Raymond Glen Dodge, a brilliant "jailhouse lawyer" who helped draft the legal appeal that freed dozens of Utah State Prison inmates in 1969, was sentenced Thursday to eight more years in prison.
Dodge is already serving three life sentences plus five years for crimes ranging from robbery to being a habitual criminal. At age 52, he has spent 30 years in prison.This time, he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to two counts of using a telephone to arrange drug sales inside the prison. He was branded a "con boss" in a U.S. Bureau of Probation report, but he denied that he is.
In exchange for his plea, four other counts are to be dropped.
"I don't excuse any of my activities, but I feel like the news media was given an erroneous report," Dodge told U.S. District Judge David K. Winder.
Winder noted, "You've been out for a day or two, and then you've gone back in." He said Dodge has an IQ of 126, and his performance was impressive in court and in letters.
Winder expressed the hope that Dodge can use his intelligence for good, outside prison, someday. But Dodge seemed unconvinced he'll get the chance. "I'm institutionalized, I realize that."
Lawyers said he drafted the appeal for prisoners that resulted in the late Chief Judge Willis W. Ritter ordering the release of 29 inmates because their constitutional rights allegedly were violated.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schwendiman said Dodge was nabbed in an investigation of "prison enterprises," in which an informant reported on many inmates and some prison employees. Dodge was identified as a prison boss, he said.
Under the operation, drug traffickers sold drugs and they were brought into prison. Recordings were made of Dodge talking on the telephone, in coded messages, to arrange sales.
Schwendiman said corrupt prison employees were used as "mules" to bring drugs into the prison. Two employees and one visitor entered guilty pleas of possession of drugs with the intention of distributing them, he said.