Law Enforcement | Off Message | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Law Enforcement

Friday, June 29, 2018

Vermont Farmworker Jailed After Arrest by ICE

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 4:01 PM

Alejandro Hernández-Ventura - COURTESY: MIGRANT JUSTICE
  • Courtesy: Migrant Justice
  • Alejandro Hernández-Ventura
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested another Vermont farmworker, according to a statement released Friday by Migrant Justice.

Alejandro Hernández-Ventura, 25, was being held at the Strafford County, N.H., detention center in lieu of an $8,000 bond, the group said.

Shortly after leaving home on a dairy farm in Addison County on Sunday, according to an account from Migrant Justice, Hernández-Ventura and his wife noticed that their car was being followed. They pulled over after ICE officers flashed their vehicle lights. The agents pulled the Mexican man out of his car and handcuffed him before driving off.

According to Migrant Justice, Hernández-Ventura has never been arrested or had any previous contact with ICE during the nine years he's been in Vermont.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Leahy Bill Would Limit Feds' Authority to Search Near Borders

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 3:44 PM

  • Kym Balthazar
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation Thursday that would reduce the area near international borders where federal agents are allowed to conduct warrantless searches.

United States Border Patrol agents have for years established temporary checkpoints along Interstate 91 in southern Vermont to ask motorists about their citizenship and where they’re going. Some are detained for additional questioning. Because the checkpoint is within 100 miles of the Canadian border, federal law allows agents to do that without a warrant.

Federal law gives authorities expanded power near the borders in order to protect national security. But Leahy said in a statement that a range of 100 miles from the border is unreasonable. The new legislation, cosponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), would shrink the that zone from 100 to 25 miles.

"[T]his 100-mile zone is neither limited nor reasonable," Leahy said. "It includes marine borders. At present, it encompasses almost two-thirds of the population of the United States. This includes major cities such as New York, Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans and Los Angeles, even the 'border town' of Richmond, Va., as well as entire states such as Maine, Delaware, and Florida."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Vermont State Police Talk Changes in Enforcement With New Weed Law

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 5:50 PM

Lt. John Flannigan - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • Lt. John Flannigan
Recreational cannabis will be legalized July 1 in Vermont, but driving under the influence of drugs remains dangerous and illegal, Vermont State Police warned Tuesday during a wide-ranging discussion with the media about law enforcement changes surrounding the new law.

Cannabis-sniffing canines will be given new assignments and the agency has considered purchasing scales for patrol cars so troopers can weigh motorists' weed, according to Capt. James Whitcomb. Possession of more than one ounce of cannabis is illegal, according to Act 86, Vermont's new recreational marijuana law.

Tuesday's talk at state police headquarters in Waterbury came less than two weeks before weed legalization takes effect. And though the date is coming ever closer, Whitcomb said state police won't be more lenient in the intervening 11 days.

"There has been no easing of enforcement," Whitcomb said. "July 1 is a hard date."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Dozens Show Up to Wipe Out Chittenden County Cannabis Convictions

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 8:37 PM

Two attendees receive assistance filling out their petitions. - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • Two attendees receive assistance filling out their petitions.
Patrick Jackson wants to be a pharmacy technician. Instead, the 28-year-old is working as a cook to pay his bills, a life choice he says he made, in part, because his two marijuana convictions — one in 2012 and one in 2013 — have been holding him back from finding a job he really likes.

Jackson took his chance to set his record straight on Tuesday, when Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George held an Expungement Day at the Edward J. Costello Courthouse on Cherry Street. Lawyers at the event walked attendees through the process of filing a petition to get misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions wiped off their records.

"I appreciated all the help they are giving me to get this off, so I can have a fully clean record, back to where I started when I was born," Jackson grinned as he spoke with Seven Days.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Two Private Prison Companies Bidding to House Vermont Inmates

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2018 at 4:03 PM

Lee Adjustment Center in Kentucky, where CoreCivic (then called Corrections Corporation of America) housed Vermont inmates until 2015. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • Lee Adjustment Center in Kentucky, where CoreCivic (then called Corrections Corporation of America) housed Vermont inmates until 2015.
Updated at 5:40 p.m.

Private prison contractor CoreCivic and another company called Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation have submitted bids to house more than 200 Vermont inmates in privately run prisons outside of the state.

Vermont Department of Corrections officials revealed the bidders in a written response to a public records request made by attorney Barry Kade, an inmate advocate. CoreCivic submitted an offer to house inmates at its prison facility in Tallahatchie County, Miss., according to the letter, while the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation offered to house Vermonters at its prison in Rhode Island.

Daniel Martin, the warden of the Central Falls facility, clarified in an email Wednesday that the prison is a "quasi-public" entity. Despite being labeled as a corporation, the organization has close ties to the local government in Central Falls, R.I.

"[T]here is a Board of Directors who are appointed by the Mayor of Central Falls, who then identifies an Administrator (Warden) to operate the Correctional facility," Martin wrote.

Kade provided the corrections letter to Seven Days, and Vermont Deputy Corrections Commissioner Mike Touchette confirmed that both companies bid on the contract. Further details about the bids were not released.

The companies are competing to house and supervise Vermonters currently incarcerated at the Pennsylvania state prison in Camp Hill. Vermont sends inmates out of state because of a lack of available space within the state’s existing prisons.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, June 1, 2018

Officers Involved in Fatal Interstate 89 Shooting Won't Face Charges

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 3:35 PM

Bram Kranichfeld of the Vermont Attorney General's Office speaks. - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Bram Kranichfeld of the Vermont Attorney General's Office speaks.
Two police officers were justified in shooting a suicidal man last February along Interstate 89 in Richmond, according to the Vermont Attorney General's Office and the Chittenden County State's Attorney.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced Friday that Vermont State Police Trooper Christopher Brown and Richmond Police Officer Richard Greenough will not face charges for fatally shooting 42-year-old Benjamin Gregware of Sheldon.

Donovan called shootings such as this "tragedies any way you look at it." He offered condolences to Gregware's family, as well as the officers involved.

Donovan was joined by members of the Vermont State Police and Richmond Police Department, along with Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George, who said her office would not press charges and considered the matter closed.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, May 11, 2018

Cannabis Expungements Planned in Chittenden, Windsor Counties

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2018 at 4:28 PM

  • File: Sasha Goldstein
  • Sarah George
Here’s your chance to make that conviction go up in smoke.

Chittenden and Windsor counties will both hold expungement clinics next month to help wipe clean the records of people who have been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.

The events — June 9 in South Royalton and June 12 in Burlington — come weeks before possessing and growing small amounts of marijuana becomes legal in Vermont. Volunteers with the Center for Justice Reform at the Vermont Law School will help attendees fill out an expungement petition, which both Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George and Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill have vowed to support.

“This does not apply to felony-level offenses, convictions for sale of marijuana, or any offenses that took place outside of Windsor or Chittenden County,” Vermont Law School spokesperson Ben Jervey said in a press release.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Muslim Teen Poets Invited to Elks Club — Which Called the Cops

Posted By and on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 1:25 PM

From left to right: Hawa Adam, Kiran Waqar, Balkisa Omar, Lena Ginawi - COURTESY OF KIRAN WAQAR
  • Courtesy of Kiran Waqar
  • From left to right: Hawa Adam, Kiran Waqar, Balkisa Omar, Lena Ginawi
Slam poets Muslim Girls Making Change were invited to dine and perform last week at the Burlington Elks Lodge — where a club officer called the police on them. The teenagers have slammed the incident as racial profiling.

"This kind of stuff happens all the time and we're sick of it," member Kiran Waqar told Seven Days on Monday.

"Being a woman of color, I'm going to be getting all these experiences," said another one of the poets, Balkisa Omar.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Two Suspects in Highgate Murder Caught in South Burlington

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 9:46 AM

Erika Guttilla, left, and Corey Cassani - VERMONT STATE POLICE
  • Vermont State Police
  • Erika Guttilla, left, and Corey Cassani
Two fugitives wanted in connection with the murder of a Highgate man were caught Tuesday morning in South Burlington, Vermont State Police said.

Authorities arrested Erika Guttilla and Corey Cassani without incident around 1:30 a.m. after a traffic stop on Route 7, near the Shelburne town line.

Guttilla, who police said fatally shot her then-boyfriend, Troy Ford, was held without bail. Cassani, who allegedly played a role in the crime, was held on $25,000 bail.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, May 7, 2018

Two Highgate Suspects On the Run After Body Found in Woods

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2018 at 1:42 PM

Erika Guttilla, left, and Corey Cassani - VERMONT STATE POLICE
  • Vermont State Police
  • Erika Guttilla, left, and Corey Cassani
Update, 3:43 p.m.: Police located the suspects' vehicle in Swanton.

Two Highgate residents are wanted by police after dog walkers discovered a murdered man's body in the woods on Saturday.

Vermont State Police believe that Erika Guttilla, 31, shot and killed her then-boyfriend, Troy Ford, several months ago. Guttilla and another Highgate resident police believe was involved, Corey Cassani, 28, are now on the lam and considered armed and dangerous.

According to Guttilla's Facebook page, she and Cassani started dating in January.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Recent Comments

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2018 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation