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Archive for June, 2012

Florida’s Voting Restrictions Burden Minority Population, Justice Dept. Argues

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Florida unfairly burdened the state’s minorities by reducing early voting house the Justice Department lawyers argued before a three-judge District panel in Washington D.C., the Chicago Tribune reports.

The new rules are intended to ward off voter fraud by requiring people who moved between counties to fie provisional ballots. Counties also are permitted to reduce the number of early voting days and adjust voter precinct hours.

The Justice Department points out that 55 percent of black voters used early voting periods to cast their ballots, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, federal approval for electoral changes must be sought by states with a history of discrimination.

Feds, Seattle Negotiate Police Reforms

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The city of Seattle and the Justice Department are engaged in intense negotiations with a mediator over how to bring about sweeping changes in the Seattle Police Department, the Seattle Times reports.

Negotiations come six months after the Justice Department revealed troubled findings about a department that engages in a “pattern and practice” of using excessive force, mainly against minorities and the chemically and mentally impaired, according to the Seattle Times.

Also found was inconclusive evidence of biased reporting.

Both sides pledged quick action to avoid a lawsuit, the Seattle Times reported.

Justice Department Sues Fundamentalist Mormon Sect

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has filed suit against a fundamentalist, polygamous Mormon sect, saying it discriminates against non-members, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

The suit alleges that members of the sect control government services in the towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Those towns also share a police department that “routinely uses its enforcement authority to enforce the edicts and will of the FLDS; fails to protect non-FLDS individuals from victimization by FLDS individuals; refuses to cooperate with other law enforcement agencies’ investigations of FLDS individuals; selectively enforces laws against non-FLDS; and uses its authority to facilitate unlawful evictions of non-FLDS, among other unlawful conduct,” according to an FBI statement Thursday.

Ex-FBI Employee Sues; Says She Was Harassed Because of Her Good Looks and Talent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The bottom line is Erika Bonilla, a professional singer and former FBI employee in New Mexico,says don’t hate her cause she’s beautiful.

The 38-year-old has filed a lawsuit against the FBI and Justice Department, alleging she was harassed by her co-workers because they were “jealous of her appearance and Latin singing career,” ABC News reports.

Bonilla, 38, first worked in the Albuquerque FBI field office in 2002 and 2007 was promoted to an Administrative Specialist, “which entailed human resources management, language testing, applicant testing and recruiting matters,” the suit said, according to ABC News.

according to the lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in New Mexico.

The suit states she “was targeted, harassed and retaliated against because she is an attractive Hispanic female with a career in Latin music,” ABC reports.

The suit also said she has performed at various headquarters at FBI.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

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Philadelphia Cop Faces Jail Time for Drug Trafficking

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Philadelphia police officer is accused of selling heroin to a confidential informant working for the FBI, Philly.com reports.

Jonathan Garcia, 23, was charged Wednesday with four counts of distributing heroin and two counts of carrying a firearm during drug trafficking.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said he plans to suspend Garcia for 30 days before dismissing him permanently, according to Philly.com

“He’s never been accused of any crime before this. There’s no allegation of any violence,” said his defense attorney, Scott DiClaudio. “He’s not a threat to the community or a flight risk. We’re going to seek his release on bail or house arrest.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

U.S. Attorney Seeks New Charges in Shooting of Police Officer 

FBI Investigates Alleged Misconduct at Kansas Jail

FBI Takes Over Bank Robbery Probe in Wyoming

Broader Authority Given to FBI to Coordinate Domestic Intelligence

Federal Hunt Is on for Two Men Suspected in Serial Bank Robberies

ATF Takes Over Suburban Church Fire Investigation

ICE Arrests 44 in Immigration Sting Targeting Violators 

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger Wants Delay in Trial

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The lawyer for suspected mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger is asking for a big delay in the case for his client, saying the suspect believes his legal conversations are being recorded, the Boston Herald reports.

“Bulger has a view, based on his personal experience that all levels of law enforcement are corrupt and will disregard the law if it suits them,” his defense lawyer J.W. Carney wrote in a filing Wednesday asking a federal judge to delay the trial by a year to November 2013. “The defendant no longer has any faith that the attorney-client privilege will be honored in telephone or mail communications, and the discussions with counsel now take place only at the jail.”

Bulger also says the U.S. Attorney’s office obtained a private letter to his lawyer.

Carney also said the investigation was disorganized.

AG Holder Dismisses Contempt Charges as Unwarranted

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder said he did nothing wrong Thursday after a congressional committee charged him with contempt of Congress for withholding records related to a failed gun-running probe known as Operation Fast and Furious.

“The action that the committee took yesterday was unwarranted, unnecessary and unprecedented,” he said in a statement.

The Obama Administration withheld some of the information, invoking executive privilege.

The case intensified already tense partisanship between President Obama and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Here’s Holder’s full statement:

“In recent months, the Justice Department has made unprecedented accommodations to respond to information requests by Chairman Issa about misguided law enforcement tactics that began in the previous administration and allowed illegal guns to be taken into Mexico. Department professionals have spent countless hours compiling and providing thousands of documents — nearly 8,000 — to Chairman Issa and his committee. My staff has had numerous meetings with congressional staff to try and accommodate these requests and yesterday, I met with Chairman Issa to offer additional internal Department documents and information that would satisfy what he identified as the Committee’s single outstanding question.

“Unfortunately, Chairman Issa has rejected all of these efforts to reach a reasonable accommodation. Instead, he has chosen to use his authority to take an extraordinary, unprecedented and entirely unnecessary action, intended to provoke an avoidable conflict between Congress and the Executive Branch. This divisive action does not help us fix the problems that led to this operation or previous ones and it does nothing to make any of our law enforcement agents safer. It’s an election-year tactic intended to distract attention — and, as a result — has deflected critical resources from fulfilling what remains my top priority at the Department of Justice: Protecting the American people.

“Simply put, any claims that the Justice Department has been unresponsive to requests for information are untrue. From the beginning, Chairman Issa and certain members of the Committee have made unsubstantiated allegations first, then scrambled for facts to try to justify them later. That might make for good political theater, but it does little to uncover the truth or address the problems associated with this operation and prior ones dating back to the previous Administration.

“I have spent most of my career in law enforcement and worked closely with brave agents who put their lives on the line every day. I know the sacrifices they make, so as soon as allegations of gunwalking came to my attention – and well before Chairman Issa expressed any interest in this issue — I ordered the practice stopped. I made necessary personnel changes in the Department’s leadership and instituted policy changes to ensure better oversight of significant investigations. And, I directed the Department’s Inspector General to open a comprehensive investigation. That investigation is ongoing, and the American people and Congress can count on it to produce a tough, independent review of the facts.

“When Chairman Issa later began his own investigation, I made it clear that the Department would cooperate with all appropriate oversight requests, while still adhering to our legal obligations to protect information involving ongoing law enforcement investigations, legally-protected grand jury material and other sensitive information whose disclosure would endanger the American people or our agents investigating open cases.

“The American people deserve better. That is why, I will remain focused on, and committed to, the Justice Department’s mission to protect the rights, safety, and best interests of my fellow citizens and to stand by my brave colleagues in law enforcement.”