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May 2009


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for May, 2009

U.S. to Check Immigration Status at All Local Jails

homeland-security-logoThis is a massive effort. The real question is whether authorities can  coordinate this effort and make certain local jails have the resources to do this.

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is expanding a program initiated by President George W. Bush aimed at checking the immigration status of virtually every person booked into local jails. In four years, the measure could result in a tenfold increase in illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes and identified for deportation, current and former U.S. officials said.

By matching inmates’ fingerprints to federal immigration databases, authorities hope to pinpoint deportable illegal immigrants before they are released from custody.

Inmates in federal and state prisons already are screened. But authorities generally lack the time and staff to do the same at local jails, which house up to twice as many illegal immigrants at any time and where inmates come and go more quickly.

The effort is likely to significantly reshape immigration enforcement, current and former executive branch officials said.

For Full Story

Boston Federal Judges To Teach Classes on Turning Over Evidence as a Result of Recent Case

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

By Allan Lengel

Federal prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges in Boston will get an education about turning over evidence to the defense for trial. The issue recently became a hot-button topic and an embarrassment when the Justice Department voided the conviction in Washington of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens after the prosecution failed to turn over evidence to the defense.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf in Boston announced that two judges will hold educational classes in the fall on turning over evidence for trial in response to a recent case in Boston in which Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Sullivan failed to turn over evidence to the defense , the Boston Globe reported.

Sullivan acknowledged to the judge that she withheld evidence in trial that could have cleared a defendant in a gun case. Wolf had planned to sanction her, but on on Monday said she appeared contrite and would hold off on taking any action against her or the U.S. Attorney’s Office for at  least six months, the Globe reported.

Judge Wolf had concluded that Sullivan’s actions were inadvertent,  but  “inexcusable”  and showed a  “fundamentally flawed understanding of her obligations, or a reckless disregard of them”, he the Globe reported.

Wolf said repeated failures by Massachusetts federal prosecutors “made him doubt that the Justice Department was adequately training prosecutors”, the Globe reported.

Judge Delays Sentencing in MySpace Suicide Case: Says Fed Prosecutors May Have Gone Too Far

This latest glitch only clouds the boundaries in the area of Internet law. Should we look at this as a setback for prosecutors or an opportunity for a judge to provide clarity for prosecutors in the future?


By Victoria Kim
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — When federal prosecutors in Los Angeles indicted a Missouri mother last year for committing an Internet hoax that apparently led to the suicide of a 13-year-old girl, they touted the novel legal approach that allowed them to file the case halfway across the country. On Monday, a U.S. district judge indicated they may have gone too far.

“Using this particular statute in this particular situation is so weird,” Judge George H. Wu said, calling some of the prosecution’s argument “troublesome.”

Wu’s comments came Monday afternoon at a hearing where Lori Drew, 50, was to have been sentenced. Wu delayed the sentencing until July, saying he wanted to consider a defense motion to dismiss the entire case.

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A Border Patrol Agent, a Cheeseburger, Poison and an FBI Probe

This is just a bizarre story. The FBI is investigating and there’s many unanswered questions.

Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer
GREAT FALLS, Montana — A United States Customs and Border Patrol agent who was poisoned at a Cut Bank fast food restaurant last year is back in the hospital for injuries suffered in a fall earlier this week.

Denton Moberly sustained a head injury after falling outside of his Shelby home Tuesday, said his wife, Sheila Moberly. He is being treated at Benefis Health System in Great Falls.

Moberly, who moved his family from Texas to Montana two years ago because he thought it would be safer, nearly died after eating a cheeseburger laced with agricultural chemicals that he bought in a restaurant’s drive-through.

The poison caused major brain damage and forced Moberly to use a wheelchair for a year.

FBI investigators have said they have leads in the case but haven’t made an arrest.

On Tuesday, Moberly was at home with his 12-year-old daughter. She saw him go outside and later saw him lying on the ground. She called 9-1-1.

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens Paid At Least $1 Million in Legal Fees

Justice is supposed to be blind. But it sure as heck doesn’t hurt to get some high-paid attorneys to make sure justice has 20-20 vision. Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens apparently doled out the cash for his defense, and in the end it paid off.

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens during his last campaign

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens during his last campaign

Mike Scarcella
The National Law Journal

Nobody’s ever said Ted Stevens’ defense team would come cheap. Stevens paid his lawyers at Williams & Connolly between $1 million and $5 million, according to a financial disclosure report the former Alaska senator filed this month with the Senate Ethics Committee.

Williams & Connolly partner Brendan Sullivan Jr. won the Stevens case after a jury handed him a loss back in October. Several other partners, including Rob Cary, Alex Romaine and Craig Singer, were counsel of record in the case. At least several associates, including Beth Stewart, were part of the team.

Stevens also includes in the disclosure report that he spent between $50,000 and $100,000 on attorney fees at Utrecht & Phillips, which formed after the split up of Ryan, Phillips, Utrecht & MacKinnon. William Phillips and Carolyn Utrecht were not immediately reached for comment Friday.

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Fed Prosecutor Asks for Prison Time in MySpace Suicide Case


Eyes around the nation are on this case. The Internet remains the wild wild west and federal prosecutors are trying to figure out how to tame it. Are they going too far? The defense attorney in this case thinks so. Others have little sympathy for the convicted mother.

Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES — A defense attorney says prosecutors are the real bullies for seeking a stiff sentence against a Missouri mother once accused of scheming over the Internet to humiliate 13-year-old neighbor Megan Meier who later committed suicide.

Lawyer Dean Steward represents Lori Drew, who is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court after being convicted in November of three misdemeanor counts of accessing computers without authorization.

Drew was found not guilty of the felony charge of intentionally causing emotional harm while accessing computers without authorization. The jury deadlocked on a felony conspiracy charge.

Steward said in recent court documents that prosecutors were trying to save face after they didn’t get the verdict they sought.

“The government’s case is all about making Lori Drew a public symbol of cyberbullying,” Steward said. “The government has created a fiction that Lori Drew somehow caused (Megan’s) death, and it wants a long prison sentence to make its fiction seem real.”

For Full Story

FBI Informant Spied on Political Activists in Iowa Before Minn. Republican Convention

Law enforcement authorities always argue that they need to get intelligence to make sure groups aren’t up to no good.  Civil liberty groups say activities like this lead to abuses. The debate continues.fbi

By William Petroski
Des Moines Register

An FBI informant and an undercover Minnesota sheriff’s deputy spied on political activists in Iowa City last year before the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Confidential FBI documents obtained by The Des Moines Register show an FBI informant was planted among a group described as an “anarchist collective” that met regularly last year in Iowa City. One of the group’s goals was to organize street blockades to disrupt the Republican convention, held Sept. 1-4, 2008, where U.S. Sen. John McCain was nominated for president.

The undercover Minnesota deputy who traveled to Iowa City was from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department, which infiltrated a group known as the “RNC Welcoming Committee” that was coordinating convention protest activities in St. Paul.

The undercover officer accompanied two activists from the Twin Cities who attended the University of Iowa in April 2008 for a Midwest campus anti-war conference.

The Iowa City Police Department was not aware that an FBI informant was monitoring local anti-war activists last year, Police Chief Samuel Hargadine said. But he confirmed to the Register that he was notified by Ramsey County authorities last year that they were sending an undercover officer to Iowa City.

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Weekend Series on History: Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover Trash the U.S. Supreme Court Justices and Discuss Pentagon Papers