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The 'Trickle Down' Effect of Whistleblower RetaliationTim King Salem-News.com
Life hasn't been easy for Kimble since he testified for a guard who blew the whistle on racism in the Oregon State Prison.
(SALEM, Ore.) - An inmate we have written about several times, Terrence Kimble, says he is continuing to receive serious harassment from prison officials who he believes are seriously abusing their power as prison officials.
Kimble's problems began after he testified in court for Whistleblower William Coleman, a former prison guard in Oregon who is also African-American. Coleman filed the whistleblower claim over a number of very serious racial Hate Crimes and Civil Rights violations inside the Oregon State Penitentiary.
When Coleman reported the crimes to prison officials, they retaliated by filing a bogus case against him for cigarette smuggling. Coleman, facing a 40-year prison sentence if convicted, took the case to court, much to the chagrin of Oregon's custom legal system, and was found not guilty by a unanimous jury. The only witness Coleman was allowed to call in his defense was Kimble. He still beat the state's case easily.
But life hasn't been good for Kimble ever since.
Immediately after throwing his support behind Coleman, Kimble was shipped to the Snake River Correctional Institute, known as "Cowboy Country" to both inmates and staff. It is located in eastern Oregon, near the Idaho border, and a much harder destination for family and friends of most inmates who wish to visit their loved ones.
We have reported the fact that communication between Coleman and Kimble and other inmates integral to Coleman's Whistleblower case is not being delivered, or mailed out of the prison in some cases. (see: Federal Mail Tampering at Oregon State Prison?)
It appears that Oregon Corrections officials are doing everything in their power to keep these men from sharing information. Postal officials are not assisting with the matter at this point even though the matter has been brought to the attention of their investigators. Unfortunately they, "don't want to get involved" with the Oregon State Penitentiary.
The most recent "trouble" Kimble has been in centers around telephone conversations that utilize a speaker phone; something he has done for years, something suddenly viewed as a rule violation by prison officials. A Corrections Officer named Jim Patrick is who cited Kimble for the alleged 'three way calling' which by legal definition, involves more than two phone lines in a simultaneous conversation. A speaker phone being activated does not constitute this, but the rules do appear to change on the Oregon Dept. of Corrections depending on the situation.
Kimble had a hearing on 1 December 2010. The matter was moved ahead fifteen days and finally, on the 16th, Kimble received a copy of a phone bill from his family proving that it was not a three-way call. After this was presented, the case "was dismissed without prejudice".
Then, after he was cleared of this 'charge', Patrick turned around and simply refiled the same charge against him.
Kimble feels he is being retaliated against for testifying for Coleman in April 2010. The prison has taken Coleman off Kimble's call list along with Kimble's mother. This is an ongoing problem we have specifically covered in the past. (see: Oregon Political Prisoner Being Stripped of Phone Use)
With regard to the refiling of charges, the rule does state that an alleged rule violation dismissed without prejudice may be resubmitted in another misconduct report utilizing the same process as provided on OAR 291-105-0021(2)
William Coleman says he, "feels that the Oregon DOC is trying to break up the communications between myself and Kimble. I also believe that if the DOC has not violated the law, it would not retaliate against inmates for simply communicating with me."
Previous Installments in this series:
Articles for December 26, 2010 | Articles for December 27, 2010 | Articles for December 28, 2010