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Archive for May 19th, 2009

Columnist: Ego and Low Morale Hurting Dept. of Homeland Security

DHS Chief Janet Napolitano- Will She Change the Agency?
DHS Chief Janet Napolitano- Will She Change the Agency?

By Douglas Doan
Security DeBrief Guest Columnist

The ancients believed that the sin of Pride was the most serious of the seven deadly sins, and would have little trouble seeing the havoc caused by the sin of pride at DHS. Pride (back to Sunday school for moment) was defined as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self. The Sin of Pride is the most corrosive problem within DHS, causing a multitude of challenges and throttling performance. Here are three examples:

• Innovation has been stifled. All organizations struggle to be more innovative and finding better solutions to systemic problems, but DHS has actively opposed innovation. Indeed, the most creative efforts are almost always squashed by a culture of “not invented here”. “Not invented here” is a prideful ideology that values no other opinion than one’s own.

• Morale in DHS is lowest in Government: As a direct result of the “not invented here ” culture and the singular inability of senior management to encourage and reward innovative solutions from the rank and file, employee morale at DHS is, consistently, the lowest in the federal government. DHS employees quickly understand that management does not welcome new ideas. External input is not sought, desired, or welcome.

• DHS is unable to retain federal border agents. The government loses approximately 12% of federal border officers annually.

To Read More

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Liberal Groups File Complaint to Disbar Bush Lawyers (AP)

Feds Charge Illinois Sheriff With Selling Pot

illinois-map1Sure, county sheriffs have a lot of autonomy. But this obviously goes a little too far. Put this in the category of: Things Sheriffs Aren’t Allowed to Do.

By The Associated Press
SHAWNEETOWN, Ill. — Federal prosecutors are accusing the longtime sheriff of a county in southeastern Illinois of selling marijuana, often while on duty.

Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond Martin was arrested Monday and appeared in court on three counts of distributing marijuana and two counts of carrying a firearm while trafficking drugs.

Martin has been sheriff of Gallatin County since 1990.

To Read More

Read Criminal Complaint

U.S. to Check Immigration Status at All Local Jails

homeland-security-logoThis is a massive effort. The real question is whether authorities can  coordinate this effort and make certain local jails have the resources to do this.

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is expanding a program initiated by President George W. Bush aimed at checking the immigration status of virtually every person booked into local jails. In four years, the measure could result in a tenfold increase in illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes and identified for deportation, current and former U.S. officials said.

By matching inmates’ fingerprints to federal immigration databases, authorities hope to pinpoint deportable illegal immigrants before they are released from custody.

Inmates in federal and state prisons already are screened. But authorities generally lack the time and staff to do the same at local jails, which house up to twice as many illegal immigrants at any time and where inmates come and go more quickly.

The effort is likely to significantly reshape immigration enforcement, current and former executive branch officials said.

For Full Story

Boston Federal Judges To Teach Classes on Turning Over Evidence as a Result of Recent Case

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges in Boston will get an education about turning over evidence to the defense for trial. The issue recently became a hot-button topic and an embarrassment when the Justice Department voided the conviction in Washington of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens after the prosecution failed to turn over evidence to the defense.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf in Boston announced that two judges will hold educational classes in the fall on turning over evidence for trial in response to a recent case in Boston in which Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Sullivan failed to turn over evidence to the defense , the Boston Globe reported.

Sullivan acknowledged to the judge that she withheld evidence in trial that could have cleared a defendant in a gun case. Wolf had planned to sanction her, but on on Monday said she appeared contrite and would hold off on taking any action against her or the U.S. Attorney’s Office for at  least six months, the Globe reported.

Judge Wolf had concluded that Sullivan’s actions were inadvertent,  but  “inexcusable”  and showed a  “fundamentally flawed understanding of her obligations, or a reckless disregard of them”, he the Globe reported.

Wolf said repeated failures by Massachusetts federal prosecutors “made him doubt that the Justice Department was adequately training prosecutors”, the Globe reported.

Judge Delays Sentencing in MySpace Suicide Case: Says Fed Prosecutors May Have Gone Too Far

This latest glitch only clouds the boundaries in the area of Internet law. Should we look at this as a setback for prosecutors or an opportunity for a judge to provide clarity for prosecutors in the future?

myspace-images3

By Victoria Kim
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — When federal prosecutors in Los Angeles indicted a Missouri mother last year for committing an Internet hoax that apparently led to the suicide of a 13-year-old girl, they touted the novel legal approach that allowed them to file the case halfway across the country. On Monday, a U.S. district judge indicated they may have gone too far.

“Using this particular statute in this particular situation is so weird,” Judge George H. Wu said, calling some of the prosecution’s argument “troublesome.”

Wu’s comments came Monday afternoon at a hearing where Lori Drew, 50, was to have been sentenced. Wu delayed the sentencing until July, saying he wanted to consider a defense motion to dismiss the entire case.

For Full Story