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Archive for January 28th, 2015

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

Tony Bertoni

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
 
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.

 

Politico: Eric Holder Plugs His Legacy on Leak Cases

Reporter James Risen

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — A federal jury’s decision Monday to convict a former CIA officer for leaking top-secret information to a New York Times reporter was a big win for prosecutors — and for Attorney General Eric Holder’s new approach to handling sensitive cases involving journalists.

Holder decided to spare the reporter in the case, New York Times correspondent James Risen, from testifying against his sources. The move could become an important part of the soon-to-depart attorney general’s legacy and a guidepost for future government leak cases given that the government won the case without much testimony from the reporter who received the information.

Holder and his allies are arguing that they have helped secure journalists’ First Amendment rights with the maneuver, but whistleblower advocates worry that the prison time ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is facing in the wake of the trial will wind up silencing federal employees seeking to expose government malfeasance or ineptitude.

To read the full story click here. 

 

Senate Confirmation Hearings Begin Today for Loretta Lynch for Attorney General

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch faces questions Wednesday as Senate confirmation hearings begin for her nomination for Attorney General.

It will be the first Republican-lead confirmation session of the Obama administration, the NBC affiliate in New York points out.

Lynch, who is considered a very able U.S. Attorney, has gotten praise from both sides of the political aisle and is expected to get confirmed. She would replace Eric Holder.

To read more click here. 

Former Mississippi U.S. Attorney George Phillips Dies at 65 After Battle With Cancer

George Phillips

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

George Phillips, who served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi from 1980 to 1994 and oversaw corruption cases, including the FBI’s Operation Pretense, which led to the prosecutions of 57 Mississippi supervisors on corruption charges, has died the Clarion-Ledger reports.. He was 65.

The Clarion-Ledger reports that he died of cancer.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Dowdy of Jackson told the paper that Phillips was “like a second Dad to me. He was a Christian, and his character reflected that. He was honest, truthful and passionate about life, both personally and professionally. George is the reason I have a career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.”

To read more click here.

Killer of Ex-ATF Agent Gets Life

Aric Smith

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A man who shot and killed former ATF agent Gregory Holley, 55, while he was walking his dog in northern Virginia a year ago, will spend the rest of his life in prison, WUSA9 reports.

Aric Smith, 26, of Woodbridge, Va., a suburb of D.C., was sentenced to two life terms last week, the station reports.

“We feel justice was served. Are we happy? Nothing will bring our Dad back, that’s what would make us happy,” said Christopher Holley, 38, the oldest of Holley’s four sons, according to WUSA9.

Last February, Holley was walking his dog at night in Woodbridge when Smith, a neighbor who did not know Holley, robbed him and fatally shot him, the station reported.