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Archive for May 2nd, 2016

FBI Arrests Man Accused of Planning to Bomb a South Florida Synagogue

Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center.

Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI says it foiled a terrorist attack at a South Florida synagogue.

Agents arrested on Friday a man who is accused of planning to throw an explosive device into the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, WSVN.com reports. 

Agents were posing as terrorists and said no one was in danger because the suspect was being monitored.

“I think about, before we had a baby, that we used to go there for services, and God forbid, it could have been us,” said Stephanie Levine. “Thank God they stopped him, but had they not, it would have been such a horrible thing to happen to this neighborhood.”

CIA Tweets U.S. Capture of Osama bin Laden – Five Years Later

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The CIA commemorated the five-year anniversary of killing Osama bin Laden with a series of live tweets.

On Sunday, the CIA tweeted that bin Laden was found “on third floor and killed.”

“The takedown of bin Laden stands as one of the great intelligence successes of all time. History has been a key element of CIA’s social media efforts,” CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said, according to ABC. “On the fifth anniversary, it is appropriate to remember the day and honor all those who had a hand in this achievement.”

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover Died on This Date in 1972

J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover died 44 years ago Monday.

Here is the original New York Daily News story about his death on May 2, 1972:

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, 77, the nation’s towering symbol of law enforcement for nearly half a century, died at his home during the night.

Death struck without warning. Hoover believed himself in excellent health and put in a full day at work yesterday.

President Nixon made an impromptu appearance in the White House press room to praise Hoover’s “unparalleled devotion” to his country and to express his “profound sense of personal loss.” The President ordered that all flags on government buildings be flown at half staff.

Congress swiftly passed a resolution providing for Hoover’s body to lie in state that traditionally is reserved for Presidents, war heroes and distinguished legislators. He will be the first civil servant in American history to be so honored.

Hoover’s body was found on the floor beside his bed in his northwest Washington home by his maid, Annie Fields, who arrived about 8:30 a.m. to make his breakfast.

Dr. James L. Luke, District of Columbia coroner, attributed Hoover’s death to “hypertensive cardiovascular disease” — an ailment linked to high blood pressure. Luke said the immediate cause of death could have been a heart attack. He said an autopsy was not indicated.

Hoover’s body will lie in state in the rotunda from tomorrow morning until 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The funeral service will be at the National Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. Thursday. Nixon will deliver the eulogy.

To read more click here.

NY Post: Best Way to Fix Long Lines at Airports Is to Replace TSA

airport lineBy Benjamin Powell
New York Post

Long delays at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at major airports nationwide have been causing passengers to miss flights. The situation will likely get worse during summer, experts predict.

JFK, according to Fox News Travel, has “by far” one of the worst TSA checkpoints.

But security delays are not the TSA’s only problem.

Newark Liberty International, which runs a close second to JFK on Fox News’ list of US airports with “the worst TSA checkpoints,” also was slammed for lax screening and reports of employee theft. That resulted in a rare occurrence in government: Several employees were actually dismissed.

Not to be outdone, a screener at JFK last summer was likewise busted for theft, trying to abscond with a passenger’s Rolex watch. Another TSA security screener at JFK was arrested three weeks later on an unrelated theft charge.

And, of course, there is the competency issue. As The Post’s Philip Messing reported last fall, “security screeners at Kennedy and Newark airports have consistently failed to find weapons and bombs being smuggled by undercover operatives posing as airline passengers.”

There is a ready solution to the TSA’s problems: Replace the agency. In large airports with multiple security checkpoints, airlines should be required to hire their own screeners and set their own procedures, bypassing the TSA.

Competition among the airlines would help set the proper balance between safety and efficiency, based on passenger preference and demand. This same competitive process would also weed out unnecessary procedures that add little to safety while increasing delays.

To read more click here. 

CIA Director: Missing 9/11 Report Pages Contain ‘Inaccurate’ Information

CIA Director John Brennan

CIA Director John Brennan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

CIA Director John Brennan said Sunday it would be a mistake to release 28 classified pages from the 9/11 Commission report because they contain unveiled, inaccurate information.

“This chapter was kept out because of concerns about sensitive methods, investigative actions, and the investigation of 9/11 was still underway in 2002,” Brennan said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Releasing the information also would help unfairly characterize Saudi Arabia as being involved in the terror attacks, Brennan said.

“I think there’s a combination of things that are accurate and inaccurate [in the report],” Brennan said. “I think the 9/11 Commission took that joint inquiry and those 28 pages or so and followed through on the investigation and then came out with a very clear judgment that there was no evidence that … Saudi government as an institution or Saudi officials or individuals had provided financial support to al Qaeda.”

The 28 pages were removed from the report in 2003 because of national security concerns raised by the George W. Bush administration.

Other Stories of Interest

Parker’s Supreme Court Watch: Losing Scalia Vote Has Not Changed Result in Criminal Cases

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

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

The Supreme Court will follow the usual pattern of not hearing oral argument in May and June. But that doesn’t mean that the Justices are loafing in their chambers. Far from it. There are per curiam opinions to write, individual opinions to author and certiorari petitions to consider.

So far this term the Court has issued a half dozen per curiam (by the Court) opinions. These are decisions without a designated author, usually without a dissent or concurrence and concerning well settled areas of the law. The cases are often non-controversial, do not involve an oral argument, and serve to quickly dispose of a routine issue. They are sometimes criticized as a method of avoiding individual Justice accountability and controversies. An example is the case of Bush v. Gore, regarding the election of 2000. The cases of this term, although having some value in terms of the development of the law, do not appear to be subject to this criticism.

The most significant and time-consuming of the work to be done in the two months left of the term are the draft opinions to circulate, discuss and argue about and the cases to decide before the June adjournment. Among criminal cases, which only make up a fraction of the docket of 150-200 cases annually, the Justices still have 12 cases to decide among the 22 oral arguments they heard from October to April.

Predicted 9 of 10 Decisions

So far the Court has decided 10 of the 22 heard during this term. This column has, thus far, correctly predicted the result in 9 of the 10. Not too shabby.

The case I missed was Luis v. United States, in which 4 Justices held that the pretrial freezing of untainted assets subject to forfeiture violated the 6th Amendment. The precedential value of the case is discussed further below.

Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Scalia’s absence has, no doubt, been felt in the process of deciding cases, but losing his vote has not changed the result in the criminal cases, at least not that is visible to the public. His votes on cases that had not been announced as of the time of his death are void, but there have been no 4-4 criminal cases handed down. In that situation the ruling of the lower court stands.

In one case decided, Luis v. United States, however his absence may have affected the precedential value of the decision. The plurality opinion was signed by only 4 Justices, but with Justice Thomas’s concurrence in the result (but not the reasoning), there was a five-vote majority with 3 dissents. The stare decisis (precedential authority of the principle of law) effect on future, similar cases of the primary opinion will have to wait for those future cases. This has been a matter of some debate. Compare The Legal Tender Cases (1870) with Mitchell v. W.T. Grant Co. (1974).

In any event the likelihood of a 4-4 stalemate is more likely in some of the hot-button civil cases currently pending, like the lawsuit to block President Obama’s order to defer deportation of 5.5 million aliens and the case involving Texas’s restriction on abortion law. Few of the pending criminal cases are likely to end up in this predicament. It has been speculated that the Court sometimes looks for a more narrow reasoning to achieve the result of a decision if the preliminary vote is 4-4. The precedential value of the case is limited but at least the opinion serves the purpose of the “right” result rather than just letting the lower court’s opinion stand.

Next month’s column on the Court will report on the case decisions during the month of May, and the following one will wrap up the significant developments of the Court’s term.

Supreme Court Watch: Loss of Scalia Vote Hasn’t Changed Outcome of Criminal Cases

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The Supreme Court will follow the usual pattern of not hearing oral argument in May and June. But that doesn’t mean that the Justices are loafing in their chambers. Far from it. There are per curiam opinions to write, individual opinions to author and certiorari petitions to consider.

So far this term the Court has issued a half dozen per curiam (by the Court) opinions. These are decisions without a designated author, usually without a dissent or concurrence and concerning well settled areas of the law. The cases are often non-controversial, do not involve an oral argument, and serve to quickly dispose of a routine issue. They are sometimes criticized as a method of avoiding individual Justice accountability and controversies. An example is the case of Bush v. Gore, regarding the election of 2000. The cases of this term, although having some value in terms of the development of the law, do not appear to be subject to this criticism.

The most significant and time-consuming of the work to be done in the two months left of the term are the draft opinions to circulate, discuss and argue about and the cases to decide before the June adjournment. Among criminal cases, which only make up a fraction of the docket of 150-200 cases annually, the Justices still have 12 cases to decide among the 22 oral arguments they heard from October to April.

Predicted 9 of 10 Decisions

Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia

So far the Court has decided 10 of the 22 heard during this term. This column has, thus far, correctly predicted the result in 9 of the 10. Not too shabby.

The case I missed was Luis v. United States, in which 4 Justices held that the pretrial freezing of untainted assets subject to forfeiture violated the 6th Amendment. The precedential value of the case is discussed further below.

Justice Scalia’s absence has, no doubt, been felt in the process of deciding cases, but losing his vote has not changed the result in the criminal cases, at least not that is visible to the public. His votes on cases that had not been announced as of the time of his death are void, but there have been no 4-4 criminal cases handed down. In that situation the ruling of the lower court stands.

In one case decided, Luis v. United States, however his absence may have affected the precedential value of the decision. The plurality opinion was signed by only 4 Justices, but with Justice Thomas’s concurrence in the result (but not the reasoning), there was a five-vote majority with 3 dissents. The stare decisis (precedential authority of the principle of law) effect on future, similar cases of the primary opinion will have to wait for those future cases. This has been a matter of some debate. Compare The Legal Tender Cases (1870) with Mitchell v. W.T. Grant Co. (1974).

In any event the likelihood of a 4-4 stalemate is more likely in some of the hot-button civil cases currently pending, like the lawsuit to block President Obama’s order to defer deportation of 5.5 million aliens and the case involving Texas’s restriction on abortion law. Few of the pending criminal cases are likely to end up in this predicament. It has been speculated that the Court sometimes looks for a more narrow reasoning to achieve the result of a decision if the preliminary vote is 4-4. The precedential value of the case is limited but at least the opinion serves the purpose of the “right” result rather than just letting the lower court’s opinion stand.

Next month’s column on the Court will report on the case decisions during the month of May, and the following one will wrap up the significant developments of the Court’s term.

Ex-Federal Prosecutor Publishes 5th Novel, This Time About a Rape on a Prestigious Michigan College Campus

Featured_20_35_56_915_allisonleotta_portrait

Allison Leotta

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For 12 years, Allison Leotta, a Detroit area native and Michigan State University grad, worked as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, dealing with sex crimes and domestic violence.

These days, she’s a novelist, who writes with authority on crime.

Once described in the Providence Journal as the female John Grisham, Leotta on May 3 will officially release her fifth novel, “The Last  Good Girl,” which deals with rape at a prestigious Michigan university named Tower University. Next week, she begins a book signing tour in Metro Detroit and northern Michigan

“There’s an epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses in America,” Leotta said Friday in a phone interview with Deadline Detroit. “One in five girls will be sexually assaulted before they graduate. What I try to do in this book is weave these shocking statistics into a compelling, fascinating thriller.”

A synopsis on her website describes the book:

Emily Shapiro has disappeared.

A freshman at a Michigan university, Emily  was last seen leaving a college bar near Beta Psi, a prestigious and secretive fraternity. The main suspect is Dylan Highsmith, the son of one of the most powerful politicians in the state. At first, the only clue is pieced-together surveillance footage of Emily leaving the bar that night . . . and Dylan running down the street after her.

When prosecutor Anna Curtis discovers a video diary Emily kept during her first few months at college, it exposes the history Emily had with Dylan: she accused him of rape before disappearing. Anna is horrified to discover that Dylan’s frat is known on campus as “the rape factory.”

“A lot of people have told me this is my strongest and best book yet,” she says.

Leotta said some people have gotten hold of the book online before the official release, including women who have been sexually assaulted.

“The response from readers has been more emotional and stronger than anything else I’ve written,” she said.

A Harvard Law School graduate, she lives in suburban D.C. with her husband and two sons.

 

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