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Tag: prosecutors

Justice Department to Prioritize Prosecution of Wall Street Criminals

wall-streetBy Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has pledged to prioritize prosecution of Wall Street criminals.

The Boston Globe reports that the DOJ established new rules in an effort to hold individual employees and their companies accountable.

The rules were issued in a memo to federal prosecutors in an attempt to also pressure corporations to cooperate when their executives are accused of wrongdoing.

“Corporations can only commit crimes through flesh-and-blood people,” Sally Q. Yates, the deputy attorney general and the author of the memo, said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s only fair that the people who are responsible for committing those crimes be held accountable. The public needs to have confidence that there is one system of justice and it applies equally regardless of whether that crime occurs on a street corner or in a boardroom.”

Prosecutors: FBI Had Legal Right to Track New York Assemblyman by Cell Phone Tower

Assemblyman William Scarborough

By Steve Neavling

Federal prosecutors said FBI agents did not violate the law by tracking a New York assemblyman using cell phone tower data, The Times-Union reports.

Assemblyman William Scarborough had no reasonable expectation of privacy because he was using a cell tower, which prosecutors argued is essentially a business record.

The Queens Democrat was arrested in October on 11 federal charges related to fraudulent travel vouchers from 2009 to 2012.

Tracking his whereabouts was key to the investigation, prosecutors said.

“The defendant could not have a constitutionally cognizable privacy interest in business records that he did not make and has never seen or kept, and that contain information he has never known,” the motion reads.

Prosecutors Defend FBI’s Ruse to Send Agents into Hotel Suites As Internet Repairmen

By Steve Neavling

Prosecutors defended the FBI’s controversial decision shut off the Internet connection to three luxury Las Vegas suites in a ruse to send in undercover agents to “fix” the problems, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden and two other government lawyers filed a lengthy court filing defending the practice.

The response comes after the defense asked a judge to dismiss the evidence gathered in the illegal gambling case against eight suspects.

“Law enforcement has long been permitted to obtain consent by posing as a confederate, business associate, or service provider. In fact, the government uses ruses every day in its undercover operations,” the prosecutors wrote in defense of the FBI operation.

The prosecutors said the ruse was legal because it still gave the defendants a choice of letting in the agents.

“Disruption of the (high speed Internet) did not — in any legitimate sense — require immediate attention,” prosecutors wrote.

Justice Department Reveals Disturbing Treatment of Rape Victims in Montana County

Steve Neavling

An alarming letter from the Department of Justice accuses Missoula County, Montana prosecutors of all but ignoring sexual assault cases.

Buzzfeed reports that the Missoula County Attorney’s Office only took action on 17 of 85 police reports of sexual assaults of adult women between January 2008 and May 2012.

“[Female] sexual assault victims in Missoula are deprived of fundamental legal protections and often re-victimized by MCAO’s response to their reports of abuse,” U.S. attorneys wrote in a findings letter to County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg.

Prosecutors are accused of “institutionalized indifference” that “perpetuates a culture that tolerates sexual assault, dissuades victims from reporting crimes, leaves violent criminal activity unaddressed, and compromises the safety of all women in Missoula.”

In some cases, prosecutors even failed to return phone calls from victims.

‘Whitey’ Bulger Has ‘No Redeeming Qualities,’ Prosecutors Say Before Sentencing

Whitey Bulger/fbi

Steve Neavling

Notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger has “no redeeming qualities” and should die in prison, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Bulger is awaiting sentencing next week after being convicted of racketeering and murder charges.

“Bulger is one of the most violent and despicable criminals in Boston history,” prosecutors wrote. “Having now been convicted of 31 felonies … Bulger richly deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail.”

Prosecutors also are seeking restitution for the families of 19 murder victims, the LA Times wrote.


Column: Ex-Fed Prosecutor Says Prosecutors in Petraeus Case Exercised “Sound Discretion”

Steve Levin, a criminal defense attorney, spent ten years as a federal prosecutor in North Carolina and Maryland. He served on active duty in the United States Army as a defense counsel, an appellate attorney, and a trial attorney, and is now a military judge in the Army Reserve. His firm, Levin & Curlett, has offices  in Baltimore and Washington.  This column  first appeared on his blog Fraud with Peril.

Steve Levin

By Steve Levin

In 2004, the then-US Attorney for the District of Maryland famously wrote in a leaked email that he wanted three front-page indictments by November of that year. Though open to interpretation, the impression left by the poorly-drafted missive is that prosecutors should seek headlines rather than justice.

Let’s give credit to the prosecutors involved in the Petraeus/ Broadwell affair, er, matter for their exercise of sound discretion.

Assuming the accuracy of the news reports, Paula Broadwell potentially subjected herself to indictment for any number of federal crimes. In his paper entitled Computer and Internet Crime, G. Patrick Black, a federal defender in Texas, analyzes a number of cyberstalking statutes. As Black writes:

Under 18 U.S.C. 875(c), it is a federal crime to transmit any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another. Section 875(c) applies to any communication actually transmitted in interstate or foreign commerce – thus it includes threats transmitted in interstate or foreign commerce via the telephone, e-mail, beepers, or the Internet. Title 18 U.S.C. 875 is not an all-purpose anti-cyberstalking statute.

First, it applies only to communications of actual threats. Thus, it would not apply in a situation where a cyberstalker engaged in a pattern of conduct intended to harass or annoy another (absent some threat). Also, it is not clear that it would apply to situations where a person harasses or terrorizes another by posting messages on a bulletin board or in a chat room encouraging others to harass or annoy another person.

Read more »

Congressmen Call to Disbar Ted Stevens’ Prosecutors

Rep. Gohmert/gov photo

Courthouse News Service

WASHINGTON –– The prosecutors who concealed evidence to score a conviction against the late Sen. Ted Stevens should be disbarred, officials said at a congressional hearing Thursday.

“I don’t believe that the people that took Ted Steven’s life, how they should ever be able to practice law again,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who added that he didn’t personally like Stevens, but felt the prosecution was an injustice.

A federal jury convicted in the Alaska senator of felony corruption in 2008 for lying about home renovations and other gifts he had received from executives of VECO Corp., an oil field services company.

To read the full story click here.

Taxpayers Dish Out Nearly $1.8 Million to Defend Lawyers in Failed Prosecution of Late Ted Stevens

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens

Brad Heath
USA Today

WASHINGTON – The federal government has spent nearly $1.8 million defending prosecutors from allegations they broke the law in the botched corruption case against former Alaska senator Ted Stevens, Justice Department records show.

The case against Stevens fell apart three years ago when the Justice Department admitted its attorneys had improperly concealed evidence that could have helped his defense. A court-ordered investigation concluded in November that prosecutors had engaged in “significant, widespread, and at times intentional misconduct,” but that they should not face criminal contempt-of-court charges.

Records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the department has paid about $1.6 million since 2009 to private lawyers representing the six prosecutors targeted by that court investigation. It also paid $208,000 to defend three prosecutors from a separate finding that they had committed civil contempt of court.

To read more click here.