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Tag: crack

Weekend Series on Crime History: Crack in the 1980s

Man Loses Lawsuit That Claimed DEA Supplied Him with Crack for Help in Investigation

220px-Crack_street_dosageBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A New Mexico man who claims federal agents gave him crack cocaine in exchange for help in an undercover investigation lost a lawsuit against he agency.

U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez dismissed the suit, which alleged that the plaintiff’s crack addiction was reignited, saying damages can’t sought when the person’s own wrongful conduct caused the injury, the Associated Press reports. 

The lawsuit claims Aaron Romero was given crack cocaine to help in a case known as “Operations Smack City,” an alleged violation of DEA policy.

Romero, 39, was seeking $8.5 million in damages.

Other Stories of Interest

Marion Barry’s Civil Rights Achievements Overshadowed by FBI Sting involving crack

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For better or worse, the defining moment of Marion Barry’s storied political career was an FBI bust that revealed the D.C. mayor smoking crack in a hotel room in 1990.

“Bitch set me up,” Barry said of the woman who was a part of the sting.

Barry, who also was a tireless supporter for generations of black people, died Sunday.

He was 78.

The FBI sting cost Barry six months in prison but it didn’t end his political career. The son of a sharecropper was elected to a fourth term as mayor in 1994 and then served three terms on the D.C. Council from 2004-15.

His civil rights achievements were overshadowed by the surveillance video showing him smoking crack.

Click here to see the video.

Justice Department Searches for Crack Cocaine Convicts to Be Freed from Prison

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A disproportionate number of low-level drug criminals who are behind bars are African Americans sentenced under strict laws from the days of the crack epidemic.

Hoping to correct that disparity, the Justice Department is encouraging defense lawyers to help identify inmates for clemency, the New York Times reports.

Penalties for drug offenses involving crack were often more severe than those with powder cocaine.

So far, Obama has commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates sentenced to harsh sentences because of crack.

“There are more low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who remain in prison, and who would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offenses today,” Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. “This is not fair, and it harms our criminal justice system.”

Drug Bust in Upstate New York Charges Nine in Crack Network

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Nine people were in indicted on Friday in a suspected narcotics ring near Rochester, N.Y., ABC reports.

Between 2008 and 2012, authorities from local police precincts and the ATF say, the indicted used rental properties to distribute 280 grams of crack and five kilograms of cocaine. They also face weapons charges, according to ABC. At least one suspect is also linked to an additional shooting.

Cedric Lewis, Matthew Latson, Printice Latson, Robert Baxter, Earnst Baker, Keith Ruther, Lamar Nelson, and Leandro Jones are in custody, says ABC, but Eric Bradley is still not in custody.

To read more click here.

Prosecutor’s Nightmare: Chicago Fed Juror Failed to Disclose Felony Convictions

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

And now stay tuned for a federal prosecutorial nightmare.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that “court officials acknowledged Thursday that information revealed by the Tribune appears to show that a member of the federal jury that convicted Springfield power broker William Cellini concealed two felony convictions.”

Generally, a convicted felon cannot serve on a jury. Cellini was convicted of shaking down an Oscar-winning producer in a case that stemmed from the Rod Blagojevich investigation.

The Tribune reported that attorneys for Cellini may use this latest bombshell to overturn last week’s verdict.

The Trib reported, citing Cook County court records,that the jury has a felony conviction for crack-cocaine possession and a felony conviction for aggravated driving under the influence without a driver’s license.

“I consider this very important information that I was not aware of,” defense attorney Webb told the Trib. “I don’t know the facts here, but based on what the Tribune has reported to me, we are looking into the matter to determine if we have a basis to file a motion for a mistrial because a juror may have been allowed to serve on this jury who was legally disqualified from jury service.”

The Trib reported that the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment.

To read more click here.

Thousands of Inmates to be Released Under Changes in Crack Cocaine Law

 Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A wave of prisoners could be released this week as a result of a change in sentencing for crack cocaine violations.

The Associated Press reports that nearly 2,000 federal prisoners will be eligible for early release Tuesday as a result of a bill signed into law by President Obama last year that reduced the disparities between those convicted of crack cocaine charges and powder cocaine.

Critics argued that the crack cocaine laws discriminated against black defendants. AP reported that the U.S. Sentencing Commission is applying that law to past cocaine convictions, which could mean an estimated 12,000 inmates could eventually benefit.

NY Fed Judge Visits Brooklyn Neighborhood Where Defendants Allegedly Sold Drugs

wikipedia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein — some times known as a maverick — did something fairly unorthox for a federal judge, but maybe not so unorthodox for Weinstein: he went to visit the neighborhood where a crack cocaine crew ruled, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Weinstein, 89, who is presiding over a trial involving the suspected drug gang crew, walked through the Louis Armstrong houses in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn on Friday, accompanied by a bodyguard and two news photographers.

“The outing on a quiet and crisp winter afternoon drew some stares, but was otherwise uneventful,” AP wrote.

The wire service reported that the judge said he sometimes needs a firsthand reality check on his cases.

“Otherwise,” he said, “it gets very abstract.”