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Archive for January, 2015

Second Mistrial Declared in Trial of Ex-FBI Agent Charged With Fatally Shooting Wife

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For the second time, a mistrial has been declared in the trial in Stafford County, Va., of former FBI special agent Arthur B. Gonzales who was charged with killing his wife, the Free-Lance Star reported.

Judge Sarah Deneke declared a mistrial Friday afternoon in Stafford Circuit Court after the jury had sent her a third note indicating they were hopelessly deadlocked.

Gonzales, 43, was charged in the shooting death in 2013 of his estranged wife, Julie Serna Gonzales, 42, who was shot four times in the chest

Gonzales claims he acted in self-defense after his wife came after him with a knife.

The prosecution said Friday it would go for a third trial.

 

 

 

Legendary Tony Bertoni, Retired U.S. Marshal and Former Detroit Cop, Dies at 95

Tony Bertoni

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Anthony (Tony) Bertoni, a legendary law man both at the Detroit Police Department and as United States Marshal, died this past Sunday at the age of 95.

The Bertoni family grew up on the eastside of Detroit during the difficult years of post World War I and the Depression. Like many bright and capable young Irish Catholics of his day, Tony became a policeman in the Detroit Police Department. He was a courageous young officer who also had great people skills. He was well known for being able to solve problems for the people on his beat and precinct. His career was filled with awards and commendations for bravery and service.

His work ethic and recognized ability moved him steadily up through the ranks to the positions of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Inspector, Precinct Commander, and finally as Superintendant of the Department from 1973 to 1975.

In 1978 he was selected by President Carter to be the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Michigan and was confirmed unanimously by the U. S. Senate. His selection was supported on a non-partisan basis as evidenced by his re-appointment for two terms by President Reagan. He served until 1990.

There were limited working ties between City and federal law enforcement systems at the time of his appointment, especially above the street level. One of his many accomplishments was to help bridge this gap and encourage cooperation, joint task forces, and constructive dialogue at the management and command level.

Tony quickly became the dean of the federal law enforcement leadership community. He helped U. S. Attorney Jim Robinson establish a Federal Law Enforcement Council, which met monthly to discuss common problems and resolve differences. He also was one of the first to help plan and participate in the Great Lakes Division of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

At these and other forums, when Tony talked everyone listened, His counsel was pragmatic, never argumentative of self-aggrandizing, but always with generous common sense and a full understanding of the concerns of everyone involved.

One of his many attributes was a genuine respect for all with whom he came in contact, from the newest Deputy Marshal to every member of the federal bench. You never heard an unkind or critical word about Marshal Bertoni.

In some ways Tony stood for old fashioned morality and values. Ethics and principles were paramount to him, and he had little sympathy for those who had betrayed the public trust or were habitual slackers. Loyalty, hard work, dedication to the positive goals of his various endeavors—these were the unquestioned values in his public service.

But he also recognized the need to overcome historical inequities in law enforcement and to promote progress and more modern methods. Having lived through the events of the summer of 1967 in Detroit as a District Inspector, he supported the advancement of qualified African American officers and deputies.

Likewise, although always the chivalrous gentleman, he was as gender neutral on the job as the most progressive law enforcement managers of his generation. Female AUSAs in particular seemed to like to work with him. Of course, he was the best looking guy in the U. S. Courthouse.

Tony wasn’t all about work. Most of all, he loved his wife, Frances, and his large family of 6 children, 12 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren. Like all patriarchs, he fretted over their struggles and was proud of their accomplishments. He was an excellent fisherman and a day on the lake with a family member was a joy to him.

He also was a man of quiet faith and a proud Italian American, who enjoyed talking about their many accomplishments in helping to build the City of Detroit.

For the rest of us, nothing was more enjoyable than eating a slow lunch at Roma’s Café with him. It was common for politicians, businesspeople, and beat cops to stop at his table, pay their respects and share a story or two about the old days. But the best storyteller was always Tony, who had an encyclopedic memory of the people and events in Detroit during the 20th Century. The stories were an oral history of the City, always fun and illuminating. One left these lunches reluctantly but with the feeling that you had chosen right to be part of the law enforcement fraternity with someone like Tony.

It is fitting that Tony’s long and well lived life extended into 2015, the bicentennial year of the first U. S. Marshal in the Michigan Territory, Thomas Roland, appointed in 1815 by President Madison.

Tony Bertoni would have been a lion in any generation. We are so fortunate that he chose ours. He was the epitome of the best in law enforcement, the best counselor and the best friend.

 

Weekend Series on Crime: Russian Prison Tattoos

Federal Judge Suspects ATF Attorneys of Fraud in Lawsuit Involving Ex-Agent Jay Dobyns

Jay Dobyns/his website

By Paul Giblin
The Republic

A federal judge suspects that seven attorneys representing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives committed fraud in the case of a retired federal agent who infiltrated the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in Arizona.

Court of Federal Claims Judge Francis Allegra banned the attorneys from filing documents in his court, and he ordered additional hearings to investigate the attorneys’ actions, essentially creating a trial within a trial.

The accusations are spelled out in newly unsealed court documents in the case involving former federal agent Jay Dobyns, a onetime University of Arizona football star who sued the ATF for improperly handling threats against him following his undercover stint with the Hells Angels.

The judge previously ruled in Dobyns’ favor, but withdrew his own decision after learning about the ATF attorneys’ conduct.

To read more click here. 

Secret Service Unable to Make Reforms, Hire New Agents Because of Budget Impasse

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Congressional dispute over Homeland Security’s budget means the Secret Service cannot hire new agents or reform the beleaguered agency until the impasse is over, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, Reuters reports.

Johnson expressed deep concerns about the impasse, saying a lot is at stake – the security of borders, airports and coastal waters.

The agency’s spending authority ends Feb. 27, and Republicans are showing no signs of backing down until they block President Obama’s executive orders that would protect about 5 million undocumented immigrants already in the U.S.

“This means we cannot invest in the things the independent panel recommended to improve the Secret Service; we cannot hire new Secret Service agents for the coming presidential election cycle,” Johnson said of the budget uncertainty.

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-D.C. Cab Driver Lands on FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Washington D.C. cab driver accused of providing material support to a group linked to al Qaeda has landed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, CNN reports.

A $50,000 reward has been offered for the capture of the 29-year-old Somali-born U.S. citizen, Liban Haji Mohamed.

The FBI said Mohamed provided material support to Al Shabaab, which has launched numerous deadly terrorist attacks.

Investigators believe Mohamed left the U.S in the summer of 2012.

“Not only did he choose to go to Somalia and fight with Al Shabaab, he took a prominent role in trying to recruit people to fight for Al Shabaab,” said Carl Ghatas, special agent in charge of the counterterrorism division at the FBI’s Washington field office.

Head of FBI’s Newark Division Retiring to Take Job with PSE&G

Aaron Ford

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Aaron Ford, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark division, is retiring and taking a job with PSE&G, NJ.com reports.

Ford, who also served as the agent in charge of the FBI’s Memphis division, will finish his 30-year FBI career today.

He will be in charge of PSE&G’s internal investigations, serving as the head of the utility’s Business Assurance and Resilience department.

“Even though I am leaving a top notch agency, I am confident I am joining a great company in PSE&G that shares similar values of integrity, which is due to the outstanding workforce they have,” Ford said.

Ford became head of the Newark division in April 2013.

CNN Opinion: Improving Border Security Means Passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform

By Todd Rosenblum
CNN Opinion

America’s immigration debate has become red hot because President Obama’s critics not only believe that he lacks the authority to act without the consent of Congress, but also that he must not change internal enforcement priorities before first “securing the border.”

The truth is, the single most important thing Congress can do to meaningfully improve our border security is pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Too often, border security is viewed as preventing the illegal entry of people and goods across state lines. However, border security also is about ensuring the safe, efficient flow of commerce and increasing international trade. Comprehensive reform will do both, while our current approach serves neither objective.

I say this as someone who has made countless trips to the U.S.-Mexico border. I’ve seen firsthand how our current approach to policing the border is based on muddled objectives and unmeasurable benchmarks that mask failure.

Our failure to secure the border is not for a lack of trying. Congress has passed at least four laws since 1986 authorizing increases in Border Patrol personnel. In 1980, there were 2,268 Border Patrol agents at the southwest border; under President Obama, that number grew to an all-time high of 21,730. There was 14 miles of fencing on the border in 1990; under this administration, we’ve erected nearly 651 miles of new fencing and dramatically increased our mobile surveillance capabilities.

Yet there is scant evidence that we can spend our way out of this problem.