TIME justice

Judge: California Is Mistreating Mentally Ill Inmates

A federal judge has ruled that California is treating its mentally unstable prisoners unlawfully after videotapes released to the public showed guards pumping pepper spray into cells and throwing chemical grenades toward inmates

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that California is violating the Constitution in its treatment of mentally ill patients in correctional facilities. He said that too much use of pepper spray and isolation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton in Sacramento said the corrections department would have to update its policies on pepper spray and isolation within 60 days. The ruling came after videotapes were released to the public showing prison guards pumping copious amounts of pepper spray into cells and throwing chemical grenades. Some of the mentally ill patients in the video are screaming. “Most of the videos were horrific,” Karlton wrote in his order. He also concluded that too much isolation can cause ill inmates psychological harm and increase their risk of suicide.

Mentally ill inmates make up 28% of California’s 120,000 total prisoners. The ruling is only one of many changes in the California prison system prompted by a 24-year-old lawsuit.

[AP]

TIME TIME 100

Which U.S. Political Figures Should Be on the 2014 TIME 100?

While TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100 our annual list of the most influential people in the world we want readers to have a say too. Cast your vote here for the people in U.S. politics you think have changed the world this past year, for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of our reader poll will be announced April 23. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

Click here to vote in other categories: World, Business & Tech, Culture & Fashion, Movies & TV, Music, Media and Sports. See the poll results in real time here.

  • Barack Obama

    The U.S. President spent much of the year encouraging uninsured Americans to sign up for the Affordable Care Act and — after initial website setbacks — eked out the Administration’s goal of 7 million sign-ups.

  • Hillary Clinton

    The question on everyone’s lips is whether 2016 will be Hillary’s year, but 2014 will see the publication of her memoir, sure to be a blockbuster.

  • Chris Christie

    The once rising GOP star could still be felled by investigations into the closing of a New Jersey bridge.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand

    This New York Senator is an accomplished lawmaker who is now one of the Democratic Party’s rising stars. She made headlines for her efforts to change the way the military handles rape and sexual assault.

  • Michael Bloomberg

    After 12 years as mayor of New York City, Bloomberg was appointed U.N. special envoy for cities and climate change, giving the billionaire a new platform to effect change.

  • Jerry Brown

    With shrewd budget cuts and taxes, the Democratic governor of California rescued the state from the brink of financial ruin.

  • Ted Cruz

    The Tea Party favorite for 2016 shifted the GOP — and the country — further to the right when he won his Texas Senate seat in 2012. His influence in the state shows that the Tea Party’s not dead yet.

  • Wendy Davis

    Davis skyrocketed into the national spotlight after her 11-hour filibuster of antiabortion legislation went viral, which led to her clinching the Democratic nomination in the upcoming Texas governor’s race.

  • Bill de Blasio

    This liberal Brooklyn dad once seemed like a long shot for New York City mayor, but de Blasio won the competitive race by a landslide after running as an anti-Bloomberg who pledged to end the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk program.

  • Eric Holder

    Although Obama’s Attorney General continues to grapple with the NSA, he has encouraged the recognition of gay marriage on the state level and has taken a leading role in pushing for criminal-justice reforms.

  • Anthony Kennedy

    As the court’s swing vote, this longtime Justice wrote the majority opinion that struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.

  • Sheldon Adelson

    Adelson spent at least $100 million backing Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other conservatives in 2012. Now the GOP race for this billionaire’s support in 2016 is heating up.

  • John Kerry

    This busy Secretary of State made high-level contact with Iran while grappling with crises in Syria and Ukraine and attempting to broker peace between Israel and Palestine.

  • David and Charles Koch

    The billionaire brothers known for backing GOP candidates are key players in the midterm elections through their network of outside groups.

  • Elizabeth Warren

    Since joining the Senate last year, the former Harvard law professor has become a favorite of the left by pressing Wall Street banks and presenting herself as a megaphone for the middle class.

  • Claire McCaskill

    The former sex-crimes prosecutor turned Missouri Senator has reformed the U.S. military’s approach to sexual-assault cases after her bill unanimously passed in the Senate this year.

  • Mitch McConnell

    The Senate minority leader will be facing challenges from the left and the right this November. His biggest hope, should he outlast his competitors as expected? A new title next year: majority leader.

  • Michelle Obama

    The U.S. First Lady spent most of the year advocating for childhood fitness while campaigning for young people to get covered by the Affordable Care Act.

  • Rand Paul

    The freshman Senator from Kentucky, who has become a lightning rod in Washington, is expected to run for President in 2016.

  • Harry Reid

    The Nevada Senator must keep the Democratic Party together, with its control of the U.S. Senate and his spot in the majority leader’s office in the balance this year.

  • Scott Walker

    The Wisconsin governor sparked debate with his controversial budget cuts in 2011, which limited collective-bargaining rights. He’s up for re-election in November.

  • Janet Yellen

    As the newly appointed chair of the Federal Reserve, Yellen holds the keys to the world’s largest economy.

    Which business and tech titans should be on the TIME 100? Vote now.


    Click here to vote in other categories: World, Culture & Fashion, Movies & TV, Music, Media, and Sports. See the poll results in real time here.

TIME Crime

Los Angeles Police Accidentally Kill TV Production Assistant

In a deadly case of mistaken identity, John Winkler was confused for a stabbing suspect.

Officers of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department accidentally shot and killed a production assistant on the Comedy Central show Tosh.0 on Monday Night in West Hollywood.

John Winkler, 30, had reportedly gone to a West Palm apartment to help neighbors who had been taken hostage. Authorities confused Winkler for a stabbing suspect as he rushed out of the apartment with another victim and the suspect, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. Three deputy officers shot three times at Winkler. He was hit once and killed, according to Variety.

“The apartment door suddenly opened and a male victim came rushing out,” the statement said. “He was covered in blood and bleeding profusely from the neck. Simultaneously, victim Winkler ran out of the door, lunging at the back of the fleeing victim. Both ran directly at the deputies.”

[THR]

[Variety]

TIME Crime

Stabbing Suspect’s Family Is ‘Like the Brady Bunch’

Alex Hribal, the suspect in the multiple stabbings at the Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa., is escorted by police to a district magistrate to be arraigned in Export, Pa.
Alex Hribal, the suspect in the multiple stabbings at the Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa., is escorted by police to a district magistrate to be arraigned in Export, Pa., April 9, 2014. Keith Srakocic—AP

Police have charged 16-year-old Alex Hribal as an adult with four counts of attempted homicide in Wednesday's stabbing attack, which injured 21 people at a Pennsylvania high school. Authorities are still struggling to decipher the motive behind Hribal's alleged crimes

Stabbing suspect Alex Hribal is a nice kid from a normal family, says his lawyer. “This is not a dysfunctional family,” Patrick Thomassey told CNN on Thursday. “They’re like the Brady Bunch. These parents are active with their two sons, and we’re trying to figure out what happened.”

Police charged Hribal as an adult with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault after a stabbing spree that left 22 people (including Hribal) injured in a high school outside Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Authorities are still struggling to decipher the motive behind Hribal’s alleged crimes.

Hribal had a reputation as a quiet teenager at his school. Some have alleged that Hribal was bullied in school, pushing him to his limit. His lawyer denied that was the case. “I heard these rumors about being bullied. I don’t believe that’s true,” Thomassey said. “I’m sure that at a certain point, we’ll find out what caused this. Maybe there is something that was going on at school that I’m not aware of yet or his parents aren’t aware of yet.”

Thomassey said he wants a psychiatrist to evaluate his client and that he plans to file a motion to have the case moved to juvenile court. “I’m not sure he knows what he did, quite frankly,” Thomassey said, adding that Hribal is remorseful. “He’s scared. He’s a young kid.”

Police also had little insight into the reasons for the attack. “We believe, through the investigation, that this was random,” Murrysville police chief Tom Seefeld told CNN. “We don’t have anybody that was targeted, as far as we know at this point.” Police are investigating a possible phone threat made by Hribal the night before the incident but have not yet confirmed that such a call was made.

A student who witnessed the incident said the attacker was silent as he stabbed his victims with kitchen knives. “He was very quiet. He just was kind of doing it,” Mia Meixner said. “And he had this, like, look on his face that he was just crazy, and he was just running around, just stabbing whoever was in his way.”

Hribal allegedly wounded 20 students and a security guard before the assistant principal, Samuel King (a neighbor of the Hribals), tackled him, according to police. Students outside the school heard a fire alarm go off during the attack, and one student, Matt DeCesare, saw two of his classmates emerge from the school covered in blood. He then saw teachers running in to pull other students out of the building. “We all took our hoodies off and handed them to the teachers to use as tourniquets to stop the bleeding,” DeCesare said.

One of the stabbing victims, Brett Hurt, said everything happened quickly. He was goofing off with a classmate, Gracie Evans, when he was stabbed from behind. “I didn’t even know it was going on at the time. I was just walking down hall and he stabbed me with a knife,” Hurt said in a press conference on Thursday, according to ABC News. “Everything went … I didn’t even know it was going on. I couldn’t move.” Evans took Hurt into a classroom and put pressure on his wounds, saving his life.

Hurt said he didn’t know Hribal well and had only met him a few times. “I don’t know his reputation, but after today he’s going to have a bad one,” Hurt said.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck argued in front of a judge against bail Thursday. He cited “statements [made by Hribal] when subdued by officials that he wanted to die.”

Hribal is being held without bail at a juvenile detention center. He has been treated for injuries to his head and hands.

Many of the victims have been hospitalized, and at least four were in critical condition on Wednesday, though all are expected to survive.

[CNN]

TIME

What Russia Knew About the Boston Marathon Bomber

An unreleased report shows that the Russian government concealed key information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years before the bombing

Could Russia’s information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev have prevented the Boston Marathon bombings?

Russian authorities intercepted a phone conversation in which the older Tsarnaev brother discussed Islamic jihad with his mother, but they withheld the information from the FBI, according to an unreleased government review that comes as the one-year anniversary of the Boston bombing approaches.

Congress will be briefed on additional details from the report Thursday, and some findings are expected to be released to the public next week.

Watch the video above for details.

TIME Drugs

Top Member of Mexican Drug Cartel Aiding U.S. Authorities

Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla
Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla is presented to the media after his arrest in Mexico City, March 19, 2009. Eduardo Verdugo—AP

A newly unsealed plea agreement reveals a high-ranking Sinaloa cartel member has been cooperating with federal authorities since last year. If he is found to have given “full and truthful” cooperation, he'll get a reduced prison sentence

Correction appended, April 11

A high-ranking member of the largest drug cartel in the Americas has been co-operating with U.S. authorities since he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking last year, federal prosecutors in Chicago announced Thursday.

Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, who last April pleaded guilty to taking part in a “vast narcotics trafficking conspiracy” involving multiple kilograms heroin and cocaine between 2005 and 2008, coordinated logistics of narcotics deliveries as a member of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, according to a recently unsealed plea agreement.

Zambada-Niebla is also believed to have worked closely with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the leader of the cartel who was captured in Mexico this past February, although the information Zambada-Niebla provided is not said to have aided in Guzman’s arrest.

Although no sentencing date has been set, Zambada-Niebla is in custody and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a maximum fine of $4 million. If he is found to have given “full and truthful” co-operation with U.S. authorities, he’ll be guaranteed a sentence below life imprisonment.

Fernando X. Gaxiola, an attorney of Zambada-Niebla, declined to comment to the AP.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated where Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was captured.

TIME Civil Rights

Feds Blast Albuquerque Police For ‘Excessive Force’

Vigil For Veteran Shot Dead by Albuquerque Police
Star Garrett, left, and Shannon Haley, second from left, embrace during the vigil for James Boyd in the foothills near U-Mound in Albuquerque, April 2, 2014. Marla Brose—Albuquerque Journal/ZUMA Press

The scathing report comes weeks after protests against police brutality shook the city. The mayor has already said the police department will implement reforms as a result of the Justice Department probe

A federal investigation into the Albuquerque police department found “a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force” that violated the Fourth Amendment, the Justice Department said Thursday.

The probe, launched in 2012, found that the Albuquerque Police Department too often uses deadly force, applies less lethal force—like Tasers—unnecessarily, and too often uses force against people with mental illness. The report also details problems within the department that include inadequate training and lack of accountability.

The scathing report comes weeks after protests against police brutality shook the city, fueled by outrage over the police shooting of James Boyd, a homeless mentally ill man. Since January 2010, 37 people were shot by police, and 23 were killed.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry announced last week in anticipation of the report the hiring of a deputy police chief to oversee implementation of the report’s recommendations.

 

 

TIME States

Inside the Sriracha Factory Causing A Stink In California

The city council in Irwindale, Calif. voted Wednesday to declare the new factory a public nuisance, claiming the smell of chilies wafting out of the facility is upsetting local residents. Here's the view from the factory floor

The first thing you notice when you approach Huy Fong Foods’ factory in Irwindale, Calif. is not the smell of roasting chiles, but its sheer enormity of the building. The company, maker of the wildly popular Sriracha “Rooster” hot sauce, began moving from a smaller factory in a nearby town to its new 650,000-square-foot plant in 2011, betting that the time was right to switch from being the purveyor of a niche Asian product to maker of the next great American condiment.

They may be regretting that bet this week. The Irwindale city council voted Wednesday to declare the new factory a public nuisance, claiming the smell of chilies wafting out of the facility caused nearby residents to suffer breathing problems and bloody noses. The action came after the city filed an odor-related lawsuit against the company last year. Once the council adopts a resolution next month making the public nuisance designation official the company will have 90 days to contain the fumes.

But company owner David Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant who founded Huy Fong Foods in 1980, has insisted the odor concerns are overblown — and indeed there are signs the controversy may be as manufactured as Sriracha itself.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which includes Irwindale, has never issued a citation to the company and Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the district, says that many of the 70 odor complaints the district had received as of April 7 came from just a handful of households. The first person to file a formal complaint was the relative of a city official, according to court documents. Atwood says inspectors from the district visited the Huy Fong Foods factory and determined the company was not in violation of current air quality regulations. If a smell is bad enough that the district would take action, he says, “You’re going to get dozens if not hundreds of complaints.”

That hasn’t happened yet, but the factory remains in danger of being shut down. Irwindale officials have even said they may have the right to install air-filtering equipment inside the factory and bill Huy Fong Foods for the expense.

Some locals seem baffled by all the fuss. Tania Bueno, who owns a salon a few blocks from the factory, told TIME in February she’s never detected an odor from the Huy Fong Foods factory. “None of my clients have mentioned any smells.” Tran recently opened his doors for public tours to allow Irwindale residents to decide for themselves how strong the smell is.

Meanwhile, Sriracha devotees, from hipsters to housewives to top American chefs, remain concerned that the famous hot sauce could disappear from store shelves and restaurant tables. On blogs and Twitters, fans last fall braced for the Great Sriracha Shortage of 2014 or even a #srirachapocalypse. Meanwhile, competitors are gearing up. Trader Joe’s now sells its own Sriracha sauce and even the maker of Tabasco has reportedly said the company is experimenting with a Sriracha-style condiment.

TIME Environment

Wal-Mart Could Make Organic Food Cheap—and Eventually, Plentiful

Customers enter a Wal-Mart store on Feb. 20, 2014 in San Lorenzo, Calif.
Customers enter a Wal-Mart store on Feb. 20, 2014 in San Lorenzo, Calif. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The retail giant says it will sell some organic products at 25% below what its competitors cost. That's good for the organic market

If you still think organic food is something for hippies and vegans—and best of all, hippie vegans, though that might be redundant—it’s time to update your cultural stereotypes. This morning Wal-Mart announced that it would begin carrying products from the Wild Oats organic line—and that it would offer the goods at prices that are at least 25% cheaper than their organic competitors. Wal-Mart, the Bentonville behemoth that became the biggest retailer in the world by ruthlessly lowering prices, wants to make organic food cheap. And that could make the organic food market go supernova. “If we can make the price premium disappear, we think it will grow much, much faster,” Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of grocery at Wal-Mart U.S., told reporters.

Organic has already been growing rapidly. Though the category still accounted for just 4% of total U.S. food sales at the beginning of 2012, organic sales rose to 10.2% that year, or $29 billion. A decade earlier, organic sales were just $8 billion. And this rapid growth is occurring even as sales at traditional supermarkets have been slumping. A wide swath of customers are switching to organic food when they can, and chances are even more would make the move if they could afford it: internal research at Wal-Mart found that 91% of its customers would buy “affordable” organic products if they were available. Over at Fortune magazine—another Time Inc. title—the editors are hailing the organic star Whole Foods on the cover of their latest edition:

The Austin-based chain is one of the country’s most successful retailers — its revenue has doubled and profits have tripled since 2007 — defying dismal grocery industry trends by offering consumers a mix of organics, truly delicious prepared foods, and an expanding array of staples under its 365 house brand. Now, having conquered affluent suburbs and trendy urban areas, Whole Foods is out to win over the rest of America.

In the short term, Wal-Mart’s move—which for now will be confined to staples like olive oil and tomato paste—could actually raise prices for some organic foods. That’s because the demand for organics has been outpacing the supply —this year there’s been a shortage of organic milk in many places, and organic egg production has dropped even as demand has increased because the price of the organic feed needed for the hens that lay the eggs has skyrocketed. (The example of milk is instructive: sales of whole organic milk nationwide increased 17% from January through October 2011, compared with the same period in 2010—even as sales of conventional milk over those months fell by 2%.) Under U.S. Agricultural Department rules, it also takes at least three years for farmers to switch from conventional crops to organic ones, so there will likely be a lag.

Still Wal-Mart’s unique, um, talent for getting suppliers to do what it wants will likely ensure that organic supply will rise to meet that growing demand over time, at prices that are less than what consumers have been accustomed to paying. The cognitive dissonance is inevitable—for the hardest-core of organic shoppers, the ones who long ago turned away from conventional groceries because of health and environmental fears, Wal-Mart is up there with Monsanto as a symbol of all that is is evil in the food world. But Wal-Mart has actually been selling organic products for years with a lot of success. And just as the company’s adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy—while not without problems—has helped push those technologies towards the mainstream, Wal-Mart’s embrace of cheap organic could have a major impact on the American diet and farming. Scale is a hell of a thing.

TIME weather

Hurricane Forecasters Predict Calm Season in Atlantic

After a brutal winter, meteorologists in Colorado predict a mild hurricane season with just nine tropical storms—three of which will swell into hurricanes. But remember, they've gotten it wrong the past two years

Top forecasters at Colorado State University predict a calm Atlantic hurricane season this year, which may give coastal residents cause for concern if their last two annual forecasts are anything to go by.

The meteorologists’ report, used by insurance companies, emergency managers and the media to prepare for the next hurricane threats, forecasts nine tropical storms, of which only three will become hurricanes. Typically there are about 12 tropical storms and seven hurricanes a year.

But the weather forecasters haven’t done so hot in recent years: in 2012, there were nearly twice as many hurricanes as predicted. And a year later they predicted nine hurricanes and the region saw two.

And over the past 14 years, the team has been within two storms of the correct number only twice, according to a USA Today analysis. The other times they’ve typically been overly conservative, predicting fewer than the actual number seven times and more only four times. But no one ever said meteorology was a precise science.

The researchers said there is a 35% chance an Atlantic hurricane makes landfall in the U.S. during the season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

 

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