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Tag: federal judge

Cuccinelli Won’t Step Down As DHS Deputy Secretary After Judge’s Ruling

Ken Cuccinelli

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Ken Cuccinelli, an immigration hardliner, is refusing to step down as deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security after a federal judge said his appointment violated federal law.

Cuccinelli insists his appointment was appropriate.

“The succession for the deputy secretary of homeland security ties back to my official position as the principal deputy at USCIS [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services], there’s not a problem with me at my current position,” Cuccinelli said on Fox and Friends Monday after initially laughing at the news. “The only issue in the case is related to being the acting director at USCIS. And this ruling is really something of an outlier. This is a methodology that has been used in the past. It’s been thought of as legal as — pretty broadly.”

A federal district court judge in Washington D.C. ruled that Cuccinelli, a 51-year-old former attorney general, failed to meet the requirements in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to secure the job.

The judge said Cuccinelli was illegally appointed to lead a department agency, a move that the Trump administration believed made him qualify for his current job.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the judge will respond to Cuccinelli’s refusal to step down.

Federal Judge: Phony ATF Stings Should End Because of Concerns of Racism

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A federal judge in Chicago slammed the ATF on Monday over its phony stash-house stings, saying they primarily target people of color and should “be relegated to the dark corridors of the past.”

Chief U.S. District Judge Rube Castillo urged the federal agency to stop conducting stings that involve undercover agents promising lucrative payouts to suspects to steal nonexistent drugs from fake stash houses, ABC News reports.

“It’s time for these false stash-house cases to end and be relegated to the dark corridors of the past,” the judge said, reading parts of his 73-page ruling. “Our criminal justice system should not tolerate false stash-house cases anymore.”

Chief U.S. District Judge Rube Castillo

The judge said the operations have “inherent problems” and that the stings “must be seen through the lens of our country’s sad history of racism.”

But Castillo still dismissed a defense motion to toss the shares against primarily black suspects after their attorneys argued the cases were racially biased.

Iowa Judge Profited from Sending Hundreds of Immigrants to Private Prisons

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Iowa federal judge allegedly conspired to profit from investments in private prisons by sending hundreds of immigrants to jail in one of the largest, more unusual immigration raids in U.S. history.

Judge Linda R. Reade and her husband Michael Figenshaw increased their shares in CoreCivic and CEO Group five days before a planned immigration raid at a meatpacking plant in Pottsville, Ia., in May 2008, Mother Jones reports

Reade presided over the mass trials of 400 undocumented prisoners during a brief nine-day period in trailers and even a dance hall at a fairground in Waterloo.

In similar immigration cases, defendants are usually charged with civic misconduct and then deported. But under Reade’s jurisprudence, the immigrants were charged with a more serious crimes – fraud. About 270 people were sentenced to five months in prison.

The prosecution also was accused of misconduct.

Before the raid, Reade met often with immigration officials about the impending arrests. 

In just five months, the judge and her husband watched their stock values increase from $130,000 to $215,000 before cashing out.

Judge Refuses FBI Request to Force Potential Targets to Give Fingerprints to Unlock iPhones

fingerprint-smaller-version

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The battle over privacy and devices continues.

This time it’s taking place in Chicago.

A federal judge in Chicago has rejected a request by the FBI to force potential targets to provide fingerprints to unlock any iPhones or Apple devices in child pornography case, Jason Meisner and Steve Schmadeke of the Chicago Tribune report.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Weisman decision came in response to a request for a warrant to search a residence where investigators suspect someone was using the internet to traffic images of child pornography, the Trib reports. 

The Trib reports:

The prosecution filing seeking the search warrant on the FBI’s behalf remains under seal, but the judge’s opinion said the government requested “the authority to compel any individual who is present at the subject premises at the time of the search” to provide a fingerprint or thumbprint needed to unlock an Apple device.

Weisman, a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent, wrote in his 14-page opinion last month that the government hadn’t presented enough facts in its application that would justify such sweeping “intrusions,” including any specific information about those who might be living at the residence or their connection to the child pornography investigation.

Judge: Conditions at Border Patrol Detention Centers Violate Civil Rights

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge plans to order Border Patrol to improve sleeping conditions at detention centers in Arizona, saying the detainees’ civil rights are being violated.

U.S. District Court Judge David C. Buru, who is presiding over a lawsuit filed on behalf of three former detainees, said the conditions must be improved, Tucson.com reports.

“I think the deprivation of sleep, at the very least, in this case is a violation of the civil rights of a civil detainee and that needs to be fixed,” Bury said at a hearing in Tucson on Tuesday.

Bury’s plan to grant preliminary relief is not a formal order, but he said he plans to work with both sides to work out a solution.

While acknowledging “the Border Patrol has a really tough job,” Bury said it’s still no excuse for inhumane conditions.

“The complexity of government operations cannot trump civil rights, neither can budgetary constraints,” the judge said.

An attorney for the detainees said they are constantly interrupted while trying to sleep because agents are constantly processing new detainees.

Federal Judge Terrence Berg Shot and Wounded in Detroit

Terrance Berg/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Berg, a former federal prosecutor and former acting U.S. Attorney, was shot and wounded Thursday night on Detroit’s northwest side.

George Hunter of the Detroit News reports that it was an attempted robbery. He was shot in the leg outside his home in the city’s University District and taken to Sinai-Grace Hospital. He’s undergone surgery.

Two robbers tried to force Berg inside his home, but he didn’t comply with their demand. One shot him in the leg and both men fled. Berg’s wife and teenage son were inside.

Berg was appointed by President Obama and has been on the bench since 2012. It’s unclear what the circumstances are behind the shooting.

Berg, a very affable person, was born in Detroit in 1959.

More details to come.

Texas Judge Blocks President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama’s immigration plans have been placed on hold by a federal judge in Texas so that states have time to argue their case against the president’s controversial executive action.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen blocked the plan with a preliminary injunction, ABC News reports.

The judge said the injunction was necessary so states could proceed with a lawsuit without suffering “irreparable harm.”

The White House issued a statement, saying the president made a lawful action that presidents have been making for decades.

 

“The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws—which is exactly what the President did when he announced commonsense policies to help fix our broken immigration system. Those policies are consistent with the laws passed by Congress and decisions of the Supreme Court, as well as five decades of precedent by presidents of both parties who have used their authority to set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws,” the statement reads.

“The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts, and the district court inWashington, D.C. have determined that the President’s actions are well within his legal authority. Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe. The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision.”

6 Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputies Sentenced Up to 41 Months in Prison for Interfering with Civil Rights Investigation

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Six deputies for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department were sentenced Wednesday to up to 41 months in prison for interfering with a federal civil rights investigation at a jail.

The federal judge told the defendants that they lacked “courage to do what is right” and showed no remorse.

The sentencing follows a federal jury’s determination that the defendants tried to influence witnesses, threatened an FBI agent with arrest and hid an FBI informant from investigators.

“Blind obedience to a corrupt culture has serious consequences,” United States District Judge Percy Anderson told the defendants before sentencing.

The defendants were:

  • Gregory Thompson, 54, a now-retired lieutenant who oversaw LASD’s Operation Safe Jails Program, who was ordered to serve 37 months in prison and to pay a $7,500 fine;
  • Lieutenant Stephen Leavins, 52, who was assigned to the LASD’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, who received a 41-month prison sentence;
  • Gerard Smith, 42, a deputy who was assigned to the Operation Safe Jails Program, who was ordered to serve 21 months in prison;
  • Mickey Manzo, 34, a deputy who was assigned to the Operation Safe Jails Program, who received a 24-month sentence;
  • Scott Craig, 50, a sergeant who was assigned to the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, who was sentenced to 33 months; and
  • Maricela Long, 46, a sergeant who assigned to the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, who received a sentence of two years in federal prison.

“Interference with a federal investigation cannot be tolerated,” said Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The sentences imposed today allow us to move forward toward an environment of mutual trust and the common goal of delivering justice to victims of crime. I look forward to continued collaboration with our trusted partners at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.”