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Archive for May 10th, 2010

Ex-Mexican Gov. Extradited to U.S. For Taking Bribes From Drug Cartel and Laundering $19 Mil Through Lehman Brothers Accounts

Mexico border map
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The ex-Governor from the Mexican state of Quintana Roo was extradited to the U.S. on charges of accepting million of dollars in bribes to help the violent Juarez Cartel dump tons of cocaine into the U.S. , and of laundering $19 million in drug proceeds through Lehman Brothers accounts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Authorities said Monday that Mexico turned over ex-Gov. Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid to DEA agents and U.S. Marshals deputies. He was flown DEA Air Wing jet to White Plains, N.Y. whee he arrived late Sunday.

Villanueva Madrid’s opportunity to get filthy rich came in 1994, when the notorious Juarez Cartel started operating out of the state of Quintana Roo, of which he was governor. The state includes Cancun, a popular international tourist spot.

Authorities say Juarez Cartel speed boats with armed crews would meet Colombian speedboats off the Atlantic coast of Central America. The Colombian boats normally carried one to three tons of cocaine that were then offloaded unto the Mexican boats, authorities said.

Read more »

FBI Report: More Law Enforcement Officers Died in Line of Fire in 2009

national police week patch

national police week patch

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

From three Pittsburgh cops gunned down in one day to a U.S. border patrol agent ambushed by Mexican teens, the year 2009 was an especially deadly one for local and federal law enforcement, according to the FBI.

In its preliminary report, the FBI found a 17 percent jump in the number of officers “feloniously killed” in the line of duty in 2009, comparing the toll of 48 with the previous year’s 41. Additionally, 47 officers were accidentally killed in 2009, or 21 fewer than the year before.

Of the officers feloniously or criminally killed last year, 15 died in ambush situations and nine died during an arrest, the report said. On top of that, eight died during traffic stops or pursuits, five died while responding to disturbance calls, four while investigating suspicious activities, one while dealing with a person with mental illness, two while transporting prisoners and four in other situations.

To read more click here.

Let the Games Begin: President Officially Nominates Solicitor Gen. Elena Kagan for Supreme Court

kagan cnnBy Allan Lengel
ticklethe wire.com

Let the games begin.

With the smiling nominee flanked to his left, and his vice president to his right, President Obama on Monday morning announced the nomination of Solicitor General Elana Kagan for the Supreme Court.

Heaping superlatives upon superlatives, he called her a “superb” Solicitor General and said she embodies excellence and integrity.

She was the first woman to head up the Harvard Law School and the first female Solicitor General. It would be the first time in history three women were serving on the Supreme Court.

Some Republicans are anxious to grill her and scruitinize her liberal credentials.

So if you can’t afford to go on vacation in the earlier part of the summer, there should be plenty entertainment on C-Span as the hearings on her confirmation kick into high gear.

Kagan said she was honored to fill the seat of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who is retiring. She said she was sad her parents were not around to share her joy.

Off-Duty Hawaii FBI Agent Shoots and Wounds Armed Man

honolulu map2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An off-duty FBI agent shot and wounded a 27-year-old man in Honululu on Sunday around 1 p.m., the Honolulu Advertiser reported. The man was out on bail after posing as a cop on a college campus.

The paper reported that Martin Boegel, 27, of Makiki, was brandishing a gun outside his car. Two people flagged down a 31-year-old man who happened to be the FBI agent.

The agent told Boegel to put down his gun, the paper reporter. He refused and started walking toward the agent who shot him, the paper said.

The FBI is investigating the matter.

Miranda Warning Works Just Fine in Terrorist Cases

Attorney General Holder’s approval rating dropped about as quickly as the Dow Jones did last Thursday when he told Congress in March of this year that he predicted that “we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden.”

Perhaps recognizing that his inartful comment only served to confuse his supporters and outrage his detractors, he tried again in April when he told Congress that the evidence against Bin Laden was “sufficient” enough that, assuming he were captured, any additional statements by him would not be necessary. I may be among the minority of Americans (whether a supporter or a detractor) who believes AG Holder’s initial statement was better than his clarification.

When Miranda v. Arizona was argued before the Supreme Court in 1966, the government warned the Court that the required use of procedural safeguards “effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination” would more or less result in the end of successful interrogations.

In other words, once an accused were informed that he had, say, the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during interrogations, the accused would naturally invoke those rights and a confession would rarely, if ever, follow.

Most people involved in the criminal justice system would disagree with this dire forecast and confirm that it is extremely common for an accused to waive his rights. (Of course, there are exceptions: Miranda himself was eventually killed in a knife fight in 1976 by a suspect who, ironically, invoked his Miranda rights.)

While acknowledging that the image of a soldier reading a captured terrorist his rights seems both unnecessary and burdensome (it’s also a little far-fetched: more likely, it would be an FBI agent administering those warnings), we have to ask the obvious question: what’s the harm in advising a terrorist of his rights? Whether a terrorist is tried in a military commission or the criminal justice system, a statement—if it is going to become evidence—has to be admissible.

In order to be admissible in a civilian court, it must be voluntary and, if made during a custodial interrogation, must be made after the knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of the Miranda warnings.

In order to be admissible under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the military judge must find by a preponderance of the evidence, depending on the date of the statement, that (A) the totality of the circumstances renders the statement reliable and possessing sufficient probative value; and (B) the interests of justice would best be served by admission of the statement into; and (C) the interrogation methods used to obtain the statement do not amount to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. A simple waiver of the Miranda warnings would seemingly contribute to the analysis under all three prongs.

Critics argue that if a terrorist invokes his rights, the government would lose valuable intelligence and present a weaker case in court than it would have otherwise. This is nonsense.

First, a terrorist who invokes his rights is not likely someone who was going to willingly provide intelligence in the first place. Second, an invocation by an alleged terrorist of his Miranda warnings would not necessarily result in the suppression of a statement, assuming one is eventually obtained. More to the point, which would by my third, even if a suspected terrorist invokes his rights, there seems to be nothing that would prevent intelligence officers from taking necessary steps to obtain information from the suspect. The only downside would be that such statements may not be admissible in court.

So far, this policy of reading an accused his rights has worked. On Christmas Day in 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to detonate explosives in his underwear on a Northwest flight en route from Amsterdam to Michigan.

His plot failed, he was arrested and was read his Miranda warnings. He waived those rights and is reportedly cooperating with law enforcement officials. More recently, Faisal Shahzad was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Times Square car bomb scheme. He too waived his rights and is apparently cooperating with authorities.

Yesterday, the Attorney General told David Gregory on “Meet the Press” that law enforcement officials, prior to reading Shahzad his rights, relied on the “public safety exception” to obtain information from Shahzad. It was also used in Abdulmutallab’s case. This exception allows officials to forgo the requirement that Miranda warnings be given before questioning if there are exigent circumstances which require protection of the public. Curiously, Holder then said that “we have to think about– perhaps modifying– the rules that– interrogators have.

And somehow coming up with something that is flexible and is more consistent with the threat that we now face.” The fact that the exception has been successfully relied upon in these two most recent cases seems to be strong evidence that the current exception is indeed flexible. In other words, there is no need for Congressional action to add something for which the law already provides.

Column: Former Assist. U.S. Atty. Says Miranda Warning Works Just Fine In Terrorist Cases

Steven Levin was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Maryland and North Carolina for 10 years before forming a law firm Levin & Gallagher.  He had previously  served on active duty for seven years in the United States Army as a defense counsel, an appellate attorney  and a trial attorney.  He is the co-author of a blog on white collar crime called Fraud With Peril.

Steve Levin

Steve Levin

By Steven Levin

Attorney General Holder’s approval rating dropped about as quickly as the Dow Jones did last Thursday when he told Congress in March of this year that he predicted that “we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden.”

Perhaps recognizing that his inartful comment only served to confuse his supporters and outrage his detractors, he tried again in April when he told Congress that the evidence against Bin Laden was “sufficient” enough that, assuming he were captured, any additional statements by him would not be necessary. I may be among the minority of Americans (whether a supporter or a detractor) who believes AG Holder’s initial statement was better than his clarification.

When Miranda v. Arizona was argued before the Supreme Court in 1966, the government warned the Court that the required use of procedural safeguards “effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination” would more or less result in the end of successful interrogations.

In other words, once an accused were informed that he had, say, the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during interrogations, the accused would naturally invoke those rights and a confession would rarely, if ever, follow.

Most people involved in the criminal justice system would disagree with this dire forecast and confirm that it is extremely common for an accused to waive his rights. (Of course, there are exceptions: Miranda himself was eventually killed in a knife fight in 1976 by a suspect who, ironically, invoked his Miranda rights.)

Read more »

Pakistani Taliban Directed NY Car Bomber to Use Cash to Hide Trail

cash2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The failed N.Y. car bomber Faisal Shahzad was told by the Pakistani Taliban to pay cash for everything to avoid leaving a trail, the Los Angles Times is reporting.

“He paid cash for his gun and he paid cash for the van he acquired,” a source told the Times. “He was told to be very careful about not letting anything track back to him. No receipts, and no paper. No nothing.”

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit and said the Pakistani Taliban was intimately involved in the plot.

“We’ve now developed evidence that shows that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack,” Holder said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We know that they helped facilitate it. We know that they probably helped finance it. And that he was working at their direction.”

To read more click here.

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