Two Prison Guards Get Jail Time for Phone Smuggling

Two guards at the Avenel Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center were sentenced last week for smuggling cell phones to convicts.

Two former state correction officers were sentenced to prison last week for smuggling a cell phone to an inmate at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in the Avenel section of .

The facility is the state’s correction facility for sex offenders.

Former correction officers Ardones V. Livingston, 55, of Browns Mills, and Latasha Y. Walker, 44, of Rahway, were found guilty at trial by a Middlesex County jury on June 20 of conspiring to smuggle the cell phone to the inmate.  Livingston was convicted of second-degree conspiracy and third-degree bribery.  He was sentenced today to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge James F. Mulvihill.  He received a five-year sentence on the conspiracy charge and a concurrent three-year sentence on the bribery charge.

Walker was convicted of second-degree conspiracy. She was also sentenced today to five years in state prison by Judge Mulvihill.  Livingston and Walker were terminated from their positions and are permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.  Judge Mulvihill ordered Livingston, who had been employed by the state for 10 years, to forfeit his entire state pension.

The charges resulted from an investigation by the Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division and the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.  Deputy Attorney General Russell J. Curley tried the case and handled the sentencing.

The state’s investigation revealed that Frank Rodriquez, 52, an inmate in the Avenel facility who is serving a 20-year sentence for kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault, paid $500 to Livingston and Walker to have them smuggle a cell phone to him in January 2009.  Rodriguez instructed his girlfriend, Traci C. Baio, 45, of Spotswood, to pay Livingston to smuggle the phone to him.  Livingston worked at the Avenel facility, and Walker formerly worked there with him.  Rodriguez had Baio mail the cell phone to Walker.  Livingston and Walker arranged for the phone to be delivered to Rodriquez in the prison.  The state investigation began when the phone was found in the prison commissary by an inmate in February 2009 and turned over to correction officers.

Livingston, Walker, Rodriguez and Baio were indicted by a state grand jury on Oct. 6, 2010. Rodriguez pleaded guilty on Nov. 10, 2011, to charges of conspiracy, bribery and possession of a cell phone in prison. He was sentenced in January by Superior Court Judge Bradley J. Ferencz to a 10-year prison sentence, to run consecutively to his current prison sentence.  Baio pleaded guilty on Jan. 20, 2012 to second-degree conspiracy.  She was sentenced to five years in prison on June 28 by Judge Ferencz.

“Keeping cell phones out of our prisons is a major safety and security issue, because inmates who can communicate surreptitiously with associates outside of prison can participate in criminal activity and pose a threat both inside and outside of the prison walls,” said Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa in a statement. “By smuggling a cell phone to an inmate, these correction officers betrayed the public and their fellow correction officers.”

“We will continue to work aggressively with the Department of Corrections to investigate and prosecute anyone involved in smuggling cell phones into our prisons,” said Director Stephen J. Taylor of the Division of Criminal Justice. “These prison sentences should send a strong deterrent message to anyone who might engage in these crimes.”

Sarah September 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Latasha won her appeal she not in prison. Check the doc website. She's out. it was a setup she's working in NYC doc.jealous. people can't keep her in prison. She free no criminal record. Not in jail.
Nanc' Brown December 27, 2012 at 06:12 PM
wish my brother could get support since he and family members are being framed by SID Pena,and Harrison and Johnson when a play for richard Cross refuse to send money to his ex-wife so she inlisted a predator (aka Shorty) to extrot money from him when this did not work mr Cross's ex-common law life filed charges against his family and now Rich is locked up being treated worse than a dog deprived of sleep and heart medication made to take cold showers every 5 to 7 day on suside watch where he known has either bruised ribs or cracked. He does'nt even belong there he has been there i believe now over 7 yrs and we can't get and justice because his public atty Patrick Madden says he repersents both parties and is a conflict of instest yet when I spoke to Maddens supervisor Patrick Riley it's like I'll have him check it out but we can't do anything about it. come on people give me a break this is B.S. he does not fit the profile for this place they are just waiting for Rahway to be renavated to prove they have enough people to fill it on the tax payers dime
lynn2013 December 28, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Dear Everyone The adult treatment facility should have been closed over 5 yrs ago. This is a disgrace they are treated like a animal and the tax payer is flipping the bill and there is not rehabilitation. Perhaps they should have the guards be re-educated on the rights of all people especially those that are civil commitment. Also do we know that some of these people are older then your great grandparents. People like those mentioned should be investigated themselves. We need comprehensive mental health treatment and rehabilitation so that they are productive members of society. The governor should step in the tax payer is being used, and the people are being abused. People must read stories like the above and see that some of these people have finished their prison sentences and are committed due to the paranoid behavior of a few. We should demand that a psychiatrist be on staff 24/7 and rehabilite those that can teach others.
Nanc' Brown December 30, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Thank you Lynn2013, We have decided to file a civil lawsuit against the people at the treament facilty who tried to frame our family for this B.S. I am looking for a good atty to handle this case, so if any atty's out there willing to take this case on please contact me I want you but only if you're not some chicken Sh#t who will cave. My brother deserves justice and since no one seems to be able to find any paperwork on him that says he is suppose to be there or he was sentence to be there but rejected to even get court hearings on the matter let me back up, he gets court dates but are postponed then he gets told oh yeah Cross by the way you were rejected again we will try again soon.Believe me ppl this is what has been going on.The governor should step in and take a look at this place It needs to be investigated really........
Darnell walker May 27, 2013 at 08:04 AM
Fuck any and everybody who has something wrong to say about latasha walker that's my aunt fuck wateva she did she has a family jus like anybody else wat if it was ur aunt fuck off especially Sandra Williams u don't kno my fucking aunt


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