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October 2022


How to Become a Bounty Hunter


Head of Milwaukee FBI Office Is Reassigned After Refusing to Testify in Court

Teresa Carlson/fbi photo

Steve Neavling

Teresa Carlson, special agent in charge of the Milwaukee FBI office, was quietly reassigned to the agency’s headquarters after she refused to testify in a federal courtroom in Virginia, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Carlson is accused of trying to influence a subordinate’s testimony on whether the FBI refused to give an Army veteran a job because of his disabilities.

The Office of Inspector General is investigating what could become a criminal case, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Carlson is accused of telling an agent “to come down on the side of the government in this matter,” according to court records in the case.

FBI to Review More than 2,000 Cases That Involved Hair Sample Evidence

Steve Neavling

Hair samples are one popular way to obtain DNA evidence.

But the FBI plans to examine more than 2,000 cases in which hair samples led to a conviction, McClatchy Newspapers reports.

The FBI plans to examine more than 2,000 cases from 1985 to 2000. Some of those cases include people awaiting execution and others who already died in prison.

The idea is to determine whether conclusions were hastily reached about a case based on hair samples, McClatchy Newspapers wrote.

“This will be critical to giving wrongfully convicted people a fair chance at a fair review,” said Steven D. Benjamin, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Toxicology Reports May Shed Light on What Killed Former ‘Whitey’ Bulger Witness


Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling

Officials have not yet determined the cause of death of an alleged extortion victim of James “Whitey” Bulger who was found dead a day after learning he wouldn’t be testifying in the racketeering and murder trial of the suspected mob boss, The Boston Herald reports

An autopsy of Stephen M. “Stippo” Rakes provided inconclusive evidence, and officials are awaiting the toxicology reports. 

In the meantime, Rakes will be mourned Wednesday at the William F. Spencer Funeral Home on East Broadway in South Boston, the Herald reported.

Rakes was 59 and left behind three children and two grandchildren.


Fed Judge Clears ex-FBI Agent Pete Norell Jr. of Wrongdoing

By Allan Lengel

An ex-FBI agent who pleaded guilty in 2010 to illegally accessing an FBI computer has been vindicated.

Scott Schwebke of the Orange County Register reports that U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford ruled this month that ex-FBI agent Pete Norell Jr. was “factually innocent” of the misdemeanor charge he pleaded to.

The paper reported that the ruling removes the conviction.

Norell Jr., a veteran agent out of Orange County who was popular among fellow agents, was sentenced to one year probation back in 2010 for illegally accessing FBI records and pressuring someone in 2005 to pay a $500,000 debt owed to an acquaintance and other investors. He resigned from the FBI.

Judge Guilford at the time said he did not believe Norell deserved jail time, but added, “I do remain concerned about people in positions of trust and do think the sentence should reflect that.”

He also ordered Norell, the son of a former Superior Court judge, to 100 hours of community service and a $3,000 fine.


FBI Advises Local Police to Keep George Zimmerman’s Gun, Evidence

Steve Neavling 

The Sanford Police won’t return to George Zimmerman his gun and other evidence used at his murder trial after the FBI urged against giving back the weapon, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

It’s a sign that the Justice Department is moving forward with an investigation into whether Zimmerman violated the civil rights of Trayvon Martin, a black, unarmed 17-year-old who was shot dead, The Orlando Sentinel wrote.

The request comes less than a week after a six-member jury acquitted Zimmerman following 16 hours of deliberations.

“The evidence is just in a hold status, pending their DOJ investigation,”  Sanford police spokesman Capt. Jim McAuliffe told the Sentinel.

Senate Committee Approves Comey As Next FBI Director; Full Senate Vote Next

 Steve Neavling 

James Comey is closer to being the next FBI director.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved Comey, Obama’s choice to replace Robert Mueller, the USA Today reports.

Now the Senate must approve the nomination of the former senior Justice Department official.

The USA Today wrote that Comey is almost guaranteed to be approved by the Senate.


Federal Review Finds As Many As 27 Problematic Death Penalty Convictions

Steve Neavling

As many as 27 people were convicted of the death penalty by exaggerated scientific testimony, an unprecedented federal review of old criminal cases shows, the Washington Post reports.

The review found that FBI forensic experts may have mistakenly linked to defendants to the exaggerated testimony.

In one case in May, the review led to an 11th-hour stay of execution in Mississippi in May.

How many people were wrongfully convicted will be further studied, the Post wrote.

The outcome may have a lasting impact on the wisdom of the death penalty.

Commentary: Frightening Questions Raised Over Drones Patrolling Border


istock photo

Glenn Garvin
The Columbus Dispatch

Last month, when the Senate passed an amendment to its immigration-reform bill that included $46 billion to beef up border security, Sen. John McCain declared: “We’ll be the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall!” He didn’t know the half of it.

Since then, documents released as part of a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation have revealed that the Department of Homeland Security has been preparing to fly armed drones along the border.

A long-term-planning document prepared by the department’s Customs and Border Patrol service, which is using Predator drones for surveillance along the border, would authorize the use of “ nonlethal weapons designed to immobilize” targets of interest.

That gets scarier when you thumb through some of the other newly released documents, which reveal that the Border Patrol plans to more than double its drone fleet over the next three years, to 24, and make them more easily available to other government agencies.

To read more click here.