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Archive for September 9th, 2009

U.S. Marshal Worker’s Job is to Sell Homes like Bernie Madoff’s

She doesn’t hunt fugitives. But she does hunt for buyers. She’s not typical of the people who work for the U.S. Marshals Service.

Madoff's Palm Beach home/pool photo

Madoff's Palm Beach home/pool photo

By Justin Blum
Bloomberg
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Sally Schowalter pauses at the dark wood door to Bernard Madoff’s former home in Palm Beach, Florida, her eyes fixed on a U.S. Marshals Service sticker on the window warning against trespassing.

“It’s intimidating,” she tells her colleagues. “Can we take it off?”

Schowalter works for the Marshals Service, though she doesn’t carry a badge or a gun. Her job entails getting the best price for confiscated real estate such as the Florida house, appraised this year for $7.67 million by Palm Beach County. With the Madoff house, the hazards for those who work with Schowalter can be unusual — including flying dog poop hurled by a disgruntled passerby.

For Full Story

Baltimore Fed Judge Allows Fingerprints, Reversing Ruling that Let Suspected Murderer Go Free

The ruling by the county judge was controversial to say the least. Was it based on sound reason? A federal judge apparently didn’t think so.

fingerprint-smaller-version

By Tricia Bishop
Baltimore Sun reporter
BALTIMORE — Fingerprint evidence from a 2006 murder case will be admissible in federal court, a U.S. district judge in Baltimore ruled Tuesday, rejecting a decision by a Baltimore County judge that shocked prosecutors and set the defendant free.

Brian Keith Rose, 25, is accused of killing Warren Fleming, a Cingular store owner at Security Square Mall, while trying to steal his car.

He was linked to the crime by partial prints left on the Mercedes and a stolen Dodge Intrepid that police say was used by Rose and his accomplices in the January 2006 incident.

For Full Story

FBI And Other Agencies Battle Backlog of DNA Samples

DNA code analysis

It’s great that we have DNA samples to help convict criminals and free the wrongly accused. But it doesn’t help when the DNA samples go untested.

By Emily Witt and Ben Protess
ProPublica

At least 350,000 DNA samples from murder and rape cases remain untested, according to the federal government’s best estimates.

The story behind the DNA sample backlog – and the uptick in sample collection that is partially responsible – is one that we’ve been exploring for months, with investigations published in partnership with Politico, the Los Angeles Times and the Huffington Post Investigative Fund.

There’s no one cause for the surge in untested samples. But in May we detailed how much of it can be traced to new federal and state laws requiring DNA samples from people convicted of – or simply arrested for – nonviolent crimes, including shoplifting.

Read more »

Legal Secretary Used Law Firm Amex Credit Card For Male Exotic Dancer Business

Jarriette Richie’s little company could have benefited from a lot of publicity. Unfortunately, not this kind. Where she’s headed next, there’s probably plenty women who would be interested in her services. Unfortunately, there won’t be any male exotic dancers in site, just burly dudes that answer to the name “guard”.

amex

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A legal secretary is accused of using a law firm’s corporate credit card to help finance an excursion to Puerto Rico for a side business that specialized in entertaining women with male exotic dancers.

Jarriette Richie, 41 of Clinton was charged last week in the District’s federal court with fraud. She was released on personal recognizance. In court papers, an investigator with the District’s U.S. attorney’s office wrote that Richie worked as a legal secretary for Saul Ewing in Northwest Washington.

She also ran a side business, Show N Tell Entertainment, out of her home, providing “male performers exclusively for female audiences,” investigator Diane Eickman wrote in court papers.

For Full Story

Read Complaint and Affidavit

Ex-Gov. Blago’s Fundraiser Christopher Kelly Pleads Guilty

This case has tentacles. By the time former Gov. Blagojevich goes to trial, the government will have a host of witnesses who have pleaded guilty and are working off some time from their sentence. Not good for the ex-Gov.

Chicago

BY NATASHA KORECKI
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO –– On the same day Rod Blagojevich launched a media blitz to promote his new book, one of the biggest players in his ongoing criminal saga pleaded guilty in federal court and agreed to turn himself into jail by next week.

Christopher Kelly, a longtime friend, adviser and fund-raiser to the ex-governor, pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme involving contracts at O’Hare Airport and Kelly’s roofing company, BCI Commercial Roofing, Inc. By doing so, he evades a trial that was scheduled to begin Wednesday.

For Full Story

Washington Post Editorial: Eric Holder Must Carefully Rebuild Justice Dept. Civil Rights Division

A.G. Eric Holder

A.G. Eric Holder

By The Washington Post
Editorial Page
WASHINGTON — NO PART OF the Justice Department was more harmed by partisan politics during the Bush administration than the Civil Rights Division. Political litmus tests were inappropriately and illegally applied in hiring career and nonpolitical posts. (“Libs” and “pinkos” need not apply.)

Department leaders de-emphasized and at times discouraged litigation in areas that had been central to the division’s mission, including voting rights, housing and employment discrimination.

They often shunned cases against police departments and other institutions engaged in a “pattern or practice” of discrimination. Morale plummeted, leading to a mass exodus that sapped the division of skilled lawyers and institutional memory.

To Read More

FBI Sees al Qaeda Networks Popping Up in Places Like Yemen

The FBI and other agencies are learning that trying to remove al Qaeda in one or two countries won’t destroy the movement. It’s one thing to kill people, it’s another to kill a movement.

yemen-map

By Kevin Johnson
USA Today
WASHINGTON — In the eight years since the 9/11 attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller has spent nearly the entire time focused on one enemy: al-Qaeda.

Thousands of terrorist operatives have been killed or captured. Terrorist safe havens and training grounds in Afghanistan where operatives were trained have been destroyed.

Military forces largely have shattered al-Qaeda’s leadership in Iraq. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden and top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, who once closely managed al-Qaeda’s day-to-day operations, have been driven into seclusion.

Now, Mueller and counterterrorism analysts are tracking the emergence of a new threat. Al-Qaeda has morphed into a fractured network of small terrorist franchises strewn across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

For Full Story