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Tag: constitution

Federal Judges Dismiss Cases After FBI Hosted Child Pornography Site

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s child pornography sting “Operation Pacifier” was successful at locating and identifying abusers, but it has come under attack by federal judges across the country.

Agents took over the “dark web” site, The Playpen, for two weeks, when 48,000 images and 200 videos of sexual abuse were posted or swapped. The FBI arrested more than 180 people in the U.S.

But the Knoxville New Sentinel reports that at least seven federal judges ruled that the FBI’s takeover of the site was illegal and violated federal rules of criminal procedure.

The judges cited constitutional violations.

Arizona Republic: Court Case Over Constitutional Rights of Mexican Child Needs Hashed Out

border patrol 3By Editorial Board
Arizona Republic 

Either the Constitution means something or it doesn’t.

When a U.S. cop shoots a Mexican kid through the border fence, it might be tempting to apply a more convenient standard.

But it won’t wash.

A federal judge in Tucson said the young man’s mother can take her case against a Border Patrol agent to court. She says the agent violated her son’s constitutional rights by firing through the fence and killing him on a sidewalk in Mexico.

“At its heart, this is a case alleging excessive deadly force by a U.S. Border Patrol agent standing on American soil brought before a United States Federal District Court tasked with upholding the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins wrote.

His order lets the case go forward. It does not determine the merits of the lawsuit.

The case matters because the Border Patrol has faced repeated allegations of human rights violations, ranging from the petty to the fatal. The agency lacks transparency and accountability.

What’s more, Collins says he “respectfully disagrees” with a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that declined to extend constitutional protections to another youth shot in Mexico by U.S. agents firing across the line from Texas.

To read more click here. 

Federal Judge: Mother of Mexican Teen Killed by Border Patrol Agent May Sue U.S.

Border PatrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge has ruled that the mother of a Mexican teen killed in a cross-border shooting by a Border Patrol agent may sue the government, the Desert News reports.

U.S. District Court Judge Raner C. Collins denied the government’s motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the victim, a Mexican resident, was not protected by the U.S. Constitution.

In a similar case, a federal appeals court came to the opposite conclusion.

“The Court finds that, under the facts alleged in this case, the Mexican national may avail himself to the protections of the Fourth Amendment and that the agent may not assert qualified immunity,” Collins wrote.

Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz fatally shot 16-year-old Jose Antonino Elena Rodriguez for allegedly throwing rocks across the border .

Lawsuit: Does U.S. Constitution Protect Mexicans in Their Home Country?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Is a Mexican boy shot in his home country protected by the U.S. Constitution?

The question is at the center of a lawsuit filed by the family of a Mexican teenager who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent near Nogales, Sonora, in 2012, the Associated Press reports.   

The 16-year-old’s mother said her boy was just walking home near the border fence when an agent shot him. Border Patrol counters that the boy was among a group throwing rocks at agents.

The attorney for the agent who fired the fatal shots argued Tuesday that the lawsuit has no merit because the boy wasn’t protect by the Constitution.

The FBI is investigation the shooting.

Reason.com Editorial: FBI Cuts Constitutional Corners, Breaks Law

Editorial
reason.com editorial

Does the FBI manifest fidelity, bravery, and integrity, or does it cut constitutional corners in order to incriminate? Can the FBI cut the cable television lines to your house and then show up pretending to be the cable guy and install listening devices? Can FBI agents and technicians testify falsely and cause the innocent to be convicted, incarcerated and, in some cases, executed?

In 2014, FBI agents in Las Vegas were on the trail of Wei Seng Phua, whom they believed was running an illegal gambling operation out of his hotel room at Caesars Palace. Instead of following him, asking questions about him, and using other traditional investigative techniques, a few agents came up with the idea of planting a wiretap in Phua’s hotel room.

They bribed a hotel employee, who gave them access to a place in the hotel where they could disable the cable television wires to Phua’s room. When he called for repair, they showed up pretending to be cable guys, and he let them into his room. They repaired what they had disabled, but they also illegally wiretapped the phones in the room. Then they overheard his telephone conversations about his illegal gambling, and they arrested him. A grand jury indicted him based on what was overheard.

The grand jury was not told of the wire cutting and the con job, but a federal judge was. Last week, he criticized the FBI for conducting an illegal search of Phua’s room, in direct contravention of the Fourth Amendment, which the agents swore to uphold, and he barred the government from using the tapes of the telephone conversations as evidence against Phua. If the government can get away with this, he ruled, then constitutional guarantees are meaningless.

These lawless agents should have been indicted by a state grand jury for breaking and entering by false pretense, but Caesars declined to seek their prosecution. No surprise.

It was surprising, however, when the FBI was forced to admit last week that in the 1980s and 1990s, its agents and lab technicians who examined hair samples testified falsely in 257 of 268 cases that resulted in convictions. Of the convictions, 18 persons were sentenced to death, and of those, 12 have been executed.

Some of these cases were federal, but most were state prosecutions in which state and county prosecutors hired the FBI to perform lab tests and compare hair samples from a crime scene with a defendant’s known hair sample. The faulty lab work and erroneous testimony destroyed the freedom of hundreds and the lives of 12, squandered millions in tax dollars, and impaired the constitutional values we all embrace.

To read more click here. 

DEA Sued Following Discovery That Agency Collected Americans’ Phone Records

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone call records violated the constitutional rights of Americans, alleges the Human Rights Watch in a lawsuit against the agency.

Forbes reports that the suit comes just a day after a USA Today report on the surveillance program.

The DEA reportedly amassed billions of phone records in the decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The suit alleges the DEA violated Americans’ first and fourth amendments by conducting “untargeted and suspicionless surveillance of Americans.“

“The NSA isn’t the only federal agency collecting Americans’ call records in bulk,” said EFF staff attorney Mark Rumold. “The DEA’s program is yet another example of federal agencies overreaching their surveillance authority in secret. We are asking the court to require the government to destroy the records it illegally collected no matter where they are held, and to declare—once and for all—that bulk collection of Americans’ records is unconstitutional.’’

Other Stories of Inerest


Did FBI Agents Violate Rights of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect During Aggressive Interrogation?

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s interrogation of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev violated his rights while he he lay in pain in a hospital bed immediately following his arrest, his defense lawyers argued in court documents Wednesday.

The Chicago Tribune reports that FBI agents ignored Tsarnaev’s 10 requests for a lawyer even though authorities determined further dangers to the public did not exist.

“The questioning continued for hours, in what was obviously an effort to extract as much incriminating information as possible, without regard for the protections of the Fifth Amendment,” his lawyers wrote in the 21-page filing.

Lawyers are asking for the hospital statements to be suppressed because he was heavily sedated and in a lot of pain during the interviews.

Tsarnaev, 20, is charged with killing three people and wounding more than 260 others with his brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during a manhunt for the duo.

House Committee to Call for Criminal Investigation of Former IRS Official

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Republican lawmakers are want the Justice Department to seek charges against embattled ex-IRS official Lois Lerner.

Fox News reports that the House Ways and Means Committee are to meet Wednesday to write a letter notifying the Justice Department that Lerner may have broken the law.

The letter will argue that Lerner violated the constitutional rights of citizens, misled investigators and released private taxpayer information.

The accusations stem from the scandal involving the agency’s singling out of conservative groups to investigate.