CMC warden accused of doctoring an inmate’s file
January 9, 2015
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Warden Elvin Valenzuela and Captain Jennifer Core were suspended while Lt. Ray Baez and Officer Oscar Herijld was fired for their participation in issues regarding an investigation into a document being removed from a prisoner’s file. However, Herijld left CMC during the investigation, the findings against Baez were revoked in a Skelly hearing, and Valenzuela and Core were not suspended. Because of personnel privacy rules, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation public relation’s staff is only saying that appropriate actions were taken and is not disclosing what those actions were.
By KAREN VELIE
The warden and a captain at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo County have been accused of destroyed a portion of an inmate’s file in an attempt to promote the prisoner’s parole or transfer, prison sources said.
While in prison, the convicted murderer had been busted for drugs. However, shortly before the inmate was to appear before the California Board of Prison Terms, documents of the 115 drug charge were removed from his file.
Nevertheless, board officials discovered a confidential report describing the drug offense. As a result, the prisoner was not paroled and an investigation was initiated.
Warden Elvin Valenzuela and Captain Jennifer Core were involved in the removal of the file, CMC sources said.
Valenzuela did not respond to requests for comment. Jeffrey Callison, the press secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, confirmed that there had been an investigation into the altering of an inmate’s file.
“In response to your question yesterday, all we can say at this time is that there was an investigation into actions regarding an inmate’s file,” Callison said in an email. “That investigation has been completed and all appropriate actions have been taken. Since this is a personnel matter, there is no further comment that we can make.”
Officer Oscar Herijld and Lieutenant Ray Baez were also under investigation during the inquiry, sources said.
The Office of Internal Affairs and the Housing Authority both sustained allegations that Lt. Ray Baez had failed to inform his superiors about rule violations in the 2012 removal of the 115 from the inmate’s file, Baez said. However, Baez was on vacation during a portion of the time in question.
In addition, Baez said the warden has the right to remove a 115 for the safety of the prison.
In a Skelly hearing held late last year, a judge cleared Baez of all charges.
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