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Lawyers say Aryan Brotherhood client is in danger in Sacramento prison — from guards

Sam Stanton, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in News & Features

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Lawyers for one of the Aryan Brotherhood inmates charged in a huge murder and conspiracy case filed documents late Friday claiming guards at California State Prison, Sacramento, have conspired to get inmates to kill other prisoners and engaged in other serious misconduct.

Lawyers for Brant Daniel are asking a federal judge to move the inmate to another prison from New Folsom for his own safety, claiming guards have threatened to kill him as he awaits trial.

“Based on investigation and court documents, the defense believes that several CSP Sacramento prison guards are involved in serious misconduct and criminal offenses, including aiding and abetting inmates in assaulting and killing other inmates at CSP-Sacramento and covering up their actions,” attorneys John Balazs and Timothy Warriner wrote.

“Over the last several months, some of these officers, including officer A.A., have harassed and attempted to provoke Daniel by providing confidential information (including false information) about Daniel’s RICO case and file to other inmates and distributing his wife’s letters to other inmates. On other occasions, officers have threatened to kill Daniel.”

Daniel, known as “Two Scoops,” has been an Aryan Brotherhood member since 2013 and is charged with killing Zachary Scott, a Salinas Valley prison inmate on Oct. 29, 2016, to further his status with the gang, court papers say.

Daniel is awaiting trial in a massive case filed by federal authorities in Sacramento in June 2019 targeting the Aryan Brotherhood, a violent white supremacist prison gang.

 

Officials say members orchestrated murders for hire from their prison cells, oversaw the distribution of narcotics outside prison walls and facilitated the smuggling of cellphones to inmates in California state prisons.

Prosecutors also have alleged that the inmates are too dangerous to be allowed to go to court for hearings and should only participate through video conferencing. The inmate lawyers had fought that stance until COVID-19 forced the courts’ reliance on video.

Now, Daniels’ lawyers are arguing that the guards are a bigger danger, noting the case earlier this month where one guard at the prison, Ashley Marie Aurich, entered a guilty plea in a case accusing her and another guard of filing false reports about how a 65-year-old handcuffed inmate died.

“Violence and other abusive misconduct by correctional officers at CSP Sacramento and other prisons has been ongoing for years,” they wrote. “For example, in September 2016, officers were involved in the homicide of 65-year old inmate Price, who was tripped while his hands were handcuffed behind his back as he was escorted by two guards.”

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