Detention officer allegedly kills his wife

PHOENIX — A Maricopa County detention officer is behind bars this morning, accused of murdering his wife.

Jeffrey Hamlet, a longtime employee of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, is being held at the Fourth Avenue Jail.

According to investigators, Hamlet’s son called police Wednesday night to check on the welfare of his father.

Police said that when officers arrived at Hamlet’s home near 40th Street and Shea Boulevard, the 55-year-old was trying to kill himself. Officers said Hamlet was holding a knife and he was bloody.

Officers Tazed Hamlet, who was then taken to the hospital, where he reportedly admitted that he drank bleach and took rat poison.

As officers looked around Hamlet’s house, they discovered a body wrapped in blankets. That turned out to be Hamlet’s wife, Katherine, 52. Investigators are not saying exactly how she died.

Hamlet is now behind bars, charged with first-degree murder.

Hamlet reportedly has a history of mental issues, and was in court back in March 2005.

A neigbor said the couple had had a hard time since their son’s death.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office issued the following comment:

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office comment on the incident is as follows:
Jeffery Hamlet has been a long time employee of the Sheriff’s Office and has been dedicated to his job as a detention officer. This is a very tragic and sad incident. The family will be in our thoughts during this difficult time.

The following is a press release from the Phoenix Police Department:

Victim: Katherine Hamlet, w/f, 3-31-55, deceased

Suspect: Jeffrey Hamlet, w/m, 7-24-52, booked for 1 count of 1st degree murder

On 2/13/08 at 8:22pm, the police were called to 10602 N. 40th Street. Upon arrival, officers contacted Jeffrey who threatened to commit suicide. Officers deployed their tazers and Jeffrey was detained.

During their investigation, officers found Jeffrey’s wife, Katherine Hamlet, deceased inside the residence. Probable cause was developed to charge Jeffrey with his wife’s murder.

After receiving treatment for his injuries, Jeffrey was transported to Madison Street Jail where he was booked for one count of first degree murder.





Suit settled in county jail death

Arpaio denies abuse of mentally ill inmate
Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 15, 2008 12:00 AM

The parents of a disabled man who died after an altercation with a detention officer agreed to a $2 million settlement that will end their wrongful-death lawsuit against fund-strapped Maricopa County.

In the Superior Court complaint, family attorney Michael Manning claimed that 40-year-old Brian Crenshaw was beaten and placed in solitary confinement weeks before he died of complications from internal injuries on April 15, 2003.

But Jack MacIntyre, an attorney for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, said the inmate’s death resulted from a medical condition that developed in the hospital and had nothing to do with events in jail: “He didn’t die of anything that happened in detention.”

MacIntyre said the county settled only to avoid paying millions of dollars in attorney fees to Manning in the event a jury ruled for the plaintiffs.

“If the sheriff had his druthers, we’d have gone to court on this,” MacIntyre added. “We’ve won six (jury verdicts) in a row, and I think this was very defensible.”

Despite those verdicts, the Sheriff’s Office has suffered major losses in civil suits filed on behalf of families of dead or injured prisoners. Manning alone has won more than $18 million in judgments and settlements in recent years.

Maricopa County’s liability-insurance policy now contains a $5 million deductible for such cases, MacIntyre said, so the $2 million will come from tax dollars held in a risk-management fund. He said the payout was a business decision and “nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“Government entities are always going to be targets, especially for these bogus civil-rights-type claims,” he added.

Manning represented Crenshaw’s parents, Linda Evans and Kim “Ken” Crenshaw, in the case. Evans has been quoted previously in a British television documentary blaming Arpaio for her son’s death: “Mr. Arpaio is responsible. He seems to thrive on this cruelty and this mentality that these men are nothing.”

According to court papers, Crenshaw was mentally disabled and legally blind when he was arrested on a shoplifting charge in October 2002. The complaint says jail physicians issued written instructions that Crenshaw needed anti-depressants and should not be confined in Tent City. But the inmate was housed in that complex and, failing to receive medications, got into a verbal dispute with detention officer Jimmy Martinez in March 2003. Crenshaw was shoved into a table and knocked to the floor, suffering cuts and an abdominal injury, according to court papers. After treatment, he was placed in solitary confinement and denied medical care, the complaint says.

Six days later, Crenshaw was found on the floor of his cell with a broken neck, fractured toes and other injuries. He was hospitalized in March 2003, but physicians were unaware of a perforated duodenum, a portion of the small intestine, the complaint says. Crenshaw fell into a coma and died four weeks later of a sepsis condition or infection stemming from blunt-force trauma to the abdomen due to a fall, according to a medical examiner’s report.

MacIntyre said Crenshaw’s broken bones were caused by a fall from his bed. He said the injured duodenum had nothing to do with jail violence and may have been a “spontaneous development” at Maricopa Medical Center.

In the lawsuit, Manning described that scenario as “implausible,” adding, “A fall from Brian’s 4-foot, 2-inch bunk could not have simultaneously caused a broken neck, broken toes and a duodenal perforation.”

Manning also accused the Sheriff’s Office of a cover-up, saying, “We caught them destroying four pieces of really important evidence from this case,” including a videotape of the altercation with Martinez and of the isolation cell.

MacIntyre denied the allegation.

Manning said the Sheriff’s Office failed to conduct an internal investigation of the death, despite Arpaio’s agreement in the settlement of a 1999 lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice after independent investigators found chronic civil-rights violations in the jails.

In court papers, Manning described Crenshaw’s death as “part of a pattern and practice of excessive force and beatings of inmates by MCSO detention officers.”

“Brian died because the same dangerous system that Sheriff Arpaio . . . publicly applauds has been allowed to continue to exist in a state that is unreasonably dangerous and unconstitutional,” the papers added.





Arizona ex-officer jailed in drug case
By Jerry Seper
January 6, 2008

A former officer with the Arizona Department of Corrections has been sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined $4,000 for his role in a widespread bribery and extortion conspiracy involving FBI undercover agents he thought were drug traffickers.

Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher, who heads the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said Barnum Haitshan, 35, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judy Cindy K. Jorgenson in federal court in Tucson, Ariz.

Mrs. Fisher said charges against Haitshan were the result of “Operation Lively Green,” an FBI undercover investigation that began in December 2001. Fifty-three persons have been sentenced and two others have pleaded guilty and await sentencing in the six-year-old probe.

Haitshan pleaded guilty to conspiring to obtain cash bribes from persons he thought to be drug traffickers, but who were FBI agents, in return for his help in assisting, protecting and participating in transporting and distributing cocaine from Arizona to other locations in the Southwest.

Mrs. Fisher said that in order to protect cocaine shipments, Haitshan wore his official uniform and carried official forms of identification, used official vehicles and “used his color of authority” to prevent police stops, searches and seizures as he drove the cocaine shipments through checkpoints manned by the U.S. Border Patrol, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and Nevada law enforcement officers.

In March 2006, two U.S. soldiers and a former Air Force sergeant pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Tucson in the Operation Lively Green undercover operation. Curtis W. Boston II, 24, formerly a sergeant in the Air Force; Army Staff Sgt. Rodney E. Mills, 39; and Arizona National Guard Sgt. Gustavo C. Soto, 33, were accused of conspiring to use their positions to “assist, protect and participate in the activities of an illegal narcotics-trafficking organization.”

In order to protect the cocaine shipments, the two soldiers and the airman also wore their uniforms, carried official identification cards and drove military vehicles to prevent police inspections for narcotics as they transported the drugs through law-enforcement checkpoints.

Those who have pleaded guilty in the operation were involved in nearly $500,000 in bribes, Justice Department officials said.

Authorities detailed one of the previous cases, in which soldiers drove three official government vehicles, including two military Humvees, to a clandestine desert airstrip near Benson, Ariz., where they met a twin-engine King Air aircraft flown by undercover FBI agents.

While in uniform, the soldiers supervised the unloading of more than 130 pounds of cocaine from the airplane into their vehicles, which they then delivered to other agents posing as high-echelon narcotics traffickers at a resort hotel in Phoenix, the authorities said.





Guard tied to jail drug trafficking

A Pinal County detention officer accused of smuggling drugs into jails made his initial appearance in Pinal County Superior Court on Wednesday.

After a three-month investigation, Jose Dolores Felix, 45, was arrested this week on suspicion of conspiracy to take contraband into a correctional facility and conspiracy to transport and/or sell marijuana, both felonies.

He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the results of the case and an internal investigation by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.



Sheriff orders drink drivers to bury alcoholics
Convicted drink drivers are being forced to wear pink shirts and form a chain gang to perform public burials of people who died of alcohol abuse.

The punishment is the brainchild of an Arizona sheriff known for unorthodox practices such as housing inmates in old military tents and issuing prisoners with pink underwear.

Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County and once dubbed “America’s toughest sheriff”, says he sees the chain gang as a deterrent to potential drink drivers.

“Maybe this will warn people – knock it off, don’t drink and drive,” Mr Arpaio said. “You’ll end up in pink underwear on the chain gang.”

The drink drive convicts perform burials at a local cemetery where many homeless alcoholics are buried.

Earlier this week, the inmates were also assigned to clean a busy Phoenix street wearing black and white striped trousers and pink shirts that read “Sheriff DUI (driving under the influence) Chain Gang” on the back and “Clean(ing) and Sober” on the front.

Michael McDaniel, an inmate serving a four-month sentence for aggravated DUI and driving on a suspended license, said he volunteered for the chain gang to get out of the jail tents.

“It’s good to get out of the tents and be in the public,” the 30-year-old said. “Hopefully it keeps someone from drinking and driving.”

But he described his outfit as “a little embarrassing.” “I don’t like the colour pink, but I can live with it,” he said.

Last year Arizona had the sixth-highest number of alcohol-related deaths in the nation – 585 – up 15 per cent on the previous year, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records.

In June, the state passed one of the toughest drink-driving laws in the country, requiring a breathalyser-style device be fitted to the cars of first-time offenders, increased fines and a minimum of 45 days in jail for some DUI convictions.

The County Sheriff’s website displays the mug shots of those arrested for drink driving




Date Posted: 20:39:48 10/27/07 Sat


Two Prison Dog Handlers Await Discipline In Dogs Death – One Of 5 Deaths This Year, Three Of Which Were Heat Related
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – Two Department of Corrections dog handlers are waiting to see whether they will be disciplined after a canine they cared for died last month.

The dog, Rik, is one of five Arizona law-enforcement dogs that have died – three in heat-related incidents – since March.

Date Posted: 05:58:55 10/17/07 Wed


Pima County Arizona Jail Employee Christopher Erin Johnson Charged With Sexual Abuse And Sexual Conduct With Female Inmates
PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA – An employee working at the Pima County jail has been accused of sexually abusing female inmates while on the job, according to court documents.

Christopher Erin Johnston was charged with five counts of sexual abuse and five counts of unlawful sexual conduct, according to an indictment in Pima County Superior Court.

The indictment says Johnston, 34, had sexual contact with three female inmates without their consent between July 30 and Aug. 5.

On three occasions, Johnston touched the women’s breasts and in one of the incidents he rubbed his genitals on a woman’s back and forced her to touch them, according to the indictment.

When the incidents occurred, Johnston was working for Correctional Medical Services, a company hired by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department to provide health care to inmates, said Sgt. James Ogden, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department.

Ogden said he did not know what kind of work Johnston performed at the jail, 1270 W. Silverlake Road. He said Johnston did not work directly for the county and that he is no longer employed at the jail.

Ken Fields, a spokesman for Correctional Medical Services, said the company had no comment Monday night.

According to its Web site, Correctional Medical Services has 300 sites in 24 states across the country. It provides medical, dental and behavioral health services to inmates by providing physicians, registered nurses and dentists to correctional institutions.

It could not be determined Monday night if Johnston was arrested.

Date Posted: 17:55:59 07/17/07 Tue


Coconino County Arizona Detention Officer Christopher Cal-Yuma Arrested, Charged With Drunk Driving
COCONINO COUNTY, ARIZONA – Coconino County detention officer Christopher Cal-Yuma has seen hundreds of inmates come through the jail facility. The other morning he was one of them after being busted for alleged drunk driving.

The DUI was allegedly extreme.

According to the police report, Cal-Yuma was driving west on Route 66 when he abruptly changed lanes, not seeing a Flagstaff motorcycle officer right next to him.

“There was no accident, there was no collision, but the officer described the vehicle margin three-quarters of the way into his lane,” said Sgt. Tom Baughner with the Flagstaff Police Department.

According to the police report, when the officer asked Cal-Yuma to lift one leg and count to 20, he dropped his leg seven times and couldn’t finish the field sobriety test that was administered at the scene. Those along with other things prompted the DUI arrest.

Nobody was at Cal-Yuma’s home, but he is still employed with the sheriff’s department.

The outcome of the criminal case will determine any disciplinary action.

The second-year officer was cited and released, which begs the question was he given preferential treatment? According to Baughner, no.

“The reason being is we try to cite and release anyone we can because of the cost of the detention,” he said.

Cal-Yuma is back to work as a detention officer pending the outcome of the case. However, he can no longer drive county vehicles.

Date Posted: 15:53:55 07/07/07 Sat


No Charges For Yuma County Jail Inmate Sexually Assaulted By County Detention Officers
YUMA COUNTY, ARIZONA – No complaint was filed against a female inmate accused of having sexual contact with three former Yuma County detention officers, who have also been charged with crimes in the matter.

Shannon Rose, 32, who was serving a 315-day sentence when the alleged sex acts with the detention officer occurred, had been facing seven felony charges against her in two separate cases for unlawful sexual conduct by a prisoner.

Rose is scheduled to be released in a little more than two weeks when her original sentence is completed.

According to court records, charges were not filed because of insufficient evidence to ensure the likelihood of a felony conviction.

Rose, 32, was informed by Justice of the Peace David Cooper during a short hearing on Friday that the county attorney’s office decline to file the charges against her.

Maj. Leon Wilmot of the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office said the ongoing investigation into the three other female inmates who were allegedly involved would continue, despite no charges being filed in Rose’s case.

“The only thing we can do is present the facts and request charges,” Wilmot said.

According to court records, Rose admitted to having oral sex with at least three detention officers during her nine-month incarceration at the Yuma County jail.

Court records also indicated that when she was interviewed by sheriff’s detectives, Rose admitted to passing sexually explicit notes to the detention officers, which eventually led to having conversations with them.

Rose also allegedly admitted to at least 12 sexual acts with detention officers, including an incident when she gave oral sex to former detention officer Justin Herrera in a closet while a second inmate stood watch, court records indicated.

She also allegedly committed other questionable sex acts in front of detention officers, according to court records.

Herrera has already been charged with two counts of unlawful sexual conduct by a corrections officer.

The other former detention officers charged in the case are Jose Espinoza and Kenneth Smith.

Espinoza has been charged with six counts of unlawful sexual conduct by a corrections officer, sexual assault and kidnapping. Smith was charged with one count of sexual assault and three counts of unlawful sexual conduct by a corrections officer.

Date Posted: 18:16:46 06/20/07 Wed


One Of Three Former Yuma County Arizona Detention officers, Jose Espanoza, Arraigned On New Sexual Assault And Kidnapping Charges
YUMA COUNTY, ARIZONA – One of the three former Yuma County detention officers accused of having sex with female inmates was arraigned Tuesday in Yuma Justice Court on additional charges. Jose Espinoza, 26, who had already been charged with six counts of unlawful sexual conduct, is now also being charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping related to the inmate incident.

Espinoza, who was originally arrested last week and charged with the six original felonies, was rearrested and rebooked on Thursday on the new, additional charges.

The former detention officer was arraigned before Yuma Justice of the Peace David Cooper and was released that same day with electronic monitoring under the supervision of the county’s pre-trial services department.

Espinoza had posted his prior bond of $25,264, from the original set of charges.

The judge set Espinoza’s next court date, a preliminary hearing for the new charges, for 3 p.m. on July 5. His preliminary hearing for the original set of charges was set for 3 p.m. on July 3.

Prosecutors in the case have said that, unlike his co-defendants, Espinoza acted in a predatory manner in taking his victims.

How the other two defendants allegedly staged their sexual encounters has not been publicly released. However, Espinoza allegedly lured his victim by lying about a visitor being at the jail and then taking her into a room without camera surveillance and forcing her to have sex, according to a prosecutor in a previous s

Date Posted: 17:17:40 06/16/07 Sat


Three Former Yuma County Arizona Detention Officers Jose Espinoza, Justin Herrera, And Kenneth Smith Appear In Court To Answer To Unlawful Sexual Contact Charges For Sex With Female Inmates
YUMA COUNTY, ARIZONA – The three former Yuma County detention officers accused of having sex with female inmates were arraigned in Yuma County Superior Court today, with one receiving additional charges.

Jose Espinoza, originally arrested Tuesday, was charged with six counts of unlawful sexual conduct. Espinoza, 26, was then rearrested and rebooked Thursday on charges of sexual assault and kidnapping.

Prosecution stressed that unlike fellow defendants Justin Herrera and Kenneth Smith, Espinoza acted in a predatory manner in taking his victim.

Herrera, 26, was charged with two counts of unlawful sexual conduct by a corrections officer. Herrera is being represented by William Crimmins.

Smith, 34, was charged with one count of sexual assault and three counts of unlawful sexual conduct by a corrections officer.

All three men were released on $25,264 bonds. Espinoza was released the second time on those charges into the custody of Pretrial Services and will undergo a electronic surveillance program.

A woman who identified herself as a victim of Espinoza spoke in court Friday. The former inmate said she is back living in the community and asked for Judge David Cooper’s help protecting her from Espinoza.

The woman was not identified by the court, and it is The Sun’s policy not to print the names of alleged victims.

“I just want to be safe when I go from where I live to Crossroads Mission to do my treatment,” she said in court.

No other alleged victims identified themselves Friday. In each case, Cooper requested that victims speak up if they wished.

The defendants will return for their preliminary hearing at 3 p.m. July 3.

Before then, however, Espinoza will face arraignment for his new charges at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Espinoza is being represented by Gregory Torok.

Sheriff Ralph Ogden has said he believed that the sexual relations had been going on for at least two months. Four female inmates were involved.

Prosecutor James Eustace questioned why Cooper would entertain giving Espinoza the option of electronic surveillance, something Eustace said he’d seen declined in similar cases. Cooper explained that yes, he was giving preferred treatment to the defendants, but not directly because they were law enforcement officers. Cooper said he instead is focusing on their lack of a criminal record.

“This is a class of people you and I so rarely see in this courtroom,” said Cooper. He added that while the allegations are certainly not good, seeing defendants without long rap sheets is a “breath of fresh air.”

Torok also stressed how his client was a citizen “in good standing” prior to his arrest.

Eustace said the same could be said about many people before they commit a crime.

How Herrera and Smith allegedly staged their sexual encounters has not been publicly released. However, Eustace said that Espinoza lured his alleged victim by lying about a visitor being at the jail. Eustace alleged that Espinoza led the victim into a room without camera surveillance and forced her to have sex.

“It is in the state’s opinion that the same thing could happen in the regular world,” Eustace said, arguing against the defendant’s release.

Torok argued that the victim told investigators that she opposed the sex, but did not physically resist his client’s advances.

Date Posted: 09:55:08 06/13/07 Wed


Pima County Arizona Corrections Officer Admits Sexual Involvement With Inmate
PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA – A Pima County Corrections officer has resigned from her position after allegedly having inappropriate relations with a male inmate.

News 4 obtained a search warrant that was served on the former officer’s home and vehicle, revealing details about a possible sexual relationship with an inmate.

News 4 is not identifying the former officer because she has not been charged, nor the inmate because in this case he is a victim.

However, she could be facing a class five felony.

According to court documents, investigators say the relationship between the female corrections officer and the inmate began in April.

He was housed in the Mission facility. He was a trustee. She worked in the dorm in which he was housed.

Lt. Mike O’Connor with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department says the “search warrant revealed she was by her own admission making out with this inmate and inappropriately touching through clothing the genitilia area.”

The inmate has since been transferred to the main jail. He’s been incarcerated since last July on drug charges.

The documents also show that calls were made from the inmate to the officer’s cell phone.

The two stated they love each other and can’t wait to be together when the inmate is released.

The two discuss the fact the inmate is here illegally and when he’s released he will be deported back to Mexico.

The former officer tells him she will contact a friend who works for the state and attempt to get him fake documents such as an identification card.

The former corrections officer had been working at the jail for three years.

The case is expected to go to the County Attorney’s office.

Date Posted: 07:46:45 06/09/07 Sat


Federal Correctional Institution Officer Loren Williamson Accused Of Sexually Abusing Girl For 6 Years, May Have Used Wiccan Religion To Lure Victims
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – A man charged with sexually abusing a girl for six years is a correctional officer at the Federal Correctional Institution, Phoenix police confirmed Thursday night.

Loren Williamson, 33, was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on four counts of sexual conduct with a minor and three counts of child molestation.

Police said the abuse started when the victim was 6-years-old and continued until authorities recently got a tip.

The Phoenix Police Department’s Special Assignments Unit arrested Williamson around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday near 17th Street and Union Hills Drive.

Officers said Williamson was involved with the Wiccan religion and may have used its mystical traditions as a way to spark the interest of young girls.

The Wiccan religion, also known as “the craft,” or “wicca,” is part of contemporary paganism.

Rituals usually include meditation, music and the use of magical tools.

Officers said they are not immediately aware of any other victims, however, it appears that there could be other victims who have not yet come forward.

People with information related to the caseshould contact the department’s Crimes Against Children Unit at 602-534-3200 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Williamson is being held without bond.

The institution where Williamson works, located 25 miles north of downtown Phoenix, is a medium security facility for male offenders. An adjacent satellite prison camp houses minimum security female offenders.

Date Posted: 08:26:18 06/04/07 Mon


MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA – A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union alleges that Maricopa County officials have violated the rights of a quarantined tuberculosis patient for months by treating him as a criminal.

The U.S. District Court complaint on behalf of Robert Daniels alleges health officials and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office have violated numerous constitutional rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The suit asks that Daniels be housed in appropriate accommodations, rather than the severe and “inhumane” jail conditions

Alaska Correctional Officer Jackie Osborne Charged With Sex With Inmate

Alaska Correctional Officer Jackie Osborne Charged With Sex With Inmate
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – A former officer at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center faces a sexual assault charge after authorities claim he had sex with a female inmate.

Jackie Osborne, 47, is accused of having an ongoing relationship with an inmate and was caught in September when he left a love note on a desk after he went off duty, according to documents filed by prosecutors in Anchorage Superior Court today.

“Osborne’s crimes are serious. They strike at the heart of the public trust placed in corrections officers,” said prosecutor James Fayette in court documents. “The public and the Superior Court should regard a crime committed by a peace officer to be atypical — and to be handled in a manner that reflects legitimate public outrage and legitimate public condemnation.”

The victim, a woman in prison for a felony embezzlement conviction, said in an earlier interview that she felt coerced into the relationship with Osborne because he had so much control over her prison life.

“I’m an inmate. He’s a correctional officer. If I told anyone, who were they going to believe?” she said, breaking down into tears during a recent interview.

Osborne no longer works for the Department of Corrections. He resigned in October after Alaska State Troopers began their investigation

Lawsuit Charges Miller County Arkansas Jailers With Savage Beating Of Inmate – No Investigation Was Done After Beating


The Crawford County sheriff says the county jail administrator has been suspended after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

Sheriff Mike Allen announced Thursday that jail administrator Terry Rea had been placed on paid administrative leave. The sheriff wouldn’t elaborate on the sexual misconduct allegation, but an Arkansas State Police lieutenant says the alleged incident happened at the jail when Rea was on duty.

State police are handling the investigation.

Rea, who is from Dyer, declined to comment Thursday.





 Grievance board to hear fired deputy’s appeal


Faulkner County Administrator Jeff Johnston said Monday that an appeal hearing before a county grievance board concerning the recent firing of sheriff’s lieutenant Rick Beavers is in its informal stages, but would happen in the coming weeks once paperwork is completed.

Sheriff Karl Byrd confirmed last week that he fired Beavers on Dec. 28 for allegedly using excessive force against a prisoner at the new jail sometime around Nov. 10.

Beavers, who publicly announced his electoral candidacy against Byrd on Dec. 2, hadn’t returned phone calls as of presstime. His attorney, Lucien R. Gillham of Little Rock, declined to comment on what he called an ongoing matter.

Byrd said he plans to run for re-election, but Beavers’ candidacy didn’t affect the sheriff’s decision to fire him.

“This is absolutely not in retaliation,” Byrd said. “I would prefer that it hadn’t have happened, as far as the election goes. I don’t care if (Beavers) runs against me. The election would have gone a lot smoother had this not have happened.”

According to Byrd, who wouldn’t name the prisoner without an open records request letter, Beavers’ actions against the prisoner may have violated the inmate’s civil rights, and the firing happened due to fear of future litigation against the sitting administration.

Beavers, who until his firing worked as a commander at the new jail, is entitled to regular pay from the sheriff’s office until his grievance is decided by a board whose members have never heard an appeal under the administration of County Judge Preston Scroggin after the judge took office with Byrd in January 2007. The grievance board would be comprised of county personnel committee members along with a group of elected county officials.

A letter sent to the sheriff’s office requesting documents related to Beavers’ firing wasn’t yet answered on Monday, though Byrd said sheriff’s investigators will comply with state freedom of information laws.

“Our officers are held accountable and conduct like (Beavers’) cannot happen in that facility,” Byrd said of the alleged brutality incident. “We are charged with the care of those people.”




GREENE COUNTY, ARKANSAS – Authorities say a former Greene County jail supervisor has been arrested after acknowledging he had sex with a state prison inmate serving as a trustee there.

William Shaw faces a felony sexual assault charge stemming from the incident. Meanwhile, Sheriff Dan Langston says the county likely will lose state trustee labor until at least February as officials investigate the second such incident in a year.

Langston says 35-year-old Shaw admitted to having sex with a female inmate in the last year inside an office at the jail. Langston says Shaw told a deputy he had “deep regrets” about what he did.

The sheriff says the allegations involving Shaw were never brought to his attention before.

This is the second time this year a Greene County jailer has faced allegations over trustees. Officials say former jailer John David Dupwe was arrested for felony sexual assault after meeting a female prisoner for sex while she was on a furlough.

Shaw was being held on $25,000 bond Monday.




Date Posted: 06:42:22 11/04/07 Sun

Former Crittenden County Arkansas Deputy Sheriff Shannon Houchin Sentenced To 1 Year In Federal Prison For Beating Inmate
CRITTENDEN COUNTY, ARKANSAS – Shannon Houchin, a former officer with the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office in West Memphis, Ark., was sentenced today in federal court in Little Rock to one year and one day imprisonment following his conviction on a civil rights violation.

At his guilty plea on July 23, 2007, Houchin admitted that he abused his authority as a police officer when, in May 2006, he unnecessarily assaulted an arrestee as the man was being taken into the booking area of the Crittenden County Detention Facility.
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————– Date Posted: 05:55:01 10/31/07 Wed

Lawsuit Charges Miller County Arkansas Jailers With Savage Beating Of Inmate – No Investigation Was Done After Beating
MILLER COUNTY, ARKANSAS – A lawyer representing Miller County said Monday that officials never investigated allegations that two jailers beat an inmate so badly last year that he had to be hospitalized at least five times before he eventually died two weeks ago.

Derrick Henry, 28, of Texarkana filed a federal lawsuit against the county on Oct. 12, five days before he died, alleging two unnamed jailers “savagely” beat him on or before Nov. 15, 2006, and then failed to get him medical treatment in a timely manner.