Four Corcoran State Prison guards were acquitted this Monday of setting up the March 1993 rape of a prisoner, a verdict that was immediately praised by the prison guards union and condemned by prisoners rights advocates.
The officers, Robert Decker, Joe Sanchez, Anthony Silva and Dale Brakebill, were found not guilty of setting up the rape of Eddie Dillard when they put him in a cell with a known sexual predator who was nearly twice his size. Wayne Robertson, known by the nickname "the Booty Bandit," raped Dillard repeatedly after the guards left Dillard in his cell for two days. The incident took place at one of the most notoriously violent prisons in the country.
The five week trial–the first criminal trial of Corcoran guards in a decade–included testimony from Dillard and Robertson, as well as a whistle blowing guard who participated in the brutal incident. Nevertheless, the jury acquitted the four guards.
The stakes were high not only for the guards, but also for the guards union and the attorney general’s office, which was criticized in legislative hearings last year for ignoring numerous incidents of brutality at Corcoran. Another group of Corcoran prison guards face trial this coming March for setting up "Turkey shoots" in the prison yard, putting prisoners who are known enemies together, waging bets on the outcome of their fights and shooting them.
- Katherine Campell, Director of California Prison Focus.