Sunday, September 27, 2009

This is the America I learned about in school.

Unfaithful woman seeks 2nd chance by wearing sign

An Ohio woman who said she was unfaithful has chosen a very public way of asking her boyfriend not to break up their engagement. Jess Duttry, 19, stood outside a supermarket parking lot in northern Ohio this week with a handwritten sign that said "I cheated" and "Honk if I deserve a second chance." On the back, Duttry had scrawled, "I honestly love him."

She said she choose to stage her vigil Wednesday evening after her fiance took back his ring earlier that day when she confessed she'd cheated on him this summer.

It's not clear if he saw the message, but Duttry said dozens of people honked, and some got out of their cars to hug her and wish her well.


The last sentence says it all. Remember this America? The one with compassion. The one where the local sheriff did not say that belonging to the KKK is a badge of honor. The one where the local county attorney was not hell-bent on breaking the state budget* so the state would sell it's population to the for-profit prison industry that controls him.

The one where media reports were accurate and laws with the harsh words buried in the back like "...the department of administration may transfer some or all of this state's interest in any state department of corrections prison facility..." (Section 34, page 27 of 28) were not reported in the middle of a news article tamely as "...the state will attempt to sell the rights to operate some of its prisons..." (para 8 of 14) when the lease term is 20 years!

The one where government provides more "real" services for the money and less fear mongering to strip our wallets for "protection" money.

The good news is that many people in America are just like these good people in Ohio.

Now, if we could just get them to read more and watch less television.

To avoid the discomfort and look at the shadowy side of life where predatory elected officials prey on citizens to advance their careers.

And to vote.

Then we could get the America I learned about in school back. That will be a happy day!

*Sources for Ranking





Friday, September 25, 2009

Is Andrew Thomas a benevolent prosecutor?

The Preface of Accidental Felons opens with: “This book contains many themes. It contains the joy of a newborn child, the heartbreak of a lost career, medical mysteries, death, and stories of survival. But, the overriding theme throughout this book is the abuse of political power by elected officials. “

Now, after 4 years of silence, the woman in the accident, Marion Phelan, has come forward to protest my portrayal of her in Accidental Felons and my portrayal of County Attorney Andrew Thomas throughout the book to the Phoenix New Times. Ray Stern supports County Attorney Thomas as being a benevolent prosecutor to the residents of Maricopa County.

An article like this (with photos) is difficult to address with sensitivity. It is indeed the Horns of a Dilemma that so much about this accident has been. Rather than being “tried by a tabloid” newspaper, I’ve uploaded Chapter 4 from the book that describes facts that Mr. Stern is apparently unaware of. I do find it curious that Ms. Phelan (now living in California) comes forward at a time when County Attorney Andrew Thomas is beginning his bid to become Attorney General of Arizona.

My description of Ms. Phelan’s condition the night of the accident, See Chapter 4, comes from the emergency room medical reports the prosecutor was using to prosecute the case. In that medical record, the following facts exist:

  • Ms. Phelan tested positive for opiates.
  • Ms. Phelan tested positive for the anti-psychotic schizophrenia drug Seroquel.
  • She told both the paramedics and the doctor that she was a recovering heroin addict.
  • She said that she was not in a great deal of pain.
  • The doctor said he gave Ms. Phelan a shot of morphine, the strongest narcotic in the hospital. He gave this as the reason she failed the drug test.
  • There is no record of a shot of morphine administered to Ms. Phelan in the medical record turned over by the prosecutor.

(Note: If a doctor administers a potent narcotic to someone who they know is an addict who denies being in a great deal of pain, it is a serious violation of medical procedure. If a doctor falsifies a medical record, it is a crime. If the county attorney’s office withheld some of Ms. Phelan's medical record – material evidence in charging a crime — it is a crime.)

  • There is mention of injury in the area of the collarbone that might be a fracture or a bruise, tests were inconclusive.
  • There is mention of a fracture to one bone of the foot by one doctor that is referred to as one bone in the ankle by another doctor in the ER.
  • The medical report isn’t conclusive if she had a sprained ankle.
  • One doctor describes Ms. Phelan as frail and undernourished.
  • There were no stitches, no surgery performed, and no life-threatening (serious) injuries mentioned in the emergency room medical record.

If I was unduly sketchy of Ms. Phelan’s injuries, I apologize to the reader. As I say in the Preface, this is not a book about Ms. Phelan or me, it is a book about the abuse of political power. I do believe that Ms. Phelan's statement to the prosecutor, as well as her refusal to come to the courtroom, influenced my plea agreement.

The second woman in the accident isn't mentioned a great deal, but I should note that she had 18 months to come forward with any complaint of injury or loss. She refused both to show up at sentencing or to file a claim proving loss or injury. The Pre-sentencing report indicates there were injuries that the medical records do not show. The pre-sentecing report is in error (a common occurance I have been told by attorneys).

Like many other county residents I met in jail, Andrew Thomas indicted me as a violent felon--the crime of intentionally attacking another person with a dangerous weapon and seriously injuring them--Aggravated Assault. A serious crime, only two classes below 1st degree murder, and 1 class below molesting a child. All these are laws carry mandatory minimum prison sentences and are intended to be used only against the most egregious predators in society, not the general population.

The book exists because I know in my heart that Andrew Thomas is using the residents of Maricopa County for nails as he builds himself a political resume to run for higher office. I know this because I've met dozens of county residents who had their lives severely damaged by this man's abuse of mandatory minimum sentencing.

While my experience shows me that Maricopa County's Attorney does little to serve society, he does a great deal to create the statistics he needs as a political "crime fighter" for a resume bereft of any such experience. There are hundreds more county residents silenced inside Arizona's for-profit prisons. Domestic disputes without blows = Aggravated Assault, DUI accident with any injury whatsoever = Aggravated Assault, and Post Traumatic Stress in a Veteran = Aggravated Assault. These are the stories that comprise the majority of the pages of Accidental Felons, not the auto accident I was involved in.

I merely present the facts, the reader gets to be the judge.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Our local warloards--the County Attorney & Sheriff

Talk about an abuse of taxypayer moneys. Our local sheriff is so busy defending his empire that he has time for little else. The county Board of Supervisors are in revolt, judges are in revolt, and soon I believe the people will find the heart to join our elected officials in putting down this military coup of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and the Sheriff. Enough is enough! Wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Daily Beast Scores Again!

Another interesting article. I'll be addressing the issues of economics and how it affects our trend at incarcerating so many citizens in coming issues. The branches of government involved in the incarceration of America reach well beyond the Judicial System. Legislatures are the primary in creating the problem. Who controls Legislators? We will follow the money as the old adage goes to figure out that one. Lots more coming. Subscribe to my new newsletter at, it's informative, and it's free!

State Profiteering From Land Sale to For-Profit Prisons?

Provision may help Arizona developers

This article in the Yuma Sun is very interesting to me. Only days after signing away the entire state penal system to for-profit prisons, the Gov also allows a state agency to self-fund from the sale of state lands to private developers.

They are particularly interested in investors who will improve the surrounding infrastructure of roads and utilities of land in the middle of nowhere.

Let's see, we don't get lower taxes, some of the state's operating costs are transferred to a state agency's profit from land sales (rather than those profits being used for educating our children), and the state is up for sale to private developers. What sort of stew does that recipe brew on the heals of sending a historic invite for the for-profit prison industry to settle in Arizona?

I smell an opportunity for the for-profit prison industry to purchase federal lands granted to the state at a fire-sale price on the condition that they build roads and provide utilities for the new incarceration compounds they plan to build in Arizona in coming years. Compounds that will house prisoners from other states to be sent here by the truckload to "relieve" the burden on politicians in other states whose budget suffer from so many incarcerated citizens.

So, it isn't just private developers in the game for land profits. The state is looking to ante up to the table with property that has been entrusted to them as well.

Or, maybe I'm just being cynical. Time will tell.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Fearsome Four

Exerpt from the Phoenix Business Journal, Sunday 9/13/09

Anti-illegal immigrant slate lining up for 2010 governor's race

An anti-illegal-immigrant slate would include Thomas running for attorney general, Montgomery running for county attorney, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio running for governor and state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Ariz., running for sheriff.

The quartet favor state laws punishing businesses that hire illegal immigrants, raids and sweeps of illegals and denying state benefits and welfare to anyone not here legally.

This just might be the most terrifying idea since Europe in World War II. Let me explain.

After almost 4 decades of making the wealthy even wealthier and having multiple business degrees (BA Biz, MS Finance) to accomplish it, I've learned to read the "code of politics". And the 2nd paragraph above is just that--code.

To me, it's a message to all medium and large businesses that they should financially support these four candidates and ensure they get into office. The reason for that is simple--profit. It has little, or nothing, to do with illegal immigration, and everything to do with increasing the cost of doing business for small micro-businesses (less than 100 employees), putting some of them out of business, and opening up market share for their larger competitors.

These Fearsome Four would create a political force (with a state mission of making more jobs for the rest of us) to diminish the effect of the tiny mom and pop businesses who operate on thin profit margins as it is.

Before you think that this is too cynical, let me remind you of our history.

Following completion of the Transcontinental Railroad there was a great social unrest that the Chinese were taking American (White male) jobs. The Harrison Narcotics Act we designed specifically to create a means for government to deport the Chinese as undesirable immigrants. Smoking raw opium was made illegal, but the heroin and morphine used in the patent medicines of the day (which were 70 percent alcohol and American made products) were not made illegal.

In the last Great Depression, there was a national scare that illegal Hispanics were taking dwindling American (White male) jobs. William Randolph Hearst capitalized on that with a campaign to move America to inferior wood pulp for paper. (He owned millions of acres of timber in the Northwest U.S.) Hearst used his newspaper empire and money to lobby Congress to get the Marijuana Tax Act passed which politicians then used as a means of deporting undesirable Hispanic workers as smokers of the wild weed that the public believed made Hispanic men violent criminals. It appeased the public and made Hearst wealthy beyond imagination.

Prior to World War II, African Americans in the South were beginning to want all the rights of other (White male) Americans. They had one weakness, they used powdered cocaine as their recreational drug because they could not afford the more expensive beer, wine and liquor. The Harrison Narcotics Act was amended to make cocaine a narcotic specifically to control this minority group. There are entries in the records of Congress where the American Medical Association came forth to state that "cocaine makes black Men rape White women".

History Channel has a series on the above and several books exist which explain it as well. The government's own data shows that 75 percent of the people incarcerated today are there for a crime relating to their using one of these substances. Most of the people imprisoned for property crime stole because they could not afford to pay the high price (created by legislators) for these products.

Don't be lulled into thinking there is anything other than economics at work here because 7 out of 10 people in Arpaio's Jail are not "illegal" Hispanics, they are White, and 95 percent of the people in his jail are--and always have been--legal residents of Maricopa County.

That's what the data shows. Scour the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The truth is out there and these four, with their "illegal immigration" chant are tricking you. You'll get jobs alright, but the type of quick jobs that will make the wealthy developers and landowners more wealthy and you even less powerful in controlling your own destiny.

Private for-profit prisons seeking to expedite the transformation of Arizona's desert into a building boom of new prisons, and the resulting flood of prisoners from other states into Arizona, is what you'll get to create jobs and feed your family.

Always ahead of the curve, I've been exploring the idea of death camps for the elderly for almost five years now. Yes, it's a reality. No, it's not Obama's Health Care Plan. I believe that the for-profit prisons are key to this idea, as is the state of Arizona, if it comes to pass at all. I will be writing more about that in future posts and in my monthly newsletter. Go to Accidental Felons and register. It's free!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

2 New Videos

I added 2 new video to my website. One is on the Homepage, and one is on the article "The Real Tent City"

Both are videos which show the insides of the jail at work.

Hard to watch this...

I found this video difficult to finish. It's not violent, just heartbreaking to believe we actually do this to hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and still call ourselves a Christian nation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's not often a Legislator gets to see the damage he's done.

This is excerpted from a California newspaper. The link above will take you to the entire article.

On an up note, at least he showed the courage to come forward instead of being shamed into silence (the more common outcome).


To: My fellow conservative Republicans in the Legislature

From: Pat Nolan, Assembly Republican leader, 1984-1988

Re: California's prison crisis

I was as "tough on crime" as any of you during my eight terms in the Assembly. I received the Victims Advocate Award from Parents of Murdered Children. I generally favored stronger penalties and also introduced the Death Penalty Restoration Act.

I led the fight to build more prisons.

I was "tough on crime" to make our communities safer.

But then I witnessed reality – inside prison walls. After my conviction in the Shrimpscam investigation, I served 29 months in federal custody. I was appalled to see how little is done to prepare inmates to live healthy, moral lives when they return to society – and 95 percent of prisoners will be released and return to our neighborhoods. I was frustrated that participation in religious programs is often discouraged. And I was shocked to see many people serving long sentences for minor, non- violent offenses.

Our current system of sentences and imprisonment has veered terribly off course. It costs taxpayers plenty but does not make us safer. I'm partly to blame for California's current prison crisis. I supported the expansion of our prison system. But while spending on prisons continues to skyrocket, Californians are no safer than residents of other states that have cut their prison population ...

Recommended Read

Here's a young man of the type who end up in prison way to often. He didn't prey on another person or their property. He wasn't a danger to you, but he clearly broke the law. You paid $150,000 to be protected from him for 10 years. Of course, your teacher has to ask for handouts to afford tissue for the children. The dollars and sense of this is clearly explained in my article Corruption in Maricopa County's Government.

Here an excerpt from the entire post of Jon's Jail Journal about life in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail. (Note that a similar strategy was used in the tents and I write about it in my own 2007 experience. There seems to be a repeating pattern of human rights abuses in play.)

19 Feb 04

The toilet I sleep next to is full of sewage. We’ve had no running water for three days. Yesterday, I knew we were in trouble when the mound in our steel throne peaked above sea level.

Inmates often display remarkable ingenuity during difficult occasions and this crisis has resulted in a number of my neighbours defecating in the plastic bags the mouldy breakfast bread is served in. For hours they kept those bags in their cells, then disposed of them downstairs when allowed out for showers. As I write, inmates brandishing plastic bags are going from cell door to door proudly displaying their accomplishments.

The whole building reeks like a giant Portaloo. Putting a towel over the toilet in our tiny cell offers little reprieve. My neighbour, Eduardo, is suffering diarrhoea from the rotten chow. I can’t imagine how bad his cell stinks.

I am hearing that the local Health Department has been contacted. Hopefully they will come to our rescue soon.

Here is a more complete bio on the author of Jon's Jail Journal.

And a link to Jon's Jail Journal. In time it may well survive the ravages of history to become an indicator of the dark time in America's history when Mandatory Minimum Sentencing allowed Predatory Prosecutors to rule the world.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Arizona, A Bankrupt Government Panics

Within days of Governor Jay Brewer signing Arizona's collapse to the For-Profit Prison industry into law, I received this urgent--and sad--email. 5,000 new prisoner beds does indeed confirm my forecast that Arizona is becoming America's First Prison State. We are to the United States what Australia was to Great Britain in the 19th Century.


Re: Your help is needed at Perryville Prison - there is NO WATER at Perryville Prison for Women since Friday at 5:30; NO DRINKING WATER, NO WATER FOR TOILETS AND KITCHEN FOR WASHING HANDS AND FOOD PREPARATION, FOR MEDICAL NEEDS!!

NO WATER AT PERRYVILLE, ALL visitors were turned away at Visitation this morning with no explanation as to when they could visit and when there will be water this week-end.

No water at Perryville Prison for Women, in the aftermath of the vote to sell and privatize the prisons late Thursday (with no public dialog or discussion, while California is being ordered to release inmates). Selling the State Prisons is not the answer to absolve the State Legislature and Governor's responsibility for Prison and Detention system in Arizona, when the legislature wrote the laws that have grown the prison crisis the state faces? How can 5,000 more beds (also voted in) be added (growing a failing system) when the State of Arizona cannot handle what it has?

Most believe the water bill was not paid.

No information was given out at Perryville as to when water and visits would be restored. People have flown in for the Holiday week-end to visit loved ones.

ADC Central Office closed.

Water department closed.

Your attention to this emergency is needed immediately. Thank you.

UPDATE: Water was restored to the facility after two days thanks to the quick response of Freedom March in pelleting legislators with email before someone died.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Murder in Arpaio's Jail

Let me narrate this as an insider before you watch this YouTube video below.

The 5 inmates you see talking by the door is indeed a trial by the Inmate Council. The man who was attacked was probably sentenced to a beating for not fighting when challenged. Refusing to fight is a criminal offense in jail.

Notice that the inmates, not the guards determine these things. This is "jail" not a maximum security prison, yet the prisoners are neglected to the point of creating their on ad hoc government.

Notice that a non-violent person who stole a car (probably to support a drug habit) is housed with an Aryan Brotherhood enforcer who, in this case, has been chosen by the local inmate council (probably without knowing this man's true violent history) as their local enforcer (its a volunteer position). Normally, a beating in jail is just that. But the enforcer in this case isn't your normal jail resident, but an extremely violent man housed with a population of local Maricopa County residents.

I spent 3 weeks in a cell block like this. The entire atmosphere is filled with tension. Notice that everything in this room will hurt you. Everything in here is steel and concrete (except for a thin piece of foam for a mattress which in the lower bunk is resting on a slab of concrete). Dying in this environment is easy to accomplish without a beating. People's bodies aren't designed to compete with materials so tough they would smash a car.

Notice the small enclosures of the cell. In the cell block I was in, which house 2 prisoners in this size room, the top bunk is about 5-1/2 feet from the floor with no railing or ladder to climb into it. I tore my rotator cuff just trying to get into and out of the top bunk in a cell like this. There are stories of people falling out of the top bunk and rupturing their spleen, dying from a blow to the head from the toilet (a stainless steel fixture just out of sight on the camera), and breaking limbs.

Notice that there are no guards about and no one watching the surveillance cameras. This is very typical. Inmates can smoke cigarettes, take drugs, fight, and do almost anything they want (as long as they follow the Inmate Council's rules). Guards are chatting, talking on the phone, or just not visibly there. This is one reason I say that the employees are the most dangerous people in the jail. In this one incident, none of the 3-5 guards saw anything. These guards are stationed in a "bullet-proof" glass enclosure high on the far wall and level with the top row of cells and above the steel tables shown on the floor below. If the inmate falls, hits his head, has an epileptic seizure, or drops into a diabetic coma, they will probably die if not for other inmates yelling at the guards to get their attention. This is a graphic example of the poor training, lack of supervision, and mismanagement I speak about.

If you replay this video, you will notice that even when the guards to run inside, when they reach the fallen prisoner, they just mill about over the body. No CPR, no first aid of any kind, nothing to attempt to save the man's life. They simply have no idea how to respond to an injured prisoner other than to make a radio call for someone to come to help, which can take up to half an hour.

Lastly, murder is not a normal occurrence in this jail. Death by accident, neglect, and medical issue complications is far, far more common. This unusual incident happened because a violent man accused of murder was housed in an open doom. The idea of "Maximum" and "Minimum" security is a farce as far as I can tell. If you've had a loved one in this jail, they could easily have been in that cell block. People are lumped where ever a bed appears and stay there until some incident (such as this) forces the jail employees to take some sort of action.

If Arizona sells its prisons to the for-profit prison industry, you can expect this type of occurrence on a much larger scale. It has already happened numerous times in other states.