July 07, 2007
Is the Justice Department Losing Credibility?
From NPR.com: As Congress continues investigating allegations of politicization at the Justice Department, some current and former department employees say they fear that the scandal is hurting department morale and damaging the institution's credibility in the courts. Listen. . . [Mark Godsey]
January 23, 2007
DOJ Releases Inmate Death Report
From ojp.usdoj.gov: The nation's state prison officials reported that 12,129 inmates died while in custody from 2001 through 2004, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The deaths over this four-year period constituted an annual mortality rate of 250 deaths per 100,000 inmates, which was 19 percent lower than the adult mortality rate in the U.S. general population.
Overall, 89 percent of all state prisoner deaths were attributed to medical conditions and 8 percent were due to suicide or homicide. The remainder of deaths were due to alcohol/drug intoxication or accidental injury (1 percent each). A definitive cause of death could not be determined for an additional 1 percent. Two-thirds of inmate deaths from medical conditions involved a problem that was present at the time of admission to prison.
Half of all inmate deaths during this period resulted from heart disease (27 percent) or cancer (23 percent). Liver diseases, including cirrhosis, accounted for 10 percent of deaths, followed by AIDS-related causes (7 percent).
Among cancer deaths, lung cancer was the most common, accounting for 910 deaths from 2001 through 2004, followed by liver (276), colon (171), pancreatic (124) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (114). Deaths due to gender-specific cancer sites varied. Breast, ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer accounted for 24 percent of female cancer deaths. By comparison, prostate and testicular cancer caused 4 percent of male cancer deaths.
State prisoner mortality rates increased steadily with age. The mortality rate of inmates age 18-24 was lowest, at 34 deaths per 100,000 inmates. Among inmates age 55 or older, the rate was 1,973 deaths per 100,000 inmates. Inmates age 45 or older represented 14 percent of state prisoners, but 67 percent of the prisoner deaths from 2001 through 2004.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
January 18, 2007
Secret "FISA" Court to Monitor Domestic Spying Program
Yesterday, the Justice Department announced that a secret independent panel of judges, known as the FISA Court (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) has been given authority to monitor the government's contentious domestic spying program. FISA has already has approved one request for monitoring the communications of a person believed to be linked to al-Qaida or an associated terror group.
The FISA court was established in the late 1970s to review requests for warrants to conduct surveillance inside the United States. The Bush administration initially resisted giving the court final approval over the Terrorist Surveillance Program (the program allowing the phone calls or emails of Americans suspected of ties to terrorism to be monitored without any oversight from a judge), even when communications involved someone inside the country. A federal judge in Detroit last August declared the program unconstitutional, saying it violates the rights to free speech and privacy and the separation of powers. In October, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled that the administration could keep the program in place while it appeals the Detroit decision. Story from CBS/AP. . . [Michele Berry]
October 16, 2006
FBI Releases Hate Crime Statistics for 2005
From AllHeadlineNews.com: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released their 2005 statistics on hate crimes. Statistical data indicates a total of 7,163 criminal incidents. These incidents involved 8,380 reported offenses reported in 2005, resulting from a bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability...Racial bias topped the list as motivation for the 2005 hate crimes at 54.7 percent. Thereafter, smaller percentages were reported for motivations of religious bias at 17.1 percent, sexual-orientation bias at 14.2 percent, ethnicity/national origin bias at 13.2 and disability bias of 0.7 percent. The "Hate Crime Statistics, 2005," is published by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The data includes details on reported hate crimes from city, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies across the country. More statistics. . . and more information from the FBI about these statistics here. . . [Michele Berry]
April 02, 2006
Another FBI Agent Indicted for Mob Ties
The Brooklyn DA said that the respected agent leaked information about pending cases to members of the Colombo crime family, leading to the killing of informants and other individuals.
March 20, 2006
Have they Considered GMail? FBI Does without Email
CNN reports that FBI agents are going without .gov accounts for cost reasons. Not all of the agents and analysis have a need to be connected to the internet, FBI spokespersons say.
March 05, 2006
Secret Criminal Dockets in Federal Court
Thousands of criminal cases remain sealed after disposition in the federal system, AP reports. Many of the secret cases involve cooperating witnesses.
January 08, 2006
DOJ Report on Misidentified Madrid Bomber
A Justice Department report faulted the FBI for sloppy work but cleared the agency of more serious allegations in the botched fingerprint investigation of Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield. The report concluded that errors in fingerprint analysis did not result from misconduct, Mayfield's Muslim religion, or abuse of the Patriot Act...An executive summary of the classified report by Inspector General Glenn Fine found the FBI, despite its failings in the case, did not exhibit bias or violate provisions of the anti-terrorism law...The report, released Friday, said the primary reason the FBI connected Mayfield's fingerprint to the one on the backpack was its "unusual similarity" to that of Algerian national Ouhnane Daoud. The fingerprint was ultimately determined to be Daoud's. Mayfield and his supporters accused the FBI of religious bias against Mayfield, a former Army officer who had converted to the Muslim faith. Read more from CNN.com. . . [Mark Godsey]
December 30, 2005
DOJ Investigates NSA Leaks
Who leaked the NSA's secret domestic spy program? Criminal investigators want to know.
November 02, 2005
DOJ Report: Prisoners in 2004
Here. "Highlights include the following:
- Ten States had increases of at least 5%, led by Minnesota (up 11.4%), Idaho (up 11.1%), and Georgia (up 8.3%).
- Eleven States experienced prison population decreases, led by Alabama (down 7.3%), Rhode Island (down 2.8%), New York (down 2.2%),
- Local jails housed 74,378 State and Federal inmates (5.0% of all prisoners)."
The Nation's prison population grew 1.9% in 2004, reaching 1.5 million inmates.
October 19, 2005
New Juvenile Justice Website
OJJDP Web Site Offers Expanded Coverage and Targeted Services
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has launched a redesigned home page on its Web site. Enhancements include expanded coverage of news, publications, and events and links to tools designed to assist specific users such as first-time visitors and students. Aid for those seeking funding information or the latest data is also provided.
Resources: Access the OJJDP Web site's redesigned home page at
October 17, 2005
2004 Crime Stats: Rape Up, Murder Down
From MSNBC.com: Washington (AP)-- "Murders across the United States fell for the first time in five years, while rapes increased slightly last year, the FBI reported Monday. Overall, the number of violent crimes, which also include aggravated assaults and robberies, fell by 1.2 percent last year...
There were 16,137 murders in the United States in 2004, the last full year for which statistics are available. That was about 350 fewer than in 2003...Chicago was largely responsible for the drop, recording 150 fewer murders in 2004 than in 2003. The number of rapes, however, has increased in three of the past four years, according to the FBI data." More Stats... [Mark Godsey]
October 06, 2005
FBI's Criminal Caseload Down by Fifty Percent
From MSNBC.com: "The number of criminal cases opened by the FBI has dropped by nearly half since 2000, a reflection of the bureau’s shift toward stopping terrorist attacks, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Monday. The decline was steepest in drug investigations and extended to organized crime, bank robberies, civil rights, health care fraud, corporate fraud and public corruption, Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said...
Among the FBI’s traditional criminal investigations, only gang cases increased...The report looked at cases opened and the deployment of agents in the 2000 government spending year — the last full year before the attacks — and in 2004. The FBI opened 62,782 criminal investigations in 2000 and 34,451 last year, a drop of 45 percent, Fine said. Drug cases declined by 70 percent, he said. There were 2,200 fewer field agents investigating criminal matters in 2004, he said.
State and local law enforcement officials said they have tried to fill the gaps, but have been unable to take up the slack in complex financial fraud cases that the FBI handled before Sept. 11." Story... [Mark Godsey]
October 04, 2005
DOJ Publication: Understanding Hot Spots
Report here. [Jack Chin]
DOJ IG Report on Wiretaps
September 28, 2005
Federal Prosecution Trends
Story here. [Jack Chin]
September 20, 2005
North Carolina: DNA Crime Lab Receives Two Federal Grants
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's DNA crime lab received two federal grants from the justice department, totaling over $92,000. The first grant will fund the testing needed to work through backlogged DNA cases, and the second grant will be used to enhance the lab's infrastructure to prevent future backlogs. The lab anticipates solving about 240 DNA cases this year. Story here... [Mark Godsey]
September 13, 2005
DOJ IG Report on Mishandling Informants
Here. [Jack Chin]
September 04, 2005
DOJ: Family Violence Statistics
The DOJ recently published a report on family violence statistics. Some interesting findings:
"The rate of family violence fell by more than one-half between 1993 and 2002, from an estimated 5.4 victims to 2.1 victims per 1,000 U.S. residents 12 years old and older, reflecting the general decline in crimes against people during the same period, the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today.
Family violence accounted for 11 percent of all reported and unreported violence between 1998 and 2002. Of these offenses against family members, 49 percent were a crime against a spouse, 11 percent a parent attacking a child, and 41 percent an offense against another family member.
Seventy-three percent of family violence victims were female and 76 percent of persons who committed family violence were male. Simple assault was the most frequent type of family violence."
Full report here.
September 01, 2005
"Operation Wildfire" Leads to over 400 Arrests in Nationwide Meth Crackdown
From MSNBC.com--AP (Washington): "Police around the country have arrested more than 400 people in the first nationally coordinated operation aimed at producers and sellers of methamphetamine, officials said Tuesday. Police in more than 200 cities and the Drug Enforcement Administration took part over the past week in Operation Wildfire, which also resulted in the seizure of more than 200 pounds of the drug and 56 labs where it was made.
The arrests follow intense criticism from members of Congress and local law enforcement that the federal government is not doing enough to combat the use of methamphetamine. More than the half the 500 sheriffs in a recent survey called meth their top problem, far surpassing cocaine and marijuana." Story here... [Mark Godsey]