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Archive for September 11th, 2013

Column: The Michigan Parole Board’s Crime Against “White Boy Rick”


Richard "White Boy Rick" Wershe Jr. as a teen and now.

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT –– The criminal case against Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe Jr. played out during the late 1980s, when he was a teenager and the drug-trade  in Detroit was so high-profile that some dealers were household names. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking.

Today, 26 years later, another crime is being committed, this time by the Michigan Parole Board: It’s keeping Wershe behind bars. No Boy Scout on the streets, Wershe trafficked cocaine. But 26 years in prison? That’s more than sufficient punishment, and more to the point, gravely unjust for someone convicted as a teen. Even a recent Supreme Court ruling surprisingly showed compassion for teens who commit murder, something Wershe has never been accused of.

For years now, FBI agents and federal prosecutors — and even Kid Rock — have pushed for Wershe’s release. They have stepped forward because Wershe, now 44, helped the feds put away plenty dope dealers, and played a critical role in setting up a sting in the early 1990s that nabbed crooked Detroit and suburban cops, along with Mayor Coleman Young’s common-law brother-in-law, Willie Volsan.

But some local law enforcement types — including some who really had no clue as to Wershe’s activities on the streets– came to his parole hearing in 2003 and successfully torpedoed his chance for freedom, painting him as a far bigger player in the dope game than he actually was, and blaming him for playing a major role in destroying the moral fabric of Detroit. One of the Detroit detectives who testified against Wershe was later charged with drug trafficking and mortgage fraud.

“I think it’s ridiculous what we’ve done,” Robert S. Aguirre, a former member of the state parole board, said of Wershe’s 2 1/2 decades of imprisonment. “It’s wrong.”

Aguirre is the latest to join in the “Free Wershe” campaign. He served on the state parole board from 2009 to 2011 and previously worked as a Flint cop and Genesee County sheriff’s deputy, then ran a community corrections program in Lapeer County.

While sitting on the parole board, Aguirre took an interest in the Wershe case and pushed for a parole hearing. But he wasn’t able to muster up enough votes to get one. He said Wershe’s reputation had far surpassed reality, and that hurt him

He says “White Boy Rick” was “synonymous with everything bad in the mid-1980s.

“He was just a kid,” Aguirre said.

Gregg Schwarz, a retired FBI agent who worked Detroit drug cases in the 1980s and has been pushing for years for Wershe’s release, echoes similar sentiments: “This is a kid who tried to become a big deal but he never made it. He didn’t have anyone working for him.

“Now the parole board says he might still be a danger to society. Based on what? Was he ever arrested with a gun? No. Did he ever kill anybody? No. Did he ever assist the FBI and other local agencies? Yes.”

To read the full story click here.

 

FBI Director James Comey Added to Revised NSA Surveillance Lawsuit

James Comey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A lawsuit alleging that the National Security Agency violated the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens now includes claims against new FBI Director James Comey, Bloomberg reports.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the original lawsuit in July, alleges the NSA, with the help of the Justice Department and FBI, surreptitiously collected information about “all telephone calls transiting the networks of all major telecommunication companies.”

Comey was added to the suit as a defendant.

The DOJ declined to comment on the amended complaint.

The lawsuit, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. National Security Agency, was filed in federal court in San Francisco.

FBI Agent Who Lectured Sports Teams about Drugs Dies at 67

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

James A. McIntosh was not just any lecturer.

The 6-foot-7 FBI agent was a basketball standout at Villanova University and considered a role model for many of the younger athletes he spoke to about the evils of drugs, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

McIntosh died on June 29 after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 67.

McIntosh also held drug seminars for pro and college athletes, meeting with almost every team in the NFL and NBA.

McIntosh spent most of his career with the FBI working with the Philadelphia division, the Daily News reported.

FBI Agent Who Ran Sex Crimes Task Force Accused of Abusing His Authority

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who operated a sex crimes task force in Georgia is accused of using his position to get out of at least three drunken driving investigations, CBS in Atlanta reports.

Ken Hillman, who ran the northwest Georgia Crimes Against Children Task Force, abused his authority while being pulled over on suspicions of DUI, according to defense attorney McCracken Poston, who represents some of the child abuse suspects.

Poston showed a dash cam video as evidence.

“Because of his badge and his connections he got out of at least three instances when he should have been investigated for driving under the influence. Maybe more,” Poston told CBS in Atlanta.

Senate Panel Explores Effectiveness of Homeland Security Department on Sept. 11 Anniversary

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

How prepared is Homeland Security to handle terrorism threats?

On the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a Senate panel will ask that question as it examines the department and interviews former lawmakers and past DHS officials, including the first Homeland Security secretary, Tom Ridge, the Washington Post reports.

The panel plans to review issues ranging from cybersecurity to disaster preparedness.

DHS was created by President Bush and Congress in 2003 in response to the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks.

Co-Chairmen of 9/11 Commission: U.S. Needs to Improve Oversight of Homeland Security

Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton
New York Times Op-Ed
 
No single event in the last half-century has had a greater effect on American national security policy than the terrorist attacks that occurred 12 years ago today. When we co-chaired the 9/11 Commission, which was set up in 2002 and issued its report on the attacks in 2004, we investigated the failures that left our country vulnerable and recommended 41 actions to correct them and strengthen our national security.

Nine years after the 9/11 Commission made its case, our country is still not as safe as it could and should be. Though the vast majority of our recommendations have been followed, at least in part, Congress has not acted on one of our major proposals: to streamline the way it oversees homeland security.

In a cumbersome legacy of the pre-9/11 era, Congress oversees the Department of Homeland Security with a welter of overlapping committees and competing legislative proposals. The department was created in 2002 out of 22 agencies and departments. More than 100 congressional committees and subcommittees currently claim jurisdiction over it. This patchwork system of supervision results in near-paralysis and a lack of real accountability.

To read more click here.

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