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Archive for December 5th, 2013

Underwear Bomber Hasn’t Given Up on Going Free

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — The Nigerian man known as the “Underwear Bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, hasn’t given up the fight to go free.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Thursday heard arguments from his lawyer Travis Rossman, who wants his client’s guilty plea tossed. He wants him to undergo a competency hearing, according to the Associated Press.. He also argued that the punishment — multiple life sentences — was far too harsh considering the only person injured on the Christmas Day flight in 2009 was his 26-year-old client.

The prosecution, as expected, disagreed.

In a court filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel wrote:

Abdulmutallab’s four life sentences did not violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The magnitude of his crimes—seeking to kill 289 people on behalf of a violent terrorist organization; his complete lack of remorse, which actually is pride in his mission; and his future dangerousness, make the … life sentences proportional to the crimes. The defendant’s sentences were substantively reasonable for the same reasons.

FBI Agents Association: Looming Cuts Will Make It More Difficult to Fight Crime, Terrorism

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Budget cuts are going to have a big impact on the FBI’s ability to fight crime and terrorism, according to a group that represents 12,000 active and former special agents, Govexec.com reports.

The FBI Agents Association warned at a press conference Wednesday of the effects of looming furloughs, an ongoing hiring freeze and cuts in training.

The group, for example, said the sequestration is likely to force agents to take between 10 and 15 days of furloughs.

“Terrorists don’t get furloughed,” Tariche said. “Cyber hackers don’t get furloughed. Gang leaders are not furloughed and it’s not an acceptable thing to furlough active FBI agents because of the risks posed from both terrorist and criminal threats.”

Man Arrested for Hurling Suspicious Object at White House

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A man was arrested after he was spotted throwing a suspicious object at the White House, the New York Daily News reports.

The suspect was arrested soon after he threw the object over the White House’s north fence line at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

A closer examination found that the object was “not a dangerous item,” a Secret Service spokesman said.

No one was injured.

Opinion: Border Buildup Along Canadian Border Is Excessive

Tom Dennis
Grand Forks Herald

Helping local law enforcement is all well and good.

But that’s not why the United States beefed up the Border Patrol along the Canadian border to 10 times its pre-Sept. 11 size, an expansion.

Instead, that expansion from Maine to Washington was done for one and only one reason — the same reason why people now need passports to cross the border; the same reason why trade between the two countries remains impaired.

The reason was to better prevent terrorists from crossing the border.

How goes that struggle?

That’s the question Americans should be asking, because lots of money is being spent and manpower is being deployed based on what Washington thinks is the answer.

To read more click here.

Report: Just 3% of Drug Defendants in Federal Cases Chose Trial Over Guilty Plea

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A tiny fraction of drug defendants in federal cases chose to go to trial instead of pleading guilty.

A new report from Human Rights Watch indicates that just 3% of defendants charged with drugs choose to go to trial, the Huffington Post reports.

The reason: The excessive penalties for drugs, according to the report.

“Prosecutors can say, ‘Take these 10 years or, if you get a trial and are convicted, you’re going to look at life,’” said Fellner, an attorney who specializes in criminal justice issues at Human Rights Watch. “That’s a pretty amazing power that unfortunately they are more than willing to wield.”

In effect, defendants feel forced to plead guilty in plea agreements to avoid lengthy prison sentence, whether they’re guilty or not.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

ATF Agent Blasts Handling of Botched ‘Fast and Furious’


Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

John Dodson said he’s barely hanging onto his job.

The ATF agent blew the whistle on the botched gun trafficking scheme, “Fast and Furious,” and is the author of “The Unarmed Truth: My Fight to Blow the Whistle And Expose Fast and Furious.”

Dodson said not enough people were held accountable.

“Nobody’s ever explained where this started from, who thought this was a good idea, and how no one’s been held accountable for it.”

For more on his story, click on the video above.