Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

May 2021
S M T W T F S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Authorities Say Man They Arrested is Prime Suspect in Random I-96 Shootings

Law enforcement searches the home/ from WXYZ video

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mi. — Authorities said today that a 43-year-old man they arrested last night in Wixom, a suburb of Detroit, in connection with the I-96 shootings is a prime suspect and could be charged, possibly tomorrow.

“The arrest was the result of the information received during the investigation over the past few days,” said Donald Dawkins, a spokesman for ATF in Detroit. “The task force members arrested the suspect at this residence and potential evidence has been seized during his arrest and will be evaluated by our crime labs.”

Since mid-October, a task force has been on the hunt for a phantom shooter that has been randomly shot at 24 people, mostly in cars along the I-96 corridor in Oakland, Ingham, Shiawassee and Livingston counties. Only one person has been wounded.

To read more click here.

A Co-Defendant’s Plea in Mid-Trial Could Hurt Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Victor Mercado

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit
DETROIT — A surprise guilty plea on Monday by former water department director Victor Mercado in mid-trial could do some serious harm to his co-defendants in the Kwame Kilpatrick public corruption trial, particularly the ex-mayor.

“It’s more likely than not to have a negative impact on the jury’s feelings toward the other defendants,” said defense attorney James W. Burdick, who does not represent any defendant in the case. “I think could say, ‘ahh, they must all be guilty.’”

Burdick said the judge will tell the jurors that Mercado is no longer part of the trial, but won’t say why, and will remind them not to read into his absence when judging the other defendants.

But Burdick, a former state prosecutor, said it’s almost impossible these days with the omnipresent media — be it TV, radio or newspapers — for jurors not to find out that Mercado pleaded guilty.

“The jurors always read the paper, watch TV,” Burdick said. “The family is watching TV. They’ll all know.”

To read the full story click here. 

New Special Agent in Charge Named to FBI’s Birmingham Division

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The FBI’s Birmingham Division has a new special agent in charge to replace Patrick J. Maley, who retired in August to become the South Carolina Inspector General, the Birmingham News reports.

Richard D. Schwein, Jr., who most recently served as a member of the FBI Counterterrorism Division, will oversee the northern judicial district of Alabama.

During Schwein’s 24 years at the FBI, he worked on criminal and national security issues and served on the SWAT team as an assaulter and tactical medic, the Birmingham News wrote.

Schwein received the FBI Director’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding Counterterrorism Investigation in 2003.

Schwein also supervised the manhunt for serial bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, who was captured.

Before joining the FBI, Schwein was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army and served in combat in the Middle East as part of a special operations force, the Birmingham News reported.

Schwein is married with twin daughters.

Attorney: Four Men Who Intended to Blow Up Synagogues Were Entrapped By Undercover FBI Sting

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Four men imprisoned for plotting to blow up two synagogues in Riverdale, N.Y. were entrapped by a paid FBI informant posing as an Islamic extremist, their attorneys told an appeals court Monday, the New York Daily News reports.

The attorneys of the men – James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payan – argue the convictions and 25-year sentences should be overturned because the FBI preyed on vulnerable, poverty-stricken Muslims who otherwise would not have committed a crime, the Daily News wrote.

Prosecutor Adam Hickey argued the defendants could have walked away without intending to blow up two synagogues in 2009.

No decision has been made yet by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Opinion: U.S. Is Winning the War on Drugs

By Gil Kerlikowske 
Director of White House’s National Drug Control Policy

Since March 2009, the Obama administration has placed an unprecedented amount of personnel, infrastructure and technology along the southwest border. The U.S. Border Patrol has doubled in size, we’ve bolstered operations at our ports of entry and we’ve expanded successful partnerships with the Mexican government that are cracking down on cross-border crime. These actions have improved our ability to disrupt drug-trafficking across the United States.

As drug seizures have increased due to smarter enforcement, the U.S. consumption of cocaine and methamphetamine has also plummeted. Since 2006, cocaine use has dropped by more than 40 percent, and meth use has fallen by a third. The demand for these drugs in the United States has fallen substantially, and the market for cocaine in particular is in disarray.

To read more click here.

Memorial Set for Border Patrol Agent Who Died on Duty

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Funeral services are set today for a 44-year-old U.S. Border Patrol agent who died while on duty in west Texas, the agency said this morning.

David Delaney died while installing a camera at Big Bend National Park.

Foul play is not suspected.

Authorities are awaiting results from an autopsy to determine exact cause of death.

Delaney’s viewing is today from noon until 2 p.m. at the Civic Center in Fort Stockton, Texas.

The memorial service begins at 2 p.m.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

Photo: Sonya MannThis RV was struck by a train Thursday night

For relaxing warm weather moments come spring togs loaded with comfort and playful good looks. Khaki and beige are go with anything neutrals that highlight colors ranging from earth tones to brights. Jungle and animal prints and the ever popular madras plaid are some of the best patterns going.

Cheap Jerseys from china “Almost a carbon copy of the goal Sky Blue scored against us in mid week, happened early in the second half despite our best efforts. We struggled to break them down from there. The last 10 15 minutes, the effort from the players was great.”. WITH A VERY HIGH PROTEIN. THEY SAY JERSEY COWS ARE MORE PHOTOGENIC, NEAR PRETTIER. YOU THINK SO? I THINK THERE NO COMPARISON. Cheap Jerseys from china

wholesale nfl jerseys from china Reeboks were a hit among the brand new female athletic market. Aside from athletics, the Freestyle quickly came to be something of a style must have. Cybill Guard suited her black strapless dress with a bright orange pair of Freestyles at the 1985 Emmy’s. wholesale nfl jerseys from china

Cheap Jerseys free shipping In an attempt to strike a happy balance, Colmore Junior School, in King’s Heath, Birmingham, has introduced school colours and encourages its pupils to wear blue, black or grey bottoms (trousers, skirts http://www.cheapjerseyswhloe.com/, leggings, etc) and blue sweatshirts with a gold emblem. Blue and gold baseball caps are ‘an extra fun item’, says the headteacher, Trish Macnamara, provided that they are worn the right way round and never in class. ‘Schools have been getting a bad press recently, particularly city schools, and we hoped this would help to give our school an identity, and a positive image in the area,’ she says.. Cheap Jerseys free shipping

Cheap Jerseys china Good that it worked out this way wholesale nfl jerseys from china, that all I can tell you, said Melnyk. Glad it worked out this way, and he going to continue here, and he going to continue consulting with us and advising. His wife Bibbi, and four sons recently moved back to Ottawa after spending the past few years in Detroit.. Cheap Jerseys china

Been kicking well, besides maybe one day or so that he might not have kicked as well as he capable, coach Jim Caldwell said. I think since that time, he been kicking the ball pretty well. I know you probably saw Nate miss a couple here and there, but both guys have strong legs and both guys have real fine potential and I think it a real good competition..

wholesale nfl jerseys Why throw a party for your dog? Dogs love having fun and love seeing new people and other dogs. Of course if your dog hates other dogs or other people, a party probably isn for them. We get more into that later. Considering that it can affect. Misleading information on the web. We feel the majority of people mean well on the web. wholesale nfl jerseys

cheap nfl jerseys So even though the grass might be financially greener in San Francisco, the theme is common: this area isn good enough. This is about business, no doubt, Lacob maximizing his investment. It about getting money. The driver managed to escape the RV but sustained serious injuries from flying debris related to the crash. Photo: Sonya MannThis RV was struck by a train Thursday night. The driver managed to escape the RV but sustained serious injuries from flying debris related to the crash. cheap nfl jerseys

wholesale jerseys from china The goalie drops onto her kneepads. (One of the Roadrunners’ two goalies tonight has gray hair. The other has a 17 year old daughter, also on the team. I picked a bunch of white lilacs and bleeding hearts from the garden. When I walk into the room, I inhale so much fresh sweet scent that it is hard to not walk over to the vase and stick my face into it, never turning away. The smell of lilacs is like nothing else, it is a smell that reminds me of home and summer and being free. wholesale jerseys from china

wholesale jerseys The crime that Simpson was acquitted of is the 1994 murder of his ex wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. Toobin covered the trial for The New Yorker and later wrote about it in his 1996 book, The Run of His Life: The People vs. Simpson. wholesale jerseys

cheap jerseys Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) No, this is not the salty flavoring that comes on your fast food, it is the company that owns the Knicks, their arena, and the team’s cable network. Since the emergence of Jeremy Lin, MSG stock has risen 16 percent, and recently hit an all time high of $33.43 a share. While some say this is a “Linsanity” induced bubble, there is reason to believe that Lin can have long lasting effects cheap jerseys.

Obama Has Granted Clemency More Rarely Than Any Modern President

official photo

By Dafna Linzer
ProPublica

 A former brothel manager who helped the FBI bust a national prostitution ring. A retired sheriff who inadvertently helped a money launderer buy land. A young woman who mailed ecstasy tablets for a drug-dealing boyfriend, then worked with investigators to bring him

All of them and hundreds more were denied pardons by President Obama, who has granted clemency at a lower rate than any modern president, a ProPublica review of pardons data shows.

The Constitution gives the president unique power to forgive individuals for federal offenses. While pardons do not wipe away convictions, they can restore a person’s full rights to vote, possess firearms and obtain business licenses, as well as remove barriers to certain career opportunities and adoptions. For many applicants, a pardon is simply an opportunity for a fresh

But Obama has parceled out forgiveness far more rarely than his recent predecessors, pardoning just 22 individuals while denying 1,019.

He has given pardons to roughly 1 of every 50 individuals whose applications were processed by the Justice Department. At this point in his presidency, Ronald Reagan had pardoned 1 of every 3 such applicants. George H.W. Bush had pardoned 1 in 16. Bill Clinton had pardoned 1 in 8. George W. Bush had pardoned 1 in 33.

Obama also has been stingy with commutations, applications for early release by those still serving federal prison sentences.

Under Reagan and Clinton, applicants for commutations had a 1 in 100 chance of success. Under George W. Bush, that fell to a little less than 1 in 1,000. Under Obama, an applicant’s chance is slightly less than 1 in 5,000.

He has commuted the sentence of one individual, a woman with terminal leukemia whose case was championed by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.

“This idea of ‘tough on crime’ took root around the time of Ronald Reagan and it is striking that President Obama is showing so much less mercy than Reagan,” said Jeffrey Crouch, a political science professor at American University and the author of “The Presidential Pardon Power.”

Matthew Lehrich, a spokesman for the Obama administration, said in a statement Thursday that the president took his power to grant clemency “very seriously.”

“Each recommendation received from the Department of Justice is carefully reviewed and evaluated on the merits,” Lehrich said.

To determine who receives clemency, Obama, like his predecessors, relies on recommendations from the Office of the Pardon Attorney, the arm of the Justice Department that reviews applications. The office — led by Pardon Attorney Ronald Rodgers, a former military judge and federal prosecutor — rarely dispenses endorsements, however.

Several administration officials who agreed to discuss pardons on the condition of anonymity said the president pardoned nearly every person recommended by Rodgers for approval in his first two years in office, but that such applicants were few and far between. While the number of applicants has increased in recent years, Obama — based on Rodgers’ recommendations — is denying more people more swiftly than any of his recent predecessors, the data shows.

“I don’t think he has been given the same opportunity, by this process, to look at these petitioners as his predecessors were,” said Mark Osler, a law professor at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis who launched the country’s first law clinic for commutations.

Currently, two government officials said, there are about a dozen positive recommendations and hundreds of negative ones waiting for the president to act on.

At least one commutation request is pending. The White House also has asked for a fresh review of the case of Clarence Aaron, who is serving a triple life-sentence, without parole, for his role in a drug conspiracy. ProPublica and The Washington Post published a story about Aaron’s case in May.

Obama last granted pardons in November 2011, weeks before ProPublica and the Post published a series of stories that found that between 2001 and 2008, white applicants were nearly four times as likely to be pardoned as minorities. African American applicants fared the worst, almost never receiving the pardons office’s recommendation. The Justice Department has commissioned an independent study to examine ProPublica’s findings.

Given the potential for political blowback, presidents often do not grant pardons while running for re-election. Presidents Obama, Clinton and the first President Bush did not pardon anyone during their campaigns for second terms.

Still, Obama’s views on clemency remain largely unknown as he has not publicly commented on this presidential prerogative.

Judge Abner Mikva, an early mentor of the president who served as Clinton’s first White House counsel, said that before the 2008 election he and Obama had discussed Clinton’s pardon of financier Marc Rich. The pardon for Rich, whose ex-wife was a major donor to Democrats, was seen as a damaging political favor, even by many Clinton supporters.

“I do remember a lengthy discussion about Marc Rich and it wasn’t so much about the power as it was about how even a good president can be corrupted by the pardons process,” Mikva recalled. “I think Marc Rich looms larger with Barack Obama than with other presidents because I think he was very, very dismayed by the Marc Rich pardon and the basis on which it appears to have been granted.”

Since the ProPublica series, there have been growing calls to reform the pardons process from civil rights groups, legal experts and current and former public officials.

Former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, a Republican working for Romney’s presidential campaign, said he is set to start a law school clinic for pardons at Catholic University in Washington.

Paul Rosenzweig, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, recently authored a study that recommends taking the clemency process out of the Justice Department’s hands.

“Moving the office outside of the Department of Justice would restore the pardon function to its traditional status as an exercise of pure presidential authority,” wrote Rosenzweig, who served as a policy adviser in the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration. “Including staff who are not exclusively career prosecutors would bring a more balanced perspective to the decision making and would eliminate the natural and understandable institutional tendency of prosecutors to be confident in the rectitude of their own judgment.”

The Justice Roundtable, a group sponsored by the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundations that seeks candidates for presidential clemency, also has begun work on a blueprint for reform.

Any individual convicted of a federal crime can apply for a pardon five years after completing his or her sentence.

Katie Barribeau applied five years ago but was denied by Obama in mid-2011.

In 2001, when she was 22, Barribeau was arrested for helping her boyfriend mail ecstasy from a military base in Germany back to the United States for sale. Confronted by military investigators, she immediately confessed and cooperated. In exchange for her assistance, she was sentenced to five years of probation and a $1,000 fine for conspiracy to import ecstasy.

In the decade since, Barribeau has had no further legal troubles. She left the Army, returned to the United States and completed college in Wisconsin. Today she is married and a manager at the Green Bay company where she has worked for the last 10 years.

Barribeau said she deeply regretted her involvement in the drug scheme and that a pardon would help her in several important ways. Her company frequently holds meetings in Canada, which she cannot attend because of her conviction. She and her husband are trying to start a family and some states bar those with federal felony records from adopting.

“I want to vote, I want to have the kind of career opportunities that I have worked hard for and I want to be a new mother,” she said in an interview. “But I wonder sometimes, what if I can’t get pregnant, what if I want to adopt? Is this going to prevent me from being a mom?”

Still, the pardons office recommended her for denial, writing that she “lacked the maturity to resist being manipulated by others.” Their evidence? She helped a different former boyfriend purchase a snowmobile for $6,000 and was still paying off the credit card debt when her application was pending. In a confidential memo to the White House obtained by ProPublica, the pardons office said Barribeau needed more time to demonstrate she had been fully rehabilitated.

The pardons office does not disclose its reasoning to applicants and Barribeau was stunned when we shared the contents of the memo with her.

“I had a rough patch and it was a first offense that I was terribly sorry for,” she said. “But I don’t want it to be on my record for the rest of my life, I want a second chance.”

On the same day that Obama denied Barribeau’s pardon application, he also turned down a request from James Poteete.

Poteete, a retired municipal worker from the Arkansas hamlet of Morrilton, pleaded guilty in 1997 to a count of failing to file a currency transaction report for his role in what turned out to be a friend’s money-laundering scheme. He was sentenced to three years of probation and a $3,000 fine, which he paid immediately.

Poteete has no other criminal history and wrote on his application that he sought a pardon so he could obtain a hunting license and “for peace of mind.” But the pardons office found reason to deny him too. Although he completed his sentence 11 years earlier, lawyers in the office deemed it too soon to consider forgiveness. “Additional time is needed to establish rehabilitation worthy of pardon,” the office wrote in a memo to the president.

The pardons office looks favorably on community service and wrote that Poteete had “no civic involvement,” though Poteete had worked as a police officer, a sheriff and then with his town’s public works department. His application included character references from the current police chief and sheriff, as well as the sheriff of a neighboring town.

“I waited seven years after my probation was over before I applied. I don’t see how I need more time,” Poteete said in an interview.

Poteete called it “a shame” that so few individuals are pardoned. “I can’t believe Obama pardoned just 22 people,” he said. Still, he said he would try again in the spring, when the two-year wait period for reapplying is up. “There is no doubt that I will reapply .”

Mary Price, of Families against Mandatory Minimums, a non-partisan Washington group that advocates for sentencing reform, said worthy applicants deserved the president’s consideration.

“These are people who completed their sentences, who have since led good lives and are asking this administration for a second chance and this administration is turning its back on them,” Price said. “I cannot believe there are fewer deserving people today than there were during the administrations of his predecessors.”

 ProPublica is a non-profit investigative journalism site.