it, prosecutors said.

Investigators traced the gun back to a Texas resident who had sold it another person who, in turn, sold it to Ellison, prosecutors said.

When questioned, Ellison gave a handwritten confession admitting he had the gun when he was arrested and brought before the judge. He also admitted dumping it in the laundry room, prosecutors said.

He told authorities he only kept it because he thought he might receive a low bond and be released soon, Patterson said.

Strip searches in the jail were recently ended after questions were raised in court about their legality. But the incident has led the sheriff’s office to re-examine the new procedures for searching detainees, Patterson said.

“Clearly, there were officers at the jail not doing their job and we’re in the process of taking statements from each one of them about how this could have happened,” Patterson said. “We’re taking this seriously and plan to enact discipline up to and including termination, if necessary.”

Ellison had initially been charged with possession of a controlled substance. He is now also charged with possession of contraband in a penal institution and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. He had a previous weapons violation on his record, officials said.

He was ordered held in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond.

Chicago Police officials said the incident is under investigation.

Appeared Here


Montague County Texas Jail Was An "Animal House" – Included Sex With Jailers, Recliners, Drugs, Cell Phones, Weapons, Etc.

March 17, 2009

MONTAGUE, TEXAS – For months, perhaps longer, the Montague County Jail was “Animal House” meets Mayberry. Inside the small brick building across from the courthouse, inmates had the run of the place, having sex with their jailer girlfriends, bringing in recliners, taking drugs and chatting on cell phones supplied by friends or guards, according to authorities. They also disabled some of the surveillance cameras and made weapons out of nails.

The doors to two groups of cells didn’t lock, but apparently no one tried to escape – perhaps because they had everything they needed inside.

The jailhouse escapades – some of which date to 2006, according to authorities – have rocked Montague (pronounced mahn-TAYG), a farming and ranching town of several hundred people near the Oklahoma line, about 65 miles northwest of Fort Worth.

There were whispers in the past year about an affair between a female jailer and male inmate, but folks dismissed the rumors as small-town gossip. It was not until late last month, when a Texas grand jury returned a 106-count indictment against the former sheriff and 16 others, that the inmates-gone-wild scandal broke wide open.

(AP) This undated handout photo provided by the Montague County Sheriff shows paper obscuring the…
Full Image
The indictment charged Bill Keating, sheriff from 2004 until December, with official oppression and having sex with female inmates. The others indicted include nine guards – seven women and two men – who were charged with various offenses involving sex or drugs and other contraband. Four inmates also were charged.

Local, state and federal authorities are still trying to figure out how this small-town Texas jail was turned into something resembling a frat house.

The new sheriff, Paul Cunningham, said he was stunned while touring the jail for the first time just hours after being sworn into office Jan. 1. He saw partitions made of paper towels that blocked jailers’ view into cells, and pills scattered about.

Cunningham, who had not worked for the county before his election in November, immediately ordered the jail closed and moved the nearly 60 inmates to another institution.

“It literally scared me – not for myself but for the employees,” Cunningham said. “How somebody kept from being killed was beyond me.”

Cunningham, who defeated Keating in the Republican primary last spring, suggested that Keating lost interest in the jail after that and turned his back on the place.

Separately from the indictment, Keating, 62, faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in January to charges he coerced a woman into having sex with him by threatening to jail her on drug charges.

Keating’s attorney, Mark Daniel, called the latest charges against the former sheriff “kind of silly in the face of the federal investigation, like piling on.” He declined further comment.

The investigation began with a tip last fall from inside the jail.

An official received a handwritten letter on notebook paper from an inmate arrested on charges of kidnapping his girlfriend. The inmate, Luke C. Bolton, said they met in 2007 when she was a jail guard and he was behind bars on another charge. He said their sexual relationship started in a jail shower and continued during her late-night visits to his cell.

“I’m just reaching out for help to show (the jailer) is a person who abused her power. She broke the law by having sex with me in cell #16 while I was an inmate. … Please help me. I am telling the truth. Everybody knows I am,” Bolton wrote, offering to take a polygraph.

The former jailer is among those indicted. Bolton remains in jail.

Current employees said they were shocked by the scandal.

“People say, ‘How could you not know?’ Well, it didn’t go on during our shift,” said Jerrie Reed, who works the day shift. Reed said the then-sheriff sometimes asked to see female inmates privately in his office, but she assumed they were informants. She said none ever seemed upset as she led them shackled to and from Keating’s office.

Cunningham said it appears that most of the illegal activities occurred in a certain section of the 100-bed, one-story jail, which has several long corridors that make it difficult for anyone to hear what is going on beyond their immediate areas.

The jail will reopen this week following about $1 million in repairs, needed after years of damage by inmates, Cunningham said. Also, the entire department is getting new uniforms, badges and vehicles.

“I just think this office needs to change the image completely,” the new sheriff said. “I think we’re well on our way to getting the public’s confidence back.”

Appeared Here


Montague County Texas Jail Was An "Animal House" – Included Sex With Jailers, Recliners, Drugs, Cell Phones, Weapons, Etc.

March 17, 2009

MONTAGUE, TEXAS – For months, perhaps longer, the Montague County Jail was “Animal House” meets Mayberry. Inside the small brick building across from the courthouse, inmates had the run of the place, having sex with their jailer girlfriends, bringing in recliners, taking drugs and chatting on cell phones supplied by friends or guards, according to authorities. They also disabled some of the surveillance cameras and made weapons out of nails.

The doors to two groups of cells didn’t lock, but apparently no one tried to escape – perhaps because they had everything they needed inside.

The jailhouse escapades – some of which date to 2006, according to authorities – have rocked Montague (pronounced mahn-TAYG), a farming and ranching town of several hundred people near the Oklahoma line, about 65 miles northwest of Fort Worth.

There were whispers in the past year about an affair between a female jailer and male inmate, but folks dismissed the rumors as small-town gossip. It was not until late last month, when a Texas grand jury returned a 106-count indictment against the former sheriff and 16 others, that the inmates-gone-wild scandal broke wide open.

(AP) This undated handout photo provided by the Montague County Sheriff shows paper obscuring the…
Full Image
The indictment charged Bill Keating, sheriff from 2004 until December, with official oppression and having sex with female inmates. The others indicted include nine guards – seven women and two men – who were charged with various offenses involving sex or drugs and other contraband. Four inmates also were charged.

Local, state and federal authorities are still trying to figure out how this small-town Texas jail was turned into something resembling a frat house.

The new sheriff, Paul Cunningham, said he was stunned while touring the jail for the first time just hours after being sworn into office Jan. 1. He saw partitions made of paper towels that blocked jailers’ view into cells, and pills scattered about.

Cunningham, who had not worked for the county before his election in November, immediately ordered the jail closed and moved the nearly 60 inmates to another institution.

“It literally scared me – not for myself but for the employees,” Cunningham said. “How somebody kept from being killed was beyond me.”

Cunningham, who defeated Keating in the Republican primary last spring, suggested that Keating lost interest in the jail after that and turned his back on the place.

Separately from the indictment, Keating, 62, faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in January to charges he coerced a woman into having sex with him by threatening to jail her on drug charges.

Keating’s attorney, Mark Daniel, called the latest charges against the former sheriff “kind of silly in the face of the federal investigation, like piling on.” He declined further comment.

The investigation began with a tip last fall from inside the jail.

An official received a handwritten letter on notebook paper from an inmate arrested on charges of kidnapping his girlfriend. The inmate, Luke C. Bolton, said they met in 2007 when she was a jail guard and he was behind bars on another charge. He said their sexual relationship started in a jail shower and continued during her late-night visits to his cell.

“I’m just reaching out for help to show (the jailer) is a person who abused her power. She broke the law by having sex with me in cell #16 while I was an inmate. … Please help me. I am telling the truth. Everybody knows I am,” Bolton wrote, offering to take a polygraph.

The former jailer is among those indicted. Bolton remains in jail.

Current employees said they were shocked by the scandal.

“People say, ‘How could you not know?’ Well, it didn’t go on during our shift,” said Jerrie Reed, who works the day shift. Reed said the then-sheriff sometimes asked to see female inmates privately in his office, but she assumed they were informants. She said none ever seemed upset as she led them shackled to and from Keating’s office.

Cunningham said it appears that most of the illegal activities occurred in a certain section of the 100-bed, one-story jail, which has several long corridors that make it difficult for anyone to hear what is going on beyond their immediate areas.

The jail will reopen this week following about $1 million in repairs, needed after years of damage by inmates, Cunningham said. Also, the entire department is getting new uniforms, badges and vehicles.

“I just think this office needs to change the image completely,” the new sheriff said. “I think we’re well on our way to getting the public’s confidence back.”

Appeared Here


Former Dorchester County South Carolina County Jail Chief Arnold Pastor Sentenced To Just 18 Months After Stealing $363,000

March 10, 2009

ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA — Arnold Pastor, the former Dorchester County jail chief accused of siphoning off $363,000 from a jail account, will spend 18 months on the other side of the bars.

He took one final look at his wife Wednesday and walked out of the courtroom between two deputies.

Circuit Judge James Williams could have given him 10 years.

Pastor’s attorney, Robby Robbins, argued that Pastor has been cooperating with the county to make things right and is working on paying back the rest.

“I just don’t think, in this particular situation, incarcerating him is going to do anything to help the county,” Robbins said.

Williams said he was impressed with Pastor’s efforts but couldn’t simply let him off.

“This is a pretty serious matter,” Williams said. “It’s a lot of money. … For me to let you walk out of here today … would not send a good message to the people of Dorchester County.”

Pastor got in trouble after County Council asked for an audit of the Sheriff’s Office spending. The audit didn’t find any problems with then-Sheriff Ray Nash, other than not keeping a close enough eye on Pastor, who had unfettered access to the jail fund. Nash chose not to run for re-election after the audit.

The forensic auditor and an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division discovered that $363,000 had been diverted between 2005 and 2007 from a jail fund into a personal account Pastor set up. The money came from inmate phone calls, haircuts, medical charges, snacks and processing fees, as well as money inmates had on them when they were put in jail.
Previous stories

Ex-Dorchester jail chief appears in court; Pastor charged with embezzling funds, published 04/23/08

Report details missing jail cash; $360,000 spent as quickly as it came in, audit shows, published 04/22/08

Robbins told the judge that Pastor didn’t spend the money on anything extravagant and that his wife, Tammy, had medical problems. Pastor had been working for the Sheriff’s Office since 1996 and was making less than $40,000 a year when he took the money, Robbins said. Pastor also was a firearms instructor, SWAT team member and dive team leader.

Pastor acknowledged taking the money.

“I’m just so sorry for what I’ve done,” he told the judge. “It’s been really hard and I’m sorry.”

Pastor has been trying to pay back the money, Robbins told the judge. He signed over his house and 8 acres of land in St. George to Dorchester County. A recent appraisal shows the equity to be about $150,000, Robbins said.

Pastor also gave the county a trailer that Robbins said might be worth $15,000. Pastor also signed an agreement to give the county anything of value for the next 10 years to help pay back what he took, as well as the extra cost of the audit.

Tammy Pastor will keep a small house in Hanahan that’s in her name and valued at about $60,000, Robbins said. The Pastors have been married since 1986 and have a daughter in college.

Robbins also asked Williams to consider the danger of putting a former law enforcement officer in prison.

“As a former jailer, I would consider him a marked man in our state prison system,” Robbins told the judge.

Sometimes former law enforcement officers who end up in prison are jailed separately to protect them, S.C. Department of Corrections Communications Director Josh Gelinas said after the court hearing. He said he couldn’t say what would happen to Pastor until his situation is evaluated.

After the hearing, Robbins said he thought the sentence was “fair.”

“That’s about as good as we could expect,” he said.

Dale Scott, a prosecutor with the S.C. Attorney General’s Office, summed up the case against Pastor but did not recommend a sentence.

“We just hope this sends a message this is something we take very seriously any time somebody takes public funds,” he said after Pastor was led away.

Appeared Here


Former Dorchester County South Carolina County Jail Chief Arnold Pastor Sentenced To Just 18 Months After Stealing $363,000

March 10, 2009

ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA — Arnold Pastor, the former Dorchester County jail chief accused of siphoning off $363,000 from a jail account, will spend 18 months on the other side of the bars.

He took one final look at his wife Wednesday and walked out of the courtroom between two deputies.

Circuit Judge James Williams could have given him 10 years.

Pastor’s attorney, Robby Robbins, argued that Pastor has been cooperating with the county to make things right and is working on paying back the rest.

“I just don’t think, in this particular situation, incarcerating him is going to do anything to help the county,” Robbins said.

Williams said he was impressed with Pastor’s efforts but couldn’t simply let him off.

“This is a pretty serious matter,” Williams said. “It’s a lot of money. … For me to let you walk out of here today … would not send a good message to the people of Dorchester County.”

Pastor got in trouble after County Council asked for an audit of the Sheriff’s Office spending. The audit didn’t find any problems with then-Sheriff Ray Nash, other than not keeping a close enough eye on Pastor, who had unfettered access to the jail fund. Nash chose not to run for re-election after the audit.

The forensic auditor and an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division discovered that $363,000 had been diverted between 2005 and 2007 from a jail fund into a personal account Pastor set up. The money came from inmate phone calls, haircuts, medical charges, snacks and processing fees, as well as money inmates had on them when they were put in jail.
Previous stories

Ex-Dorchester jail chief appears in court; Pastor charged with embezzling funds, published 04/23/08

Report details missing jail cash; $360,000 spent as quickly as it came in, audit shows, published 04/22/08

Robbins told the judge that Pastor didn’t spend the money on anything extravagant and that his wife, Tammy, had medical problems. Pastor had been working for the Sheriff’s Office since 1996 and was making less than $40,000 a year when he took the money, Robbins said. Pastor also was a firearms instructor, SWAT team member and dive team leader.

Pastor acknowledged taking the money.

“I’m just so sorry for what I’ve done,” he told the judge. “It’s been really hard and I’m sorry.”

Pastor has been trying to pay back the money, Robbins told the judge. He signed over his house and 8 acres of land in St. George to Dorchester County. A recent appraisal shows the equity to be about $150,000, Robbins said.

Pastor also gave the county a trailer that Robbins said might be worth $15,000. Pastor also signed an agreement to give the county anything of value for the next 10 years to help pay back what he took, as well as the extra cost of the audit.

Tammy Pastor will keep a small house in Hanahan that’s in her name and valued at about $60,000, Robbins said. The Pastors have been married since 1986 and have a daughter in college.

Robbins also asked Williams to consider the danger of putting a former law enforcement officer in prison.

“As a former jailer, I would consider him a marked man in our state prison system,” Robbins told the judge.

Sometimes former law enforcement officers who end up in prison are jailed separately to protect them, S.C. Department of Corrections Communications Director Josh Gelinas said after the court hearing. He said he couldn’t say what would happen to Pastor until his situation is evaluated.

After the hearing, Robbins said he thought the sentence was “fair.”

“That’s about as good as we could expect,” he said.

Dale Scott, a prosecutor with the S.C. Attorney General’s Office, summed up the case against Pastor but did not recommend a sentence.

“We just hope this sends a message this is something we take very seriously any time somebody takes public funds,” he said after Pastor was led away.

Appeared Here


Elderly Man Held On Minor Trespassing Charge Beaten To Death In Berkeley County South Carolina Jail

March 7, 2009

BERKELEY COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA – The family of a Berkeley County man who died after allegedly being attacked in jail said the attack happened when he was sleeping.

It happened back on February 23rd, but the victim, 64-year-old Nathaniel Sanders died late Wednesday night after being taken off life support.

Sanders’ grand-daughter, Lakeshia Shepherd, still can’t believe what the man accused of beating her grandfather said in court.

At a recent court hearing, Shepherd said her relatives told her Andres Glenn told the judge he killed Sanders on purpose.

“For someone like me to hear someone else’s father say they meant to kill my grandfather makes me to see him get the highest penalty that he can get,” Shepherd said.

Glenn, 47, is now charged with assault and battery with intent to kill.

Investigators say Glenn beat sanders with a wheelchair that belonged to a third inmate.

All three were part of the general population at the jail.

“Knowing that he is still locked up and he took my grandfather’s life. He can take someone else’s life.”

Shepherd described her grandfather as “very loving, caring, funny, kind.”

Sanders was a father figure to many in the family, Shepherd said.

“It makes me feel terrible knowing that he’s a mental patient and he was in a cell with other mental patients and someone just attacked him while he was asleep.”

She had no chance to say goodbye.

Depending on autopsy results, Glenn’s charge of assault and battery with intent to kill could be upgraded to murder.

Glenn is no stranger criminal activity. His long criminal record goes back to 1982 and has convictions that included forgery, attempted robbery and grand larceny.

Sanders was being held on a charge of trespassing after notice and evading arrest. State investigators are also looking into Sanders’ death.

Appeared Here


Elderly Man Held On Minor Trespassing Charge Beaten To Death In Berkeley County South Carolina Jail

March 7, 2009

BERKELEY COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA – The family of a Berkeley County man who died after allegedly being attacked in jail said the attack happened when he was sleeping.

It happened back on February 23rd, but the victim, 64-year-old Nathaniel Sanders died late Wednesday night after being taken off life support.

Sanders’ grand-daughter, Lakeshia Shepherd, still can’t believe what the man accused of beating her grandfather said in court.

At a recent court hearing, Shepherd said her relatives told her Andres Glenn told the judge he killed Sanders on purpose.

“For someone like me to hear someone else’s father say they meant to kill my grandfather makes me to see him get the highest penalty that he can get,” Shepherd said.

Glenn, 47, is now charged with assault and battery with intent to kill.

Investigators say Glenn beat sanders with a wheelchair that belonged to a third inmate.

All three were part of the general population at the jail.

“Knowing that he is still locked up and he took my grandfather’s life. He can take someone else’s life.”

Shepherd described her grandfather as “very loving, caring, funny, kind.”

Sanders was a father figure to many in the family, Shepherd said.

“It makes me feel terrible knowing that he’s a mental patient and he was in a cell with other mental patients and someone just attacked him while he was asleep.”

She had no chance to say goodbye.

Depending on autopsy results, Glenn’s charge of assault and battery with intent to kill could be upgraded to murder.

Glenn is no stranger criminal activity. His long criminal record goes back to 1982 and has convictions that included forgery, attempted robbery and grand larceny.

Sanders was being held on a charge of trespassing after notice and evading arrest. State investigators are also looking into Sanders’ death.

Appeared Here