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Archive for August 20th, 2010

Weekend Series on Crime: J. Edgar Hoover and the Mob

Thai Court Grants U.S. Extradition Request for Russian Arms Dealer Dubbed “Merchant of Death”

atf file photo

atf file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A notorious Russian arms dubbed the “merchant of death” will be extradited to the U.S. from Thailand, the Washington Post reported.

A Court of Appeals court in Thailand overturned a lower court’s ruling rejecting the U.S. extradition request for Viktor Bout, the Post reported.

The Associated Press reported that Bout cried when hearing the verdict and hugged his wife and daughter.

“This is the most unfair decision possible,” his wife told reporters, the Post reported.”It is known the world over that this is a political case.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the extradition ruling an “unlawful, political decision” made “under very strong external pressure,” Reuters news agency reported.

To read more click here.

Column: Ex-Atty. Gen. Gonzales Says Changing 14th Amendment Won’t Change Immigration Crisis

Alberto Gonzales

Ex-Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales

By Alberto Gonzales
Washington Post Op-ed

Like most Americans, I am a descendant of immigrants and a grateful beneficiary of the opportunities available to our nation’s citizens.

My grandparents emigrated from Mexico in the early 20th century seeking a better life, and they found it working in the fields and dairy farms of Texas. Diversity is one of the great strengths of the United States — diversity fueled by the migration of ethnicities, cultures and ideas.

Today, however, there is virtually universal agreement that our immigration process is broken. While security on our southern border has improved in the past decade, it remains inadequate in a post-9/11 world.

To read more click here.

Column: No Crime In Retrying Ex-Ill. Gov. Blagojevich

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There’s no question it was a major embarrassment for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald when a Chicago jury on Tuesday convicted the over-chatty ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on only 1 of 24 counts — and that sole count did not even go to the meat of the case.

But I have to disagree with my former paper, the Washington Post, which said in an editorial that Fitzgerald “should back off” retrying the case. I also disagree with the Wall Street Journal editorial, which said Fitzgerald should resign or be removed by the Justice Department.

The Post said a retrial would amount to persecution, not prosecution. The Journal says that Fitzgerald piled up charges in this case and others and “this pattern points to a willful prosecutor who throws an exaggerated book at unpopular defendants and hopes at least one of the charges will stick, even as he flouts due process and the presumption of innocence when the political winds are high.”

First off, the jury voted 11-1 to convict on some counts including the most publicized one that Blagojevich tried selling the Senate seat vacated by Obama. One juror  said she thought Blagojevich was simply engaging in politics as usual. Sad, but true.

A retrial is not inappropriate. Even in the best of cases, you can run into a juror who simply holds out, rightly or wrongly. It happens. It doesn’t mean your case is a stinker or that you shouldn’t retry the case; it doesn’t mean you’re mean, vindictive if you retry the case.

Politicians have to learn that with political office comes the responsibility of being honest and having some integrity. Shaking down people for money shouldn’t be part of the job description.

Frankly, I find Rod Blagojevich amusing. So do a lot of other folks around the country. But he stepped way over the line. He knew he was stepping over the line. Unfortunately, yes, stepping over the line is simply politics as usual in Illinois and other parts of the country like Louisiana and New Jersey.

We need to keep sending a message this isn’t the politics as usual we want.

Last of 3 Az. Prison Escapees Nabbed at Campground

John McCluskey/marshal photo

John McCluskey/marshal photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The hunt for the last of three fugitives who escaped from an Arizona prison is over.

The U.S. Marshals Service said John McCluskey and his accomplice Casslyn Welch were captured Thursday at a campsite in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Arizona following a tip from a suspicious U.S. Forest Service ranger, the Associated Press reported. Welch is McLulskey’s fiancee and cousin.

Welch and two other inmates escaped from a private prison in northwest Arizona on July 30. The other two had already been captured.

The Associated Press reported that the ranger on Thursday checked an unattended fire and noticed a silver Nissan Sentra had been parked in a wooded area as if someone was trying to hide it.

AP reported that the ranger spoke briefly to McCluskey, who appeared nervous.

A SWAT team later surrounded the camp ground and made the arrest, U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said, according to AP.

Gonzales said Welch reached for a weapon but dropped it after realizing she was outnumbered. McCluskey was lying in a sleeping bag.

“The nightmare that began July 30 is finally over,” Gonzales said, according to the AP.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Blago Begins Round 2: Has No Intention to Seek Plea

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