Columbus Allen Jr. II, the Stockton man suspected of killing a California Highway Patrol officer during an early-morning traffic stop on Highway 99 more than three years ago, doesn't like his new home.
The high-profile defendant has filed three claims against Stanislaus County jailers in recent months, including one that went to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday and was forwarded to the county's risk management division.
Such claims are the first step toward a lawsuit, are routinely denied, and don't prompt too much concern from the Sheriff's Department, which runs the downtown jail where Allen is detained.
"He gets access to the law library," said deputy Royjindar Singh, the sheriff's spokesman. "He's been there quite a while, so he probably has a lot of time to sit there and read the books."
In his latest claim, Allen seeks $2,000, alleging that a sergeant in charge of discipline suspended his privileges without hearing from fellow inmates who could have backed his side of the story.
Nature of incident unknown
What kind of incident prompted discipline is unclear, but Allen noted that he missed a visit with his children, who live out of town, as a result.
Details about an inmate's detention are confidential, but sometimes go public at trial, particularly in death penalty cases like Allen's, where the defendant's character is an issue.
In prior claims, Allen alleged that jailers violated his rights because they wouldn't take his leg irons off at exercise time and refused comprehensive care for a toothache. He estimated the value of each claim as less than $25,000, but has not yet filed any lawsuits.
Attorney John R. Grele of San Francisco transmitted the claims to the county but made it clear that he represents Allen in criminal matters only.
He previously obtained eyeglasses for Allen by petitioning the county and argued in court when Allen felt he was not getting enough showers. He declined to comment on any of Allen's other grievances.
"It's not part of the case," Grele said.
Allen, 33, is suspected of killing CHP officer Earl Scott about 4:40 a.m. on Feb. 17, 2006. The slain officer was found on the edge of northbound Highway 99, just south of Hammett Road near Salida, gripping registration papers for a Nissan Maxima registered to Allen's wife, Bertera.
Allen and his wife showed up at the Stockton Police Department hours later, reporting that their car had been stolen. Investigators found gunshot residue on Allen's clothing and contend that calls from Allen's cell phone place him in the vicinity of the shooting, according to court records.
The high-profile case has generated news coverage at nearly every stage of the proceedings, and Grele is expected to argue in favor of a change of venue March 24. A two-month trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 1.
Bee staff writer Susan Herendeen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2338.