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Archive for January, 2009

Judge Rules That Bernie Rip-off Gets to Stay in the Penthouse

He may not be a danger to society, but he sure is getting more and more people angry. Maybe it’s all rather self fulfilling when your name includes the word “Mad”.

Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
A judge allowed disgraced investor Bernard Madoff to remain free on bail Monday, rejecting an attempt by prosecutors to send him to jail for mailing more than $1 million in jewelry to family and friends over the holidays.
The decision is sure to furhter outrage investors who have been clamoring for Madoff to be sent to jail for allegedly carrying out the largest financial fraud in history. Prosecutors said the gifts were grounds to have his bail revoked because what’s left of Madoff’s assets will have to be returned to burned investors.
But the judge not swayed by the their arguments that Madoff represents an economic danger to the community because of the size of the fraud and his sending of the gifts. Judges in bail decisions normally consider two main factors: whether the defendant is a flight risk or a danger to the community.
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Read Judge’s Ruling

Prosecuting Illegal Immigrants Taking Toll on Federal Prosecutors and Eroding Morale

Prosecuting illegal immigrants is taking its toll on federal law enforcement. Someone needs to address this issue.

By SOLOMON MOORE
New York Times
LAREDO, Tex. – Inside a courthouse just north of the Rio Grande, federal judges mete out prison sentences to throngs of 40 to 60 illegal immigrants at a time. The accused, mostly from Central America, Brazil and Mexico, wear rough travel clothes that speak of arduous journeys: flannel shirts, sweat suits, jeans and running shoes or work boots.
The prosecutors make quick work of the immigrants. Under a Justice Department program that relies on plea deals, most are charged with misdemeanors like improper entry.
Federal prosecutions of immigration crimes nearly doubled in the last fiscal year, reaching more than 70,000 immigration cases in the 2008 fiscal year, according to federal data compiled by a Syracuse University research group. The emphasis, many federal judges and prosecutors say, has siphoned resources from other crimes, eroded morale among federal lawyers and overloaded the federal court system. Many of those other crimes, including gun trafficking, organized crime and the increasingly violent drug trade, are now routinely referred to state and county officials, who say they often lack the finances or authority to prosecute them effectively.
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Congressman’s Panel Recommends 3 Women To Fill 3 U.S. Atty. Posts in Alabama

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire
WASHINGTON –– A judicial advisory committee formed by Rep Artur Davis (D-Ala.) has recommended as its first choice three women for the three U.S. Attorney posts in Alabama.
For the Northern District, the committee’s first choice was Joyce Vance, 48, the chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Appellate Section, according to a press release issued by Davis’ office over the weekend. The second choice was Jim Sturdivant, an attorney with Sirote & Permutt and a former assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern Alabama office. The recommendations will be submitted to the presidential transition team.
The first choice for the Middle District office in Alabama was Michel Nicrosi, a former assistant U.S. Attorney. The second choice was Joseph Van Heest, a former federal public defender who is in private practice.
In the Southern District office, the first choice was Vicki Davis, an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Alabama (not related to the Congressman). The Press-Register reported Sunday that Davis, if appointed, would become the first black U.S. Attorney in Alabama. The second choice for that spot was Patrick Sims, an attorney with Cabaniss, Johnston, Garnder, Dumas & O’Neal and a former U.S. magistrate judge.
Rep. Davis’ office said it expected that President Obama would replace all three of the current U.S. Attorneys.

Ex-CIA Legend Leaving Dept. of Homeland Security

By Jeff Stein
SpyTalk
WASHINGTON — CIA legend Charles E. Allen is departing the Department of Homeland Security on Jan. 20, according to a colleague, drawing an end to a 50-year career in government intelligence work.
“Charlie,” as he is universally known, joined the CIA in 1958 and spent the next 47 years climbing the ladder through a variety of analytical and managerial roles, culminating in his appointment as the agency’s assistant director for collection.
In 2005 he joined DHS with the title of chief intelligence officer, the department’s first, reporting directly to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
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Feds Have Contingency Plan if Mexican Drug Violence Spills Across U.S. Border

With the crazy drug violence in Mexico spreading, U.S. authorities have drawn up a plan to combat any violence that spills over into our borders. Should we be worried?

By ALICIA A. CALDWELL and EILEEN SULLIVAN
Associated Press Writers
EL PASO, Texas — If Mexican drug violence spills across the U.S. border, Homeland Security officials say they have a contingency plan to assist border areas that includes bringing in the military.
“It’s a common sense extension of our continued work with our state, local, and tribal partners in securing the southwest border,” DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said Friday.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who described the contingency plan in an interview with The New York Times this week, said he ordered specific plans to be drawn up this summer as violence in Mexico continued to mount.
The plan includes federal homeland security agents helping local authorities and maybe even military assistance from the Department of Defense, possibly including aircraft, armored vehicles and special teams to go to areas overwhelmed with violence, authorities said.
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Dems Consider Up to $2 Billion in Economic Stimulus For Homeland Security

A billion here. A billion there. It makes you wonder where it all ends.

By Chris Strohm
CongressDaily
WASHINGTON — The economic stimulus package under consideration by key Democrats could include funding for the Homeland Security Department — possibly as much as $2 billion, congressional and industry sources said on Thursday.
Talk has surfaced about the inclusion of hundreds of millions of dollars for Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration and the Coast Guard, sources said. Funding could be sought to help states comply with the so-called Real ID law, which requires them to issue secure driver’s licenses to their citizens.
The push for the funding appeared to be coming from both lawmakers and the homeland security industry.
“Everything’s in play,” one source said.

For Full Story

FBI Gives Anti-Defamation League the Director’s Award

NEW YORK — The FBI awarded the Anti-Defamation League the Director’s Community Leadership Award, which honors individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating crime, terrorism, drugs and violence in America, the ADL annnounced.
The organization said “the award recognized Law Enforcement and Society (LEAS): Lessons of the Holocaust — an innovative ADL training program organized in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum — as well as the ongoing partnership between ADL and the FBI, and their work together.”
“ADL has been an invaluable partner in our community outreach efforts,” said John Miller, Assistant Director, FBI Office of Public Affairs in a prepared statement.

Controversial 2001 Congressional Hearing of Clinton’s Pardon of the Infamous Marc Rich