Larry Welborn has a fascinating piece on The Orange County Register site about the 26 claims serial killer Rodney Alcala filed against his Orange County jailers while he was holed up in Santa Ana defending himself in his third (and hopefully final) death-penalty trial.
Among the items the jailhouse lawyer demanded compensation for were candy bars and Playboy magazines, Welborn reports.
The 67-year-old has since taken his tired act back to Death Row at San Quentin. But, veteran court reporter Welborn found out, while sitting in his Orange County Jail cell, Alcala filed claims stating he was denied:
- Television time in the jail
dayroom. He calculated damages for this at $3 per day.
- His daily newspaper. Damages: $3 per day.
- Two candy bars given to other inmates on Thanksgiving. Damages: $1.50.
- Use of plastic scissors he needed to prepare his defense. He sought $452 based on his calculation of damages at $2.50
for the scissors and $5 per day for being without them for 65.4 days.
- His dignity when a jail deputy moved him too close to another inmate, who spit in the face of a handcuffed and legs-chained Alcala. “My face was splattered with the assaulter's vile spit,” Alcala
wrote in his complaint. “My forehead received a red welt, and I was prohibited from
pressing charges against my assailant.” He demanded $250.
- Regular access to a wash basin/drinking fountain with hot- and cold-running water. Originally, he wanted $5 per day but bumped it up to $10 per day after revising the claim to include failure to provide him a cell with a polished-metal mirror.
Some claims Welborn mentioned included no dollar amount. These include Alcala being denied:
- His rights when he had to pay for his own eye exams and root canal.
- His fungus-free toenails when a doctor supposedly botched a procedure to cure him of them.
- Access to his Playboy magazine subscription.
Most claims came after Alcala insisted on representing himself in Orange County Superior Court in 2006, when he was tried a third time for killing five females in the 1970s, including 12-year-old Robin Samsoe of Huntington Beach. Most were filed with the court and the county clerk's office. And, as you might have guessed, nearly all claims were denied. Just like his bid to stay off Death Row.
There were a couple of exceptions, Welborn reports. Alcala filed a claim after some of his civilian clothing went missing, alleging deputies lost them and failed to replace them with “climatically
suitable clothing adequate for seasonal comfort and protection.” In other words, he was too cold at night. Alcala received a settlement for $72.03. He also won $21 for some lost magazines and other personal items.
That's about it as far as success from his 26 filings, although two are reportedly still pending.