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Archive for March, 2009

Florida Fed Prosecutors Want to Limit Wesley Snipe’s International Party Plans

Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes is simply a party animal. But federal prosecutors want to put a clamp on that partying — at least when it comes to overseas parties.

By The Associated Press
Prosecutors in Florida want a judge to restrict actor Wesley Snipes’ international travel because they say he attended a lavish party in Dubai while free on bond as he appeals a tax conviction.

Snipes attended the $20 million party last November for the opening of the $1.5 billion Atlantis Hotel resort, U.S. attorneys in Ocala, Fla., said in court filings, according to The Associated Press.

A jury convicted the action star last year of three counts of willfully failing to file his income taxes. Snipes is free on bond while he appeals the convictions and his 3-year prison sentence to the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta.

A federal judge last year said Snipes could travel only to London and Bangkok for work on the movies “Gallowwalker” and “Chasing the Dragon.” Federal prosecutors said Snipes traveled 2,000 miles from Thailand to Dubai to attend the party.

“Defendant Snipes abused the Court’s trust, and did so in a very public way,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in its motion.

To Read More

Read Government Motion on Snipe’s Travel


BIO: Homeland Sec. Napolitano Rose to Prominence As Anita Hill’s Lawyer

Janet Napolitano/gov photo

Janet Napolitano/gov photo

Read the stats on the new Secretary of Homeland Security and it comes as  no surprise she’s risen to top.

By AllGov
Janet Napolitano does not shy away from tough fights, having first risen to prominence as Anita Hill’s attorney during the Clarence Thomas controversy, and later as a Democratic governor of a very Republican state.

Napolitano was born on November 19, 1957, in New York City to Jane Marie Winer and Leonard Michael Napolitano, an anatomy professor who was the dean of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

She was raised in Pittsburgh, PA, and Albuquerque, NM, and she enjoyed her time so much as a Girl Scout that she became a lifetime member. She graduated from Sandia High School in 1975 and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”

Napolitano attended college in California, earning a Truman Scholarship and graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Santa Clara University in 1979.

She was valedictorian of her graduating class, the first female to earn the honor in the school’s history. Napolitano then received her Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1983.

For Full Story

DEA Busts San Francisco Medical Marijuana Center Despite Administration’s New Policy

marijuana-umledu2Here’s an interesting development. The Obama Administration has made it clear that it would no longer  bust legal medical marijuana dispensaries. Was that too broad of a policy statement or have some people just not gotten the memo?

By Rachel Gordon
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — Federal agents raided a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco Wednesday, a week after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signaled that the Obama administration would not prosecute distributors of pot used for medicinal purposes that operate under sanction of state law.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided Emmalyn’s California Cannabis Clinic at 1597 Howard St. in San Francisco’s South of Market district mid-afternoon.

They hauled out large plastic bins overflowing with marijuana plants and loaded several pickup trucks parked out front with grow lights and related equipment used to farm the plants indoors.

The dispensary had been operating with a temporary permit issued by the Department of Public Health.

“Based on our investigation, we believe there are not only violations of federal law, but state law as well,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony Williams said in a prepared statement.

Williams, who runs the San Francisco field office that covers a territory stretching from Bakersfield to Redding, would not specify the alleged violations. The information was under court seal.

For Full Story

Justice and FBI Say They Won’t Compromise Terrorism Resources

The Justice Department needs to continue allocating resources for terrorism. But it better beef up the fight against fraud, including mortgage fraud. That, simply put,  has become financial terrorism and it’s helping bring down our economy, not to mention harming the American psyche.

Robert Mueller III

Robert Mueller III

By DAVID JOHNSTON and NEIL A. LEWIS
New York Times
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is moving to solidify one of the most significant shifts of resources put into place under President George W. Bush: the transformation of the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into agencies where the top priority is counterterrorism rather than conventional law enforcement.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and other Justice Department officials have emphasized that they will not cut resources allocated to national security in the foreseeable future, and the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, told lawmakers on Wednesday that “we have no intention of retreating from preventing a terrorist attack on American soil as our No. 1 priority.”

The Obama administration’s decision to maintain current levels of national security staffing comes as officials acknowledge, as Mr. Mueller did in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the shift of agents to counterterrorism and intelligence duties after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has seriously complicated other efforts.

Those include demands for resources to combat corporate and financial fraud and a deadly drug war across the border with Mexico.

For Full Story

Hollywood Comes to D.C. to Film FBI Pilot Show

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — They often call Washington Hollywood on the Potomac.

But Wednesday Hollywood came to the Potomac, just north of the Key Bridge in Georgetown to film an explosion in a boat for a tv pilot “Washington Field”.

The tv drama centers on the FBI’s specialty unit the National Capital Response Squad. To read more about the show click here.

Relationship Between FBI and Arab and Muslim Communities Continues to Slide

The relationship between the FBI and the Muslim and Arab communities has been deteriorating as of late. Too bad. So much progress hasd been made in the post 9/11 era. It’s of no benefit to either side for this relationship to continue on the down slide. No benefit at all. It’s time to have constructive dialogue and patch things up.

la-mosque2

By Alexandra Marks
The Christian Science Monitor

Law enforcement efforts to root out home-grown terrorists are jeopardized by deteriorating relations between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Muslim and Arab-American communities.

The situation began last fall when the FBI quietly withdrew formal relations with all local chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the largest Muslim American civil rights organizations. The FBI cited “a number of distinct narrow issues” that it has refused to make public.

The situation worsened in February, when it became public that the FBI had planted an informant at a California mosque who, a coalition of more than a dozen Muslim American groups charges, actively tried to recruit terrorists.

Last week, the coalition accused the FBI of engaging in “McCarthy-era tactics” and announced it was considering suspending all ties with the FBI unless it made public its concerns with CAIR and “reassessed its use of agent provocateurs in Muslim communities.”

The FBI would not comment, except to issue a statement saying: “Limiting honest dialogue, especially when complex issues are on the table, is generally not an effective advocacy strategy.”

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Security For Federal Judges Improves

us-marshall2Good news for federal judges who put their lives on the line going up against some of the nation’s toughest criminals and angry litigants who can get unhinged. Protection has improved. Not long ago the Marshal Service was under attack for not promptly investigating threats against judges.

Matthew Barakat
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Four years after the husband and mother of a federal judge were murdered in their home by a disgruntled litigant, federal marshals have dramatically increased resources dedicated to judicial security to keep pace with an increased number of threats.

At a ceremony Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Service highlighted the new efforts to protect federal judges and prosecutors. Since September 2007, the work has been coordinated out of a secure Threat Management Center at its headquarters in Crystal City.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow of Chicago prodded Congress to increase funding for security after her husband and mother were killed in 2005 by an unemployed electrician whose lawsuit had been thrown out. She had also received death threats from a white supremacist.

Judge Lefkow said at the ceremony that judicial security is “so much improved over what it was before. … I can only hope this will prevent another incident such as ours.”

The ceremony formally dedicated the Threat Management Center’s conference room in Judge Lefkow’s name and in memory of her husband, Michael Lefkow, and mother, Donna Humphrey.

The Marshals Service said its judicial security efforts have improved significantly the past few years, thanks in part to millions of dollars in new funding from Congress.
For Full Story

Homeland Sec. Adviser Admits ICE Needs To Improve Treatment of Immigrant Detainees

ice2By Dora Schriro
For USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — For some time, concerns have been expressed about immigration detention, medical care and the general treatment of ICE detainees. We are beginning to see progress, even in the midst of ICE’s swift ramp-up since its inception in 2003, but I believe we have a good deal more we can do.

Fortunately, my boss agrees with me. Shortly after being confirmed, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recognized an urgent need to closely examine immigration detention.

She created a new position within ICE to focus exclusively on the significant growth in immigration detention over the last five years and the conditions of detention, including detainee health care.

Secretary Napolitano selected me to serve as her special adviser to review detention strategies and detainee health care. I will conduct a thoughtful review, drawing from my extensive experience. My charge is to work with others to identify and capitalize on opportunities to improve the detention operations of ICE.

To Read More