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Tag: ATF

Judge Rules In Favor of Ex-ATF Agent Jay Dobyns and Slaps ATF

Jay Dobyns

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge gave what former ATF agent Jay Dobyns seemed to want most: Vindication.

The Arizona Republic writes that U.S. Federal Claims Judge Francis M. Allegra of D.C. ruled in a lawsuit filed by Dobyns that ATF failed to properly respond to death threats against him after he infiltrated the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, then reneged on previous agreements to address his complaints. In 2008, his house was set afire. 

The ruling, unsealed Tuesday, awarded Dobyns of Tucson $173,000 for emotional stress caused by ATF, the paper reported. 

The paper also reported that the judge denied the government’s counterclaims for royalties from Dobyns’ book, No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels, and the films rights to the book, which are held by 20th Century Fox.

The $173,000 award fell far short of what he had sought. But he said he was pleased, nonetheless, with the ruling.

Dobyns wrote on his blog:

“I will not seize upon this opportunity to gloat or celebrate. From my view there is nothing to rejoice in. This is a sad day for my beloved ATF, the Department of Justice and all who believe in and support America’s law enforcement officers.”

“The title of the lawsuit alone — Dobyns v. USA — is humiliating for me. I never stood against the USA; only the corruption and abuse that infect parts of ATF and DOJ in leadership. I blew the whistle on that corruption. For that I was severely punished and left undefended.”

Dobyns also wrote in his blog:

Today, Judge Allegra describes ATF as an agency with, “organizational weaknesses, the inability of agency officials to supervise and control, and of demonstrated misfeasance – all rooted in the sorry failure of some ATF officials”. Further he wrote, “the story of how Agent Dobyns was treated is neither entertaining nor an easy read.”

Judge Allegra wrote in his opinion that Marino Vidoli, Steve Pugmire and Bill Newell, “ignored information about threats to Agent Dobyns and his family”, that, “the removal of the fictitious identification put Agent Dobyns and his family at risk”, that there was “no valid reason” for ATF’s failure to support us. The court wrote that the conduct of Vidoli was “unprecedented as the only instance in which Vidoli ever withdrew backstopping issued to an ATF employee.”

In 2007, Dobyns won a $373,000 award against ATF after it was concluded  that the agencies failed to take proper action to keep him safe.

ATF issued a statement that was posted on The Phoenix New Times:

“We have received and are reviewing with the Department of Justice the Court’s decision in Dobyns v. United States. We cannot, however, further comment on this case because portions of the litigation are still pending, including matters that may be appealed by the parties.”

Tensions Simmer Between FBI, Other Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Over Handling of Crimes

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has been quietly waging a turf battle with other federal law enforcement agencies for taking over violent crimes, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to an internal memo, FBI managers are growing more frustrated with the ATF and Homeland Security for taking over cases that the bureau believes it should handle.

“The jurisdiction encroachment by the ATF continues as a disturbing concern,” the memo distributed last month said, adding that “mission creep by HSI is an issue in an alarming number of field offices.”

Thirty of the FBI’s 56 field offices reported problems with the ATF while handling cases such as human trafficking, drugs and gangs.

FBI Director James Comey doesn’t have the same frustrations, a bureau spokesman said.

“Because some FBI authorities overlap with those of other federal agencies, challenges and conflicts inevitably arise,” Michael Kortan said. “But we have always tried to resolve those conflicts in a professional and collaborative manner, throughout the field and at headquarters, and that will continue.”

Christopher Shaefer, Who Led Atlanta’s ATF Office, Is Appointed Assistant Deputy Director of Agency

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Christopher Shaefer, who served as special agent in charge of the ATF’s Atlanta office, has been promoted to the position of deputy assistant director of the federal agency, the Manteca Bulletin reports.

Shaefer began his law enforcement career as an officer for the Manteca Police Department in California in 1982 before joining the ATF as a special agent a decade later. He was first assigned to the Sacramento Field Office before being promoted to supervisory special agent in the San Francisco Field Office.

Then Shaefer was transferred to the Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations Inspection Division at ATF headquarters in Washington, the Bulletin wrote.

Shaefer held two more positions since then, one in the Los Angeles Field Division and one as special agent of the Atlanta Field Division for ATF.

Shaefer is married with three adult sons.

Retired-ATF Agent Jay Dobyns Open Letter to Congress

Jay Dobyns

To the Honorable Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

My name is Jay Dobyns. In January of this year, I retired from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms after twenty-seven years of decorated service.

Today is the six-year anniversary of the arson of my home. My wife and two children were inside when the fire was set. They were lucky to escape and survive, although my home and all of our belongings were destroyed by that criminal act.

Leading up to that conclusive and somewhat predictable event, my family and I had already endured years and dozens of credible and validated death and violence threats issued from violent crime suspects and based on my work as an ATF Agent. Each time those events were summarily dismissed by ATF’s leadership as unworthy of attention.

After investigating the August 10, 2008, arson, two of the nation’s leading arson investigators determined that I was not involved. ATF’s leadership, both nationally and locally, ignored the determinations of their own experts and maliciously pursued me as the sole suspect, implicitly categorizing me as an ATF agent willing to murder his own family by fire. The managers and executives involved were known to be corrupt, despised by ATF agents, and among those who planned and implemented ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious.

Those mangers ignored real-time investigative leads and true suspects while instead illegally recording my telephone calls and attempting to gather intelligence on me. None was to be found because I was not involved and innocent. One of ATF’s investigators, an Agent trusted to investigate the Olympic Park bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine High School massacre, the 9/11 terrorist attack and countless other crime scenes told ATF – “I’ve investigated Jay, he’s clean, let me go find the people who did this.”

ATF’s manager George Gillett (of Fast and Furious infamy) immediately removed that agent and his partner from the case. Their investigation did not fit his agenda.

ATF intentionally scuttled their investigation before contaminating a hand-off to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Under the guidance of the Department of Justice, the most flagrant destruction of one federal agent’s career and reputation ever publicly known took place. Now six years later the trail has gone cold and the real arsonist(s) remain at large having attempted to murder a federal agent and his family without pursuit.

When that conduct was challenged in court, both agencies used every tactic available to them, some illegal, some merely unethical and despicable, to cover-up their conduct. Attorneys for the government were fired for their actions in this case; their bad acts never acknowledged or remedied. The unethical tactics used by the government included the destruction and withholding of critical evidence and providing false sworn testimony at depositions and at trial.

The highest levels of leadership at each of these agencies are fully aware of the truth, yet they continue efforts to ensure it is never exposed. That is the system now firmly entrenched at the United States Department of Justice and at ATF – do anything necessary to do to keep your job, displace blame onto others, and if you must, hide and misrepresent the facts and truth from public and courtroom examination.

I respect the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches defined by our Constitution. As I await the findings of the court with patience and hope, I honor those laws. The truth is going to come out, whether ATF, DOJ, and their leaders Eric Holder and B. Todd Jones, care for it or not.

My biggest disappointment is that facts and evidence revealed during my lawsuit have been publicly available and brought to your attention for a considerable amount of time. Our nation’s elected officials, appointed Justice Department and ATF leaders, mid-level managers, federal prosecutors, and every internal ethics mechanism within those agencies, just doesn’t care.

Read more »

Jury: ATF Entrapped Low IQ Defendant by Encouraging Him to Break Law

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man with a second-grade reading level and a low IQ was acquitted in an ATF sting operation because he was entrapped, a jury decided.

The jury acquitted Alexis Davis on two counts agreeing that the ATF entrapped the man by “pressing” him to break the law.

Had the ATF not encouraged Davis to break the law, he likely wouldn’t have, his attorney argued.

“He never would have possessed the guns if they hadn’t come up with that store,” attorney Sharon Samek said.

To the jury, it was a clear case of entrapment.

“To me, this was not about fighting crime,” said juror Michael Lehman of St. Petersburg Beach. “There is a lot of crime going on in the world, you don’t need to manipulate the circumstances in order to encourage people to do bad things that they might or might not otherwise do.”

ATF Handles Far Fewer Cases Because of Policy Change Under President Obama

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of ATF cases recommended for prosecution dropped by a third since 2004, according to data compiled by Syracuse University, the Washington Times reports.

Federal investigators and gun law experts said the decline is attributed to a policy change in the Obama administration, which has changed its focus to regulatory-type cases.

“Within the later part of the Bush years, case selections within the ATF have gone from mostly violent crime cases – which is their forte – toward the regulatory, where they look at dealers, manufacturers and trafficking cases – and they take a lot more time to develop,” said Robert Sanders, a former ATF assistant director. “The agencies philosophy has shifted to guns are the problem, and access to guns are the problem, rather than the criminal being the direct indicator of crime.”

Under Obama, the agency merged its regulatory division with law enforcement.

The result was the loss of law-enforcement and an increased focus on regulation, the Washington Times wrote.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

USA Today Investigation: ATF Drug Stings Targeted Minorities

By Brad Heath
USA Today
WASHINGTON — The nation’s top gun-enforcement agency overwhelmingly targeted racial and ethnic minorities as it expanded its use of controversial drug sting operations, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has more than quadrupled its use of those stings during the past decade, quietly making them a central part of its attempts to combat gun crime. The operations are designed to produce long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not actually exist.

At least 91% of the people agents have locked up using those stings were racial or ethnic minorities, USA TODAY found after reviewing court files and prison records from across the United States. Nearly all were either black or Hispanic. That rate is far higher than among people arrested for big-city violent crimes, or for other federal robbery, drug and gun offenses.

Read Full Article

Chicago Gets Additional ATF Agents to Quell Outbreak in Gun Violence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Chicago is getting seven more ATF agents to help quell an outbreak violence, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The decision was made recently by Attorney General Eric Holder, who had met with the Chicago mayor.

The Windy City now has 52 ATF agents.

“They wanted to bring more resources to Chicago to combat some of the gun violence that’s taking place here,” said ATF spokesman Tom Ahern.

“Initially we’ll have four starting out here on the 21st of the month, then we have more coming down the road,” Ahern said.

The decision comes after a bloody Fourth of July weekend in which 13 people were killed and 58 wounded in Chicago.
Ahern said the help is desperately needed.

“We welcome the new agents. We can always use more manpower,” Ahern said. “The ATF’s primary focus is firearms trafficking and stemming the flow of illegal guns into Chicago.”

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