Tuesday, July 08, 2014

People v. Guillen (Cal. Ct. App. - July 7, 2014)

"On September 14, 2006, John Derek Chamberlain was arrested for possession of child pornography . . . . [He was sent to] Theo Lacy Jail in the City of Orange (TLJ) . . . .

Inmates at TLJ, as well as at other Orange County jails, form race-based groups called 'CARs,' Classification According to Race. The CAR system is an inmate-generated hierarchy divided along racial lines that has existed since the 1950s. In October 2006, the CAR system was present in all Orange County jails and the majority of California jails.

In F West there were three CARs each with its own management hierarchy. The three CARs were the Woods, the Paisanos, and the South-Siders. The Woods were the Caucasian inmates, the Paisanos were the Mexican national inmates, and the South-Siders were the Hispanic-American inmates, who were primarily gang members and were the most dominant CAR. Most inmates were members of one of the CARs. Each CAR had a leader, a “shot caller,” a second in command, a “right-hand man,” an
enforcer, a “torpedo,” and a person waiting in command, a “mouse.” There was also a “house mouse” for the entire barracks who is in charge of cleaning the barracks, distributing commissary slips, and communicating with the deputies about the barracks’ needs. Inmates were aware of who occupied the roles and when a change occurred after someone left the barracks.

The shot caller and the right-hand man were responsible for determining which inmates were disciplined or “taxed.” Taxing was a form of punishment that included assaults, cleaning duties, squats, or providing items from the commissary. A common form of taxing was “the wall” where two inmates held an inmate against a wall for a specified period of time and hit him below the neck and above the waist while the inmate submitted to the punishment. The shot caller authorized the taxing of inmates who did not follow the jail rules and inmate rules. The shot caller used torpedoes to carry out the taxings.

A CAR mouse would typically approach a new inmate and ask to see the inmate’s court documents or “paperwork” to learn the inmate’s charges. It was common for inmates to assault other inmates with “sensitive charges” such as child molesters (called “Chesters”) and informants (called “Rats”). If inmates became suspicious about an inmate’s charges, they attempted to find out the charges often with the help of a third party by checking a public Web site or calling the jail’s public information line. All the CARs viewed the assault of inmates perceived to be child molesters or informants favorably. Inmates who failed to produce their paperwork were taxed.

For the Woods on October 5, 2006, Petrovich was the shot caller, Aguilar was the right-hand man and torpedo, and Carlstrom was the mouse. Petrovich and Aguilar recently assumed their positions within the Woods. For the Paisanos on that date, Villafana was the shot caller, Salvador Garcia (Chava) was the right-hand man, and Guillen was the mouse. That same day, Deputy Kevin Taylor, Deputy Jason Chapluk, and SSO Philip Le were assigned to F Barracks. Taylor was in command of F Barracks. 

OCSD does not condone deputies utilizing the CAR system in the course of their duties. Although inmates tried to hide the workings of the CARs from deputies, deputies, including Taylor and Chapluk, are aware of the CAR management structure. However, deputies are not supposed to authorize or sanction CARs. Deputies are trained that no inmate should have more power than any other inmate. Deputies are trained to treat all inmates equally and not allow any particular inmate to believe he is exempt from the rules. However, because of the number of inmates, deputies used the shot callers to control the inmates because the inmates did not always follow the deputies’ orders but they feared the shot callers. Taylor met with the shot callers almost daily and used them to control the barracks, discuss issues, and obtain information. When the deputies had a problem with an inmate, they would likely address the problem with a shot caller or other CAR representative. The deputies would tell the shot caller that a particular inmate was not “‘staying with the program’”—i.e., the inmate was making the deputies’ job difficult. Deputies did this knowing the shot caller would tax the inmate. Shot callers generally complied with the deputies’ directives and were rewarded with additional day room time or extra food. The CARs would have meetings in the day room to disseminate information. The deputies were more tolerant of rule violations by those higher up in the CAR management structure than by other inmates, including cube hopping, which is moving from cube to cube. . . .

On September 14, 2006, Chamberlain was arrested for possession of child pornography and booked into Santa Ana jail. On September 18, 2006, Chamberlain was arraigned. On October 2, 2006, Chamberlain appeared in court and his trial was scheduled for October 24, 2006. His defense counsel was Case Barnett. Because of the nature of the charges, Chamberlain was brought into court by himself and not given paperwork to take to jail. Chamberlain was instructed that his charges were sensitive and to not tell other inmates. 

On October 3, 2006, Chamberlain was transferred to TLJ and assigned to F West. Carlstrom, the Woods’ mouse, approached Chamberlain, and asked him for his paperwork but Chamberlain said he did not have any. Chamberlain told other inquiring inmates he was in custody for violating a restraining order. Later that day, Chamberlain called his girlfriend to tell her that he was worried because inmates were asking him why he was in custody. Chamberlain’s girlfriend called Barnett and left him a message stating Chamberlain was afraid because inmates were asking for his paperwork. She left a second message on October 4, 2006. . . .

Andrew Corral, a South-Sider, was on his bunk in D cube playing cards when Aguilar told him to leave because they had business to conduct. Corral moved to the other side of D cube. Corral overheard Petrovich tell Aguilar they were going to beat a “‘Chester’” who admitted he likes them young, and Aguilar left D cube. Petrovich, the Woods shot caller remained in D cube, while Villafana, the Paisanos shot caller, and “Stretch,” the South-Siders shot caller arrived in D cube. Corral heard them say they were going to beat and rape Chamberlain. They said there was an incentive of 10 commissary items to anyone who raped him. Aguilar went upstairs to J cube to bring Chamberlain to D cube. Aguilar escorted a fully dressed Chamberlain to D cube. As they entered D cube, Aguilar pushed Chamberlain to the floor and the attack began. 

Multiple witnesses observed about four groups, totaling at least 30 inmates, enter D cube and assault Chamberlain for about 20 to 45 minutes.

Luis Palacios, a Paisanos, was watching a baseball game about 30 feet away from D cube and saw inmates going in and out of D cube, three or four groups of three or four inmates, taking turns hitting and kicking Chamberlain. Palacios saw Petrovich hit Chamberlain first. Palacios saw Aguilar grab hold of a bunk, elevate himself about three feet, and stomp on Chamberlain. Aguilar also hit him. Palacios described Aguilar as “ruthlessness.” Palacios also saw Guillen enter D cube, get on his knees, and make a couple downward striking motions during the beginning or middle of the attack. Guillen was in D cube for at least two minutes. The noise from the barracks muffled Chamberlain’s screams and cries for help. Palacios went upstairs and when he looked down he saw Chamberlain trying to crawl under a bunk as inmates continued to hit and kick him. Inmates pulled down Chamberlain’s pants, spanked him with a shoe, and spit on him. After Petrovich told Palacios to “‘keep walking don’t look down[,]’” Palacios returned downstairs. Palacios heard an inmate say Chamberlain “‘passed out.’” Aguilar threw water on Chamberlain to wake him up and beat him more. Palacios saw Villafana make multiple trips between working out in E cube and going into D cube. 

Robert Mayfield witnessed four waves totaling at least 12 inmates assault Chamberlain; the first few waves each lasted a couple minutes but the last wave lasted a “ridiculous” amount of time. The first wave was the Woods. Aguilar struck downward with his fists and used the bunk for leverage as he stomped up and down on something behind a short wall. Aguilar and other inmates put rubber-soled jail shoes over their hands before hitting Chamberlain. Carlstrom held onto the bunk while he violently jumped up and down on something behind the wall. The second wave included Villafana and two South-Siders. Villafana threw two punches with a closed fist. Aguilar, and another inmate Carlstrom handed water to, threw water on Chamberlain to wake him up. 

Corral, who was still in D cube, saw inmates hit Chamberlain, spill hot coffee on him, urinate on him, and insert a spoon in his rectum. He saw Villafana hitting and kicking Chamberlain on his head and torso. He also saw Aguilar hitting, kicking, and stomping Chamberlain. After Corral left D cube, he saw Aguilar repeatedly exit D cube, speak with Petrovich, and return to D cube. Aguilar took Chamberlain’s clothes outside of D cube when the assault ended."

Needless to say, Chamberlain's dies.  Of horrific injuries.  Several perpetrators get convicted of second-degree murder.  Their convictions are affirmed.

History is going to judge our prison system favorably.  Right?

P.S. - Don't forget that Chamberlain was simply arrested.  Not convicted of anything.  (Not that a conviction would have made it all right.)