February 10, 2009
DOJ Maintains State Secrets Position from Bush Administration
In the first major national security case of the Obama administration, lawyers representing the government took the exact same position as the Bush administration. Government attorneys asked a judge to throw out a torture case, citing the need to preserve state secrets. Some human rights activists now say they feel betrayed by an administration that had promised greater openness and transparency.
Five former terrorism detainees brought the lawsuit, Mohammed et al. vs. Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. The men accuse Jeppesen, a Boeing subsidiary, of providing logistical support to the CIA for "torture flights" to overseas prisons.
Bush administration lawyers had argued there was no way to try this case without revealing state secrets. Activist groups and newspaper editorial pages hammered the Justice Department for taking that position, but a trial judge agreed and threw the case out.
As the government prepared to argue the case again before three judges at an appeals court Monday, observers wondered whether the Justice Department would change course now that there is a new president and a new attorney general. The government did not change course.
ACLU attorney Ben Wizner, who represents the detainees, said in a phone interview after arguments, "The Obama administration, which came to office on a promise of greater transparency — on a promise of ending these practices — stood up and made exactly the same arguments that were made by Bush lawyers to throw out torture victims' lawsuits. And that's a profound disappointment."
Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]
December 09, 2008
Prosecutors Seek to Rescind Cooperation Letter for Millennium Bomber
Federal prosecutors are seeking yet another sentencing for would-be millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam — this time without credit for helping to convict a fellow terrorist.
Ressam was sentenced for the second time last week to 22 years in prison for plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium. Prosecutors said at the time that the sentence wasn't long enough, and the guideline range is 65 years to life.
In a motion made public today, the U.S. Attorney's Office asked to withdraw a document prosecutors filed several years ago acknowledging that Ressam cooperated. They say that motion, which provided part of the basis for the lenient sentence, is no longer valid because Ressam told the judge last week he wanted to take back every statement he made to the government, including his testimony against a coconspirator.
Ressam was arrested Dec. 14, 1999, in Port Angeles after coming off the ferry from Victoria, B.C. Inspectors found electronic timers, powders and liquids in the trunk of his rental car that turned out to be the makings of a powerful bomb.
Ressam, 40, was convicted of planning to set off a powerful suitcase bomb at the Los Angeles airport during the millennium holiday. Prosecutors said Ressam had been recruited by a radical Islamic cell in Montreal and had trained in Osama bin Laden-sponsored terrorism camps in Afghanistan.
After his conviction in April 2001, Ressam cooperated with federal authorities in hopes of winning a shorter prison sentence. He became a key source of information on the operation of al-Qaida in Western Europe and North America after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, providing information that led to the prosecution of some of the terrorist organization's top leaders.
Ressam stopped cooperating in 2003, and a court-appointed psychiatrist found that he was suffering from a mental breakdown after years in solitary confinement and repeated interrogations.
Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]
Illinois Governor Arrested on Corruption Charges
Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested this morning on federal corruption charges. Wiretaps recorded Blagojevich discussing how to "sell or trade" the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama "for financial and personal benefits for himself and his wife," prosecutors allege. Also charged in the 2-count indictment, with a lurid 76-page FBI affidavit, was Blagojevich's chief of staff, John Harris.
Blagojevich allegedly was recorded saying he would demand hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Senate appointment, or else he would appoint himself.
On the day before the presidential election, Blagojevich discussed with "Deputy Governor A" the Senate seat that Obama would vacate if he were elected president. According to the affidavit, "Rod Blagojevich told Deputy Governor A that if he is not going to get anything of value for the open Senate seat, then Rod Blagojevich will take the Senate seat himself: 'if ... they're not going to offer anything of value, then I might just take it.'"
In talking with "Advisor A" about "Senate Candidate 1," Blagojevich allegedly "stated that the Senate seat 'is a fucking valuable thing, you don't just give it away for nothing.'"
The affidavit, by FBI agent Daniel Cain, also claims that Blagojevich threatened to withhold state aid from the Tribune Co., which filed for bankruptcy Monday, unless it fired editorial board members who had criticized Blagojevich in editorials.
The affidavit includes numerous pages detailing Blagojevich's alleged connections to the Tony Rezko political contributions scandal.
The allegations regarding Blagojevich's alleged attempts to sell the U.S. Senate seat fill pages 54-74 of the FBI affidavit.
Read full article, including link to the Government's Complaint and Affidavit, here. [Brooks Holland]
November 10, 2008
Obama's DOJ Transition Plan
For more than a month, a squad of lawyers has been gathering for the first Justice Department transition in the post-9/11 world. Now that their candidate has won, they're at the gates -- or rather, the 20-foot-high aluminum doors of Main Justice -- waiting for President-elect Barack Obama and President George W. Bush to finalize the rules for information-sharing and access during the transition.
The Justice Department calls its own preparation unprecedented in modern times. Under a 2004 law, the department has been vetting Obama's transition team for security clearances for more than two months. And since at least July, the department has been laying the groundwork for a new administration. Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed his chief of staff, Brian Benczkowski, and Lee Lofthus, the assistant attorney general for administration, to coordinate the transition.
Obama has tapped Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr's David Ogden, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Division under President Bill Clinton, to lead the transition team. His deputy, Thomas Perrelli, managing partner of Jenner & Block's Washington office, is another Clinton administration alum. Perrelli worked under Ogden in the Civil Division as deputy assistant attorney general, supervising the Federal Programs Branch.
The transition will be twice as long as the last one and -- it's hoped -- at least twice as disciplined as the one before that. Obama's first task, the selection of the next attorney general, is likely to be fraught with the memories of Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood, whose botched nominations got Clinton's Justice Department off to a wobbly start.
The most-discussed candidate for the top spot is still Covington & Burling's Eric Holder Jr., one of Obama's top campaign advisers. But when Legal Times asked Holder in June whether he'd accept the job if offered, he said: "That ain't gonna happen." (It's unclear whether he was referring to the overture or his response were an overture to be made.)
Others mentioned are Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, an early Obama supporter who is now a member of his transition advisory board, and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who was reportedly on the short list for vice president. Newsweek reports that Charles Ogletree, a Harvard Law School professor who mentored Obama, is also in the running.
A dark horse: Judge Merrick Garland, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, who served as principal associate deputy attorney general under Clinton.
Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]
November 06, 2008
No Federal Charges for Eliot Spitzer
The announcement was made by the office of Michael J. Garcia, the United States attorney in Manhattan. Mr. Spitzer announced his resignation in March two days after The New York Times reported his involvement in a high-priced prostitution ring, the Emperors Club V.I.P.
Mr. Garcia said in a statement that his office had found no evidence that Mr. Spitzer had used public money or campaign funds to pay for his encounters with prostitutes.
“We have determined that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges against Mr. Spitzer,” Mr. Garcia said in the statement. “In light of the policy of the Department of Justice with respect to prostitution offenses and the longstanding practice of this office, as well as Mr. Spitzer’s acceptance of responsibility for his conduct, we have concluded that the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter.”
Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for Mr. Garcia’s office, would not say whether the decision not to bring charges signaled an end to the investigation, which began late last year, or whether prosecutors would focus on other clients of the Emperors Club V.I.P. or others who had dealings with the people who operated it.
In a statement released on Thursday minutes after the United States attorney’s announcement, Mr. Spitzer said: “I appreciate the impartiality and thoroughness of the investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office, and I acknowledge and accept responsibility for the conduct it disclosed.
“I resigned my position as governor because I recognized that conduct was unworthy of an elected official.”
“I once again apologize for my actions,” he said in the statement, “and for the pain and disappointment those actions caused my family and the many people who supported me during my career in public life.”
Mr. Spitzer, reached on his cellphone, said that he would have no comment beyond the statement.
Don D. Buchwald, the court-appointed lawyer for Ashley Alexandra Dupré, a prostitute Mr. Spitzer met in Washington on Feb. 13, said, “Ashley is pleased that this matter is behind her.”
Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]
September 29, 2008
Prosecutor Appointed to Investigate U.S. Attorney Firings
An internal Justice Department investigation concluded Monday that political pressure drove the firings of several federal prosecutors in a 2006 purge, but said that the refusal of major players at the White House and the department to cooperate in the year-long inquiry produced significant “gaps” in its understanding of the events.
At the urging of the investigators, who said they did not have enough evidence to justify recommending criminal charges in the case, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey appointed the Acting United States Attorney in Connecticut, Nora Dannehy, to continue the inquiry and determine whether anyone should be prosecuted.
The 356-page report, prepared by the department’s inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility, provides the fullest picture to date of an episode that opened the Bush administration up to charges of politicizing the justice system. The firings of nine federal prosecutors, and the Congressional hearings they generated, ultimately led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last September.
The investigation, which uncovered White House e-mail messages not previously made public, offered a blistering critique of Mr. Gonzales’s management of the department. It called Mr. Gonzales “remarkably unengaged” in overseeing an unprecedented personnel review, and said that he “abdicated” his administrative responsibilities, leaving those duties to his chief of staff. It said that the process for deciding which prosecutors were fired was “fundamentally flawed.”
More troubling, the investigation concluded that, despite the denials of the administration at the time of the controversy, political considerations played a part in the firings of at least four of the nine prosecutors.
The most serious case, the report said, was the firing of David Iglesias, the former United States Attorney for New Mexico, who had tangled with two of his state’s leading Republican lawmakers, Senator Pete Domenici and Representative Heather A. Wilson, over what they saw as his slow response to voter fraud and political corruption accusations against Democrats in New Mexico.
“We concluded,” the inquiry said, “that complaints from New Mexico Republican politicians and party activists to the White House and the Department about Iglesias’s handling of voter fraud and public corruption cases led to his removal.”
But in looking into the Iglesias firing and others, investigators were hampered by the refusal of the White House to turn over internal documents and to make some major figures available for interviews. Investigators interviewed some 90 people, but three administration officials who played a part in crucial phases of the firing plan — Karl Rove, the former political advisor to President Bush; Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel; and Monica M. Goodling, former Justice Department liaison to the White House — all refused to be interviewed.
Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]
September 16, 2008
Violent Crime Reported Down in 2007
Data released Monday by the FBI show violent crime dipped slightly nationwide in 2007. That ended two years of increases in murders, robberies and other kinds of the worst crime in U.S. cities.
An estimated 1.4 million violent crimes were reported across the country last year - about 10,000 fewer, or a 0.7 percent drop, than 2006.
The number of burglaries, car thefts, arsons and other property crimes also dropped by 140,000, or 1.4 percent. That marked the fifth year of property crime decreases, the FBI said.
Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said the decline is the result of crackdowns on gangs, drug dealers and gun crimes, and he used the drop to call on Congress for $200 million in additional funding to continue such efforts.
Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]
August 28, 2008
DOJ Responds to Privilege Ruling in Congress' U.S. Attorney Investigation
Congress and the Bush administration headed for a pre-election showdown Wednesday over executive privilege, with House Democrats scheduling a hearing that would put a key administration figure under oath and the Justice Department mapping a last-ditch court appeal.
Justice lawyers said they would go to court as soon as today to block a ruling by U.S. District Judge John Bates that aims to force the Bush administration to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the politically charged firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006, including Seattle's John McKay.
The move came as Democrats pushed ahead with that investigation, and Rep. John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he was calling former White House counsel Harriet Miers to appear before the committee Sept. 11 to answer questions about her role in the firings.
Conyers also set a deadline of next Thursday for the administration to hand over White House documents concerning the firings and a log detailing what documents it was withholding because of security concerns and why.
Some legal experts said they doubted the Justice Department would succeed in persuading the federal appeals court in Washington to intervene in the matter.
But it was also unclear what questions Miers would choose to answer if she takes the witness chair, and that raised the possibility of further legal wrangling.
Some experts said the tug of war also seemed unlikely to be resolved before January, when the subpoenas legally expire. That would confront the new Congress with the decision whether to renew the battle.
"It is an unpredictable game at this point," said Charles Tiefer, a former House counsel who is a professor at the University of Baltimore Law School. "The Congress could win or the White House could drag it out."
Bates ruled that the administration's position that it had "absolute immunity" from being forced to honor subpoenas issued by Congress was unprecedented. He said Miers was obliged to at least show up, but did not rule on which questions she would be required to answer.
Justice Department lawyers told Bates, who was appointed by Bush, at a hearing Wednesday that they intended to ask the appeals court to overrule the judge. Justice Department lawyer Carl Nichols indicated the government would file court papers to that effect no later than today.
Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]
August 18, 2008
U.S. May Ease Police Spy Rules
The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years.
The proposed changes would revise the federal government's rules for police intelligence-gathering for the first time since 1993 and would apply to any of the nation's 18,000 state and local police agencies that receive roughly $1.6 billion each year in federal grants.
Quietly unveiled late last month, the proposal is part of a flurry of domestic intelligence changes issued and planned by the Bush administration in its waning months. They include a recent executive order that guides the reorganization of federal spy agencies and a pending Justice Department overhaul of FBI procedures for gathering intelligence and investigating terrorism cases within U.S. borders.
Taken together, critics in Congress and elsewhere say, the moves are intended to lock in policies for Bush's successor and to enshrine controversial post-Sept. 11 approaches that some say have fed the greatest expansion of executive authority since the Watergate era.
Supporters say the measures simply codify existing counterterrorism practices and policies that are endorsed by lawmakers and independent experts such as the 9/11 Commission. They say the measures preserve civil liberties and are subject to internal oversight. [Mark Godsey]
August 12, 2008
F.B.I.’s Use of Phone Records Shows Need to Protect the Press, Senators Say
WASHINGTON — Two leading senators said Monday that they were troubled by the F.B.I.’s collection of the phone records of four reporters at The New York Times and The Washington Post and that the episode showed a “pressing need” for legislation pending in the Senate that would provide greater legal protection for journalists.
Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation disclosed to the two newspapers that it had improperly obtained the phone records of reporters in their Indonesian bureaus in 2004 by using emergency records demands from telephone providers as part of an investigation. Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the bureau, made personal calls to Bill Keller, executive editor of The Times, and Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Post, to apologize.
In a letter sent to Mr. Mueller on Monday, the two senators said they wanted formal staff briefings on the episode to address unanswered questions.
The phone records were apparently obtained as part of a terrorism investigation, but the agency has not explained what it was investigating or why the reporters’ phone records were considered relevant. [Mark Godsey]
No Criminal Charges in DOJ Hiring Scandal
Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Tuesday rejected the idea of criminally prosecuting former Justice Department employees who improperly used political litmus tests in hiring decisions, saying he had already taken strong internal steps in response to a “painful” episode.
Two recent reports from the Justice Department inspector general and its internal ethics office have found that about a half-dozen officials at the Justice Department — all but one now gone — systematically rejected candidates with perceived “liberal” backgrounds for what were supposed to be non-political jobs and sought out conservative Republicans.
In a speech Tuesday morning to the American Bar Association in New York, Mr. Mukasey acknowledged that some critics and commentators have called on the Justice Department to take what he called “more drastic steps” in dealing with the scandal, including prosecuting those at fault and firing those hired through flawed procedures.
“Where there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, we vigorously prosecute,” he said. “But not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime,” he said. As the inspector general’s report acknowledged, the hiring violations were such a case, because the wrongdoing violated federal civil service law, but not criminal law, he said.
“That does not mean, as some people have suggested, that those officials who were found by the joint reports to have committed misconduct have suffered no consequences,” Mr. Mukasey said. “Far from it. The officials most directly implicated in the misconduct left the Department to the accompaniment of substantial negative publicity.
Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]
August 05, 2008
Oklahoma Co. Sheriff defends jail's conditions
Detailed in the federal report are jail deaths, excessive use of force and a "disturbing” incident in which a pregnant woman was handcuffed to a rail for 10 hours while giving birth to a premature baby.
The child died at a metro-area hospital.
"I am confident that our work to resolve these issues will satisfy the concern expressed by the Department of Justice,” Whetsel said. "I have no problem in telling family members that their loved ones are safe.”
He added, "I can tell you this report is one year old. We have made the corrections.”
However, the seriousness of the report led the U.S. Marshals and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to transfer 160 federal inmates from the Oklahoma County jail over the weekend to jails in Tulsa and Grady counties until the issues are officially resolved.
The report details excessive inmate-on-inmate violence and use of force by jail staff, an unsanitary kitchen with birds and insects, lack of clothing and showers, several fire hazards and virtually no mental health treatment. There is also an inadequate investigatory process to review deaths and other serious incidents, according to the report.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department could not be reached for comment late Monday.
A spokesman for U.S. Attorney John Richter said the department's local office was reviewing the letter sent to the county and had no comment. [Mark Godsey]
July 30, 2008
U.S. Supports Rehearing in Kennedy Death Penalty Ruling
The US Justice Department has appealed to nation's highest court to re-hear a major death penalty case involving sentencing for child rapists, saying the ruling was made without all the facts.
The Supreme Court last month ruled 5-4 against the death sentence for child rapists, but did so without considering a 2007 executive order that makes child rape a crime punishable by death according to military law, the Justice Department said in a rare motion filed this week.
In the high court's ruling in Kennedy v. Louisiana on June 25, Justice Anthony Kennedy said "there is a national consensus against capital punishment for the crime of child rape," due to the lack of recent executions and the low number of states that permit the death penalty for such crimes.
However, by striking down Louisiana's law to accord the death penalty for child rape, the court did not take into account a presidential order authorizing the military to condemn to death convicted child rapists, the Justice Department said.
"The United States has a substantial interest in rehearing because the Court's decision casts grave doubt on the validity of a recent act of Congress and executive order of the president authorizing capital punishment for child rapists under the uniform code of military justice," acting solicitor general Gregory Garre said in the motion.
"Because the court did not have a complete description of the relevant legal landscape, the court's decision rests on an erroneous and materially incomplete assessment of the 'national consensus' concerning capital punishment for child rape."
Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]
July 29, 2008
Report Faults Aides in Hiring at Justice Dept.
Senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales broke Civil Service laws by using politics to guide their hiring decisions, picking less-qualified applicants for important nonpolitical positions, slowing the hiring process at critical times and damaging the department’s credibility, an internal report concluded on Monday.
A longtime prosecutor who drew rave reviews from his supervisors was passed over for an important counterterrorism slot because his wife was active in Democratic politics, and a much-less-experienced lawyer with Republican leanings got the job, the report said.
Another prosecutor was rejected for a job in part because she was thought to be a lesbian. And a Republican lawyer received high marks at his job interview because he was found to be sufficiently conservative on the core issues of “god, guns + gays.”
The report, prepared by the Justice Department’s inspector general and its internal ethics office, centered on the misconduct of a small circle of aides to Mr. Gonzales, including Monica Goodling, a former top adviser to the attorney general, and Kyle Sampson, his former chief of staff. It also found that White House officials were actively involved in some hiring decisions.
According to the report, officials at the White House first developed a method of searching the Internet to glean the political leanings of a candidate and introduced it at a White House seminar called The Thorough Process of Investigation. Justice Department officials then began using the technique to search for key phrases or words in an applicant’s background, like “abortion,” “homosexual,” “Florida recount,” or “guns.”
The report focused its sharpest criticism on Ms. Goodling, a young lawyer from the Republican National Committee who rose quickly in the department to become a top aide to Mr. Gonzales. [Mark Godsey]
June 25, 2008
Sexual Victimization in Local Jails Reported by Inmates, 2007
Presents data from the 2007 National Inmate Survey (NIS), conducted in 282 local jails between April and December, with a sample of 40,419 inmates. The report and appendix tables provide a listing of results for sampled local jails, as required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79).
Facilities are listed alphabetically by state with estimated prevalence rates of sexual victimization as reported by inmates during a personal interview and based on activity in the 6 months prior to the interview or since admission to the facility, if shorter. The report includes national-level and facility-level estimates of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, inmate-on-inmate and staff-on-inmate victimization, and level of coercion. It also includes estimates of the standard error for selected measures of sexual victimization and summary characteristics of victims and incidents. Data collected from prison inmates in the National Inmate Survey were reported in Sexual Victimization in State and Federal Prisons Reported by Inmates, 2007, released in December 2007. [Mark Godsey]
April 29, 2008
Court to Help Vets in Criminal System
From NPR.com: As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan put renewed focus on the issue of veterans' mental health, a judge in Buffalo, N.Y., has created a special court to assist veterans who wind up in the criminal justice system.
ary Pettengill wanted to make a career out of the military, but the Army made him take a medical discharge in 2006 after he injured his back in Iraq. At the time, Pettengill was 23 and married, with a third child on the way.
To cope with what he says were empty days and nightmares caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, Pettengill says he started smoking marijuana. Then he began selling it to pay his bills. In February, he was arrested during a drug sweep and accused of being in possession of two pounds of marijuana.
Pettengill found himself facing serious time and the possibility of losing his children to the child welfare system. His family was evicted from their apartment.
Then he was referred to Judge Robert Russell's "veterans court." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
April 03, 2008
War Crime Charges Filed Against Embassy Bomber
From online.wsj.com: Military prosecutors filed war-crimes charges yesterday against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, an al Qaeda operative implicated in the simultaneous 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The case makes for another useful lesson in the post-9/11 military commissions process, and ought to provide a measure of justice for the atrocities, which killed more than 200 people, including 12 Americans, and wounded thousands.
Currently incarcerated at Guantanamo, Ghailani procured the truck, TNT, detonators, and oxygen and acetylene canisters that comprised the suicide bomb that destroyed the Dar es Salaam embassy. He scouted for the attack and coordinated between his terror cell and the one in Nairobi. A day before the bombing, Ghailani fled to Pakistan, where he was captured in 2004 following a 10-hour firefight, part of a joint Pakistani-U.S. operation. At least 10 of the conspirators remain at large, including Osama bin Laden.
Ghailani confessed to his role in the plot during a 2007 hearing but claimed he was a dupe, for instance that he thought the TNT was "soap for washing horses." Yet Ghailani continued his service to al Qaeda after the bombing. He worked as an instructor at a terrorist training camp and forged documents, becoming at one point a bin Laden bodyguard. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
October 11, 2007
The DOJ Has Not Spent any of the Congress Allotted $8 Million for DNA Testing
From USATODAY.com: Since 2006, the Justice Department has yet to spend any of the $8 million set aside by Congress for DNA tests for convicts to prove their innocence while it has used $214 million to collect DNA from convicted criminals and improve crime labs, records show.
"DNA evidence is such a powerful tool in proving guilt or innocence that it's inexcusable not to use it," says Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chief sponsor of a bill to provide more funding for what is known as innocence testing.
If spent, the $8 million could affect dozens of cases, says Barry Scheck, a defense lawyer who specializes in using DNA to overturn convictions. Exact costs for a DNA test vary from case to case.
Rules imposed by Congress have made it difficult for states to qualify for post-conviction DNA grants, says the department's National Institute of Justice, which administers the funds. Only Virginia, Connecticut and Arizona have applied.
The law requires a state's attorney general to certify that the state requires police departments to take "reasonable measures" to preserve biological evidence for possible future testing. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
September 17, 2007
Federal Prosecutor in Child Sex Sting
Story here. This is really quite unbelievable; one of the lesser reasons is that it is difficult to understand how an experienced prosecutor could fail to realize that the free-thinking mother who offered up her 5 year old child for a sexual experience with an gentle older man was almost certainly a cop.
September 01, 2007
U.S. Attorneys are Low on Funds
From wsj.com: In the past few years, U.S. attorneys' offices around the country have been unable to fill vacancies. Lawyers sometimes can't travel to interview witnesses. Even funds for basic office needs such as photocopying documents and obtaining deposition transcripts have been cut, according to current and former officials.
Overall, funding for the offices has grown well below the rate of inflation. As a result, "fewer cases were getting charged and bigger investigations were taking longer because there weren't enough prosecutors to do them," says Debra Yang, who stepped down in October 2006 as the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.
Department of Justice data show the impact. Prosecutions are down overall, with large drops in categories such as drugs, violent crime and white-collar offenses. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]