Former State Probation Officer Guilty Of Extortion In Operation Delta Blues
Little Rock - Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, along with Randall C. Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today that former Arkansas Department of Community Corrections Parole/Probation Officer Roxanne Davis, age 38, of Wynne, pleaded guilty to one count of extortion under color of official right (18 U.S.C. § 1951) before U.S. District Court Judge J. Leon Holmes in Case No. 4:12CR00260 JLH. The remaining count against Davis was dismissed upon the Court's acceptance of the plea.
During the Change of Plea hearing, Davis admitted the following facts:
Between October 2007 and October 2011, Davis was an employee of the Arkansas Department of Community Correction (ADCC), serving as a Parole/Probation Officer for parolees/probationers in Lee County, Arkansas, and elsewhere. Davis's official duties and responsibilities included: monitoring the parolees/probationers' compliance with the conditions of probation by explaining the rules, regulations, and conditions of parole or probation; administering court-ordered and random drug tests to parolees/probationers and writing parole violation reports upon a positive test; maintaining a chronological history of contacts with parolees/probationers and writing reports accordingly; counseling parolees/probationers during office visits and referring them to various agencies for assistance such as substance abuse counseling and treatment, employment, education, and human services; and making home and community visits to verify parole/probation information and follow-up visits to determine if parolees/probationers are adhering to conditions of parole/probation and to assist them with the community adjustment process.
Davis, like all ADCC officers and staff, was prohibited from collecting court-ordered "economic sanctions" from parolees/probationers. Davis was aware that all payments were to be mailed by the parolee/probationer directly to the ADCC Central Office in Little Rock.
As part of her ADCC duties and responsibilities, Davis was assigned to supervise Torrence Turner, who was on parole from a first degree murder conviction. Between October 2007 and October 2011, Davis misused her authority as an ADCC Parole/Probation Officer to collect cash payments and obtain goods from parolee Torrence Turner in exchange for not enforcing Torrence Turner's parole conditions.
For example, in May 2011, Davis accepted cash from Torrence Turner, ostensibly for a "mother's day present" and for a child's birthday. Davis stipulates that the government would show that her conversations with Torrence Turner concerning these payments were recorded pursuant to a court-authorized wiretap on Torrence Turner's phone. Between October 2007 and October 2011, Davis received more than $1000, but less than $5000, in cash from Torrence Turner in exchange for not enforcing Torrence Turner's parole conditions. Additionally, in April 2011, upon being notified that the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted an inquiry into Torrence Turner's criminal history, Davis informed Torrence Turner of this inquiry so that Torrence Turner could hide his illegal activities, including drug trafficking, from law enforcement.
Sentencing will be set by the Court at a later date. The potential penalties for a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951 are up to 20 years incarceration, up to three years supervised release, and up to a $250,000 fine. Davis was not detained.
Torrence Turner previously pleaded guilty in Case No. 4:11CR00211-1 JMM to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. During his Change of Plea hearing on September 17, 2012, before U.S. District Judge James M. Moody, Turner admitted that he led a drug trafficking organization in Marianna, Arkansas, and that between January 2010 and October 2011, he distributed between 50 and 150 kilograms of cocaine and between 2.8 kilograms and 8.4 kilograms of crack cocaine in Lee County and other counties in the Eastern District of Arkansas. On February 13, 2013, Judge Moody sentenced Turner to 30 years incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons, to be followed by 5 years supervised release, no fine.
The investigation was conducted by the United States Attorney's Office and the FBI, with the assistance of the Arkansas Department of Community Correction - Internal Affairs Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julie Peters.