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How Far will Oregon Legal Officials go to Prevent Due Process?Tim King Salem-News.com
The state of Oregon is in a real spot when it comes to relations with African-American prison guards and inmates.
(SALEM, Ore.) - A man serving a 19-year sentence for a crime evidence suggests wasn't committed in the first place, has been told he will be shipped to an east coast prison facility to continue his Oregon state sentence.
If this were to happen, Terrence Kimble would become the second African-American inmate involved in the controversial case of prison guard-turned-whistleblower, William Coleman, to be shipped to the east coast to serve out his Oregon state time; in what seems like an unusual and costly practice.
Another African-American inmate, William 'Dollar Bill' Thomas; has already been shipped to a New Jersey prison as a result of his connection to Coleman's intense allegations of racial hate crimes and Civil Rights violations at the Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP).
Kimble's family informed Salem-News.com Thursday night that he will be transferred to an undetermined out of state location in short order. The news was a hard blow for his elderly mother in Portland who is battling cancer. She was clearly traumatized by the news she relayed.
In the past we have reported both Kimble and Coleman's mail being intercepted by prison officials, and how Kimble has been placed in the 'hole' repeatedly over what he says are bogus violations- all intended to keep him from phones, visits, and other forms of communication.
Why Oregon Persecutes Terrence Kimble
The court testimony of Terrence Kimble last year helped former Corrections Officer William Coleman keep from becoming a long term prisoner himself.
Coleman emerged victorious, but there has been a price for Kimble.
After resigning his job at the prison where he came to know Kimble, William Coleman filed a federal Whistleblower claim over racism, but then he was immediately charged with having been a 'cigarette smuggler' and with the tables turned, faced 40-years in prison if convicted.
Coleman refused several plea deals and took his case in front of a jury of his peers.
Kimble testified at the trial that as a corrections officer, Coleman never violated any laws.
However, he said that other people at the prison did regularly smuggle contraband and he was happy to name them; however several of the names included those of prison officials and the information revealed about this serious prison corruption at Coleman's trial was never followed up on as far as we can tell.
It seems that Oregon's concern remains squarely with maintaining its present system.
And we should not forget that the late Michael Francke was brought to Oregon by a former governor specifically to investigate and clean up Oregon's corrupt prisons, in 1988.
Three days before revealing what were said to be significant findings of corruption in the Oregon DOC, Mr. Francke was stabbed to death and his body discovered outside the door of Oregon's DOC headquarters.
A man named Frank Gable was convicted in his death and is still locked away 21 years later, but an endless list of people up to John Walsh from America's Most Wanted don't buy the validity of that adjudication and conviction, based on the testimony of a 16-year old drug addict who told reporters police forced her to testify under threat of charges.
At Coleman's trial, Kimble also testified that as an Oregon corrections officer, Coleman had tried without success to raise the red flag over serious racial incidents; hate crimes and Civil Rights violations that were the acts of both inmates, and uniformed and badged state corrections officials.
Kimble told the jury that during the proceedings, state officials offered him repeated bribes to testify against Coleman, but he refused.
Coleman and Kimble testified that the state orchestrated criminal case against him was an act of retaliation for Coleman's having blown the whistle on serious racial incidents at the prison that included one man's near-fatal stabbing; incidents that were reported by Coleman, but not addressed or properly investigated by prison management.
The documented revelations of intense racism from Coleman and Kimble, and the very questionable actions of state officials revealed during Coleman's trial, are what led to Coleman emerging from this harrowing ordeal as an innocent man, which he had always maintained.
In fact, the 12-member jury's verdict unanimously found Coleman not guilty.
Now follow this: the same day that Coleman filed a federal whistleblower claim against the Oregon State Hospital for racial discrimination, defamation and wrongful termination, a prosecutor in Marion County, Oregon named Bryan Orrio filed what had to be an already prepared 15-count indictment against Coleman for having 'smuggled tobacco' while a state corrections officer. He hadn't worked for OSP for three years. That is no coincidence, it was a well thought out strategy.
But it failed.
Before being cleared by a jury of his peers, Coleman was accused of reaping a substantial profit from contraband smuggling. One woman reported Coleman owning an Explorer and a Lexus and having a diamond tooth.
Coleman has none of the above and never did, and state officials knew that.
Contraband smuggling does indeed take place at the prison however.
But, Coleman contends that the people behind it are running the prison and he was never involved.
According to court and police records, every witness against Coleman (who was not from law enforcement) had ties to white supremacists or were actual white supremacist gang members.
Kimble was one of three African-American inmate witnesses subpoenaed to Coleman's trial, but he is the only one that was allowed by Coleman's attorney to testify.
Ever since then, even before testifying in court, Kimble has been paying dearly for his advocacy of truth, as our stories listed below this article indicate.
Coleman's New Day in Court
This Monday, William Coleman's long awaited case against Oregon begins. This time it is his turn to take Oregon to trial and he says there was a time when he wondered if the day would ever arrive.
Coleman has publicly stated that one of his chief goals afterward is to help see Kimble released; because according to DNA evidence somehow overlooked during the trial that convicted Kimble many years ago in Lane County Oregon, he did not commit a crime.
In fact according to the victim, there was no crime. A Lane County prosecutor said Kimble raped a teen girl, but a medical exam by doctors indicated that she had never had sex. The girl told doctors she'd never had sex.
Kimble was sentenced to 19-years; an extraordinary long sentence that his attorney at the time said is normally reserved for egregious capitol crimes like Murder.
Black inmates in Oregon receive very long sentences.
The Oregon Governor's office has been contacted and is working with Coleman in an official review of Kimble's sentence.
It isn't hard to conclude that, as in the case of William 'Dollar Bill' Thomas; Kimble's presence in Oregon is both a looming embarrassment and a financial liability.
If officials manage to ship him away, they are simply going to have to return him.
It seems fair to say that Oregon taxpayers don't expect to pay for the cost involved in keeping an Oregon inmate in a New Jersey prison. I think the people of this state deserve to know a lot more about it, and that if officials still think they can do this, that this article will make their actions look all the worse, when they are forced to return him.
I do not think Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber would think very much of this inexplicable proposed prisoner move.
The word from Kimble's mother is that he has been deemed a security threat when, according to Kimble and others at Oregon's Snake River Correctional Facility, he is doing everything in his power to stay out of trouble, but nothing he does accomplishes that.
Terrence Kimble was able to communicate to Salem-News.com that prison guards at SRCI have specifically told him in regard to his problems there, that he "should never have testified for Officer Coleman".
What price does an inmate pay for honesty in the state of Oregon?
It can be pretty high.
What protection exists for those who speak out and try to right what is wrong?
That one is a lot more difficult to answer.
Previous Installments in this series:
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
Articles for March 3, 2011 | Articles for March 4, 2011 | Articles for March 5, 2011