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Tag: judge

Black Secret Service Agent Claims He Was Detained, Held at Gunpoint Because of His Race

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A now-retired Secret Service agent can proceed with his lawsuit claiming two U.S. Park Police officers arrested and held him at gunpoint because he is black, a federal judge ruled.

Nathaniel Hicks alleges in the suit that he was in his Secret Service-issued vehicle on the shoulder of a Maryland highway waiting to join Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s motorcade when he was arrested by the Park Police officers in July 2015.

According to the suit, Park Police Officer Gerald L. Ferreyra approached Hicks’ vehicle, “drew his gun, pointed the weapons at Special Agent Hicks, and began screaming at him.”

Hicks said he explained what he was doing and showed his credentials to Ferreyra, who kept his gun pointed at the agent, whose car had a police antenna and a flashing bar.

The lawsuit alleges Ferreyra called for backup anyway, and Park Police Officer Brian Philips arrived. For more than an hour, according to the suit, the officers detained Hicks, and Ferreyra yelled and “spoke to him in a degrading manner.”

Meanwhile the motorcade passed, and one of the officers “mockingly waved his hand goodbye at the motorcade as it passed.”

After a supervisor arrived, Hicks was finally released but he was not able to reach the motorcade. According to the suit, Phillips then pulled over Hicks again and demanded his identification and car registration “despite just having had possession of these documents, and continued to talk to him in a demeaning and degrading tone with no possible justification.”

Hicks was eventually let go.

The officers, who dispute Hicks’ versions of events, asked a judge to dismiss the case against them, arguing immunity because they acted in a reasonably lawful way and did not violate Hicks’ rights.

Hicks’ attorneys disagree, saying the officers had “discriminatory motives,” partly based on their hostility toward Hicks.

“Based on upon the absence of probable cause, or even any reasonable suspicion to justify his prolonged seizure, it appears that Special Agent Hicks was singled out for unlawful treatment because of his race,” the complaint alleges.

In his deposition, Hicks described a tense encounter.

“When there is a gun pointed at you, regardless of what time it is, whether it’s night or day, you’re not going to forget that,” Hicks said. “In all my years of my position as a law enforcement officer, I never had that happen before.”

U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm declined to dismiss the suit this week, saying the officers did not have a good argument for failing to release Hicks before the motorcade arrived, NBC News reports.

“It is clearly established that detaining a person under these circumstances — when the officers had a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was underway but, after some investigation, became aware that no criminal activity was happening at the scene — is a violation of the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights,” Grimm wrote.

Hicks, who retired shortly after filing the suit, is suing for compensatory and punitive damages, saying he suffered “significant embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress, and the deprivation of his constitutional rights.”

“In addition to the manner in which defendants spoke to and treated him, it was particularly humiliating to be held on the side of the road as his colleagues passed by. That he was subjected to unlawful treatment because of his race compounds his emotional distress,” Hicks’ lawsuit said.

Fed Judge Tosses Statement of NSA Contractor Because FBI Failed to Mirandize Him

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a big mistake that’s been made over the years by law enforcement.

This time it involves a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor.

Dell Cameron of Gizmodo reports:

In the case of a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor accused of stealing a huge cache of classified documents, a federal judge this month agreed to toss out statements made by the contractor, Harold “Hal” Martin, on the basis that FBI agents failed to Mirandize him properly during four-hour interrogation, even though the suspect was not under arrest at the time.

Charged with 20 counts of willful retention of national defense information and theft of government property, Martin, 54, was arrested following a search of his Glen Burnie, Maryland, residence on Aug. 27, 2016. There, FBI agents discovered both digital and physical copies of documents that, according to prosecutors, contain classified and top-secret information said to be critical to “a wide variety of national security issues.”

 

Judge: Trump Opened Door for FBI Disclosure After Declassifying Dossier Documents

Members of the House Intelligence Committee. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s decision to release a declassified report on the Steele dossier and the Democratic rebuttal to it means the FBI must cough up information on whether the report verifies the evidence suggesting a link between Trump and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta in February supported the FBI’s decision to deny a request seeking to confirm the existence of records involving the controversial dossier, Politico reports

But Trump’s decision to declassify the competing reports nullifies the question of whether the documents exist.

“It remains no longer logical nor plausible for the FBI to maintain that it cannot confirm nor deny the existence of documents” related to attempts to verify information in the dossier, Mehta wrote in a 13-page opinion.

The FOIA was filed by a Politico reporter and the James Madison Project.

“This ruling represents another incremental step in revealing just how much the FBI has been able to verify or discredit the rather personal allegations contained in that synopsis derived from the Steele dossier,” said Brad Moss, a lawyer pressing the lawsuit. “It will be rather ironic if the president’s peripheral actions that resulted in this ruling wind up disclosing that the FBI has been able to corroborate any of the ‘salacious’ allegations.”

Judge Rules Against FBI in Reporter-Impersonation Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI incensed news organizations after reporters discovered the bureau used special agents to impersonate a journalist to help capture a suspect in a string of anonymous bomb threats in 2007. 

Saying the impersonation “endangers the media’s credibility and creates the appearance that it is not independent of the government,” two media groups sued the FBI for records to show how often the bureau had masqueraded as news organizations. 

The FBI responded that it had no such records.

But last week, a D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the FBI failed to adequately search and locate documents related to the practice of using undercover agents to pose as journalists to go after suspects, Courthouse News reports

Courthouse News writes:

Two media groups brought the underlying challenge based on reports about how the FBI apprehended an individual who in 2007 made a series anonymous bomb threats to a Seattle high school, causing near-daily evacuations of students, teachers and administrators.

Believing the threats were the handiwork of a narcissist, the FBI agents investigating the matter devised a plan: They would flatter the culprit into clicking a link that appeared to be press coverage suggesting he’d outsmarted the authorities.

When he did, a specialized malware would be secretly delivered to his computer and it would reveal his location. The plan worked and the individual calling in the bomb threats was arrested.

A technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union spotted the FBI’s ruse several years later while reviewing documents from an earlier records request. News of the media-impersonation tactics quickly made national headlines. The New York Times even printed a letter in justification of the ruse from FBI Director James Comey Jr.

In the wake of the controversy, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Associated Press filed three FOIA requests for documents on the FBI’s impersonation of journalists and creation of “fake news” in the course of investigations.

Hacker Accused of Stalking FBI Agent Back in Jail for Criticizing Bureau

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An alleged hacker accused of online stalking and harassment of an FBI agent is back in jail after criticizing the FBI on a blog post. 

The Texas man, Justin Shafer, had been free of jail after his March arrest on charges of online stalking and harassment of an FBI agent who was investigating a link between him and a notorious hacking group, the TheDarkOverlord

A judge said Shafer violated conditions of his release that included avoiding posts on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, The Dallas Morning News reports

But 12 days after the order, the 37-year-old criticized the FBI agent on his bog post, prompting a federal magistrate to order him held in custody until trial.

Share’s attorney claims the jailing violating his client’s rights to free speech.

“Mr. Shafer has a First Amendment right to criticize his prosecution and rebut the accusations made against him,” said his New York lawyer, Tor Ekeland, in an appeal of that judge’s order.

Other Stories of Interest

Judge Dismisses Lawsuits Requiring More Thorough Search of Clinton’s Emails

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge for the second time has dismissed a pair of lawsuits that would have required the State Department and FBI to do more to track down former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled the FBI has done all it reasonably can to recover Clinton’s emails, the Washington Times reports

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2015 by two watchdogs, Judicial Watch and Cause of Action, demanded a more thorough effort to recover all of Clinton’s emails, claiming she violated open-records laws by failing to retain her messages.

“Those efforts went well beyond the mine-run search for missing federal records … and were largely successful, save for some emails sent during a two-month stretch. Even then, the FBI pursued every imaginable avenue to recover the missing emails,” wrote Judge Boasberg, an Obama appointee to the court.

It was the second time the case was dismissed, but a higher court reversed the original findings, saying the government had a responsibility to “shake loose a few more emails.”

Judge: Details on How FBI Hacked into IPhone Are Public Information

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI does not have to publicly reveal how it hacked into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorists in an attack that killed 14 people, a federal judge has ruled.

On Saturday, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled against three media outlets that sued the FBI to reveal the mystery behind the hacking, Politico reports. 

Chutkan also ruled that the FBI does not have to reveal the cost or the company it hired to breaking into the phone.

At a news conference last year, then-FBI Director James Comey suggested that the cost to hire the company would exceed his salary for the remainder of his term – about $1.4 million.

Judge: Border Patrol Agents Had Right to Use Deadly Force Against Rock Thrower

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A San Diego federal judge defended Border Patrol’s use of deadly force against rock throwers in a case involving a lawsuit filed by the family of a Mexican man killed at the border.

Border Patrol Agent Dorian Diaz fatally shot Jesus Yanez Reyes, 40, while he allegedly was throwing rocks at agents who were pursuing him.

U.S. District Judge William Hayes ruled last week that Border Patrol agents should not be held liable for Reyes’ death, the Los Angeles Times reports

“The Court concludes that the unique circumstances surrounding Yañez’s death implicate national security issues related to the security of our nation’s borders,” Hayes said.

Hayes also said Diaz is entitled to qualified immunity.

Lawyers for Reyes’ family plan to appeal.

“We feel strongly the law was clearly established on this point,” said attorney Gerald Singleton.