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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index
    Release No. 10-088

    June 7 , 2010

    FORMER CORRECTIONAL OFFICER AT CHINO STATE PRISON SENTENCED TO OVER FOUR YEARS FOR ASSAULTING INMATES

    LOS ANGELES – A federal judge today sentenced a former correctional officer at Chino State Prison to 51 months in federal prison for his conviction on charges related to a 2002 incident in which shackled inmates were hurled to the ground.

    Robert McGowan, 41, who resides in the Bloomington area of San Bernardino County, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II. Today’s sentencing follows an October 2007 jury trial in which McGowan was found guilty of
    two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law for assaulting two inmates.

    The convictions are the result of a May 9, 2002 incident of abuse that followed an altercation involving inmates and correctional officers at the Chino prison. Once the altercation was controlled, several prisoners were shackled, placed in a van and transported to the administrative segregation unit at the prison facility. Once the van arrived at the special unit, McGowan pulled two prisoners from the van and let them fall to the ground. Because they were shackled, the prisoners were not able to break their falls. They both sustained minor injuries.

    McGowan and two colleagues were also found guilty of conspiring to obstruct justice for attempting to cover up the incident. However, following the trial, United States District Judge Manuel Real granted a defense motion and acquitted all three defendants on all charges. The government appealed Judge Real’s dismissals of the two deprivation of rights charges, and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the two civil rights charges against McGowan. The 9th Circuit also ordered that another judge handle the matter, which led to Judge Wright presiding over today’s sentencing.

    This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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    Release No. 10-088

    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index