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Tag: U.S. District Court

Fed Judge in Detroit Compared Illegal Immigrants to Insects

 

U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland

U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — The language from the federal bench in Detroit was stark and unsettling.

U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland compared illegal immigrants to an insect and menacing Japanese beetles in 2013 while sentencing a 21-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico. A couple years later, a fellow judge called that analogy disturbing.

“One little attractive iridescent emerald beetle from Japan is not really any threat at all,” Judge Cleland said. “But when it multiplies and hundreds of millions of its offspring or relatives emerge and devastate the ash tree population in the continental United States and elsewhere, it’s a serious problem.

“So the one very attractive little insect is nothing more than interesting, but it’s an example of a very large problem.  And I think that’s what I have here.”

The colorful remarks, contained in a transcript recently obtained by Deadline Detroit, seem germane at a time when immigration is a hot-button issue and more criminal cases are likely to end up before federal judges like Cleland, who continues to serve on the bench.

“It’s very offensive and racist,” comments Brent A. Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens in Washington, who was contacted by Deadline. “I feel anyone coming before him would not get a fair hearing because of that racist mentality.”

Judge Cleland, appointed in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, declined comment.

To read the full story click here.

Ex-FBI Investigator Claims Bureau Hid Evidence in 2001 Anthrax Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former director of the FBI’s anthrax investigation claims the bureau hid evidence that would punch holes in the case that Army scientist Bruce Ivins mailed anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and sickened 27 others in 2001, Fox News reports. 

Richard Lambert claims in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tennessee that investigators used flawed scientific methods to arrive at a conclusion to charge Ivins in the anthrax attacks. Ivina later committed suicide before any charges were filed.

Lambert alleges there’s a “wealth” of evidence casting doubt on the case, which “the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people. ”

While he headed up the investigation, he focused heavily on scientist Steven Hatfill.

The FBI declined to comment because of the litigation.

Prosecutors Dropping Drug Conspiracy Charges Because of Alleged FBI Miconduct

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent accused of tampering with evidence has prompted federal prosecutors to begin the process of dismissing indictments against 28 defendants, the Washington Post reports.

Half of the defendants were already serving sentences.

Many of the defendants will be in U.S. District Court on Friday for a hearing.

The U.S. attorney’s office is investigating other cases handled by the FBI agent, who was working with a D.C. police task force in the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

In the meantime, the agent has been suspended while authorities investigate.

Authorities have not discussed details of the alleged misconduct, but said the agent is accused of tampering with drug and gun evidence.

Insane Clown Posse Can’t Sue Government Over FBI Gang Report, Judge Rules

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The rap-metal duo Insane Clown Posse has lost its lawsuit against the feds.

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland dismissed the group’s lawsuit against the FBI and Justice Department,  saying the government can’t be blamed for any fallout from a 2011 FBI report that classified fans of the group as a “loosely organized hybrid gang,”  the Associated Press reported. The fans are known as Juggalos.

The AP reported that the U.S. Justice Department is not responsible for how authorities use a national report on gangs.

Fans claimed they were unfairly targeted by local authorities because of the gang label.

Notorious Mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger Appeals Convictions Less Than Week After Prison Sentence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorneys for notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger plan to appeal his murder and racketeering conviction less than a week after he was sentenced to two life terms in prison, Reuters reports.

The brief filing in U.S. District Court in Boston does not list specific objections.

But Reuters suggests Bulger’s attorneys may be arguing they were wrongly denied the right to argue that Bulger was granted immunity by the FBI.

Retired FBI Agent Jailed After Feds Accuse Him of Contacting Potential Witness

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent accused of trying to derail an investigation into military fraud was jailed Tuesday pending trial after a federal judge in Utah said he violated terms of his release, the Salt Lake Tribune reports

U.S. District Court judge ordered Robert G. Lustyik Jr., 50, to jail after prosecutors provided “clear and convincing” evidence that the 50-year-old retired agent asked a third party to deliver cash to apotential witness in the case, the Tribune wrote.

“I don’t make the decision lightly, nor do I make it happily, but I think the evidence demands it,” U.S. District Court Judge Dustin Pead said, according to the Tribune.

Lustyik is accused to trying to thwart an investigation into Michael Taylor’s role in the alleged scheme, which the government says involves Taylor and two other men conspiring to land a $54 million contract for security and training services to Afghan special forces by using inside information, the Tribune reported.

When You’re a Detroit City Councilman, Is It Ever a Good Thing to Get a Visit From the FBI?

Councilman Gary Brown

 
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — When you serve on the Detroit City Council and one of your employees at city hall tells you the FBI is here to see you . . .well, your mind starts racing. You figure the agents aren’t there to talk about the Tigers’ prospects.

President Pro-tem Gary Brown recounted the FBI dropping by his office a while back during a ceremony Friday in U.S. District Court in downtown Detroit in which he spoke on behalf of his friend Terry Berg, the former acting U.S. Attorney who was sworn in as a federal judge.

Brown told the packed room of dignitaries, which included Sen. Debbie Stabenow, that he thought, just maybe, that because he was in Monica Conyer’s former office, and she was in federal prison, the agents were there to collect listening devices they might have planted.

Instead, he said, the FBI visitors came to ask background questions about Berg, who had been nominated for a federal judgeship by President Obama. That was a relief.

Terrance Berg/doj photo

He said he went to say very very flattering things about Berg, his Northwest Detroit neighbor, who belongs to the same jogging group.

Since it sounded as though they were such great friends, the agents — who seemed to be testing him — asked if he could give them Berg’s address. He couldn’t. He told them he was bad with numbers.

In fact, he said he couldn’t recall Berg’s street name, but was able to say where to turn off 7 Mile Road to get there.

After recounting that story about how he almost blew it, he turned to Berg and told him he was surprised he got confirmed.

 

‘Whitey’ Bulger Wants Evidence to Show He Had License to Kill from Government

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Lawyers for mobster James “Whitey” Bulger are seeking more evidence to bolster their claim that the accused serial murderer was given a license to kill by the federal government, the Boston Herald reports.

Defense lawyers are asking U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns to order the release of all relevant correspondence between the Department of Justice and the New England Organized Crime Strike Force, the Herald wrote.

“The federal government and the Department of Justice has a long-standing history of providing protection and rewards, even to murderers, if it assists them in other investigations they are interested in,” Attorney J.W. Carney Jr. stated in court papers filed Friday.

Bulger was a useful FBI informant in the government’s investigation of his rivals in the New England Mafia.

Bulger’s trial is scheduled to begin in March, the Herlad reported.