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Tag: montgomery

Law Firm: Alabama Prison System Rife with Abuse, Should be Investigated by DOJ

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Widespread corruption, misconduct and abusive behavior were found in Alabama’s prison system following a six-month investigation by a nonprofit law firm.

Now the firm, the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative, is urging the Justice Department to conduct a formal investigation, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.

Alleging extreme violence, security problems and a culture of fear at the prisons, the firm filed a lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Corrections last month.

EJI Director Bryan Stevenson said the problems are widespread and won’t change until the Justice Department gets involved.

“It’s not adequate to say we don’t have the money to do better,” Stevenson said. “A lot of these problems reflect cultural problems, leadership problems and management problems that don’t directly relate to the budget.”

Ala. U.S. Atty. Leura Canary Steps Down on Friday

U.S. Atty. Leura Canary/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney Leura G. Canary of Montgomery, Ala., who was appointed by President Bush in 2001, will step down on Friday, her office announced.

Canary has served with the Justice Department since October, 1990 when she was hired as a trial attorney. In November 1994,  she became an assistant U.S. Attorney  for the Middle District of Alabama in Montgomery. She later served as a civil chief.

On Sept. 4, 2001, she was appointed interim U.S. Attorney in Montgomery. She was later nominated by President Bush and confirmed on Nov. 6, 2001.

Canary’s office convicted former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, which triggered cries from Democrats that the prosecution was political.

President Obama has nominated George Beck Jr., a white-collar defense lawyer at Capell & Howard, to step in.

Justice Dept.’s Public Integrity Section Could Be Screwing Up Another Public Corruption Case in Ala.


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section which blew the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, may be screwing up a big public corruption case in Montgomery, Ala. Both cases involve allegations of withholding evidence from the defense.

The Associated Press reports that an angry U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel Jr. is fed up and said at a pretrial hearing on Friday that he may impose sanctions against the government for repeatedly failing to hand over all  the documents pertaining to FBI wiretaps in a gambling case involving alleged payoffs to politicians to pass legislation.

“This is supposed to be some elite group coming down from D.C., and how this case has been conducted is ridiculous,” the judge said at a pretrial hearing, according to AP. The trial is set for June 6.

The judge did not say what sanctions he might impose, but the defense is asking that the judge toss the case because the  government failed to share certain documents.

AP reported that Casino owners Milton McGregor and Ronnie Gilley, four present and former legislators, and four others are charged with buying and selling votes on legislation. The votes would have kept opened Gilley’s and McGregor’s shuttered electronic bingo casinos.

Prosecutor Steve Feaga said in court, according to AP: “In the course of this case, there have been some mistakes made by the government.”

But AP reported that Feaga said the mistakes were unintentional, such as handing over computer disc without the passwords to access data.

The government has conceded that it has made mistakes, but they weren’t intentional, AP said.

The Public Integrity Section convicted then-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens in Oct. 27, 2008 of public corruption charges shortly before his re-election. Stevens lost the election, but the Justice Department subsequently  moved to vacate conviction because its Office of Public Integrity failed to turn over evidence to the defense.

Ala. Fed Judge Threatens to Sanction Prosecutors for Withholding Documents

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors aren’t scoring any points with a federal judge in a bingo vote-buying case in Montgomery, Ala.

The Birmingham News reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel  Jr. on Tuesday threatened to sanction fed prosecutors for failing to turn over documents relating to FBI wiretaps.  He ordered the government to turn over the files by the end of the business day on Tuesday. He scheduled a pretrial hearing on the matter for Thursday.

“This has gone past the point of mistake or anything else,” Capel said, according to the Birmingham News.

The defense teams says the government has been withholding material related to the wiretaps that could help their case. They claim that notes made regarding casino owners Milton McGregory and Ronnie Gilley could help them prove the wiretaps were done improperly.

Gilley, McGregor, two state senators, two lobbyists and two others are set to go to trial June 6 on charges they attempted to buy and sell votes for gambling bill before the Alabama state legislature, the Birmingham News reported.

“I think there are logs. I think there are emails among the agents,” defense attorney  Doug Jones, who represents Gilley, said, according to the paper. “Personally, it seems to me they are playing hide the ball. There is something there they don’t want us to see.”

The paper reported that fed prosecutors declined comment.  AP reported that one of the defense attorneys said that  the government had emailed some documents before the 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday. It was unclear from the news report whether the fed prosecutors fully complied with the order.