Free Vic!!

28 Aug

Victor Norman Hansen a.k.a #138866
On January 27, 2006 three friends since school days, BK, JW , and Victor Hansen went out to the Pearl Street Pub in Boulder to shoot some pool and have a few drinks. Another female friend, MS, who was not invited, got BK’s phone number and called to find out where they were, later joining them. They spent the evening recalling high school days, a reunion of sorts. BK and JW thought it probably wasn’t a good idea for MS to drive up the canyon more than 20 miles to her home because she was likely over the legal alcohol limit to drive. So, BK invited her to stay with them at their apartment. They left the bar at about 1:30 AM. Vic, drove everyone the two city blocks to the apartment. Victor and MS ended up sharing a room that night, as they had been flirting at the pub. In the morning, Victor woke up and left at about 8:00 AM to return to his house to get ready to go to work in Boulder. MS stayed at the apartment until the afternoon, and then had  another friend, JZ drive her to her car so she could drive home. At 11:30 PM later that night, there was a loud knock on the apartment door. The Boulder Police were investigating a reported sexual assault. MS had reported to the Boulder Police that she believes that she had been drugged and sexually assaulted earlier that day…

The Boulder Police continued their investigation and on August 22, 2006 an arrest warrant was signed. The Boulder Police contacted the Hansen family to let them know that Victor needed to appear at the police station. He called them to ask if he could wait until after the weekend, as he was completing a flooring installation for work. The police agreed that he could appear the following Monday. He drove himself to the Boulder Police Department. He was released on bond, a few days later.

The trial began on June 18, 2007. On June 22, 2007, the jury returned a not guilty verdict on F3 (Sexual assault–victim physically helpless), but was found guilty on F4 (Sexual assault–victim incapable of appraising the nature of her conduct.) Victor’s parents met with Prosecuting Attorney, Ingrid Bakke, on two separate occasions, including October 29, 2007–just 3 days before sentencing. These meetings were an attempt to explain that prison would be the worst possible scenario for Victor. They were informed both times, that if Victor would at least admit that perhaps he misjudged the situation, and give a slight admission of guilt, then that could save him from going to prison, as he would be considered psychologically treatable and no longer in denial. Victor refused the offer and said, “This idea sickened me… If I totally change my story and lie about what…transpired on January 28, I may lessen my sentence.” Victor also said that he would not refute other witnesses’ testimonies by his friends or professionals. He could not be threatened into submission and would not fabricate a story, even though the Prosecuting Attorney tried to tempt him to change his story. On

November 1, 2007, Victor Norman Hansen was sentenced to four years in prison, but with a mandatory release date. Victor was sent to Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center (DRDC). He was transported to Freemont Correctional Facility in Canon City, and was later moved to Crowley County Correctional Facility in Olney Springs. The Alternate Defense Counsel neglected to file a motion for bond pending appeal, and did not file a motion for reduction of sentence. On November 13, 2007, he did file a motion for reconsideration of sentence. However, on April 23, 2008, he withdrew the motion, although Victor wanted him to proceed. On March 19, 2009, the judge changed the sentence, after District Attorney, Catrina M. Weigel, who had no involvement with this case, filed a “motion to change an illegal sentence and amend mittimus”. The Appellate Attorney failed to respond, so the judge granted the motion to change the punishment to a life sentence. On October 29, 2009, Victor Hansen demanded in writing that his attorney remove himself as the attorney on record in Boulder County. (On November 14, 2009, the Alternate Defense Counsel removed himself from the case). On October 29, 2009, the Hansen family contacted appellate attorney, Andrea Gammell, by phone. They wanted to know what statute prevented Vic from being released on bond. Ms. Gammell did not think that Victor was eligible for bond. She thought that the trial attorney had filed an appeal bond and that it had been denied. When she checked, she realized that she was wrong after a conversation with Vic’s Sister (only a person convicted of sexual assault on a child is not eligible for bond.) On December 7, 2009, she apologized to Victor in a letter. He had already been in prison for more than two years.

Victor was transported from Crowley County Correctional Facility and was placed in the Boulder County Jail pending the bond hearing. The bond was granted on April 2, 2010, and Victor Hansen was released from the Boulder County Jail on April 5, 2010. On the night of September 16, 2011 while Victor was driving home from a get together with people from work at Roy’s Last Shot near Rollinsville, he noticed a traffic accident. He stopped and asked the Gilpin County Sheriff if he needed any help. It was at that time that the sheriff smelled alcohol on Vic’s breath, and had him taken to jail as this was a violation of the bond. Although the Hansen family posted $1500 for bond, the probation department refused to allow Gilpin County to release him. At the bond hearing, Judge Lael Montgomery ruled to send him back to prison. While imprisoned at Freemont Correctional Facility, although Victor Hansen had not been written up for any behavioral issues, prison officials placed him in 22-hour lockdown for over 100 days in an attempt to convince him to confess to the original crime. Victor was considered for parole, but the parole board denied the request. Perhaps they thought that if Victor was still in denial about his crime, then he is untreatable and therefore ineligible for parole. Victor Hansen continues to maintain his innocence, and so remains in prison. It has been nearly seven years since his Sentencing.

Free Vic Hansen!!

Compassionate Release for Robert C. Fuentes (Pelican Bay & Vacaville)

27 Aug

Originally posted on Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity:

Please sign the petition (link below) for Compassionate Release for Robert C. Fuentes, who has been incarcerated for 32 years, 20 years at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) and never debriefed to get out of SHU. He is dying from liver cancer that could have been treated had it been diagnosed sooner; in February/March of 2014 he was given a diagnosis of inoperable liver cancer. He has been sent to hospice in California Medical Facility Vacaville.
His sister Cynthia has initiated the petition “Jerry Brown and Jeffrey Beardand Martin Hoshino: Release Robert C. Fuentes before he dies in prison,” asking for compassionate release (CR) of Robert to his family in Corona (parents Frank and Frances Fuentes, five siblings, two children, 3 grandchildren,  and countless extended family members).
 Although the prison system has refused compassionate release, his family, Justice Now, and supporters will fight to get him out…

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When Officer Friendly Becomes Delta Force

25 Aug

Originally posted on deafinprison:

By BitcoDavid

I find myself bombarded by images and news stories of police committing what can only be called atrocities on American citizens. I’ve struggled with this for the past few weeks, because we’ve talked before – on this site – about the dangers of militarization of the police. Recently, our publisher asked me to do a research piece based on a simple question. Are police abuses of power actually increasing, or are we seeing them more, because people are recording them on cell-phone cameras?

The ’50s and ’60s were rife with cases of police brutality. Prior to Miranda in 1966, interrogations were commonly brutal, and in many cases actual torture. It wasn’t uncommon in those days, for police with no warrant to enter one’s home and search. Traffic stops – same thing. And of course, any of us who were involved in the counterculture movement of…

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Tennessee Death Row Inmates Sue to Block Electric Chair

24 Aug


Death row inmates in Tennessee are suing to stop the state from using the electric chair as its backup execution method. Papers filed Friday argue that the state’s testing method for the chair is inadequate and that electrocution does not necessarily cause instantaneous death. “A prisoner that remains alive, conscious, and sensate for some period of time during an electrocution execution will experience excruciating pain and suffering,” the suit says.

In May, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a law allowing prison officials to use the electric chair when unable to get drugs for lethal injections, making it the only state that forces electrocution on inmates; other states allow the condemned to choose the chair. “Tennessee took a huge step back when it reinstated the electric chair,” federal public defender Kelley Henry said, noting that courts in Nebraska and Georgia have already declared the method unconstitutional. The Tennessee attorney general’s office said it was reviewing the court papers and had no immediate comment.

Why is Tennessee using the electric chair as a backup?

Like many states, Tennessee has had difficulty obtaining the chemicals it needs for lethal injections; it has not been able to carry out an execution since 2009 because of drug shortages.

Although the Department of Correction says it is confident it will be able to secure the deadly doses for the 10 men with execution dates, politicians are apparently not as sure.

They drafted a bill that would make the electric chair the automatic backup method, and the governor signed it Thursday night. Previously, electrocution was used only if an inmate convicted before 1999 chose it.

Does Tennessee actually have an electric chair?

The state’s original chair — dubbed Old Sparky — was reportedly crafted from the gallows where inmates used to be hanged.

Department of Correction spokeswoman Neysa Taylor refused to answer any questions about the current chair, but a 2007 state report detailed its history.

In 1989, it was rebuilt and outfitted with a new electricity-delivery system by Fred Leuchter, a self-styled execution specialist who was labeled a Holocaust denier by the Anti-Defamation League.

Later, electrical engineer Jay Weichert put in modifications and helped the Correction Department decide on the settings: 1,750 volts at 7 amps cycled on for 20 seconds, off for 20 seconds and on for 15 seconds.

The current chair was first used in 2007 for the execution of Daryl Holton, who shot his four children. Days before, Leuchter claimed it would not work properly and would torture the inmate, but the medical examiner said Holton’s death was quick and unremarkable.

 The chair is “fully operational.”

Via NBC News

California Inmates Sue State Over Valley Fever, Again

21 Aug

Pleasant Valley State Prison is one of two California prisons to have the most inmates stricken by Valley fever.


A lawsuit was filed in federal court in Sacramento on July 14 against the state of California on behalf of 58 current and former inmates who contracted Valley fever while serving time in one of the state’s Central Valley prisons. The lawsuit accuses the state of knowing for years that the incurable disease was being spread throughout Central Valley prisons, but did nothing to address the problem, reported The Sacramento Bee.

Valley fever is an infection caused by a fungus in the soil that can get into the air and is then inhaled when people breathe. Symptoms of the disease include fatigue, fever, cough, night sweats, a shortness of breath and a rash on the upper body or legs. Some inmates, particularly Filipinos, African Americans and Latinos, are more susceptible to severe illness after contracting the disease than others. Inmates with health problems such as diabetes or HIV also are more prone to greater illness if infected. Lawyers for the inmates said in court filings that state officials knew some prisoners were at an elevated risk of contracting the disease, and that those inmates should never have been housed at Pleasant Valley or Avenal state prisons, but were placed there anyway.

Hundreds of inmates have contracted the disease in recent years in the state’s Central Valley prisons, and it has contributed to the deaths of more than 30 inmates since 2005. The state has imposed on inmates “a lifelong, crippling and sometimes fatal disease in addition to their lawfully determined sentences,” the suit claimed.

The state spends more than $23 million each year — $9 million for hospital care, $2.4 million for antifungal care and $12 million to guard the patients — in order to treat inmates stricken by the disease. It may end up spending more in the lawsuit, which seeks monetary damages to offset the medical costs that inmates will have the rest of the years. Those costs amount to $5,000 a year for antifungal medication to keep the disease in check, $1,000 annually for testing and $25,000 in hospitalization expenses for inmates with the worst infections, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The lawsuit was filed two weeks after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report that recommended testing all inmates eligible for housing at Pleasant Valley and Avenal state prisons — the two that have had the most inmates stricken by the disease — to identify those who might be susceptible to the disease.

The respiratory disease is common in Central California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. As such, the department said it has worked diligently for years to address the problem.

“CDCR has been working to mitigate Valley fever for years,” spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman told The Sacramento Bee in an email. “We have put in place numerous measures in our prisons to reduce the amount of dust and the movement of dust, particularly into buildings.”

Hoffman added that the department is now considering the findings in the CDC study.

This is not the first lawsuit to be filed against the state on behalf of inmates with Valley fever. Last year, lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit representing inmates at both prisons. At that time, U.S. District Judge Thelton E. Henderson barred the state from housing inmates who are susceptible to the Valley fever in the prisons where the disease is most prevalent.

Via Correctional News

Ferguson a Stark Reminder of Racial Disparity in Nation’s Justice System

16 Aug

The protests in Ferguson, Mo., have captured the attention of the nation, focusing on the injustice and racial disparities in the justice system — in Ferguson.

The issues raised by the Ferguson protests are complex, but the frustrations with the disparities in our justice system have been well documented. A new report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), points to the profound racial disparities in our nation’s prison system and calls for an end to the mass incarceration of minorities — especially for low-level offenses. The report is based on research documenting that the negative consequences to our society from mass incarceration outweighs any benefits — and that the consequences are too profound for our nation to continue locking up a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

Yes, that’s right — a full quarter of the world’s prisoners are in U.S. lockup facilities. The United States. has only about one-fifth of the world’s population, but over the past 30 years the nation has quadrupled its number of prisoners. The misguided “war against drugs,” along with expanded use of mandatory minimum and longer sentences, drove up the prison population exponentially over the past three decades. The U.S. prison increase fell disproportionately on impoverished inner city communities of people of color.

Our prisons reflect our social policies and priorities. As a society, we continue to pay high taxes to support our prison system without asking the logical question: What are we getting for our tax dollars? The answer in part is a lot of expense without significant crime reduction, according to the NAS report. What we are also getting is a tremendous disruption in certain poor and marginalized communities of color. These disruptions rip apart the foundations of our society, as we see so dramatically in the news from Ferguson.

The impact of our prison policies reaches far beyond the people who are incarcerated. Two million children in the nation have a parent in prison. Even upon release, the parent’s prison record results in lower earnings that impact their families and their communities.

Additionally, the U.S. prison system impacts disproportionately on poor communities of people of color. What this means is dramatically illustrated in the NAS report. A young African-American male who was a high school dropout in the late 1940s stood a 15 percent chance of spending a year or more in prison. One generation later, by the late 1970s, the same African-American male who was a high school dropout stood a 68 percent chance of spending a year or more in prison. As the NAS Committee’s Chair explained in an interview: Within one generation, it became a “normative experience” to go to prison.

The NAS report has a series of recommendations that must be swiftly implemented. Dismantle mandatory sentences, for it is a fundamental principle that sentences should be individualized and proportionate to the offender and the underlying conduct. Sentences should be crafted to enhance citizenship through rehabilitation back into society and the community. Community-based alternatives to incarceration cost less and have better outcomes at reducing offending. Prisons need to be revamped to provide offenders with the necessary skills and tools to return to their communities and become productive citizens.

Many of these recommendations have already been tested in the juvenile system. Across the nation, diversion in the form of counseling and restorative justice practices replaces pre-trial detention for children. Community-based alternatives are replacing juvenile prisons. More youth are being tried in the juvenile, rather than the adult, court.

As a result, juvenile crime is down, juvenile arrests are down, the number of juveniles incarcerated is down, and states are saving taxpayer dollars with better outcomes.

It is time to replicate these successful juvenile practices for adults — especially young adults in the 18-21 age group. Many of our young adults receive a second, and even a third and fourth chance through generous diversion policies practiced by law enforcement on college campuses, but it is now time to ensure that all our young adults receive the benefit of interventions, diversion and community-based alternatives. Only then will we begin to move past the disparities and tragedy we experienced in Ferguson.

Elizabeth Clarke of Evanston, Ill., is founder and president of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, a coalition working to transform the juvenile justice system in Illinois.


How a Jailed Anon is Conveniently “Forgotten” in the Prison System

15 Aug

Originally posted on The Cryptosphere:

Higinio Ochoa

Higinio Ochoa

This is a guest post by Sue Crabtree and Jahba Don of the Free Anons support network. It focuses on the administrative errors and systematic elisions that have, deliberately or accidentally, conspired to endanger the scheduled release of Higinio Ochoa III from prison, his time served. Donations to the family’s moving fund can be made at this site.

For weeks now, we at FreeAnons, have been working on preparations for the release of W0rmer. What we have encountered along the way has been an endless and pointless series of flaming hoops through which we have been forced to jump. When a man has served his time and is scheduled for release, getting him released should not require this much work. It has been suggested that W0rmer’s delay in release is intentional and is retaliation for the release of this information and targeting of police officers.


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