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Archive for September 14th, 2010

Legal Experts Say Alleged Underwear Bomber Not Likely to Get Much in Deal

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Short of handing over Osama bin Laden, the “underwear bomber” accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day isn’t likely to strike up a deal with prosecutors that will set him free any time soon, legal experts say.

“I don’t think they’re going to be flexible, short of him giving them phenomenal active intelligence,” said Brian M. Legghio, a former federal prosecutor in Detroit. “They’re going to be looking at lengthy prison time, 40 or 50 years, if not life.”

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 24, hinted in court Monday that he might plead guilty to some of the charges. The Nigerian national also fired his court-appointed attorneys, saying they weren’t representing his best interests. He will represent himself.

Just what kind of deal he can hammer out on his own is unclear, but legal experts say he’s made that task all the more difficult by firing his lawyers, who had met with prosecutors on multiple occasions to try to work out a plea deal, according to court records.

To read more click here.

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Column: If Californians Vote to Legalize Pot, Justice Dept. Should Sue

Chris Battle served as chief of staff at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and director of congressional and public affairs for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. He is a partner at Adfero Group, a public relations firm in Washington and editor of a blog on homeland and national security.

Chris Battle

Chris Battle

By Chris Battle
U.S. News & World Report

Things are tough in California. An unrestrained state legislature has spent so irresponsibly that the state is continuously begging the rest of us to bail it out with federal tax dollars. Its credit rating literally makes it a riskier bet than Kazakhstan. It has placed so many burdensome regulations on businesses

in the state that they are fleeing as quickly as they can to shutter their doors. Jobs are going with them, of course. Meanwhile, California is also leading the nation in legalized pot shops and stoned citizens.

Yeah, things are tough all over in California all right. And considering their latest stunt, maybe the state’s legislators are taking their cash-strapped cue from the ‘80s flick of the same name–Tough All Over starring Cheech and Chong, those two dope-hazed but lovable caricatures of bong tokers everywhere.

Why not, California’s leading political lights ask, induce a lot more people get high as a way to pay off the state debt?

In November, Californians will vote on the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, also known as Proposition 19. If passed, California will be the first state in the union to legalize marijuana outright.

To read more click here.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder : “I am Not Tone Deaf”

Appeals Court Admonishes Wisc. Fed Judge for Hitler Remark

hitlerBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More than six decades later, Adolph Hitler’s name still stirs up trouble.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago admonished U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa of eastern Wisconsin for comparing a convicted drug dealer Jose Figueroa’s love of family to Adolf Hitler’s love for his dog.

The Appeals Court, which said the judge’s comments were odd, ordered that Figueroa be re-sentenced, AP reported. He had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for heading up a drug conspiracy.

The judge’s comments came after Figueroa asked for leniency in sentencing because of his love for his family, the AP reported.

Randa responded, according to AP: “Hitler was admired by his family … loved his dog. Yet he killed 6 million Jews.”

Border Patrol Agents Fire Shots into Mexico After Coming Under Attack

Border PatrolBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The latest sign in the U.S. that there’s a drug war in Mexico: U.S. Border Patrol agents fired gunshots into Mexico Saturday after coming under attack in south Texas along the Rio Grande, the Associated Press reports.

Authorities said the incident happened during a half-ton drug bust that involved Border Patrol agents chasing a truck in Mission, Tex., along the Rio Grande on the U.S. side, the AP reported. No agents were hurt.

Authorities said that several Border Patrol agents — some of whom were patrolling in boats — were seizing a half-ton of marijuana when they came under gunfire.

“We’re obviously concerned with what happened, that they would be shooting from the Mexico side to us,” FBI spokesman Jorge Cisneros said, according to the AP.

“Original Civil Rights Photographer” Was FBI Informant

cameraBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The late “original civil rights photographer” Ernest Withers snapped shots of history: the motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot; King riding one of the first desegregated buses in Alabama.

But there was a little known side to the man who had a front row seat in the civil rights movement: He was an FBI informant, according to the Tennessee Commercial Appeal.

The paper reported that he marched with King and sat in on some of the civil rights movement’s sensitive strategy meetings.

He died in 2007 at age 85, the paper reported.

Sen. Trial Underway to Impeach Louisiana Fed Judge

Judge Thomas Porteous

Judge Thomas Porteous

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of Louisiana appears to be in big big trouble.

A U.S. Senate impeachment trial began Monday in Washington to try and oust the presidentially-appointed judge, who is 63.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who heads five-member House team serving as prosecutors for the trial, said in his opening statement that Porteous, 63, has violated the public trust, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

“It is the unanimous view of the House of Representatives that his conduct is not only wrong but so violative of the public trust that he cannot be allowed to remain on the bench without making a mockery of the court system.” Schiff told the Senate Impeachment Trial Committee. according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

To read more click here.

Inspector Gen. Probing Justice Dept. Enforcement of Voter Rights

blackpantherptylogoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Inspector General is probing allegations that the agency’s civil rights division was racially discriminatory when it came to enforcing voting laws, the Washington Post reported.

The Post reports that the probe grows out of a voter intimidation case from 2008 in which members of the New Black Panther Party were charged with intimidating white voters in Philadelphia.

The members videotaped voters in front of the polling place, dressed in military-style uniforms who allegedly yelled out racial slurs. The Obama Justice Department eventually abandoned the case, triggering an outcry from conservatives that the Obama administration had failed to protect the rights of white voters.

The Post reported that Inspector General Glenn Fine wrote a letter to Congressional members saying he wasn’t investigating the New Black Panther case specifically but was instead looking into how the Justice Department enforces voting rights laws.

To read more click here.

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