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Tag: prison

AG Holder Says Drug Cases Down Because Less Focus on Smaller Offenders

Holder speaks in Philadelphia/doj photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors handled fewer drug prosecutions last year because of a new approach to handling smaller non-violent offenders, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder said at a National Press Club address that prosecutions for drug cases fell 6% last year.

Holder said the feds are placing more focus on larger drug dealers, instead of smaller offenders.

Prior to the change in focus, Holder said drug users were getting sent to prison with no possibility of parole.

“For years prior to this administration, federal prosecutors were not only encouraged — but required — to always seek the most severe prison sentence possible for all drug cases, no matter the relative risk they posed to public safety,” he said. “I have made a break from that philosophy.”

He added: “These numbers show that a dramatic shift is underway in the mind-set of prosecutors handling nonviolent drug offenses. I believe we have taken steps to institutionalize this fairer, more practical approach such that it will endure for years to come.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

Anonymous-Linked Activist Sent to Prison for Threatening FBI Agent, Sharing Stolen Data

 

Barrett Brown via YouTube

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An activist tied to the hacking group Anonymous was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of threatening an FBI agent and spreading stolen data.

The Business Insider reports that Barrett Brown, who had faced more than 100 years behind bars, read from a lengthy statement before sentencing, saying he broke the law to uncover unlawful government activity.

“If I criticize the government for breaking the law, but then break the law myself in an effort to reveal their wrongdoing, I should expect to be punished just I’ve called for the criminals at government-linked firms… to be punished,” he said. “When we start fighting crime by any means necessary, we become guilty of the same hypocrisy as law enforcement agencies throughout history that break the rules to get the villains, and so become villains themselves.”

Brown was arrested in 2012 after threatening an FBI agent in a YouTube video.

He pledged to “ruin his life and look into his (expletive) kids.”

Brown also was charged with sharing information hacked from defense contractor Stratfor, Business Insider wrote.

Weekend Series on Crime: Prison Gangs

Alleged Eco-Terrorist Freed After 7 Years in Prison Because FBI Hid Evidence

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com  

A former college student imprisoned since a jury convicted him of eco-terrorism in 2007 was freed Thursday after it was discovered the FBI and prosecutors withheld thousands of pages of evidence that could have been used for his defense, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Federal prosecutors realized they had little choice but to support the release of 37-year-old Eric Taylor McDavid, prompting a judge Thursday to order his release.

“I’ve never heard or seen of anything like this,” said U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr., who originally sentenced McDavid.

In an agreement with prosecutors, McDavid agreed to plead guilty to a single conspiracy count, which carries a sentence less than the number of years he already spent in prison.

McDavid was in prison for allegedly plotting bombing the Nimbus Dam, cell phone towers and a U.S. Forest Service lab.

3 Columbians Who Helped Kidnap, Murder FBI Agent sentenced to 20+ Years

James Terry Watson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Three Columbian nationals who participated in the kidnapping and murder of DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson in Bogota, Columbia, on June 20, 2013, were sentenced to 20 to 27 years.

The defendants had previously entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to kidnap and aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person, the Latin American Herald Tribune .

Héctor Leonardo López, 34, Julio Estiven Gracia Ramírez, 32, and Andrés Álvaro Oviedo García, 22, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person. Today, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced López to 25 years, Gracia Ramírez to 27 years, and Oviedo García to 20 years.

The defendants admitted they lured victims, including Watson, into taxis, kidnapping and mugging them.

On June 20, Watson was attacked with a knife and stun gun while in the back of the cab. He managed to escape but died from his injuries.

“Throughout his law enforcement career, Special Agent Watson’s service was both selfless and courageous,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “With this action, we continue our work to hold accountable those who were responsible for his murder. In the weeks ahead, we expect to take additional steps to bring the perpetrators to justice. And in all that we do, our nation’s Department of Justice will continue to honor Special Agent Watson’s sacrifice, to safeguard the nation he served, and to protect the values and principles he defended all his life.”

 

FBI: Man Robbed Bank Wearing Same Clothes He Wore Upon Being Released from Jail

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Christopher Andrew Gibson is accused of robbing a bank while still wearing the clothes he had on when he was released from jail earlier in the day, NBC 7 San Diego reports.

Surveillance video shows Gibson wearing the same button-up shirt he was wearing when he was released from George Bailey Detention Center last month.

Authorities arrested the 26-year-old man this week.

The Well Fargo robbery took place about 14 miles west of the jail.

Defendants in Dog Fighting Ring Get One of Nation’s Longest Sentences for Actions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Defendants in one of the largest dog fighting busts in U.S. history received some of the stiffest prison sentences ever issued for a dog-fighting ring, the Washington Times reports.

The Alabama dog fighting ring involved more than 350 dogs.

“These dogs lived in deplorable conditions that constituted extraordinary cruelty,” said George Beck Jr., U.S. Attorney for the middle district of Alabama. “They were made to fight and if they lost, they were killed.”

The defendants received sentences ranging from six to eight months.

“This is truly a landmark case for the animal welfare community,” said Tim Rickey, vice president of Field Investigations and Response for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The defendants also were found to be in possession of large amounts of drugs and illegal weapons.

FBI Agent’s Alleged Misconduct Forces Mass Release of Convicts, Suspects

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Alleged misconduct by an FBI agent has forced authorities to release at least a dozen convicts from prison, the Washington Post reports.

Others awaiting trial on drug charges also have been freed as investigators examine the agent’s role in the case.

It’s not yet clear what the agent is suspected of doing, but it was serious enough to force the freeing of felons.

The cases involve drug-dealing in Washington D.C. and its suburbs.

The U.S. attorney’s office said it is “conducting a case-by-case review of matters in which the FBI agent at issue played some role.”

“We have already begun taking steps to address this issue and are committed to doing everything that is necessary to preserve the integrity of the criminal justice process,” the statement said.