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Ex-Rep. William Jefferson Having Problems With 2 Potential Witnesses From Nigeria Including Ex-V.P.

This case has been riddled with endless problems. The question at this points is: Will the ex-Rep. William Jefferson try to use this latest speed bump as an excuse to push for another delay?

By Bruce Alpert
Ex-Nigerian V.P.  Atiku Abubaker

Ex-Nigerian V.P. Atiku Abubakar

New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON — Attorneys for former Rep. William Jefferson say they are getting the run around in their efforts to persuade two Nigerian witnesses to testify at his May 26 corruption trial.
The attorneys are trying to get testimony from former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Nigerian businessman Suleiman Yahyah, both of whom have made public statements denying that they discussed the payment of bribes to advance a telecommunications project the New Orleans Democrat was promoting.
Specifically, Jefferson’s attorneys have asked if the two potential witnesses would be willing “to waive their Fifth Amendment privileges and testify fully.”
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But the attorneys said in a brief filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., that Christopher Mead, an attorney for Abubakar, said he would “have to confer with his client” before responding. That was Jan. 15, and the attorneys said they still haven’t heard back.
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Read Jefferson Motion

Memphis Cop Who Shook Down Dope Dealers Convicted of 44 Counts

Cops like Arthur Sease give the department a black eye that takes a long time to heal.

By Lawrence Buser
Memphis Commercial Appeal
MEMPHIS — Arthur Sease IV’s plan of becoming a rap record producer ended late this afternoon when a federal court jury convicted the former police officer of shaking down drug dealers for money, drugs and merchandise to finance his dream.
U.S. Dist. Judge Jon McCalla took nearly 30 minutes to go through the 50-count indictment with the jury foreman and at count 45 an agitated Sease gestured toward the jury and appeared to mouth the words, “You all just gave me life.”
Sease, 31, who was convicted on 44 counts, faces a mandatory minimum of 275 years in prison and a maximum of life plus 255 years.
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Expectations for First Black Attorney Gen. Extremely High

The expectations for Eric Holder Jr. are extremely high. Will he be able to measure up? Are the senators who voted against his confirmation waiting for him to stumble?

By Carrie Johnson and Krissah Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — For decades, the face of the criminal justice system in this country has been black and male: hundreds of thousands locked behind bars, arrested in disproportionate numbers and facing execution at rates far greater than those for the general population.
This week, Eric H. Holder Jr.’s swearing-in as the nation’s first black attorney general and its top law enforcement official came weighted with heavy expectation that the system could change.
Known as a prosecutor who was unflinchingly tough on crime, Holder, 58, is also a former civil rights lawyer who has mentored young black men. Many advocates view him as the best chance in decades to right what they consider unchecked racial injustice and insensitivity by federal officials.
Civil rights advocates are already outlining a long list of priorities, including changing laws that lead to disproportionate prison terms for blacks, ending racial profiling and stepping up the policing of discrimination in employment and housing.
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DEA Carries Out Pot Raid on Clinics Contrary to Obama Pledge to Stop Raids

Acting DEA Chief Michele Leonhard
Acting DEA Chief Michele Leonhard

It appears some of the Bush holdovers are carrying out some of the old Bush policies. That can’t last much longer.

Stephen Dinan and Ben Conery
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
WASHINGTON — Drug Enforcement Administration agents this week raided four medical marijuana shops in California, contrary to President Obama’s campaign promises to stop the raids.
The White House said it expects those kinds of raids to end once Mr. Obama nominates someone to take charge of DEA, which is still run by Bush administration holdovers.
“The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind,” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said.
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High-Ranking Anti-Drug Official Murdered After One Day on Job

As the violence rages on, drug traffickers are trying to send a message to the government: Don’t Get in Our Way!

By CNN
MEXICO CITY — A recently retired Mexican army general whose bullet-riddled body was found Tuesday near Cancun had taken over as the area’s top antidrug official less than 24 hours earlier, officials said.
A soldier guards the forensics office where the body of a slain former general was taken in Cancun, Mexico.
Retired Gen. Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñonez, his aide and a driver were tortured before being killed, said Quintana Roo state prosecutor Bello Melchor Rodriguez y Carrillo. He said there was no doubt Tello and the others were victims of organized crime.
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Scientific Report Cites Shoddy Lab Results in Court

Some of the lab evidence being introduced into criminal trials these days is shameful. It’s really been no secret. Here’s a report that spells it out.

By SOLOMON MOORE
New York Times
Forensic evidence that has helped convict thousands of defendants for nearly a century is often the product of shoddy scientific practices that should be upgraded and standardized, according to accounts of a draft report by the nation’s pre-eminent scientific research group.
The report by the National Academy of Sciences is to be released this month. People who have seen it say it is a sweeping critique of many forensic methods that the police and prosecutors rely on, including fingerprinting, firearms identification and analysis of bite marks, blood spatter, hair and handwriting.
The report says such analyses are often handled by poorly trained technicians who then exaggerate the accuracy of their methods in court. It concludes that Congress should create a federal agency to guarantee the independence of the field, which has been dominated by law enforcement agencies, say forensic professionals, scholars and scientists who have seen review copies of the study. Early reviewers said the report was still subject to change.

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Appeals Court Ruling Could Spell Trouble For Probes of Congress Members

Details of the ruling have not been released, but it appears it has potential to create more problems for investigators looking at public corruption cases involving members of Congress.  Lately, this issue seems to be a recurring one in FBI probes involving  Congressional members.

Ex-Rep. Tom Feeney

Ex-Rep. Tom Feeney

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court has dealt a blow to the investigation of a former congressman in a ruling that could also limit probes of other lawmakers, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
The order, which has not been made public, came during the grand jury investigation of former Representative Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) and his potential ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the sources said. The appellate judges who issued the ruling did not say when they would release an opinion explaining their decision, which reversed a lower court order favorable to prosecutors seeking documents and grand jury testimony, the sources said.
Even without knowing the details of the ruling, sources and legal experts said it is important because it is the second time in two years that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has sided with Congress in its fight with the Justice Department over what protections lawmakers are granted under the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause. The clause is designed to shield lawmakers’ official work from executive branch interference and has been increasingly cited by members of Congress under federal investigation.

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Report Says Priorities Shifted Away From Nabbing the Most Dangerous Illegal Immigrants

An illegal immigrant deported to Mexico on Tuesday

An illegal immigrant deported to Mexico on Tuesday/ice photo

The Obama administration seems bent on changing policy in many areas including illegal immigration. This report suggests change is not only preferable, but necessary to make the U.S. safer.

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — As the Obama administration vows to re-engineer immigration policy to target criminals, a new report says that in recent years, a high-profile federal program shifted its focus away from catching the most dangerous illegal immigrants who were evading deportation orders.
Between 2003 and 2008, 27 percent of the more than 96,000 illegal immigrants arrested under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s National Fugitive Operations Program had criminal convictions. And in 2007, 9 percent of those arrested were fugitives from deportation orders who were criminals or were considered dangerous. That same year, the share of arrests of illegal immigrants not facing deportation orders grew to 40 percent.
The findings come as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has ordered a review of which immigrants are targeted for arrest and as a Democratic Congress has shifted ICE money toward pursuing criminals.
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