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Tag: Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s DOJ Delayed Child Pornography Investigations for Months, Records Show

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Wisconsin Department of Justice delayed investigations of child pornography tips for months, the Post Crescent reports.

Criticism of the DOJ’s Internet child pornography unit mounted in March, when Milwaukee Special Agent-in-Charge Willie Brantley was fired and Special Agent Anna King resigned. It was discovered that nearly four dozen cases languished for months.

DOJ officials said they are overwhelmed and were forced to prioritize cases.

“A deep dive on any of these cases will reflect that they … were handled appropriately or resulted in discipline,” said DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation Administrator Dave Matthews.

Officials at the office denied any systemic problems existed.

Wisconsin DOJ Let 43 Child Porn Cases Languish While Predators Were Free

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Wisconsin Department of Justice let at least 43 tips about suspected child pornography languish for four months or longer, compromising the investigations and keeping children in harm’s way, an internal investigation determined.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the number could be a lot higher, revealing a major lapse in judgment by top officials in the state.

The probe resulted in the terminations of Willie Brantley, the former special agent in charge of the Justice Department’s Milwaukee office, and Anna King, a special agent who worked for him. All the cases were shifted from Madison to Milwaukee between 2011 and 2013, the Journal Sentinel reported.

“While there are examples during the three-year period of other (special agents in charge) holding cases between 60 and 89 days, these are outliers and no other (supervisor) ever held a case longer than that,” according to the letter, written by Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John.

In one case, a 26-year-old man “was left free to allegedly molest an 11-year-old boy he was baby-sitting.”

“We still have concern that other cases under your former supervision, which have now been reassigned, may identify additional victims whose suffering might have been averted had you exercised the most rudimentary supervisory principles,” the letter notifying Brantley of his termination says. “This discipline takes into account the ongoing risk to the public safety that was set in play by your actions.”

FBI’s Reaches 80-Year Anniversary of Botched Attempt to Arrest John Dillinger, His Gang in Wisconsin

John Dillinger/fbi photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was a 80-year-old lesson the FBI will never forget.

Tuesday was the 80-year anniversary of the bureau’s bungled attempt to arrest gangster John Dillinger and his gang at Little Bohemia Lodge in northern Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Agents acting on a tip tried to raid the lodge but were met with a gun battle that killed a Civilian Conservation Corps worker.

Another gangster, Baby Face Nelson, killed one agent and sounded another.

The gang escaped.

“The FBI learned a lot from its early years and during the tragic incident of Little Bohemia in northern Wisconsin,” Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Shields Jr. said Tuesday.

“The lessons we learned back then would shape how the bureau trained its agents, prepared tactically and even how we developed important partnerships with local law enforcement in the many years that followed.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Changes Mind; Will Keep La Crosse, Wisc. Office Open

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has backed off a little on its plans and will keep open its La Crosse, Wisc. office, U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl announced Tuesday.

Kohl had been fighting to get the FBI’s plan to close half of its office in the western district of Wisconsin.

The original plan called for the closure of Kenosha, Wausau and La Crosse offices to save money.

“Local law enforcement officials convinced us that having an FBI presence in western Wisconsin is a crucial layer in their efforts to fight drug trafficking, gang violence and other serious criminal enterprises,” Kohl said in a statement. “While I support streamlining operations, we have to consider whether distance challenges in our state would compromise the FBI’s mission and risk neglecting some of our rural communities. I’m gratified that Director Mueller and Attorney General Holder kept an open mind to our concerns and reevaluated their plans.”

 

Sen. Kohl Asks FBI Director Mueller Not to Close Wisc. Offices

Sen. Herb Kohl/gov photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Senator Herb Kohl warned FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday morning about the danger of the FBI’s plan to close three FBI offices in the senator’s home state of Wisconsin, reports WXOW.

Kohl opposed the closures of offices in La Crosse, Kenosha and Wausau, Wisc., telling Mueller that if the closures go through “the Western District of Wisconsin will be especially hard hit, and will lose half of its FBI offices,” according to WXOW. “I have strong objections to these closures,” he said.

Mueller said that the FBI, looking at the Western part of Wisconsin, hopes the coverage will remain the same, with just as many agents overall, despite the office closures. He told Kohl there remained an open “crack” as to the final decision.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

FBI Plans to Shut Down 3 Offices in Wisconsin

Sen. Kohl/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s footprint in Wisconsin could be shrinking.

The agency plans to close three of its seven offices in the state, according to a press release by Sen. Herb Kohl’s office.

The Wisconsin Democrat raised the issue on Tuesday to Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr., who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The offices that would be closed include:Wausau, Kenosha and La Crosse.

“If these closures go through, the Western District of Wisconsin will lose half of its FBI offices and may have to make do with fewer agents,” Kohl said at the hearing. “I have serious concerns about the ability of the remaining two offices to adequately support already underserved rural areas.”

 

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.”

FBI Hunts for Suspected Wisconsin Bomber 40 Years Later

leo burtBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Forty years ago Tuesday, a van loaded with explosives rocked the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, killing one person and wounding three others — all part of a protest against the war in Vietnam. It was also the biggest domestic terrorism attack until the Oklahoma City bombing 25 years later.

Three of four of the anti-war culprits were captured and served time in prison. But 40 years later, the hunt for the fourth suspect — Leo Burt, a student and aspiring journalist at the time — continues.

“We’re still pursuing leads like he’s still alive,” Bruce Carroll, a campus police detective assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, told AOL News. “I’ve expressed my doubts in the past that he’s still alive. It would be very hard to live totally undercover for 40 years. That being said, stranger things have happened.

“But we’ve had a bunch of leads and we still have leads that are active,” he said.

On Monday, the FBI upped the profile of the case, prominently displaying a story on its website that began: “Where is Leo Burt? You can earn up to $150,000 by helping us find him.”

The bombing occurred on Aug. 24, 1970. The country was in turmoil. Richard Nixon was president. The rock ‘n’ roll landscape was flush with giants like the Rolling Stones and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. And campuses like the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor were bubbling with the anti-war, anti-establishment sentiments that were polarizing the nation.

According to published reports, the protesters parked a van loaded with 2,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil outside the East Wing of Sterling Hall, which housed the Army Math Research Center that conducted research for the military. The building also housed the physics department.

The potent bomb went off at 3:42 a.m. The bombers said the explosives were never intended to hurt anyone. But the blast killed physics researcher Robert Fassnacht, a father of three, who was reportedly finishing up some work before heading off on a family vacation. It also wounded three others and caused an estimated $2.1 million in damage to the the university. As an aside, The New York Times reported that Fassnacht’s family said he was against the Vietnam War.

After the bombing, the hunt for the attackers was on. Karleton Armstrong was captured in Toronto in 1972 and sentenced to 23 years, but served only about seven. His brother Dwight Armstrong, who just died this year, was caught in Toronto in 1977 and served three years. And David Fine was captured in California in 1976 and served about three years.

Retired FBI agent Kent Miller, a deputy coroner in Wisconsin, was assigned to the case in the late 1990s. He said he “goes back and forth” as to whether fugitive Burt is still alive.

“I think there’s a good chance he’s still alive,” he told AOL News. “If he’s alive, he’s living quietly somewhere, most likely outside the country.”

Over the years, he said, the bureau followed up on hundreds of tips — including ones that Burt was homeless in Denver and working at a Costa Rican resort.

Forty years later, the incident is still not easy for some to talk about. In 1971, Paul Quin, a physics researcher at the the university who was injured in the blast, told the Wisconsin State Journal: “Sometimes I still think about [the bombing]. It sends a shiver up my spine when I’m working late on Sundays.”

But on Monday, Quin, who is listed as a physics professor emeritus, declined an interview with AOL News.

“I do not discuss this event,” he responded by e-mail.

As time passes, some of the links are vanishing. In June, Dwight Armstrong died at age 58 in Madison, Wis., The New York Times reported. After getting out prison, he served additional time for involvement in a methamphetamine ring. He then drove a cab, the Times reported.

His level of remorse was left in question.

He once told the The Capital Times in Madison: “We did what we had to do; we did what we felt a lot of other people should have done,” he said. “I don’t care what public opinion is; we did what was right.”