A judge on Thursday sentenced an Alabama teenager to 65 years in prison for a series of crimes, including murder, even though a police officer was the one who actually killed the victim.
Lakeith Smith, now 18, was convicted under the state’s accomplice liability law in March. Based on that law, a person can be convicted of felony murder if they were committing a crime with the deceased that led to the other person’s death, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. Most U.S. states have similar laws.
In Smith’s case, he was involved in burglaries alongside A’Donte Washington, 16, when a police officer shot and killed Washington in 2015.
In February 2015, both Smith and Washington were part of a group of five who broke into two houses in Millbrook, Alabama, the Advertiser reports. When police responded to the scene, the two sides exchanged gunfire. Body camera footage played in court showed Washington running towards an officer pointing a gun at him. The officer then shot and killed Washington.
Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds sentenced Smith to 65 years in prison on Thursday — 30 years for a felony murder, 15 for burglary and two 10-year sentences for theft.
“The officer shot A’donte, not Lakeith Smith,” said Smith’s attorney Jennifer Holton during the trial, as per USA Today. “Lakeith was a 15-year-old child, scared to death. He did not participate in the act that caused the death of A’donte. He never shot anybody.”
Though Smith was a minor when the incident took place, he was tried as an adult.
In March, Smith declined a plea deal that would have sentenced him to 25 years in prison; he was convicted later that month.
The other three defendants involved in the burglaries have all entered guilty pleas, Fox 8 Live reports. One has been sentenced to 28 years in prison, while the other two have not yet been sentenced.
And as for the Millbrook police officer who actually killed Washington? A grand jury cleared him of any wrongdoing back in 2016, saying he was justified in fatally shooting Washington, WSFA reported at the time.
This article has been updated to clarify that most U.S. states have laws similar to Alabama’s.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/teen-gets-decades-prison-murder-172008377.html
A sadistic prison officer who has cost New York State $877,637 in legal payouts over assault and sex harassment allegations is now under investigation over accusations he waterboarded two inmates and brutally beat them in their genitals.
Lt. Troy Mitchell, with the help of other guards, is accused of pouring buckets of water over the mouths and noses of two shackled inmates at the Auburn Correctional Facility in separate incidents.
He is also accused of grabbing and twisting their genitals and then punching and whacking their groins with a baton.
In one incident, on Sept. 14, 2016, Mitchell beat prisoner Matthew Raymond so savagely that he now needs a catheter to urinate, according to civil court documents filed by Raymond’s lawyer, Joan Magoolaghan, in Albany Supreme Court.
“Relentless in his attack, Lt. Mitchell then directed a corrections officer to spread Mr. Raymond’s legs apart, after which the lieutenant forcefully grabbed and twisted Mr. Raymond’s testicles and penis, and called him a ‘stupid little bitch,’” the filing says.
The inspector general’s office for the state Department of Correctional Services and Community Renewal previously looked into Raymond’s accusations but determined they were unfounded.
However, the office reopened its investigation when a second prisoner made an identical claim against Mitchell, who has been a prison officer since 1986.
Magoolaghan’s civil filing — which demands DOCCS hand over video footage and incident reports related the alleged assault — also notes that a third Auburn inmate made similar complaints against Mitchell before Sept. 14, 2016.
DOCCS said in a statement to the Daily News on Friday that it suspended Mitchell, 54, without pay on Aug. 31, 2017, as part of an ongoing investigation into the matter.
But Mitchell was accused of barbaric behavior long before his suspension — and not just by prisoners.
Penny Collins, a female corrections officer at Auburn, received a $787,837 judgment against DOCCS plus $150,000 in backpay in 2012, five years after filing a lawsuit accusing Mitchell and other officers of sexually harassing her.
The worst of the worst, she said, was Mitchell.
She accused him of repeated verbal abuse and bullying, including describing his excrements to her, boasting how he once told his mother she had “nice t-ts” and noting that a wedding ring Collins wore looked like one his wife owned that “got lost in his ass.” She also said he liked to discuss the size of inmates’ penises.
“This is one of the sickest people I’ve ever met in my entire life,” Collins, 56, told the Daily News last week.
She said she was so concerned about Mitchell’s history of abuse to co-workers and inmates that she wrote a Nov. 17, 2006, letter to a senior investigator at DOCCS’ inspector general’s office, warning him that incidents were going unreported. At the time, Mitchell had just been promoted to lieutenant.
“Someone must look into Lt. Mitchell and his actions as an employee,” she wrote. “With this promotion, he now has a substantial amount of authority and I fear for the people he turns his abuse on.”
Collins said an investigator interviewed her one time after she sent the letter. She said she never heard from anyone after that.
“If they would have taken it seriously 12 years ago, none of this would be an issue now,” she said.
Even before her accusations, Mitchell, and other officers at the facility, were under scrutiny.
The U.S. Department of Justice investigated Auburn Correctional Facility over allegations of excessive force in 2005.
The federal investigators ended their probe in 2007 when the five-year statute of limitations on the alleged misconduct expired.
However, the probe ran parallel to lawsuits filed by prisoners, including two that accused Mitchell of playing a role in beatdowns.
In one case, Dino Caroselli — who is serving a life sentence for a botched robbery in Brooklyn that led to a shootout with police officers — received a settlement of $70,000 in 2008. He accused Mitchell and other officers of breaking both of his hands, ankle, nose and tooth during a 2002 assault.
In the other lawsuit, Richie Thomas, who was serving a life sentence for burglary, received a $19,800 payout in 2008 after accusing officers of assaulting him while he was handcuffed to a utility room in 2002. Mitchell was named as a defendant but it is unclear what his role was in the alleged attack.
Mitchell has denied the allegations by Collins, Caroselli and Thomas. He couldn’t be reached for comment regarding the latest allegations.
DOCCS said in a statement to the News that under the current contract with the prison officers union, it is limited in its ability to discipline correction officers. However, it said it is working to bolster its power to remove bad actors through a new security contract with the union.
“This department has zero tolerance for any behavior that jeopardizes the safety and security of our facilities and the individuals who live and work there,” the agency said.
Syrian Arab Army units constantly combing the recently cleaned areas from Western-sponsored terrorists in East Ghouta discovered the headquarters and main prison used by the ‘Faylaq Rahman’ terrorist organization.
The discovery was in the town of Zamalka in East Ghouta, the town was cleaned from terrorists by the SAA end of last month March after the main defense trenches and fortifications of the terrorist group collapsed by the swift, surprise and forceful SAA attack from the east.
Following video clip by SANA shows the former building used by the terrorist group as their main command center and under it was a vast network of tunnels and underground prisons where they detained the kidnapped residents of East Ghouta and tortured them.
(Video also available on BitChute: https://www.bitchute.com/video/SJbnIdkhENEv/)
Following is the transcript of the above video:
SAA units discovered the Head Quarters of the ‘Faylaq Rahman’ terrorist group while combing the town of Zamalka in East Ghouta, a plotter for printing maps and area tools to measure distances the terrorists used in the tunnels digging.
This is the main quarters for ‘Faylaq Rahman’ commanders, 30 meters deep tunnels, operation rooms, prisons, it’s equipped with everything, Saudi and Turkish equipment, things we’ve not seen before.
We found documents that survived the fire, we found weapons, we found all the prisons, the tunnels stretch for 3 kilometers underground.
In one of the neighborhoods in Zamalka, a Syrian Arab Army unit found Faylaq Rahman terrorists’ prison, they used it to torturing and hazing the town’s kidnapped residents.
This prison was established 2.5 years ago. This is the office of the Head of ’44’ (unit).
They also have executions, everything is (done) here. If they see you carrying 5 kilos of firewood they’ll hold you accountable for it.
I was detained for 4 months. They used to give me 300 grams of food every 24 hours, not enough for a small child, they’ll make it 600 grams if I dig more in the tunnel, this tunnel connects one quarter to another.
Also, there are the solitary confinements where they kept us.
They used whatever they got to beat us with like cables and pipes. As for killings… Once they kept beating one guy until his heart stopped; for 5 kilos of plastic and some firewood, they wanted him to confess for other things he didn’t commit, despite continuous swearing they kept beating him.
I was coming back from near the Toubah Mosque towards home and the van came in front of me. They came out of the van, surrounded me and took me in it. When we reached the main entrance they covered my head with the sweater and took me down to the solitary confinement cell.
They kidnapped me from Jobar, I was bringing some firewood. I argued with them so they brought me down here, I was held here, for one week. To reduce some torture we went to dig tunnels and they will increase the food a bit, I was held here, film this area…
End of transcript.
This is worse than the ‘secret prisons’ the CIA runs as these terrorists are less to fear any repercussions to their crimes, these terrorists are directly financed by the most retard political regime in the whole world the Saudi regime and they are sponsored by the world’s number one hypocrite criers for human rights the US, the UK, and France, the criminal lynching ‘Three Musketeers at the UNSC‘.
Source Article from http://www.syrianews.cc/saa-discovers-faylaq-rahman-hq-prison-ghouta/
Crystal Mason’s mom insisted that she vote in the 2016 presidential election, but when she went to her polling place in Tarrant County, Texas, she found her name wasn’t on the rolls. A poll worker helped her fill out a provisional ballot, of the sort given to people who aren’t on the rolls, and she cast it.
Five years earlier, Mason had pleaded guilty to tax fraud and was ordered to pay $4.2 million in restitution. She was also sentenced to five years in prison, as well as three years of supervised release. Though Mason says she didn’t realize it at the time, by casting that provisional ballot in November 2016, she had committed another felony. Texas prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from voting, and only allows them to vote once they have entirely finished their sentence, including any probation, parole and supervised release. In Texas, it is a second-degree felony to vote in an election in which you know you are not eligible.
On Wednesday, state District Judge Ruben Gonzalez sentenced Mason to five years in prison for illegally voting, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Mason says she had no idea she was ineligible, but Gonzalez pointed out that an affidavit at the top of the provisional ballot notes that people on supervised release can’t vote.
J. Warren St. John, Mason’s attorney, told HuffPost that no one at the federal court, the prison, the halfway house or the probation house had ever told Mason she was ineligible to vote because she was a convicted felon. Mason has worked to restart her life after getting released from prison, St. John said, getting a job with the Texas Department of Transportation, then getting a degree from beauty school and becoming self-employed.
In court, Mason rhetorically asked why she would intentionally jeopardize her new life to vote.
“I inflated returns,” Mason said, according to the Star-Telegram. “I was trying to get more money back for my clients. I admitted that. I owned up to that. I took accountability for that. I would never do that again. I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate. My son is about to graduate. Why would I jeopardize that? Not to vote… I didn’t even want to go vote.”
St. John said he plans to file an appeal and that Mason, who was taken into custody on Wednesday, is currently out of jail on a $20,000 bond.
St. John said it’s ridiculous to think his client intentionally defrauded the state of Texas to vote. He noted that Mason went to the same polling place where she’d always voted, and used a legitimate driver’s license and address. There’s no evidence, St. John said, that Mason even read the language on the provisional ballot telling her that people on supervised release are ineligible to vote.
In 2016, there were more than 6 million people in the United States who were disenfranchised because of a felony conviction, according to The Sentencing Project. States differ in how voting rights are restored. In four states, felons are permanently disenfranchised and can only have their voting rights restored at the discretion of the governor. Some states allow people to vote once they are released from prison, while others, like Texas, force them to complete all aspects of their sentences before they can vote again.
Voter fraud is exceedingly rare in the U.S., but Mason’s case and others illustrate how ineligible people sometimes end up casting ballots out of confusion. In 2017, a Texas mother of four who legally immigrated to the United States was sentenced to eight years in jail for unknowingly illegally voting in multiple elections. She now faces likely deportation. In North Carolina, the district attorney in Alamance County is pursuing criminal charges against several felons who voted while they were on probation. At least a few of them say they didn’t know they couldn’t vote.
“Why would she vote illegally?” St. John said of his client. “What benefit does she receive by doing that? Nothing she did changed the outcome of any election. It didn’t count anyway because she was kicked out.”
Sharen Wilson, the Tarrant County district attorney, said in a statement Friday that Mason had chosen to break the law.
“Our society is built on personal responsibility,” Wilson said. “There were multiple safeguards in place to keep Crystal Mason from breaking the law, but she still made that choice.”
“She signed and affirmed a document which clearly stated that (1) she was prohibited from voting due to her status as a convicted felon still serving her term of supervision, and (2) she would be committing a second degree felony if she lied about her status,” Wilson went on. “The judge found her guilty of illegal voting beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge set her sentence after hearing all the facts of the case.”
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), the chair of the congressional black caucus, said he was “heartbroken” over Mason’s case.
“The punishment does not fit the crime in this instance. This woman now faces the prospect of more time away from her family just because she was transitioning away from a prison setting,” he said in a statement. “Americans should be ashamed of this prison sentence.”
This post has been updated with comment from Wilson and Richmond.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/woman-given-5-years-prison-174731252.html
A Chicago man who was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit resumed his former job with the Chicago White Sox on Monday after spending 23 years behind bars.
Nevest Coleman, 49, who was officially exonerated by a Cook County judge last month thanks to DNA evidence, returned to Guaranteed Rate Field as a groundskeeper. His old colleagues welcomed him with an official Sox jacket and hat.
“I’d like to be an independent person, I don’t want nobody to give me nothing. I like to work for what I have,” Coleman told WGN-TV. “Just by coming to work like this here every day is a blessing.”
Coleman was a 25-year-old father of two who had worked at the ballfield ― then named Comiskey Park ― for two years when he was wrongfully arrested, along with co-defendant Darryl Fulton, for the April 1994 rape and murder of a young woman named Antwinica Bridgeman, according to his attorney.
There was no physical evidence linking Coleman or Fulton to the crime, and both men said they were coerced by police into making false statements. But they were each sentenced to life in prison.
Coleman narrowly escaped the death penalty after prosecutors made an unsuccessful plea to the judge, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Both men’s charges were dropped late last year after a DNA test on bodily fluids recovered from Bridgeman’s clothing and body yielded a match with a serial rapist, according to a release from Coleman’s attorney.
During his time behind bars, Coleman missed watching his children grow up and wasn’t around when his parents died, but he says he doesn’t live with anger.
“The past’s in the past now. There’s no more anger, upset, frustration, nothing,” he told WGN. “When I was in there I was miserable. But now I have my loved ones behind me, standing by my side, that misery’s gone now.”
Upon his release, people close to Coleman reached out to the baseball team on his behalf to see if he’d be able to resume his job there as a groundskeeper, a spokesperson for the Sox told HuffPost.
He went through the application and hiring process, the spokesperson said, and was hired as a seasonal member of the grounds crew.
“We’re grateful that after more than two decades, justice has been carried out for Nevest,” the team said in a statement. “It has been a long time, but we’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to welcome him back to the White Sox family. We’re looking forward to having Nevest back on Opening Day at home in our ballpark.”
It has been a long time, but we’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to welcome [Coleman] back to the White Sox family. Chicago White Sox statement
As life for Coleman moves on, so does a lawsuit against the city of Chicago, several police officers and Cook County state’s attorney’s officials on his behalf.
“The Defendants’ misconduct in this case was not an isolated occurrence,” says the lawsuit, filed last month. “To the contrary, they were the result of the City of Chicago’s policies and practices of pursuing wrongful convictions through reliance on coerced statements and profoundly flawed investigations.”
His attorney, Russell Ainsworth, has asked that prosecutors reinvestigate cases that are related to the detectives involved in Coleman’s arrest.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/wrongfully-convicted-man-rehired-white-230650713.html
- Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin took $750,000 from prison food funds
- He used it to buy a lavish four-bedroom beach house with a pool and boat dock
- Lawman claimed Alabama law meant he could keep ‘excess’ funds for himself
- He even used a ‘food provision account’ to pay for getting his lawn mowed
A sheriff pocketed $750,000 meant to feed prison inmates and used it to buy a lavish beach house – and it was completely legal.
Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin filed ‘more than $250,000’ of extra ‘compensation’ with the Alabama Ethics Commission from inmate feeding funds.
He claimed it under an obscure pre-WWII law allowed Alabama sheriffs to keep ‘excess’ prison food provisions for themselves.
Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin pocketed $750,000 meant to feed prison inmates and used it to buy a lavish beach house
The cash was used to buy this $740,000 four-bedroom beach house in the affluent town of Orange Beach near Pensacola
His windfall could be even higher as anything over $250,000 in a year does not have to be reported, according to the Birmingham News.
The cash was used to add a $740,000 four-bedroom beach house in the affluent town of Orange Beach near Pensacola to his $1.7 million real estate portfolio in September.
The house has 2.5 bathrooms, timber floors, a modern kitchen, wraparound porch, double garage, in-ground pool, and canal access with a boat dock.
Sheriff Entrekin and his wife Karen were able to amass at least six houses around the state despite him earning a salary of just $93,178.80.
The prison food funds came from federal, state, and local government taxpayers, but unlike other states did not have to be handed back if not used.
The lawman was so brazen about keeping the cash he paid Etowah handyman Matthew Qualls to mow his lawn with a cheque marked Sheriff Todd Entrekin Food Provision Account’.
The house has 2.5 bathrooms, timber floors, a modern kitchen, wraparound porch, double garage, in-ground pool, and canal access with a boat dock
Sheriff Entrekin and his wife Karen were able to amass at least six houses around the state despite him earning a salary of just $93,178.80
Sheriff Entrekin maintained keeping the money as he pleased was legal, despite growing condemnation and an ongoing statewide lawsuit.
‘The law says it’s a personal account and that’s the way I’ve always done it and that’s the way the law reads and that’s the way I do business. That’s the way the law’s written,’ he said.
‘In regards to feeding of inmates, we utilize a registered dietitian to ensure adequate meals are provided daily.
‘Alabama law is clear as to my personal financial responsibilities in the feeding of inmates. Regardless of one’s opinion of this statute, until the legislature acts otherwise, the Sheriff must follow the current law.’
Sheriff Entrekin’s opponent at this year’s sheriff election, Rainbow City Police Chief Jonathon Horton, said taxpayer funds should benefit taxpayers.
‘There’s been a tremendous amount of money left over that shouldn’t be used as a bonus check,’ he said.
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The county sheriff’s office shared footage of the alleged assault on Tuesday. The correctional officer at the center of case, Matthew Mettler, is due in court on March 26.
The video shows the victim apparently slumped on the ground in the holding area of the jail after he was brought in for intoxication by Manteca Police Officers. He is wearing a “spit bag” on his head because he allegedly attempted to spit on the officers.
“What happens next is one of our correctional officers enters the holding area and then, inexplicably, strikes the man in the head,” the sheriff’s office said. “The detainee was sitting, legs and arms cuffed, and apparently posing no threat.” Mettler was immediately placed on administrative leave after the incident was reported.
The district attorney’s office says Mettler has been charged with a misdemeanor count of assault by a public officer. “This behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said. “Individuals who abuse their power and position will be tried and punished to the full extent of the law.”
“As Sheriff, I don’t condone the actions as portrayed on this video by our jail staff,” said Sheriff Steve Moore. “It is inconsistent with the professionalism of San Joaquin County Correctional Officers, and of this department. The action taken by the DA’s office is appropriate and we support their position.”
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