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Archive for June 3rd, 2009

San Francisco Fed Judge Declines To Penalize Justice Dept Lawyers For Flouting His Orders in Warrantless Wiretapping Case

Judge Walker/photo penn law school

Judge Walker/photo penn law school

This case  has far reaching implications. The fact the Obama administration has sided with the Bush administration has alarmed civil liberty groups. The question here is how transparent is this administration going to be? And how far will it go to keep things secret?

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

A federal judge yesterday declined to penalize Justice Department lawyers for flouting his orders in a sensitive electronic surveillance case where the Obama administration sided with its predecessors to the alarm of civil liberties groups.

But U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker did not give the government what it wanted, either. The San Francisco-based judge batted away fresh Justice Department attempts to appeal his rulings, which have been critical of the Obama approach to protecting state secrets.

Instead, the judge directed attorneys for the administration and for a now-defunct Oregon charity to prepare court filings this summer about the legality of the government’s warrantless eavesdropping program and the scope of the executive branch’s authority.

For Full Story

Atty. Gen. Mukasey Erases Ruling of Bush Regime that Denied Immigrants Effective Legal Counsel

It’s not unusual for current administrations to undo some of the last minute rulings of the previous regime. Here’s one that will certainly be applauded by civil rights and immigration rights organizations.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times
WASHINGTON –Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. today vacated a ruling issued in the waning days of the Bush administration that denied immigrants the right to effective legal counsel in deportation proceedings.

In January, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s scrapped a 20-year-old precedent established in Matter of Lozada, a Board of Immigration Appeals decision which held that immigrants could reopen their hearings based on lawyer error. Mukasey held that immigrants in deportation proceedings have no constitutional right to effective assistance.
For Full Story

Suburban D.C. Prosecutor Says Not Enough Evidence to Charge in Inmate Death; Welcomes Justice Dept. to Investigate

Some how this all seems to stink. Ronnie White was no angel. He was accused of killing a cop. But still, he died in jail and it looked, as if — at least to the medical examiner — that it was a homicide by strangulation. The state police thinks it looks more like a suicide. The state prosecutor says there’s not enough evidence to charge anyone and welcomes the Justice Department to investigate. First off, why couldn’t he have asked for help from the FBI and the Justice Department before reaching the conclusion that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge anyone? It just doesn’t look good.

By Ruben Castaneda, Aaron C. Davis and Ovetta Wiggins
Washington Post Staff Writers

The chief prosecutor in Prince George’s County said yesterday that he does not now intend to charge anyone in the death last year of a 19-year-old inmate who had been accused of killing a police officer, meaning a slaying once denounced by the county executive as “vigilante justice” is all but certain to go unpunished in state court.

State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said that after nearly a year of investigation, he does not have enough evidence to secure an indictment in the death of Ronnie L. White. In an interview, Ivey said he welcomes calls by civil rights leaders for the Justice Department to take over the case, and a Justice spokesman said federal authorities would review the investigation.

Ivey’s willingness to essentially hand the case over to federal authorities without bringing charges met with swift criticism from civil rights groups and White’s family.

For Full Story

WATCH CHANNEL 4 Report

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

Twenty Three Guns Found at Airport Checkpoints Last Week In May

airport-photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — It’s been nearly eight years since the infamous Sept. 11 attacks, yet people continue to bring guns to the airport.

The latest report from the Transportation Security Administration shows that 23 firearms were found at U.S. airport checkpoints from May 25-31 alone.

Additionally, during that period, seven passengers were arrested for suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents and there were 27 incidents that resulted in “checkpoint closure, terminal evacuation or sterile area breach”, the TSA reported.

We reported here earlier this year that in 2008,   833 firearms were confiscated at airport checkpoints, up  nearly 10 percent from 2007.

What’s it going to take to get the message out: Travelers, Bring Your iPods, Leave Your Guns at Home!”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Dir. Mueller Says Stimulus Plan Vulnerable to Fraud

Robert Mueller speaking in N.Y./fbi photo

Robert Mueller speaking in N.Y./fbi photo

There is no question the stimulus package will be a haven for scammers. The package includes a weatherization program , which allows homes to become more energy efficient. That one will open the door  for crooks involved in mortgage fraud. It won’t be pretty.

By Thom Weidlich
Bloomberg
NEW YORK — FBI Director Robert Mueller said the U.S. government’s stimulus package, including the Troubled Asset Relief Program, has “the potential to be the next wave” of cases the agency investigates.

“These funds are inherently vulnerable to bribery, fraud, conflicts of interest and collusion,” Mueller said today (Tuesday) in a speech at the Economic Club of New York. “There is an old adage: Where there is money to be made, fraud is not far behind, like bees to honey.”

He compared possible stimulus-package fraud to Hurricane Katrina relief investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that resulted in 246 convictions in Mississippi and Louisiana.

For Full Story

N.Y. Fed Judge Refuses to Block Media From Using Perp Walk Photo of Politician

File photo/istock

File photo/istock

Federal law enforcement has often accomodated the press and paraded suspects past the cameras. It’s been going on a long time around the country and apparently it’s not going to stop now.

By Vesselin Mitev
New York Law Journal

A Long Island, N.Y., politician charged with tax evasion cannot prevent media outlets from running photographs of him in handcuffs, a federal judge decided on Friday.

Ruling from the bench, Eastern District of New York Judge Arthur D. Spatt in Central Islip denied a motion by Nassau County Democratic legislator Roger Corbin to enjoin Newsday and cable channel News 12 from running pictures of him taken during a “perp walk” following his May 6 arrest.

Judge Spatt said he was “troubled by [the] repeated use” of Corbin’s photograph with his hands handcuffed behind his back, when there were “numerous photographs” of him available from his 14 years as a lawmaker. But the judge said he lacked the authority to “censor the press in this matter and cannot instruct the press as to what images are newsworthy.”

For Full Story

Ex-U.S. Atty. Christie Easily Wins Republican Primary for N.J. Governor

The ex-U.S. Attorney has a good brand name and is likely to give the incumbent Jon S. Corzine a run for his money. In fact, Christie leads in polls against Corzine. But the race is still young. Would a Republican victory give the Republican party a glimmer of hope after a poor showing at the polls nationally? The party hasn’t had much to celebrate as of late.

By DAVID M. HALBFINGER
New York Times

Christopher J. Christie, a former prosecutor who sent a parade of corrupt New Jersey politicians to prison, handily won the Republican nomination for governor on Tuesday, earning the right to try to dislodge the state’s embattled Democratic incumbent, Jon S. Corzine.

His romp past Steven M. Lonegan, a feisty former mayor, sets the stage for what could be a fierce and expensive confrontation with the wealthy Mr. Corzine, who came to office vowing to rescue the state from financial crisis but has watched his popularity sink to record lows as the recession made matters worse.

“I think he’s a good man, and I think he’s well-intentioned,” Mr. Christie said of Mr. Corzine. “But he is simply wrong for this job.”

For Full Story

Christie’s Campaign Ad