Undersheriff Kem Shemwell reported to the county supervisors on
2/27 that the governor’s office is no longer pursuing the strategy
of collaborating with regions such as Santa Barbara to
reduce recidivism by building local prisons, in
which inmates in the final year of their terms would receive help
in transitioning into civilian life. Instead, the governor is now
considering easing state prison overcrowding by accepting only
prisoners sentenced to three years or more, with the rest left to
the counties’ devices.

The tire-slasher who plagued Ellwood Beach Drive by
puncturing the tires on 79 vehicles – all four
tires on each vehicle, 316 tires in all – pleaded guilty to the
crimes on 2/15 in Santa Barbara Superior Court. Judge Joseph Lodge
sentenced 45-year-old Patrick Matthew Ortiz of Goleta to a year in
county jail and five years’ felony probation. Ortiz’s six-month
vandalism spree started in July 2006 and lasted for six months,
ending with his arrest in December.

David Lin, an engineer implicated for his role in the 2001
murder of UCSB student Patrick Hsu, was acquitted on 2/25 in a San
Jose federal court. Lin allegedly helped Anthony Chang mail a
robotic dog with a bomb inside it to Hsu, who was
killed when he put batteries inside the gift toy, igniting an
explosion. Chang, who allegedly sent the bomb in a revenge plot
against his ex-wife, Hsu’s sister, has since fled the country.

Marcos Almaguer, the driver whose truck struck and
killed UCSB triathlete Kendra Payne
on Gibraltar Road in
January 2006, was sentenced to 45 days in County Jail and three
years’ probation. Almaguer originally faced charges of vehicular
manslaughter, a misdemeanor, but his lawyers successfully reduced
the charges to trespass by motor vehicle, to which Almaguer pleaded
guilty. While on probation, Almaguer must also pay $100 per month
to the Kendra Chiota Payne Memorial Fund, to which he has already
donated $8,000.

A 2/27 hearing in the Eric Frimpong rape case
ended with Judge Brian Hill declining to impose the gag order
requested by Robert Sanger, Frimpong’s lawyer. Sanger said undue
media scrutiny could negatively affect his client’s case, and
faulted a Sheriff’s Department press release, which he said used
“inappropriate” language to describe the victim’s version of
events. Sanger had wanted the gag order to prohibit further notices
about the case. Judge Hill encouraged Sanger and prosecutor Mary
Barron to jointly compose a set of rules governing media coverage.
The next hearing is scheduled for 3/1. Vist independent.com for

Former Lompoc convenience store clerk Michael
, whom a jury found guilty of attempted murder last
month, was sentenced on 2/26 to a minimum of 32 years in
prison for the attempted murder
of Lompoc resident Anthony
Johnson. Mims apologized at the sentencing for shooting Johnson
three times at point-blank range outside Kim’s Jiffy Food Store in
July 2005. He must serve at least 27 years before he is eligible
for parole.


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