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FBI Investigating Bomb Found in Backpack Outside Colorado Police Station

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the discovery of an explosive device in a backpack outside a police department in a small Colorado town.

The bag was found by a Nederland place detective and discovered “suspicious articles” that were later deemed to be an improvised explosive device, police Marshal Paul Carrill said, the Associated Press reports. 

The backpack was searched by two robots, and the device was found to be active but failed to detonate.

“It’s difficult to interpret why someone would do this,” said Carrill, who declined to disclose if police have identified the backpack’s owner. “It is my hope and intent, for the health and safety of the community to get to the bottom of why.”

Carroll is asking the public to come forward with information because “the individual or individuals who may have assembled this could be a risk to their neighbors.”

Justice Department Finds Implicit Bias Against People of Color in New Report

ca_-_san_francisco_policeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A six-month Justice Department investigation of the San Francisco Police Department revealed numerous problems, including an institutional bias against people of color.

The report said, “The deficiencies identified range from outdated use of force policies to inadequate data collection and lack of accountability measures. The assessment team identified disparities in traffic stops, post-stop searches, and use of deadly force against African-Americans. In addition, there are numerous indicators of implicit and institutionalized bias against minority groups,” according to CNN. 

The Justice Department recommended more than 27 change in the police department following an investigation sparked by several officer-involved fatal shootings.

Most of the cases of deadly use of force involved people of color.

“The truth hurts,” said Ronald Davis, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. ”To be selectively ignorant and pretend nothing is going on around you is ultimately going to be fatal to your organization.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee pledged to pledged to respond to the findings.

“The SFPD will accept and implement every single recommendation. We must restore trust, ” Lee said. “We have worked hard to put reforms in place. We did not wait for the DOJ report to become final.”

Other Stories of Interest

Firebrand Arizona Sheriff to Face Charges of Unlawfully Targeting Immigrants

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, a prominent Donald Trump supporter who has been a firebrand for the anti-immigration movement, is expected to be charged for willfully defying federal court orders.

The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section said Tuesday it intends to take the Maricopa County sheriff to trial on criminal charges, the Washington Post reports. 

Arpaio is accused of failing to stop targeting undocumented immigrants without a legal basis.

Arpaio’s attorney, Mel McDonald, said the sheriff “vehemently denies that he was ever knowingly and willfully contemptuous of any court order” and plans to fight the case.

U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow ruled in August that the sheriff was defying the court’s order, and the sheriff’s office “continued to stop and detain persons based on factors including their race, and frequently arrested and delivered such persons to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] when there were no state charges to bring against them.”

“Sheriff Arpaio did so based on the notoriety he received for, and the campaign donations he received because of, his immigration enforcement activity,” Snow wrote.

Clinton Campaign Chairman Blames Russia for Email Hack, Suggests Trump Involved

Hillary Clinton, via Wikipedia.

Hillary Clinton, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, blamed Russia on attacking his personal email account and suggested Donald Trump’s campaign may have been involved.

Podesta’s private email account was hacked, and the FBI is investigating, the Clinton aide said, the Washington Post reports. 

“I’ve been involved in politics for nearly five decades, and this definitely is the first campaign that I’ve been involved with in which I’ve had to tangle with Russian intelligence agencies, who seem to be doing everything they can on behalf of our opponent,” Podesta told reporters.

Pedestal said the FBI told him on Sunday that his email hack is part of a wider investigation into potential Russian cyberattacks.

“Russian interference in this election and apparently on behalf of [Donald] Trump is, I think, of the utmost concern to all Americans, whether you’re a Democrat or independent or Republican,” Podesta said.

FBI Investigating Whether Connecticut Plane Crash Was Intentional

East Hartford, Conn.

East Hartford, Conn.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating whether the Jordanian pilot who crashed a small plane into a utility pole in East Hartford did it intentionally.

One person was killed and another seriously injured in the crashed, CBS News reports.

The pilot, Feras M. Freitekh, entered the U.S. on a temporary student visa in 2012 for flight school.

The instructor told investigators that he believed the Cesna was intentionally crashed.

The crash occurred at 4 p.m., and the Piper PA 34 twin-engine plane burst into flames.

A passenger in the plane was killed, and the pilot was rushed to the hospital with serious burns.

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Border Patrol Agent Can Be Sued for Killing Mexican Teen

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Can a Border Patrol agent be sued for shooting and killing a Mexican teenager?

The Supreme Court decided Tuesday it will take up the case of a Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a Mexican teenager who was playing with friends, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

The victim of the 2010 shooting was an unarmed 15-year-old named Sergio Hernandez.

The central question: Does the 4th Amendment extend beyond the U.S. border patrolled by Border Patrol agents?

Lawyers for the parents of the teenager argue that the 4th Amendment’s ban on unreasonable seizures and the unjustified use of deadly force extends beyond the border where agents patrol.

Hernandez “was killed in a culvert the U.S. officials patrol and effectively control,” the lawyers wrote in their appeal to the high court.

DEA Agent’s Daughter, Dubbed As ‘Adorable Drug Kingpin,’ Has Been Indicted

Sarah Furay, dubbed the "Adorable Drug Kingpin."

Sarah Furay, dubbed the “Adorable Drug Kingpin.”

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A DEA agent’s daughter, whose smiling mugshot went viral, has been indicted 11 months after she was arrested on drug charges.

Sarah Elizabeth Furay, 20, was indicted on four charges related to drug dealing, the Houston Chronicle reports. 

She’s charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine, methamphetamine and lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. Furay also was charged with possession of marijuana.

Some of the media dubbed Furay as an “adorable drug kingpin” after she was arrested in November 2015.

The DEA confirmed in December that her father, Bill Furay, worked for the agency for more than 20 years and was then a supervisory special agent in the Houston division.

A trial date has not yet been scheduled.

Other Stories of Interest

Parker: The Supreme Court, Police Shootings and Black Lives Matter

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Have the frenzied media coverage of incidents involving police shootings of African Americans and the protests of Black Lives Matter activists affected the Supreme Court?  The Court has not addressed a case involving race and the criminal justice system in some time, but two such cases are scheduled for oral argument this month.

Coincidence or a legitimate attempt to weigh in on a crisis jeopardizing law enforcement lives and the faith of minority Americans in the fairness of the criminal process?

US_Supreme_Court

The Court exercises discretion in at least three ways: what cases to accept for hearing (only about 1% are heard), the timing of oral argument (these cases were set for the first month of the 2016-2017 term), and in the individual votes and opinions of the Justices). The first two seem to demonstrate a special sensitivity to this subject which is embroiling race relations in America.

However, the other related question is whether the open seat on the Court from the death of Justice Scalia will affect the Court’s ability to decide these cases and to resolve conflicts in the lower courts. A 4-4 vote will mean that the lower court decision will stand. In these two cases the lower courts both rejected the petitions of minority defendants on racial issues.

The first of the two cases is Buck v. Davis, a death penalty appeal which has bounced around the Texas state courts, the federal district court in Houston and the 5th Circuit since Buck’s sentence of death in 1996. Buck was convicted of capital murder of his ex-girlfriend and a man at her house in a jealousy-fueled shooting spree. During the penalty hearing his defense attorney, who had a notoriously bad record in capital cases, called a psychologist to testify on the subject of Buck’s likelihood of posing a danger in the future.

In Texas the jury must unanimously conclude that the defendant poses a danger of violence to warrant the verdict of death. The defense psychologist testified that the fact that he was Black made him statistically more likely to be dangerous. Ultimately, however, the psychologist was of the opinion that he was at a lower probability of being dangerous. His report, which included the race analysis, was admitted as a defense exhibit. The prosecutor reiterated this race opinion in cross-examination and the witness’s conclusion in his closing argument.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

On the most recent appeal, the 5th Circuit concluded that, although racial appeals had long been unconstitutional in criminal trials, the defendant had not met the standard of a substantial showing of prejudice to justify a Certificate of Appeal. There had been no proof that the result would have been different without the expert’s testimony in view of the defendant’s callous actions and his lack of remorse. The defense showing on appeal was not extraordinary and the prejudice de minimis.

This particular psychologist had repeated this race-based statistical opinion in six other capital cases, and the Texas Attorney General announced in a press conference that it would not oppose re-sentencing in all of those cases. However, a new Attorney General reneged on this promise as to Buck’s case.

In addition to the race-based issue, the case illustrates the tension in capital cases between two important principles. In cases involving the death penalty errors in the trial are painstakingly reviewed and appellate opinions often reach to achieve due process. On the other hand, there is a need for finality in the resolution of criminal cases. The length of time capital defendants sit on death row today is considered by some to be a failure of finality in the system.

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