The state Department of Corrections director has been summoned to testify in a federal court probe about his decision to shut down an internal investigation into Pelican Bay State Prison guards suspected of lying to protect fellow guards convicted of arranging assaults on inmates.
Two guards at the North Coast prison were sentenced in February to six- and seven-year federal prison terms for conspiracy to violate the civil rights of inmates.
After the convictions last year, a federal prosecutor asked Edward Alameida's Department of Corrections to investigate other guards that he suspected perjured themselves during the trial.
Alameida stopped the probe in March after just two witnesses were interviewed, despite statements from some retired guards that they had been aware of abuses and cover-ups, according to court documents.
Alameida set up a meeting to reconsider the investigation a day after a department investigator informed the powerful guards union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn., that the San Francisco district attorney would be presented with evidence for a possible criminal prosecution.
He is set to testify Friday in the federal court probe. Other witnesses have been testifying since July about the decision and the union's influence.
Alameida reopened the Pelican Bay investigation in July. A department spokeswoman told the Sacramento Bee that Alameida will not comment on the matter until he testifies.