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Tag: judge

Judge: FBI’s Investigation of Child Pornography Unconstitutional, But Refused to Dismiss Evidence

Cyber crime expert, via FBI.

Cyber crime expert, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s controversial investigation into a “dark web” child pornography network was unconstitutional, Minnesota’s chief federal judge ruled Monday.

But U.S. District Judge John Tunheim declined to toss evidence that was used to prosecute a man from Coleraine, Minn., the Star Tribune reports

The judge rejected a magistrate judge’s recommendation to throw out evidence, including statements made by suspect Terry Lee Carlson.

Carlson was among more than 900 people arrested as part of the investigation into Playpen, a “dark web” network that provided child pornography to 150,000 users.

The Star Tribune wrote:

Tunheim’s decision mirrored numerous other federal court rulings in concluding that agents unconstitutionally exceeded the scope of a Virginia search warrant. The FBI deployed a “network investigative technique (NIT),” described by some as a form of malware, to gather IP addresses and other information on users of the porn website, which formed the backbone of federal criminal cases like Carlson’s and those of at least three other Minnesotans.

But, citing a Supreme Court precedent, Tunheim wrote that because the FBI “acted in good faith and generally followed proper procedures in requesting and executing the warrant,” evidence gathered against Carlson can stand.

The FBI arrested the operator of Playpen in 2015 and seized the website’s server. But it kept a copy of the website running while deploying its NIT to target hundreds of users around the country based on a search warrant signed by a Virginia magistrate judge.

Judge: 17 Years Is Too Long to Wait for FBI Records under FOIA

judge and gavelBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A judge slammed the FBI for saying it would take 17 years to provide public records to a documentary film filmmaker.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler of Washington said the FBI’s insistence that it would take until 2034 to provide records about anti-war and civil rights activists in the 1960s and ’70s was unacceptable, Politico reports. 

The judge rejected the FBI’s proposed timeline, which is based on the bureau’s policy of release large record requests at a pace of 500 page a month. The bureau insisted that a quicker pace could shut down the FBI’s FOIA operation.

Documentarian Nina Seavy, who is 60, said she can’t wait 17 years to get about 110,000 page of records from the FBI.

Neither didn’t the judge.

“Neither proffered justification is persuasive,” the Clinton appointee wrote. “In the name of reducing its own administrative headaches, the FBI’s 500-page policy ensures that larger requests are subject to an interminable delay in being completed. Under the 500-page policy, requestors must wait 1 year for every 6,000 potentially responsive documents, and those who request tens of thousands of documents may wait decades.”

The judge also didn’t buy the argument that providing records at a pace faster than 500 pages a month would jeopardize smaller FOIA requests.

“If the FBI really wanted to demonstrate that processing larger FOIA requests would impact the processing of other requests there are numerous data points it could provide the Court,” Kessler said. “Instead, the limited data the FBI has provided suggests exactly the opposite.”

Trump’s Crackdown on Immigration Is Straining Already Backlogged Immigration Cases

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New federal immigration rules under President Trump are placing a heavy burden on Border Patrol agents, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys who already had been swamped.

The USA Today reports that Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, which gives agents more leverage to deport undocumented immigrants, has been strain on “an immigration court system already juggling more than a half-million cases and ill-equipped to take on thousands more.”

“We’re at critical mass,” said Linda Brandmiller, a San Antonio immigration attorney who works with juveniles. “There isn’t an empty courtroom. We don’t have enough judges. You can say you’re going to prosecute more people, but from a practical perspective, how do you make that happen?”

The number of backlogged immigration cases have increased from 236,415 in 2010 to 508,036 this year, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data research group at Syracuse University. 

The Border Patrol also is understaffed and having trouble hiring enough agents.

Other Stories of Interest

Judge Fatally Shot Outside Chicago Home; FBI Offers $25,000 Reward

Cook County Associate Judge Raymond Myles

Cook County Associate Judge Raymond Myles

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for the information leading to the arrest of the gunman who shot and killed a judge outside his Chicago home.

Cook County Associate Judge Raymond Myles, 66, was fatally shot while heading to the gym, police told Fox News. 

A 53-year-old woman who was with the judge was shot in the leg and expected to survive. Police believe the woman was the judge’s girlfriend.

According to the woman, she was shot by a man holding a gun near the garage of Myles’ home. When Myles heard the gunshot, he went outside and exchanged words with the gunman, who shot the judge several times.

Authorities believe the motive may have been robbery.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, Myles also “may have been targeted for one reason or another.”

Judge Tentatively Approves $1M Settlement to Children in Border Patrol Lawsuit

Anastasio Hernandez Rojas.

Anastasio Hernandez Rojas.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Seven years of litigation may finally be over after a San Diego federal judge tentatively approved a $1 million settlement to the children of a Mexican man who was fatally beaten and shot with a Taser at a California port of entry.

The money will be split by the five children of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, who was killed during the confrontation at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on May 28, 2010, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

“This agreement is not justice,” said Hernandez Rojas’ common-law wife, Maria Puga, at a news conference following the hearing. “My husband’s life does not have a price. The decision had to be taken and it was difficult. We had to turn the page.”

Two of the children are still minors.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Louisa Porter told the two 10-year-olds that he delayed signing the final order under to ensure the funds don’t need to go through probate.

“I hope you use the funds so you can have a good life going forward,” Porter told the two 10-year-olds. “He came to this country to improve his life, and he’d like to see your lives improved by virtue of all the sacrifices he made for you.”

Judge Rejects New York Mafia Informant’s Lawsuit Against FBI

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Joseph Barone was a former Mafia informant for the FBI when he spent 19 months in a Brooklyn prison before a federal jury acquitted him in 2010.

Barone, now 55, sued the FBI, saying the bureau wanted to discipline him for refusing to trick a gangster from the Gambino crime family into confessing criminal activity, Reuters reports.

But on Monday, a New York judge ruled against Barone, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to provide that agents conspired to discipline him by charging him with a crime he didn’t commit.

Barone was accused of participating in a murder-for-hire plot.

Judge Andrew J. Peck ruled that the FBI did nothing wrong and had probable cause to arrest Barone.

Judge Rips FBI for Failing to Record 6-Hour Interrogation of Terror Suspect

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI interrogated an Everett terror suspect for six hours without recording the interaction.

That didn’t sit well with U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young, who criticized the FBI during a day-long evidentiary hearing Thursday, the Boston Herald reports. 

“It would have been a very good idea if all this had been recorded,” Young said. “A recording device that is reliable ought to be part of their kit.”

The suspect, David Daoud Wright, was charged with conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization for allegedly plotting to behead a conservative blogger with Boston terror suspect Usaamah Rahim.

FBI Boston Special Agent David George said the interrogation wan’t recorded because “We were in his living room. We weren’t in the right environment for it … We were not properly equipped,” noting that the bureau prohibits using cell phones to record interviews.

Mississippi Man Who Tried to Join ISIS Credits FBI for Saving His Life

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Mississippi man thanked the FBI for saving his life as he was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday for trying to join ISIS.

Muhammad Dakhlalla told a federal judge that he didn’t know at the time what ISIS represented, the Associated Press reports. 

The 22-year-old pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

Dakhlalla said he watched Internet videos with his former fiancee, Jaelyn Young, and videos depicted ISIS members helping people in Syria and Iraq. While jailed, he said he learned about ISIS’ violence after watching TV news coverage of the terrorist organization.

“I was completely wrong about what ISIS was,” Dakhlalla told U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock. “I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re really sick and twisted. They twist Islam for their own agenda. I denounce them. I condemn them.”

His former fiancee, Young, was sentenced to 12 years in prison earlier this month.