News

Criminal Justice Team Meeting September 9, 2017

Adam – DACA – no new applications for DACA; no more paroles

PLAN is having a know your rights workshop – date?

 

Police training update: Looks like about half of states have laws mandating mental health training for law enforcement – Nevada is not on the list.

Action: Becky and Gerid will try to get a retired highway patrol officer to join us – Gordon Martinez

 

Shelby – Harbor program – if a child is brought in on a misdemeanor they can be deferred to the “Harbor” where services are available to try to identify issues and address the behaviour – pilot project

 

One of the candidates for chief of police in Henderson (Arlington, Texas Police Department Deputy Chief LaTesha Watson) looks very promising.

https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/henderson/henderson-announces-2-finalists-for-police-chief/

 

Update on reporting of police shootings/killings:

The most reputable sources I could find are still not consistent in the numbers reported (differences in methodology may account for this):

 

Source Criteria 2016 2015 2014 2013
https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/ “Police Killings” 14 20 22 13
Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2017

“shootings in which a police officer, in the line of duty, shoots and kills a civilian” 14 19
The Guardian – “The Counted”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database

“People killed by police” 15 19
http://www.fatalencounters.org/ “all deaths through police interaction” 19 22 27 14

 

Metro lists fatal officer involved shootings on it’s website (also non-fatal under another tab):

https://www.lvmpd.com/en-us/InternalOversightConstitutionalPolicing/Pages/FatalOfficerInvolvedShootings.aspx

“Fatal officer involved shootings”

2016 – 3

2015 – 11

2014 – 8

2013 – 3

 

Are there any legal mandates for reporting police killings anywhere in the US?

Department of Justice will collect data on the police use of deadly force in the line of duty. The bureau is in the process of setting up a database that can track police killings and other use of force during interactions with the public.

The new DOJ system is modeled after “The Counted” — a groundbreaking initiative by The Guardian which kept track of police killings since 2015 by relying on local media reports, and as a result has created a more complete picture of brutality by law enforcement in the US.

All law enforcement agencies — 19,450 in total — will be required to submit quarterly reports of all officer-involved deaths directly to the DOJ, including information about the location and time of the incident, manner of death, the victim’s behavior during the incident, reason for initial contact, and the victim’s race, age, gender, and so on. Failure to comply means they could lose 10 percent of their agency’s funding.

 

Medical examiners and coroners will also be required to submit reports to the DOJ whenever they receive a body of someone who was killed by police.

 

https://news.vice.com/article/the-us-government-will-track-killings-by-police-for-the-first-time-ever

https://www.colorlines.com/articles/doj-announces-plan-track-police-use-force

Action: find out if there has been progress on this initiative

“In 2014, Congress passed the Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA), which required states and federal law enforcement agencies to submit data to the department about civilians who died during interactions with law enforcement or in their custody (whether resulting from use of force or some other manner of death, such as suicide or natural causes) and authorized the Attorney General to impose a financial penalty on non-compliant states.”

Arrest-related deaths are tracked by DOJ: https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=82

 

Texas has proposed legislation mandating reporting of shootings that would then be accessible by the public.

 

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/06/15/texas-police-shooting-reporting-fine/

 

We still need current or former police and/or corrections officers who would be willing to talk to us about their experiences and training.  Action: does anyone have personal connections they can leverage?

 

Wrongful convictions update: Sara did some research on existing innocence claims (research document).  There are a few that we may want to research more fully:

 

Lawrence Schwiger

#71278 – NNCC

Alford plea – later attempted to withdraw

Convictions: Lewdness – Life with possibility of parole – current

Solicitation to commit murder – 72-180 months – pending

Status: incarcerated – multiple appeals and parole denials

Action: find case text for original trial (not habeas cases)

http://cases.iippi.org/lawrence-schwiger/

 

Case No. C173970

C174784

3:07-cv-00382-LRH-RAM

 

Kirstin Blaise Lobato (National Innocence Project will pay for DNA testing)

#95558 – McClure

Convictions: Involuntary manslaughter – 48-120 months – consecutive

Use of a deadly weapon – 48-120 months – consecutive

Sexual penetration of a dead body – 60-180 months – active

Status: incarcerated – parole denied

Action: reach out to Nevadacure.org – they seem to be on top of her case – Sara to talk to them and possibly attend their next monthly meeting

https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/courts/lawyers-for-convicted-killer-kirstin-lobato-want-da-to-take-a-fresh-look-at-evidence/

 

Jemar Matthews

#1014654 – High Desert State Prison

Private representation – Todd Leventhal

Lack of evidence; prosecutorial misconduct found by court – new trial scheduled for September

Convictions: Murder – multiple counts – Life with parole

Attempted murder – multiple counts – 48-240 months

Use of a deadly weapon – multiple counts – 48-240 months

Status: incarcerated

https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/courts/las-vegas-judge-overturns-2007-murder-conviction/

http://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/i-team-inmate-awaits-new-trial-claims-innocence/765838444

Action: more research into case – if we believe he is innocent we should organize an informational campaign or website in advance of the new trial

 

Lerlene Roever

#62297 – McClure

Improper actions by prosecution, ineffective assistance of counsel, refusal to accept plea bargains

Conviction: Murder

Status: incarcerated – parole denied

Action: reach out to Nevadacure.org – they seem to be on top of her case – Sara to talk to them and possibly attend their next monthly meeting

 

Roberto Hernandez Miranda

Ineffective assistance of counsel

Conviction: murder

Status: Charges dropped and $5 million in compensation awarded for 13 years on NV’s death row

Action: look into how he got compensation

 

David Ruffa

#89266 – SDCC

DNA tests exonerated him but he was convicted and sentenced to life anyways

Convictions: Murder – life – active

Kidnapping – life – active

Status: incarcerated

http://truthinjustice.org/david-ruffa.htm

Action: more research on the case and if he is currently appealing/represented by counsel

 

Update on Nevada Cure meeting: Sara and Denise both attended the monthly meeting of Nevada Cure.  The group has a number of initiative that they are working on.  They receive a grant of bus passes periodically that they share with P&P, they also do book donation drop offs, donations of shower shoes and combs, fundraisers in conjunction with the McClure women’s prison.  They brought up the issue of prisoners being held past their release date (400 in Nevada) because they do not have approved housing to be released to.  They discussed opening their own half-way house in Pahrump. Action: what resources are available?  What are other states doing?

 

Action: Ask NV Cure what the breakdown is for where the 400 people held past release are originally from (Southern Nevada?)

 

Update from Gerid: how many people are in jail/prison currently in NV who would have been eligible for release if the marijuana bill had passed and what is it costing tax payers?

Most recent stats are from 2009

164,000 arrest / 6,703 were for marijuana (4%)

$77 million dollars a year cost of incarceration

Almost all are for possession

 

Immigration, ICE, and deportations update:

 

Update on Denver bill:

    • Background: The bill would prevent jail staff from contacting ICE about an inmate’s release, unless they have a signed warrant from a federal judge or magistrate. ICE agents would need to obtain a warrant to gain access to secure areas of jails. Currently, jail employees must give ICE notice about inmates before their release. Mayor has also put forth an executive order. The mayor’s executive order would establish legal defense for immigrants through the nonprofit and legal community and would protect victims of crime, regardless of their immigration status. It would also help children and families who are separated by the system.
  • The council approved the measure, called the Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act, on a 10-0 vote.
  • http://www.denverpost.com/2017/08/28/denver-elevates-immigration-stance-no-asking-about-status-but-limited-info-sharing-includes-jail-release-notifications/
  • But the city, at the insistence of Mayor Michael Hancock, still will notify ICE of impending releases of immigrants of interest, although usually not with the 48-hour notice officials have requested — and with the addition of rights advisements given to affected inmates. That is among exceptions that make Denver’s ordinance more moderate than some so-called “sanctuary city” laws elsewhere.
  • http://www.denverpost.com/2017/08/28/denver-immigration-policy-donald-trump-federal-blowback/

Action: find out what local judges (if any) are signing warrants for ICE and under what circumstances so that we can put pressure on them.

 

Civil forfeiture laws update:

 

There was a senate bill (SB358) this past legislative session that would have reformed civil forfeiture laws in NV but it didn’t make to the floor. Action: contact the senator/s who put forth the bill and ask for some insight into why it didn’t make it further

 

https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/nevada/nevada-lawmaker-wants-change-in-civil-forfeiture-rules/

 

Title IX updates: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/betsy-devos-may-rescind-title-ix-guidelines-heres-what-that-could-mean_us_59aff829e4b0dfaafcf443e5

 

https://www.buzzfeed.com/tylerkingkade/these-democratic-senators-are-blasting-betsy-devos-for-her?utm_term=.lo8oxQAOL#.knaeoYvgN

 

Note: The article I (Sara) read yesterday and mentioned at the meeting was probably alarmist and the actual implications won’t be as bad as I originally thought.  DeVos is expected to make official comments on Thursday 9/7 about changes.

 

Action: What protections do sexual assault victims have specifically under Nevada state law?

 

“The Bad Kids” documentary November 19th – Shelby will provide contact info for org that is screening