Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

November 2008
S M T W T F S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Archive for November, 2008

A Letter To The President-elect About Federal Law Enforcement

Dear President-elect Obama,

Congratulations on your election by the American people to be their Chief Executive. Now comes the hard part.

I write this letter to provide some unsolicited advice about one of your most important duties, the enforcement of federal law. Neither you nor your opponent said much about crime or law enforcement during the campaign. I hope this doesn’t signify a belief that these issues are not among the most important challenges facing our nation. Frankly, those of us who are or have been in law enforcement cannot tell whether your administration will commit the attention and resources to make crime reduction one of the priorities of the new government. Whether you know it or not, there are significant decisions to be made to maintain the nation’s security and its effective public administration of justice.

First, you must select as an Attorney General, 93 United States Attorneys, and the other “political” appointees in the Department of Justice, men and women of exceptional dedication, integrity and ability. They must be independent of political partisanship and committed to the full and fair administration of justice and the zealous investigation and prosecution of crime in all of its forms. Please don’t re-pay political obligations or allow party loyalty to become factors in deciding on these appointments.

Second, resist the pressures and temptations in this economic crisis to reduce the federal budget for criminal and civil law enforcement. This is not to say that federal agencies cannot be more efficient and effective in spending the public’s money. But cutting back on law enforcement resources would be a mistake. Some areas, such as combating the international drug trafficking-terrorism nexus and fraud investigations of financial and business institutions, to name a couple, need more resources, not fewer. The return from this additional investment in federal law enforcement will be worth the initial pinch.

Third, make a clear and unmistakable pronouncement that the Department of Justice, under your watch, will operate in a culture of impartiality, transparency, and fairness. Particular attention must be given to reverse the practices of politicization of the previous administration. Decisions on individual investigations and prosecutions must be made based strictly on the applicable law and facts of a particular case. Complaints and attempted influence by politicians, including the Congress and the White House, on individual cases are inappropriate and must be both resisted and the attempt made public.

Such policies should not impair the healthy debate and communication by the legislative and executive branches to the Department and law enforcement agencies as to the policies and priorities on specific categories of cases, as well as practices and procedures.

Fourth, re-establish the practice of nonpartisan hiring of career employees of the Department of Justice. Career attorneys, agents, and other staff members are the backbone of the federal criminal justices system. They prosecute and investigate the individual cases which adjudicate rights and liberties and provide for the incremental development of the rule of law. Moreover, on policy questions, they maintain continuity, develop essential expertise on increasingly complex matters, and provide perspective and objective advice. Career law enforcement officials should be consulted and should participate in all policy discussions. This omission, as much as any other, was at the root of the failures of the Gonzalez Justice Department.

Fifth, you have a unique opportunity to influence segments of society who seem to have lost faith in law enforcement. The more visible wear “No Snitch” t-shirts and sing rap songs about the cops being the enemy. Even more disturbing is the seemingly increasing ethic to refuse to talk with police and federal agents. The anti-snitch culture has moved from an antipathy for informers to the advocacy of non-cooperation with all of law enforcement. The results in some places are falling crime clearance rates, witness reluctance and intimidation, and juror skepticism. Even more dangerous are those who openly obstruct the efforts of federal agents, such as providing personal information on agents and cooperating witnesses on internet websites. We cannot afford to undermine the legitimacy of law enforcement in communities which most need its protection. Oppose legislation which would dilute the effect of cooperating witness testimony, such as reliability hearings and corroboration requirements. Use your position to re-establish the norm that assisting law enforcement is every citizen’s responsibility.

Finally, there are several substantive areas in law enforcement which need your attention. Immigration and the continuing struggle against violence and lawlessness on both sides of the Southwest border should be a priority. The financial scandals have prompted much needed investigations which not only need more resources but have highlighted legal areas where enforcement can be made more effective. Consistent with our newly expanded constitutional right to bear arms, legislative efforts to limit guns for non-criminal purposes ought to be pursued. Other fine-tuning of statutes on subjects such as hate crimes, transnational offenses, “medical” marijuana use, to name a few, need your support for further study and debate.

Well Mr. (almost) President, I fear I have gone on too long, especially since you didn’t ask my advice in the first place. I ask only that, in fulfilling promises made on the campaign trail, you don’t forget the fundamental functions of government which made this country a great place in which to live.

D.C. Clerk On Trial in Fed Court For Alleged Elevator License Scam

A D.C. clerk  allegedly involved in an elevator license renewal scam could be headed somewhere where they have no elevators — just bars.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Ikela M. Dean, a District government clerk, sometimes demanded late fees when businesses and nonprofit groups came in to renew their elevator licenses — and she wanted cash, prosecutors said.
She took the money, then issued receipts for the cash with a large red “PAID” stamp. But it was Dean who was getting paid, prosecutors said, in a scam that netted more than $4,000.
Dean, 32, who no longer works for the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, went on trial yesterday in U.S. District Court on bribery and extortion charges. She was arrested after an undercover FBI investigation that included the use of hidden cameras to record at least two payments, prosecutors said.
For Full Story

Read FBI Affidavit

Indicted Rep. William Jefferson Wins Dem Primary

That little thing called an “indictment” still hangs over Rep. William J. Jefferson’s head, but it apparently hasn’t been a big enough negative in the 61-year-old’s  bid for re-election. He won again. Go figure. He faces a December election against a Republican challenger.

WWLTV.com
NEW ORLEANS — Indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson lived to fight another day as he easily defeated political neophyte Helena Moreno to win the Democratic primary, bolstered no doubt by a large, Obama-bolstered African-American turnout in his Congressional District.
Jefferson held a wide, double-digit percentage lead over Moreno with more than three-fourths of the precincts reporting.
Jefferson, who still faces a trial on bribery and money laundering charges, acknowledged Obama’s influence on voters and the fact that it probably helped him secure a win.
“I think it’s an extraordinary help,” he said early in the day. Jefferson must still defeat a Republican challenger in a December general election.
Jefferson had an answer to people he said would wonder how he continues to get re-elected despite his troubles.
For Full Story

Other Election News:

Convicted Felon Sen. Ted Stevens Leads By Thin Margin (Anchorage Daily News) Updated 11:40 a.m.

N.Y. Mobster Charged in 1977 Murder of Rival Nicknamed “Coca Cola”

Thirty one years after the murder,  mobster Michael Coppola has been charged in the murder of a rival nicknamed “Coca Cola”.  He pleaded “not guilty” Monday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

By Tom Hays
Associated Press
NEW YORK — A jailed reputed mobster was charged on Monday with the 1977 slaying of a gangland rival who used his last words to taunt him in a motel parking lot.
“What’re you going to do now, tough guy?” Giovanni “Coca Cola” Larducci asked when Michael Coppola’s gun jammed during the New Jersey confrontation on Easter 1977, prosecutors said.
Coppola has bragged to cooperators that he responded by pulling out another pistol from an ankle holster and shooting Larducci dead, prosecutors said.
The slaying was recounted in court papers alleging Coppola also infiltrated and shook down a labor union for the Genovese organized crime family.
For Full Story

Ex-Chicago Alderman “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak Admits Guilt In Kickback Scheme

In Chicago, some say it was just a matter of time before former Aldlerman “Fast Eddie” got busted.

Edward Vrdolyak/law firm photo

Edward Vrdolyak/law firm photo

By Jeff Coen
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — Former Chicago Ald. Edward Vrdolyak long enjoyed a reputation for always being a step ahead of federal investigators, but Monday his past caught up with him.
Eleventh-hour negotiations over the weekend ended with “Fast Eddie” becoming yet another former Chicago politician to become a convicted felon, pleading guilty to plotting to take a bogus finder’s fee in a Gold Coast real estate deal.
“The notion in Chicago that there are certain people who cannot or will not be held accountable took a serious hit today,” U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said after the hearing.
For Full Story

Read Superseding Criminal Information

Other Stories Of Interest

Concern Grows Over Reliability of Field Drug Tests

It may be a sin to eat too much chocolate. But getting arrested for it? That apparently can happen with some of unreliable field drug tests on the market.

Can a false test lead to this?/istock photo


By Mimi Hall
USA TODAY
For Nadine Artemis and Ron Obadia, August began with plans for a family vacation in Minnesota. The vacation ended with the two Canadians being led through Toronto’s airport in handcuffs, locked up and separated from their baby.
“We were dumbfounded,” Artemis says. Police told them they could be facing years in prison for exporting narcotics, because 2.5 pounds of material found in their carry-on bag tested positive for hashish. “All we knew was that we didn’t have drugs.”
They were telling the truth. They didn’t have drugs. They had chocolate.
The couple were caught up in what civil libertarians, public defenders and some narcotics experts say is a growing problem: the use of unreliable field drug-test kits as the basis to arrest innocent people on charges of illegal drugs.
For Full Story

Man Impersonates Fed Agent and Makes Several Drug Arrests

Prosecutor Says ex-FBI Agent Knew He Was Setting Up Hit

The trial that has reminded the public about the previous digressions of the Boston FBI is coming to an end — and none too soon. It’s an era the FBI would rather forget.

Ex-FBI Agent Connolly/wbztv

Ex-FBI Agent Connolly/wbztv

By Curt Anderson
AP Legal Affairs Writer
MIAMI-Former FBI agent John Connolly knew he was setting up a hit when he tipped Boston mobsters that a gambling executive with gangland ties was likely to implicate them in other killings, a prosecutor said Monday in closing arguments of Connolly’s murder trial.
The 1982 slaying of former World Jai-Alai president John Callahan was a direct result of Connolly’s corrupt dealings with Winter Hill Gang leaders James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, prosecutor Fred Wyshak said. Both were secretly FBI informants handled by Connolly.

For Full Story