Archives for posts with tag: gangs

This convicted murderer petitions for writ of habeas corpus. His official middle name in the court record is Ninja. Habeas denied.

LEMAR NINJA DELVON BROOKS, Petitioner,
v. HENRY STEWARD, WARDEN, Respondent.

Case No. 3:12-cv-00998

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE DIVISION

January 31, 2013, Filed

Opinion by US District Judge Kevin H. Sharp.

Petitioner Le’Mar Ninja Delvon Brooks was convicted …March 22, 2001… on two counts of first degree murder by a jury and sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms.
Footnote1: Under Tennessee law, this means that the petitioner must serve one hundred and four years in prison before becoming eligible for parole. (See ECF No. 10-20, at 15:18-19.)

and

CONCLUSION

This case is somewhat troubling precisely because the State’s evidence was scant and contradictory, and the petitioner’s trial counsel clearly did not do all he could have done to call the State’s marginal evidence into question. The fact that a young man was given an effective sentence of 104 years on such slim evidence is further cause of concern. Notwithstanding, it is not this Court’s prerogative to review the evidence, or to second-guess the state courts’ decisions. Rather, this Court must simply consider whether the state court’s adjudication of the petitioner’s claims was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, or if it involved an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Under this standard, the petitioner has not established that he is entitled to relief on the basis of any of his claims. The petition must therefore be denied.

Advertisements

This is a petition for writ of habeas corpus for a convicted attempted murder in California. Petitioner was sentenced “to state prison for life with the possibility of parole, plus 25 years to life plus a consecutive five years”. Petition for habeas is denied. This crime was a gang-related shooting. One gang member, “Hankie”, is described wearing a hooded sweatshirt and bandana: “ninja style”.

ninja style hoodie bandana

WILLIAM T. TUCKER, Petitioner,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, Secretary, Respondents.

Civil No. 10-CV-2272-BGS

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

Decided June 12, 2012 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard G. Skomal:

Quotes the facts from the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division One:

At around 7:46 p.m. on October 3, 2005, the shooting victim in this case, Jerry Wright Jr. (Wright), was sitting on the stairs near his apartment in the Bay Vista Apartment complex on Logan Avenue in San Diego. The Lincoln Park street gang claimed Lincoln Park—the area where the Bay Vista Apartments are located in southeastern San Diego [footnote omitted] as their territory, and many members of that gang lived in that apartment complex. Although the Lincoln Park and O’Farrell gang were both affiliated with the Bloods, they had been rivals for over a decade. Although Wright did not claim membership in any street gang, his brother had been a member of the O’Farrell Park gang. [footnote omitted] Tucker is a documented member of the Lincoln Park gang, and his gang moniker was “Finny Boy.”

and

“Hankie”—identified at trial as Scott by Scott’s girlfriend—who was falling and stumbling, and making noise because he hit a gate. Scott was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a green bandanna over the lower portion of his fact, “Ninja style” with just the eyes showing. Scott, whom Wright had also seen on prior occasions, was one of the males Wright had seen in the group earlier that evening. Scott was stooped over behind Tucker and making “trembling” noises. He had shot himself in the upper buttocks and down through his front left leg in the groin area.

In this case decided in 2010, a prisoner had his Dungeons and Dragons material confiscated and was prevented from engaging in gameplay or possessing the book materials. This Court of Appeals affirmed. There are no first amendment rights to play dungeon and dragons in prison. The Court cites to Meyer v Branker (Ninjalaw 68) amongst other cases that legitimize a claim that D&D can lead to unhealthy fantasy-seeking escapist-behaviors, at least in some people. Therefore the government prison has a legitimate interest in banning the content.

KEVIN T. SINGER, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
RICHARD RAEMISCH, * PHILLIP KINGSTON, BRUCE C. MURASK I, and MARC J. MASSIE, Defendants-Appellees.
* Pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 43(c)(2), Richard Raemisch, the current Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, is automatically substituted for former Secretary Matthew J. Frank.

No. 07-3400

UNITED STATES
COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT

593 F.3d 529
2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 1506

Argued September 18, 2009
Decided January 25, 2010

Before Chief Judge Easterbrook and Circuit Judges Williams and Tinder

Opinion by Circuit Judge Tinder:

After concluding that the popular role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons (“D&D”) represented a threat to prison security, officials at Wisconsin’s Waupun Correctional Institution took action to eradicate D&D within the prison’s walls. Inmate Kevin T. Singer found himself on the front lines of Waupun’s war on D&D when prison officials confiscated a large quantity of D&D-related publications from his cell. Singer sought relief from the prison’s new regulations–and the return of his D&D materials–through the prison’s complaint system, a pursuit which ultimately proved fruitless. Singer then brought this action against a variety of prison officials pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleged that Waupun’s confiscation of his D&D materials and imposition of a ban on D&D play violated his First Amendment right to free speech and his Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection. The prison officials moved for summary judgment on all of Singer’s claims, and the district court granted their motion in full. Singer appeals the grant of summary judgment with respect to his First Amendment claims, and we affirm.

I. Background

Kevin T. Singer is an inmate at Wisconsin’s Waupun Correctional Institution. He is also a devoted player of D&D, a fantasy role-playing game in which players collectively develop a story around characters whose personae they adopt. Singer has been a D&D enthusiast since childhood and over time has acquired numerous D&D-related publications. His enthusiasm for D&D is such that he has handwritten a ninety-six page manuscript outlining the specific details of a “campaign setting” he developed for use in D&D gameplay. Footnote #1: A typical D&D game is made up of an “adventure,” or single story that players develop as a group. A related series of games and adventures becomes a “campaign.” The fictional locations in which the adventures and campaigns take place–ranging in size and complexity from cities to entire universes–are called “campaign settings.” For more information about D&D and D&D gameplay, see Wizards of the Coast, What is D&D?, http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/whatisdnd (last visited Jan. 20, 2010).

Singer’s devotion to D&D was unwavering during his incarceration at Waupun. He frequently ordered D&D publications and game materials by mail and had them delivered to his cell. Singer was able to order and possess his D&D materials without incident from June 2002 until November 2004. This all changed on or about November 14, 2004, when Waupun’s long-serving Disruptive Group Coordinator, Captain Bruce Muraski, received an anonymous letter from an inmate. The letter expressed concern that Singer and three other inmates were forming a D&D gang and were trying to recruit others to join by passing around their D&D publications and touting the “rush” they got from playing the game. Muraski, Waupun’s expert on gang activity, decided to heed the letter’s advice and “check into this gang before it gets out of hand.”

On November 15, 2004, Muraski ordered Waupun staff to search the cells of the inmates named in the letter. The search of Singer’s cell turned up twenty-one books, fourteen magazines, and Singer’s handwritten D&D manuscript, all of which were confiscated. Muraski examined the confiscated materials and determined that they were all D&D related. In a December 6, 2004 letter to Singer, Muraski informed Singer that “inmates are not allowed to engage in or possess written material that details rules, codes, dogma of games/activities such as ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ because it promotes fantasy role playing, competitive hostility, violence, addictive escape behaviors, and possible gambling.” This prohibition was later reiterated in a daily bulletin that was posted throughout the prison. It was also incorporated into a broader policy prohibiting inmates from engaging in all types of fantasy games.

Though plaintiff cited “a literacy tutor and a role-playing game analyst, testified to a positive relationship between D&D and rehabilitation, none disputed or even acknowledged the prison officials’ assertions that there are valid reasons to fear a relationship running in the opposite direction”:

The prison officials pointed to a few published circuit court cases to give traction to their views. We view these cases as persuasive evidence that for some individuals, games like D&D can impede rehabilitation, lead to escapist tendencies, or result in more dire consequences. See Meyer v. Branker, 506 F.3d 358, 370 (4th Cir. 2007) (noting that defendant Meyer “was obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons,” and that “this obsession caused ‘[him] to retreat into a fantasy world of Ninja warriors’ “); Thompson v. Dixon, 987 F.2d 1038, 1039 (4th Cir. 1993) (affirming the conviction of one of two men who brought a D&D adventure to life by entering the home of an elderly couple and assassinating them); cf. Sellers v. Ward, 135 F.3d 1333, 1335 (10th Cir. 1998) (defense counsel argued that Sellers’s addiction to D&D dictated his actions and disconnected him from any consciousness of wrongdoing or [**20] responsibility for three murders); Watters v. TSR, Inc., 904 F.2d 378, 380 (6th Cir. 1990) (describing a teenager who committed suicide as “a ‘devoted’ Dungeons and Dragons player who became absorbed by the game to the point of losing touch with reality”).

And therefore,

Conclusion

Despite Singer’s large quantum of affidavit testimony asserting that D&D is not associated with gangs and that the game can improve inmate rehabilitation, he has failed to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact concerning the reasonableness of the relationship between Waupun’s D&D ban and the prison’s clearly legitimate penological interests. The district court’s grant of summary judgment is therefore AFFIRMED.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA -against- STEVEN CAMACHO and JAIME RODRIGUEZ, Defendants.
S12 94 Cr. 313 (CSH)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
163 F. Supp. 2d 287

Decided – October 1, 2001

The opinion of the court is written by Charles S. Haight, Jr.:

Camacho and Rodriguez were indicted on racketeering charges on May 25, 1994, along with multiple other defendants as part of the federal prosecution of members of the C&C gang, which operated in the Bronx. Early in the case, the government agreed to try Camacho and Rodriguez separately from the others, and accordingly they were severed from the primary case. After securing guilty pleas from numerous defendants and agreeing to additional severances, the government initially proceeded to trial against Angel Padilla, one of the founders of the C & C gang, and Ivan Rodriguez, the man accused of killing the other founder, Juan Calderon. Both Padilla and Ivan Rodriguez were convicted in May of 1995.

Camacho and Jaime Rodriguez were later tried pursuant to a superseding indictment dated February 12, 1996. They were charged at trial with conspiracy to murder Hector Ocasio, the murders of Hector Ocasio and Gilberto Garcia, and the attempted murder of Luis Garcia, all in aid of the C&C racketeering enterprise, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959; they were also charged with a related firearms offense in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924. A jury trial commenced on June 3, 1996. The government advanced the following theory of how the murders and attempted murder took place: After Calderon was killed, Padilla told the members of his security force to keep a low profile and brought in a new head of security, Hector Ocasio, who hired new security members. Soon, Padilla and several longtime members of his security force, including James Albizu, Joey Pillot, Trumont Williams, and Gregory Cherry, 1 began to distrust Ocasio. Ocasio had reduced weekly salaries and then cut several security members from the payroll. He also had given local drug dealers permission to shoot Williams and Cherry. Albizu conceived of a plan to murder Ocasio, and he discussed his plan with Pillot, Williams, and Cherry. He also discussed his plan with Camacho and Rodriguez, who together used to pay C&C “rent” to sell drugs in the gang’s neighborhood and were friendly with Albizu. In late December of 1992, Albizu, Williams, Cherry, Camacho, Rodriguez, and a cousin of Rodriguez’s agreed to meet to kill Ocasio, but the plan fell through when Cherry failed to appear.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – Footnotes – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
1 The members of the C&C gang were frequently referred to at trial by their nicknames: Albizu–“Pito,” Pillot–“Joey,” Williams–“Tree,” and Cherry–“G” or “Ninja.” Camacho and Rodriguez were sometimes referred to respectively as “Spanky” and “Jay”; two other indicated defendants appear to have the same nicknames (James Rodriguez–“Spanky” and James Boggio–“Jay”).

One issue in this case is credibility of testimony from Cherry (aka Ninja):

The case at bar is complicated by the fact that the admissibility of Cherry’s declarations must be viewed in the context of defendants’ motion for a new trial under Rule 33. Casamento and the other Rule 804(b)(3) decisions previously discussed all arose out of trial judges’ evidentiary rulings during trials from which convicted defendants took appeals. In other words, the only question before the courts of appeal was whether, during the trial, the trial judge correctly applied Rule 804(b)(3) in admitting inculpatory out-of-court declarations or excluding exculpatory ones. In this Rule 33 context, the “newly discovered evidence must be of a sort that could, if believed, change the verdict”; and, in making that determination, “the trial court has broad discretion to decide Rule 33 motions based upon its evaluation of the proof produced,” Gambino, 59 F.3d at 364.

While I am aware of no case discussing the interaction between evidentiary Rule 804(b)(3) and procedural Rule 33, I think that the expanded focus of the present inquiry makes it at least arguable that I may consider the credibility of Thomas as a witness: not to determine the admissibility of Cherry’s declarations, but rather to evaluate the likely effect of Thomas’s testimony upon the jury at a new trial.

I do not decide the point now, and will hear argument from counsel concerning it. But I entertain no doubt that the prudent course is to develop a full record during the evidentiary hearing. That means that the government may cross-examine Thomas fully as to whether or not in fact Cherry made the statements Thomas ascribes to him. The government may also offer extrinsic evidence (if it has any) bearing upon that question of fact.

The Court also decided to “deny defendants’ request for a grant of judicial immunity for Gregory Cherry to testify.”

This is not the first time Judge Haight had the opportunity publish the word “ninja” in the federal record. Recall NinjaLaw post about “Burger King Kids Club with Mutant Ninja Turtles” in which Judge Haight used the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to support the holding that concepts and ideas of multi-ethnicity cannot be copyrighted.