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Archive for June 13th, 2012

Method to Track Firearms Stalled by Foes

By ERICA GOODE
New York Times

Identifying the firearm used in a crime is one of the biggest challenges for criminal investigators. But what if a shell casing picked up at a murder scene could immediately be tracked to the gun that fired it?

A technique that uses laser technology and stamps a numeric code on shell casings can do just that. But the technology, called microstamping, has been swept up in the larger national debate over gun laws and Second Amendment rights, and efforts to require gun makers to use it have stalled across the nation.

“I think it is one of these things in law enforcement that would just take us from the Stone Age to the jet age in an instant,” said Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III of the Baltimore Police Department. “I just can’t comprehend the opposition to it.”

To read the full story click here.

NY Mobster Henry Hill Dead at 69; Life Was Basis For Movie Goodfellas

Henry Hill on 60 Minutes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The legendary New York mobster Henry Hill who turned government informant, and whose life was the basis for the classic movie Goodfellas, died Tuesday in California. He was 69.

Philadelphia Inquirer mob writer George Anastasia wrote:

 More than any other mob figure in the late 20th century, Hill changed both the perception and the reality of Mafia life in America. His story, first told in the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, laid bare the treachery and deceit that was at the core of the underworld.

Honor and loyalty, the virtues celebrated in popular fiction like The Godfather, were not part of the life that Hill and his associates lived. Hill began cooperating in 1980 and after testifying at a number of trials, disappeared into the Witness Security Program where he and his wife lived for nearly a decade in fear of mob retribution.

To read more click here.

 

Justice Drops Remaining 5 Charges Against John Edwards

Edwards after the trial/ from NBC newscast

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The case was suspect from the beginning, and when the verdict came back — one not guilty and five deadlocked votes — it seemed doom to go away with a whimper.

So on Wednesday, the Justice Department announced it was not going to retry presidential hopeful John Edwards on the  outstanding campaign violation charges.

“We knew that this case — like all campaign finance cases — would be challenging,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement. “But it is our duty to bring hard cases when we believe that the facts and the law support charging a candidate for high office with a crime.”

The Washington Post reported that several Justice officials said the department concluded it was not worth pursuing anymore and expending resources.

 

 

 

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Illinois Village Halts Feds Plans to Build Immigration Detention Center

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A village in Illinois delivered a blow to federal officials who wanted to build an immigration detention center there, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Without public support, Crete village trustees voted unanimously against the facility, which was to be medium-security and provide jobs.

Residents wanted none of it, saying the facility would hurt property values and pose a security risk.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights led a march from Chicago to Crete to protest the facility in April.

It remains unclear how federal authorities will proceed with plans to build a detention center in the Chicago area.

No Regrets for Mobster’s Girlfriend Who Lands 8 Years in Prison

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The long-time girlfriend of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger showed little remorse before she was sentenced Tuesday in Boston federal court to eight years in prison, the Boston Herald reports.

Catherine Greig said she had “no regrets” about helping the crime lord evade a worldwide manhunt for 16 years, according to the Boston Herald.

The 82-year-old Bulger, the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang, is expected to go on trial in November on charges he participated in 19 murders.

Prosecutors, who sought 10 years of imprisonment in the case against Greig, said Greig and Bulger preyed on the homeless and mentally ill as well as alcoholics and drug addicts, stealing their identities in an attempt to evade authorities.

Greig had pleaded guilty to harboring a federal fugitive, conspiracy and identity fraud.

Her attorney, Evin Reddington, said he expects Greig to be released from prison in about five years, according to the Boston Herald.

Feds Continue Crackdowns on Pot Dispensaries in California

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com
 

The continuing clash between state and federal officials over how to handle medicinal pot in states that legalized it arrived in Sacramento again with a raid on a dispensary, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Although the Obama administration pledged to respect state laws on medicinal marijuana, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency executed a search warrant on the El Camino Wellness Center.

Four U.S. attorneys announced a crackdown in October on marijuana operations in California, saying medical pot operations were “hijacked by profiteers,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

Since then, federal authorities have conducted raids from Los Angeles to Oakland.

Medical pot advocates accuse the federal government of trampling on state marijuana laws that allow sick and injured people to obtain the drug for relief.

Cable Companies Probed for limits on Online Video

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has launched an anti-trust investigation into whether cable companies are acting improperly to hurt competition from online video, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Justice Department officials have talked to cable companies such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable about setting data caps and limiting how much a subscriber can download a month, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Access to cheaper online video has hurt cable companies that offer more expensive cable TV packages in what is known in the industry as “cord cutting.”

The probe is shaking a tightly regulated industry and could change the future of new online video services.