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Archive for September 13th, 2010

FBI Stats Show Violent Crime Down for 3 Years in Row

crime 2009By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Despite a sour economy and disturbingly high unemployment, property crime dropped in 2009 for the seventh year in a row, according to FBI statistics released today. Violent crime also declined for the third consecutive year.

The FBI statistics show the murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate dropped by 7.3 percent from 2009 compared to 2008 and robberies slipped by 8 percent. Aggravated assaults dipped 4.2 percent, and rape dropped by 2.6 percent.

The FBI said there were an estimated 1.3 million violent crimes reported in 2009 and 9.3 million property crimes.

Criminologist Lawrence Kobilinsky, chairman of the Department of Sciences at New York’s John Jay College, credits the drop to improved police methods, including use of DNA and crime databases to solve burglaries and similar crimes that are often perpetrated by people who “commit 10, 20, 30 burglaries before they’re caught.”

To read more click here.

Underwear Bomber Hints He Might Plead Guilty; Also Fires his Attorneys

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The so-called “underwear bomber” who allegedly tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane showed up in chains today in a federal courtroom in Detroit and hinted that he might want to plead guilty to some charges, according to newspaper reports.

Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 24, also fired his court-appointed attorneys, saying they weren’t representing his best interests, the reports said. He will now represent himself.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds asked Abdulmutallab a series of questions to which he responded “yes, I understand,” according to the Detroit Free Press. She told him he was making an unwise decision but said she would appoint standby lawyers if necessary, the Free Press reported.

“In my opinion, you would be far better defended by a trained lawyer then by yourself,” Edmunds told Abdulmutallab.

To read more click here.

Homeland Security to Test Improved Eye Scanners

Beauty female eye with curl long false eyelashesBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Futuristic law enforcement equipment  keeps improving.

The latest: Improvements in iris scan technology that can read people’s eyes to identify them, USA Today reports.

It’s considered a quicker alternative to  fingerprinting.

USA Today reports that the Department of Homeland Security will run a two-week test in October of commercially sold iris scanners at a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas. It will be used on illegal immigrants.

The previous generation of eye scanners had to capture images from just a few inches away. But USA Today reports that the new ones can capture images from six feet away.

The ACLU has concerns.

lawyer Christopher Calabrese fears that the cameras could be used covertly. “If you can identify any individual at a distance and without their knowledge, you literally allow the physical tracking of a person anywhere there’s a camera and access to the Internet,” ACLU lawyer Christopher Calabrese told USA Today.

Underwear Bomber Due in Court; His Attys Try to Get Plea Deal

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The infamous underwear bomber who tried blowing up a plane arriving in Detroit on Christmas day last year is due in court Monday, the Associated Press reported.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria is expected to appear before U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in downtown Detroit, AP reported. She’s expected to set a trial date.

AP reported that defense lawyers filed a court papers last week saying they had talked to prosecutors on “multiple occasions” about a possible plea agreement. The U.S. attorney’s office has declined to comment, AP reported.

“Making a plea deal would send the wrong message. … They have enough evidence to put Mr. Abdulmutallab in prison for life,” Shama Chopra, who was on the plane, and husband Ray Chopra of Montreal said in an e-mail, according to AP.

To read more click here.

Mexican Marines Capture Drug Kingpin “El Grande”

mexico-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Amid the seemingly endless stream of depressing news out of Mexico involving violence and drugs comes a little bit of good news.

The Associated Press reports that Mexican Marines in the central state of Puebla on Sunday captured Sergio Villarreal Barragan, leader of the embattled Beltran Leyva drug cartel. Known as “El Grande”, he was on the country’s most-wanted fugitives list.

AP reports that he was captured with two accomplices. The raid involved 30 Navy marines, five vehicles and a helicopter.

“This is a new and resounding blow by the federal government against crime, given the high rank and dangerousness of this person inside one of the country’s most extensive criminal organizations which has been deeply weakened,” government security spokesman Alejandro Poire said in a statement, according to AP.

To read more click here.

Washington Post Editorial: U.S. Guns Going to Mexico is “Scandalous”

drug war-gunBy The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — SECRETARY OF STATE Hillary Rodham Clinton caused a stir last week by suggesting that Mexico’s drug-trafficking gangs were beginning to resemble an insurgency, like that which has plagued Colombia.

She’s right in the sense that the cartels have come to effectively control parts of the country, where they “attempt to replace the state,” as Mexican President Felipe Calderón put it last month. Like most insurgencies, the Mexican drug armies also have an external source of funding and weapons. Shamefully, that is the United States.

A new report details the abundance of U.S. weapons delivered to the cartels — and the inadequacy of U.S. efforts to stop the illegal trafficking.

According to authors Colby Goodman and Michel Marizco, at least 62,800 of the more than 80,000 firearms confiscated by Mexican authorities from December 2006 to February 2010 came from the United States. Guns are being smuggled across the border at a rate of up to 5,000 per year. The top two varieties are assault rifles: Romanian-made AK47s and clones of the Bushmaster AR-15.

To read more click here.

9 Ex-DEA Officials Ask Justice Dept. to Challenge Legalization of Marijuana in Calif.

marijuana-umledu2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nine former DEA administrators have fired off a letter to Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. asking that he step in if Californians in November vote to legalize marijuana, the Associated Press reports.

AP reports that the administrators wrote an Aug. 24 letter to Holder asking that he file a lawsuit challenging the legalization if voters approve Proposition 19.

The letter says that legalization of marijuana would challenge federal authority, AP reported. The administrators said the lawsuit would be similar to one the administration filed in Arizona involving immigrants.

“We would expect the Department of Justice to act just as swiftly and for the same reason,” the letter said, according to AP.

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