Get Our Newsletter



Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

December 2019
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Weekend Series on Crime History: The Watergate Break-in


Print This Post Print This Post

Spokane Man Charged with Threatening to Kill FBI Agents, Federal Judges

Scott Joseph Franklin

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Spokane man is accused of threatening FBI agents, a federal courthouse and federal judges in letters he wrote while in jail for threatening to blow up another courthouse.

Scott Joseph Franklin pleaded not guilty Wednesday to sending threatening letters to the U.S. District Court in Washington state. The letters were written in jail, where he has been lodged since he was convicted in 2013 of threatening to bomb a courthouse.

In the latest case, a U.S. District Court clerk said she received the handwritten letters in October, and they listed Franklin as the sender, according to federal court records obtained by KXLY. He also signed one of the letters, “cordially; Scott J. Franklin.”

“When I get out, I’m killing every agent of FBI and ever [sic] Federal Judge within your federal courthouse in Downtown Spokane,” he wrote.

Franklin’s letter’s described his plans to build a bomb “so powerful to blow a 2 block radiant [sic].”

In one letter, he states, “You can’t charge me with mailing threatening communications under Title 18 U.S.C. because that letter is a promise I swear to god and this is no joke, for real.”

In a jailhouse interview with federal agents, Franklin admitted he wrote the letters, saying, “I was gonna do exactly what I said… I was going to try to figure out how to make a bomb and blow up the [expletive] building.”

Franklin has been charged with a federal count of mailing threatening communications.


Print This Post Print This Post

Amid Fierce Criticism, Homeland Security Abandons Plans to Photograph American Travelers at Airports

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Facing a firestorm of criticism, Homeland Security is abandoning plans to expand the federal government’s facial recognition system by requiring all travelers, including Americans, to be photographed if they are leaving or entering the country.

Homeland Security was expected to propose the regulation change in July, igniting privacy concerns and trepidation about the accuracy of facial recognition technology.

Homeland Security officials responded by saying it no longer plans to move forward with the plan.

“There are no current plans to require U.S. citizens to provide photographs upon entry and exit from the United States. CBP intends to have the planned regulatory action regarding U.S. citizens removed from the unified agenda next time it is published,” the agency said in a news release.

Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who was among the toughest critics, had pledged to introduce legislation to stop the proposal.

Facial recognition technology has come under intense criticism from local, state and federal lawmakers because of its lack of accuracy, especially when applied to people of color.


Print This Post Print This Post

Reputed Gang Member Sentenced to Nearly 17 Years for Shooting ATF Agent in Face

Ernesto Godinez

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A reputed gang member who shot an ATF agent in the face in Chicago last year was sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison Wednesday.

A federal jury found Ernesto Godinez guilty in June in the shooting of Kevin Crump, who was nearly killed when a bullet tore through his neck and exited between his eyes on May 4, 2018.

Godinez, 29, was sentenced to 16 years and 8 months in prison, CBS News reports.

Calling the attack “brazen, callous, and cowardly,” federal prosectors said Crump is lucky to be alive.

“The depravity of the defendant’s crime is remarkable. A sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment is the only fair answer here, both to punish this reprehensible crime and to protect the community he endangered time and time again,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing recommendation.

Police said Crump was placing a tracker on Godinez’s car when the reputed gang member ambushed the agent and opened fire. Prosecutors said Godinez, who was arrested three days later, believed he was shooting a rival gang member.

Surveillance cameras captured Godinez before and after the shooting.

Godinez’s attorney acknowledges his client was in the area the morning of the shooting, but insists Godinez was not involved in the shooting. The 12-member jury didn’t buy that.


Print This Post Print This Post

Judge Tosses Lawsuit Calling for Exhumation of John Dillinger’s Body

Gangster John Dillinger, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

John Dillinger may continue to rest in peace.

A judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit by the nephew of the 1930s American gangster, who sued for permission to exhume Dillinger’s gravesite in Indianapolis to determine if he’s actually buried there, the Associated Press reports.

Dillinger’s nephew, Mike Thompson, believes he may have evidence that his bank-robbing uncle was not fatally shot by the FBI at a theater in Chicago in 1934.

His plans were thwarted by Crown Hill Cemetery, which refused to give him permission to exhume the body.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Timothy Oakes dismissed the lawsuit, saying state law requires a cemetery’s consent to exhume a body.

“The limited question before the Court today is whether disinterment may occur under this section of the statute without cemetery approval. Court finds that the statutory requirements for this section of the statute are clear in that disinterment requires the cemetery owner to give consent before disinterment may occur,” Oakes wrote.

Indiana law, the judge added, “does not require that the cemetery have a valid, rational, or meaningful reason” for withholding its consent.

In the 1930s, then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover declared Dillinger as “Public Enemy No. 1” after his gang killed at least 10 people, robbed banks and even staged three jailbreaks.

The FBI has disputed claims that the FBI killed another man who was not Dillinger.

“A wealth of information supports Dillinger’s demise including 3 sets of fingerprints, all positively matched,” the FBI tweeted on Aug. 1.

Attorneys for the cemetery dismissed the nephew’s claims as “a decades-old conspiracy theory.”

One of the attorneys, Alice McKenzie Morical, said Wednesday that relatives identified Dillinger after he was fatally shot.

“His close family believed it was him and they wanted him in the family plot,” she said.


Print This Post Print This Post

Homeland Security Wants to Photograph Americans at Airports for Expanded Facial Recognition System

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are mulling a plan to expand the U.S. government’s facial recognition system by requiring all travelers, including Americans, to be photographed as they are departing or entering the country.

Homeland Security is expected to officially propose the new requirements in July, the Associated Press reports.

The proposal comes as several airlines are testing facial recognition technology at U.S. airports.

The plan has already come under criticism by federal lawmakers, including Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who pledged to introduce legislation to stop the proposal.

Facial recognition technology has come under intense criticism from local, state and federal lawmakers because of its lack of accuracy, especially when applied to people of color.

“This new notice suggests that the government is reneging on what was already an insufficient promise,” Jay Stanley, a policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. “Travelers, including U.S. citizens, should not have to submit to invasive biometric scans simply as a condition of exercising their constitutional right to travel.”


Print This Post Print This Post

Two Border Patrol Agents Assaulted in Southern Arizona within 24-Hour Period

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Two Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona were assaulted in a pair of unrelated incidents within 24 hours of each other.

Both agents work out of the Tucson sector.

The first attack occurred Thursday evening when a 24-year-old Guatemalan man, who illegally entered the U.S., struck an agent before being taken into custody, Tucson.com reports.

On Friday afternoon, a 22-year-old Phoenix man tried to run down another agent in a vehicle before crashing into the agent’s SUV.

Both men will be prosecuted under federal assault charges.

Neither agent was seriously injured.


Print This Post Print This Post

Stejskal: Deep State? These People Are American Patriots

The writer, an FBI agent for 31 years, retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office in 2006.

By Greg Stejskal
On March 10, 1975, I reported to the Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C. — “Main Justice” — to be sworn in as a FBI special agent with my fellow new agents. In a large room that was used for the secret trial of the Nazi saboteurs during World War II, I raised my right hand and took the oath that every agent takes:

“I (my name) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

The Constitution prescribes a similar oath for the president in Article II.

Unlike those Nazi saboteurs who swore an oath to the Fuhrer, we swore allegiance to the concept that we are a country of laws, and no man is above the law. We would not be taking an oath of fealty to anyone. In fact during the Revolution, those serving in the Continental Army not only pledged allegiance to the United States, but specifically denounced any allegiance to King George III.

Featured_nazi_saboteur_trial_39315
Trial of Nazi saboteurs during World War II.

For me what followed was an almost 32-year career investigating and prosecuting violations of federal laws. I had the good fortune to be involved in a number of high-profile cases, and it was a rewarding career.

So when I watched the recent impeachment hearing, I had a somewhat unique perspective.

Most people didn’t have the time to watch the hearings. Others  prejudged them as a hoax or a witch hunt.

Being retired, I did have time and tried to view the hearings objectively. (Full disclosure: I’m a lifelong Republican.)

I’m not going to recount the evidence or try to make a case for or against impeachment although I thought the evidence was compelling and creditable. But what especially troubled me were the personal attacks on the witnesses by the president. Most of the witnesses were career foreign service officers. All of whom took an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

No right to publicly disparage

Greg Stejskal

The third public witness was Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine and a career foreign service officer. She was removed as ambassador by President Trump. In the now infamous, “perfect,” July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump characterized Ambassador Yovanovitch as “bad news.”

Whilee Yonanovitch was testifying Nov. 15 at the congressional hearing on national TV, President Trump tweeted:

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second call with him. It is a US President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”

It is the president’s “absolute right” to appoint and/or remove an ambassador, but I don’t believe the president has any kind of right to publicly disparage a career foreign service officer with an outstanding reputation and stellar career. Leaving aside the issue of whether his tweet constituted witness intimidation.

On Nov. 19, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified. Jennifer Williams is a veteran State Department official who has served as a special advisor to Vice President Mike Pence on European and Russian affairs.

Before her testimony, President Trump again took to twitter saying, she [Williams] should read the transcripts of the July 25 call and another one that took place in April. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know and mostly never even heard of and work out a better presidential attack!”

Read more »


Print This Post Print This Post