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Archive for January 18th, 2011

Atty. Gen. Holder Announces New Professional Misconduct Review Unit

Eric Holder Jr./ticklethewire.com file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has created a “Professional Misconduct Review Unit” to handle disciplinary actions for career attorneys at the department resulting from Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) investigations.

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr., in announcing the new unit on Tuesday, said it will be headed up by Kevin Ohlson,who has served as Chief of Staff and Counselor to Holder since February 2009.

OPR investigates allegations of professional misconduct involving Department attorneys. The new unit will review OPR findings of reckless professional misconduct and determine whether evidence supports those findings. The United States Attorneys (EOUSA) will still refer findings of “poor judgment or mistake” to the appropriate U.S. Attorney for appropriate action.

“The current procedures for resolving these disciplinary matters consume too much time, and risk inconsistent resolutions, but this new Unit will help change that by providing consistent, fair, and timely resolution of these cases,” Holder said.

“In the vast majority of cases, Department attorneys meet their professional obligations but when allegations of misconduct occur, all parties deserve a fair and timely resolution. This Unit will be instrumental in achieving that goal and will also further the Department’s mission of meeting its ethical obligations in every case.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Woman Pleads to Voluntary Manslaughter in Death of Pitts. FBI Agent Sam Hicks; Gets Nearly 16 Years

Christina Korbe/wtae tv

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A woman pleaded guilty Tuesday morning in federal court in Pittsburgh to voluntary manslaughter and discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence in the fatal  shooting of FBI agent Sam Hicks in 2008, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Under the plea agreement, Christina Korbe was sentenced to 15 years and 10 months in prison, the paper reported, adding that she entered her plea before a standing-room-only courtroom.

Korbe shot and killed Hicks, who along with other law enforcement agents, had come to arrest her husband Robert Korbe, a drug dealer, who is now serving a 25-year prison term.

She had claimed that she shot Hicks, 33, after thinking someone was breaking in the home, and that she wanted to protect her family. Hicks was the first to enter the home.

The Post-Gazette reported that Hick’s widow Brooke Hicks spoke after sentencing, saying:

“The most important thing was she stood up in that courtroom and accepted responsibility for shooting Sam.”She added that she was relieved Korbe can’t appeal, though ” everyone in here would have loved to see her do more time.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Korbe spoke in court and admitted she was wrong. And her family provided to the media a written statement from Kobe, which said:  “To the Hicks family, I am deeply, deeply sorry, more than you’ll ever know.

Slain FBI Agent Sam Hicks/fbi photo

“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about your son, your husband, your father, your brother, your friend, and wish it were me instead of him.”

But she also blamed the FBI tactics for the ordeal.

“I have never denied that I was the one who fired that fateful shot that morning and am taking on that responsibility. I still have not heard the FBI taking any responsibility in all of this because they refuse to accept that their unnecessary actions played an integral part,” she wrote.

She went on to blame the FBI for harassing her family, fabricating evidence and threatening witnesses, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

Az. U.S. Atty. Plans to Try Shooting Case in State

Jared Loughner/pima county sheriff photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke says he wants the prosecution of mass-shooter Jared Loughner to remain in the state.

“For good reason, federal law dictates these offenses be tried in this district,” a Burke spokesman said in a written statement, according to the Arizona Republic “We are moving forward and confident in this course.”

His statement was backed by a Justice Department spokesman in Washington, which contradicted a Washington Post report citing an unnamed federal source as saying it was just a matter of time before it was moved out of state.

U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke

All the federal judges in Arizona recused themselves of the case since Chief U.S. District Judge John Roll was among the six murdered earlier this month.

Loughner is accused of killing six people and wounding 13 including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose appears to improving.

Loughner’s shooting and apparent mental instability have set off a fresh debate over gun control.

Fed Grand Jury in N.C. Probing John Edwards

John Edwards

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It continues to be a bumpy road for once upon a time presidential hopeful John Edwards, who also ran as vice president in 2004.

The Associated Press reports that a federal grand jury in Raleigh, N.C., is investigating whether he violated campaign finance laws and knew about money used to cover up his extra-marital affair and out-of-wedlock baby.

AP reports that investigators are homing in on whether the funds from outside groups used to cover up his affair should have been considered campaign donations.

Edwards’ attorney Wade Smith told AP: “We do not believe there is evidence that John has violated any election laws.”

AP reported that the probe is being led by Raleigh U.S. Attorney George Holding, a George Bush appointee. AP reported that North Carolina’s senators have asked the president to hold off on replacing Holding until the probe is completed.