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Tag: evidence

FBI Employee Arrested for Allegedly Tampering with Evidence in Probe Against Husband

handcuffsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI employee was arrested for allegedly tampering with evidence in a child pornography investigation involving her husband.

Local News 8 reports that Jennifer Barnett, 38, of Idaho, was arrested on charges of destroying, altering or concealing evidence.

Authorities said Barnett informed her husband, David Phillips, 41, of the investigation.

Jennifer Barnett was arrested Monday and released on $5,000 bond.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

FBI Must Choose Between Prosecuting Some Cases and Revealing Investigative Methods

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s refusal to reveal some of its secret investigative methods is backfiring in several cases.

The Intercept reports that the FBI most recently jeopardized a child pornography case against against a Washington State school administrator because the FBI doesn’t want to reveal how it got evidence.

The FBI gathered its evidence by inserting malware on the computers of people suspected of using a child-porn website.

U.S. District Cout Judge Robert Bryan in Tacoma agreed with defense lawyers for Jay Michaud of Vancouver, Wash., who said he has a right to review the malware.

“The consequences are straightforward: the prosecution must now choose between complying with the court’s discovery order and dismissing the case,” Michaud’s defense attorneys wrote in a brief filed last week.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department to Perform Expansive Review of FBI Lab’s Forensic Testimony

U.S. Attorney Sally Yates

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is performing an expansive review of forensic testimony by the FBI Laboratory to determine whether evidence was overstated to secure convictions, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced.

Beginning in March, the Justice Department will determine how it will audit samples of testimony from FBI units that handle pattern-based evidence, which includes crime-scene evidence such as bullet impressions, fiber, soil and shoe treads, the Washington Post reports. 

It won’t be an easy task. More than 100,000 examinations of such crime-scene evidence is conducted annually by the FBI and other crime labs.

“We are undertaking this quality-assurance review because we think it is good operating procedure — and not because of specific concerns with other disciplines,” Yates said Wednesday in an address to the American Academy of Forensic Scientists’ annual meeting in Las Vegas.

The move comes after serious flaws were found in the collection of so-called hair matches.

The FBI declined to comment.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Completes Search of Federal Wildlife Refuge for Evidence in Occupation Case

Burns, Oregon

Burns, Oregon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has swept the Oregon wildlife refuge for evidence following the long standoff with occupiers and has turned over the site to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Federal prosecutors said the FBI is finished processing the crime scenes at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Now defense lawyers have an opportunity to visit the refuge between noon Thursday and 5 p.m. Friday, but they will be escorted by federal officers.

This will give defense lawyers and their investigators a chance to photos or videos.

Once the visit is complete, the federal government “will begin the process of restoring” the wildlife refuge so that it can open to the public, the Oregonian reports.

Defense lawyers filed a joint motion Friday to prevent the FBI from sweeping the site until investigators can monitor the activity of federal law enforcement.

Ammon Bundy’s lawyers argued, “The problem in this unique case is that the Government will not know what evidence at the scene is specifically favorable to Mr. Bundy as opposed to another co-defendant.”

The FBI aid Tuesday that agents swept the site to ensure no one was still there and searched the site for bombs.

The occupation of the wildlife refuge ended relatively peacefully after 41 days.

First Retrial Granted for Case Involving Questionable FBI Hair Samples

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Recent admissions by the FBI that its experts have overstated the scientific veracity of forensic hair have led to the first conviction to be overturned.

The Washington Post reports that a Massachusetts man was granted a new trial after spending 30 years in prison for rape.

In April, the FBI and Justice Department confirmed that linking DNA hair testing to crimes “exceeded the limits of science” after the evidence was used to incriminate hundreds of suspects.

A White House-appointed commission, along with the FBI and Justice Department, are working on strengthening forensic science standards.

Errors were uncovered in more than 1,300 cases involving hair samples.

Border Patrol Slapped with Sanction After Destroying Evidence in Lawsuit

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol was slapped with sanctions for destroying evidence that was part of an ongoing civil lawsuit.

American AlJazeera reports that Judge David C. Bury issued the sanctions Monday in a case involving three immigrants who allege Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector routinely held immigrants in inhumane conditions.

“The Court concludes the destruction of the video-tape recordings made prior to this Court’s August 14, 2015, Order was, at best, negligent and was certainly willful. Defendants provide no explanation why, in response to Plaintiffs’ notifications regarding litigation, the Defendants did not undertake the efforts initiated in response to the Court’s August 14 Order,” Bury wrote.

The sanctions require Border Patrol to produce all existing video from the Tucson Sector since June 10.

The plaintiffs believe the video shows the inhumane conditions.

Border Patrol Accused of Erasing Evidence of ‘Unconstitutional Conditions of Confinement’

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol has destroyed tapes that show “unconstitutional conditions of confinement” and even ignored a judge’s order to preserve the evidence, lawyers for migrants contend, Capital Media Services reports. 

Lawyers for migrants who sued the agency said people apprehended by Border Patrol were treated cruelly, denied access to adequate food and were confined to unsanitary conditions.

Late last month, Border Patrol acknowledged it was routinely recording over used videotapes, erasing evidence.

The federal government would not say why it disobeyed a judge’s orders.

FBI Agent Who Stole Heroin Seized As Evidence Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison

fbi-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who stole heroin seized as evidence to feed his addiction was sentenced to three years in federal prison Thursday, a much lighter sentence than prosecutors wanted, the Washington Post reports. 

Matthew Lowry’s theft of evidence prompted prosecutors to dismiss drug cases against 28 defendants.

Calling it the most difficult decision in his 32 years on the bench, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said he choose a lighter sentence because of Lowry’s addition. The sentencing guidelines had called for seven to nine years in prison.

“What we have here is a successful young agent with a sterling reputation who abused his position and abused his trust,” Hogan said.

He added, however, that because of Lowry’s actions, “major drug dealers were put back on the street to harm our citizens and endanger our children.”

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