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Illegal Immigrant Witnesses Create A Controversy

Fairfax County Jail/lattatech photo

Fairfax County Jail/lattatech photo

The issue over illegal immigrants continues to cause controversy. But in Fairfax County, just outside Washington, a case is raising even more issues. Some detained immigrants may have witnessed a murder and the government might need to detain them long-term rather than deport them quickly. The case is causing some controversy.

Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
FAIRFAX, Va. – Five men have been sitting in the Fairfax County jail for nearly a month now, although none is charged with a crime. Rather, they might have witnessed a killing. Some of them.
The men are being held as witnesses after the fatal stabbing of Adulio Morales-Bonilla, 36, in Fairfax City last month. Everyone in the case — the victim, the suspect, the witnesses — was in this country illegally. Fairfax City police enlisted the help of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and had the witnesses detained.
But then ICE told police that the witnesses were going to waive deportation hearings and might be returned to their native Honduras within a week. Faced with the possible collapse of their case, police obtained “material witness” warrants against the men and had them jailed without bond, even though the trial might not occur for another year.
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Sen. Stevens Hopes To Testify In Trial

Sen. Ted Stevens could add some spice to his public corruption trial in Washington by testifying. Testifying in your own trial can always be risky.  Then again, Stevens may feel he has nothing to lose.  Jury selection begins today in U.S. District Court, just blocks from the Capitol.

Sen. Stevens/official

Sen. Stevens/official photo

By KYLE HOPKINS
Anchorage Daily News
ANCHORAGE — Sen. Ted Stevens said he intends to testify at his federal corruption trial, which begins with jury selection Monday, but he said the final decision will be up to his lawyers.
Stevens spoke briefly about the trial with reporters Friday in Anchorage while talking about defense spending in Alaska, the tanking economy and his plans for the next two months.
For Full Story

Related Story (Washington Post)
Stevens’ Lawyers At Williams & Connolly (Legal Times)

Federal Judge Boozing, Fibbing, Gambling

U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous has become another blemish on a town that has way too many blemishes already. He’s accused of boozing, gambling and fibbing. His attorneys and some judges say, for the most part, his behavior was limited to his private affairs. Nonetheless,  his superiors want him gone.

Judge Thomas Porteous

Judge Thomas Porteous

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By Richard Rainey
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous admits he came to depend on alcohol to get through the day and that he was addicted to gambling. He does not deny that he submitted false statements in his personal bankruptcy, on his annual financial disclosure forms and on his application for a bank loan. He concedes that lawyer friends bailed him out of one financial jam after another over the years, even when they had cases pending in his court.
His own attorney said Porteous deserves the public reprimand he received this month from his superiors.
But Porteous now faces the prospect of the ultimate sanction, impeachment and possible removal from office.
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U.S. Atty. Complains in Crack Cocaine Sentences

Judge Friedman/mary noble ours

Judge Friedman/mary noble ours

Sentencing for crack cocaine has historically been controversial. Some judges have always felt the guidelines were too tough. Two federal judges in Washington have knocked down some crack cocaine sentences and the U.S. Attorney is not happy.

By Joe Palazzolo
Legal Times
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia says two federal district judges have gone too far in reducing the sentences of crack cocaine offenders.
Judges James Robertson and Paul Friedman recently knocked down the sentences for two convicted drug felons beyond the policy set by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
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Ex-Police Chief Gets Probation For Stealing Funds


OMAHA, Neb. – The former Walthill Police Department chief was sentenced in U.S. District Court  Friday to probation for taking $3,500 earmarked for drug investigations, the Associated Press reported.

Joel Tyndall, 41, was given four years probation and ordered to repay the $3,500 he took, AP reported.

Dallas Feds Will Try Again in Terror Finance Trial

Federal prosecutors in Dallas will try again to get convictions in a terrorism finance case allegedly linked to Hamas. The first trial turned into one big flop. Can they pull it off this time or do they simply not have the goods?

By Carrie Johnson and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON – The government’s largest terrorism financing case returned to a courtroom in Dallas this week as prosecutors once again try to secure criminal convictions against five men for allegedly raising more than $12 million in what investigators call “blood money” to support overseas suicide bombings.
The case against former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation, a Texas charity that authorities shuttered seven years ago because of its alleged links to the militant Palestinian group Hamas, comes nearly a year after a previous trial ended in disappointment for the government. Jurors acquitted one man outright on 31 charges and deadlocked on charges against the others. Senior U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish declared a mistrial in October 2007.
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Feds In Child Porn Case Raid Arkansas Ministry

The road to a child-porn investigation has led to a ministry in Arkansas. Just how big a scandal will this be?

By Jon Gambrell
Associated Press Writer
FOUKE, Ark. — Federal authorities conducting a child-porn investigation raided the headquarters Saturday of a ministry run by a convicted tax evader once labeled by prosecutors as a polygamist who preys on girls and women.
Social workers interviewed children who live at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries complex, which critics call a cult, to find out whether they were abused. The two-year investigation involves a law that prohibits the transportation of children across state lines for criminal activity, said Tom Browne, who runs the FBI office in Little Rock.

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ICE Halts Deportations to Hard Hit Haiti

ICE decides it would be too cold to deport people back to Haiti following back-to-back storms.

By Georgia East and Luis Perez
Sun-Sentinel
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -Immigration and Customs Enforcement has temporarily halted deportations to Haiti, amid mounting pressure from some South Florida members of Congress and local activists.
Critics of the deportations have said it’s inhumane to send people to Haiti after the country has been devastated by back-to-back storms.
“We are aware of the situation on the ground, and based on that, there are no removals planned,” said Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

For Full Story