Site Search

Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

Ex-CIA Analyst Attacks FBI Dir. Mueller For Saying Torture Doesn’t Work


Homeland to Crack Down on Employers Who Hire Illegal Immigrants

This new policy should be more effective than focusing on the illegal immigrants. But can  ICE  pull this off effectively?  That is the real question.

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano

Ginger Thompson
New York Times
WASHINGTON – In an effort to crack down on illegal labor, the Department of Homeland Security intends to step up enforcement efforts against employers who knowingly hire such workers.

Under guidelines to be issued Thursday to Immigration and Customs Enforcement field offices, agents will be instructed to take aim at employers and supervisors for prosecution “through the use of carefully planned criminal investigations.”

Senior officials of the Homeland Security Department said Wednesday that illegal workers would continue to be detained in raids on workplaces. But the officials said they hoped to mark an abrupt departure from past practices by making those arrests as part of an effort to build criminal and civil cases against employers.

Under the Bush administration, the officials said, most raids were conducted largely on the basis of tips that an employer was hiring illegal workers, rather than on information gleaned from audits of employer records or undercover investigations. As a result, agents rounded up thousands of illegal immigrants but rarely developed the evidence necessary to show whether businesses were knowingly using illegal labor.

For Full Story

Calif. Man Faces Fed Prison Time For Pointing Laser at Commercial Jet Pilots Landing at Airport

JetBy Allan Lengel

A California man could get serious prison time after becoming the first person in the nation to be convicted at trial of pointing a laser at commercial planes as they were about to land.

Dana Christian Welch, 37, of Orange County, was convicted last week by a federal jury in Los Angeles of shooting a green laser at two commercial planes at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif. in May 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

He was convicted on two counts, each which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Sept. 15.

Evidence during trial showed that Welch pointed a hand held laser at two Boeing 7-series jets,

In another instance, he pointed the laser at pilots of an Alaska Airline flight, “causing one pilot to duck under a glare shield…and the other pilot to delay a critical turn necessary to land the plane,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Several people have pleaded guilty to similar offenses, but Welch was the first to be convicted in a trial.

“This conviction should make clear to those contemplating the targeting of cockpits with lasers that such behavior is not only dangerous, but criminal, with serious consequences attached,” Salvador Hernandez, assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles FBI said in a prepared statement.

Read Indictment


Miami Police Chief John Timoney Urges End to Fed Law Disparity Between Crack and Powdered Cocaine

Chief John F. Timoney

Chief John F. Timoney

Miami Police Chief
For the Miami Herald
MIAMI — Most people in the criminal-justice system are aware of a problem with the federal laws governing sentences for cocaine offenses — penalties for crack-cocaine offenses are much stiffer than sentences for powder cocaine. This undermines trust in the criminal-justice system, and it has strong racial effects unhealthy to our society.

The federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created a mandatory five-year prison term for offenses involving five grams of crack. But an offender must have 100 times as much powder cocaine to trigger the same five-year sentence.

If I grab a guy carrying five grams of crack, less than a fifth of an ounce, I figure this is a low-level drug dealer, or maybe someone with a lot for his own consumption. If I arrest a guy with 500 grams of powder cocaine, more than a pound, I figure this is a trafficker. Yet the federal law set the same penalty for both.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission, a panel that Congress created in 1984 to write sentencing guidelines for federal judges to make sentences fairer and more uniform, for years urged Congress to amend cocaine laws to reduce that 100-to-1 disparity.

In 2007, the Commission took some limited action to decrease the sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenses and made the changes retroactive. The Commission said the sentencing system for cocaine offenses had come under ”almost universal criticism” from judges, criminal-justice officials, academics and community

To Read More

Washington Post Editorial Page Urges Confirmation of Dawn Johnsen to Head Justice Dept. Office of Legal Counsel

Dawn Johnsen

Dawn Johnsen

Washington Post Editorial Page
WASHINGTON — HERE ARE some facts about Dawn E. Johnsen, President Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC): She is a graduate of Yale Law School, spent roughly five years as legal director of the abortion rights group now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America, worked for the next five in the Clinton administration’s OLC, has been a professor at the Indiana University School of Law since 1998 and has been an outspoken critic of the Bush Justice Department’s legal justification for harsh interrogation techniques. In other words, Ms. Johnsen is undoubtedly qualified for the position, and she should be confirmed.

Ms. Johnsen’s confirmation has been held up by Republicans concerned that she’s an “ideologue,” in the words of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). Ms. Johnsen’s nomination squeaked by on a party-line vote before the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been stalled for the past month amid filibuster threats from some Republicans.

Let’s put aside, for the moment, the fact that the Justice Department under President Bush was perhaps the most politicized in a generation — and that among the most warped sections of the Bush Justice Department was the OLC. It is nonetheless legitimate to ask whether Ms. Johnsen will behave as badly as some of her immediate predecessors.

To Read More

Justice Wants to End Disparity in Sentencing Between Crack and Powdered Cocaine


This change has been a long time coming. The disparity in sentencing was a simple minded approach to a complicated issue that has plagued America’s inner cities where crack cocaine sales are most prevalent. There has to be a smarter approach to dealing with this problem that has lead to the deterioration of so many inner city neighborhoods and resulted in so many young people going off to prison. If the tougher sentences had worked, that would have been another story. But they haven’t. Time for a smarter approach.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Justice Department officials yesterday endorsed for the first time a plan that would eliminate vast sentencing disparities between possession of powdered cocaine and rock cocaine, an inequity that civil rights groups say has affected poor and minority defendants disproportionately.

Lanny A. Breuer, the new chief of the criminal division, told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that the Obama administration would support bills to equalize punishment for offenders convicted of possessing the drug in either form, fulfilling one of the president’s campaign pledges.

Breuer explicitly called on Congress to act this term to “completely eliminate” the sentencing disparity.

The issue has received attention from both political parties, but until now, top law enforcement officials have not backed legislative reforms, according to drug control analysts.

Sen. Specter’s Switch May Not Impact Appointments of Judges and U.S. Attorneys

When it comes to appointments of judges and U.S. Attorneys, not all that much may change simply because Sen. Arlen Specter has changed parties.  He often exercised independence and is likely to continue on that path.specter-front-page

David Ingram
Legal Times
WASHINGTON — Sen. Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democratic Party brings his new colleagues a little closer to controlling 60 seats in the Senate, but it’s not clear that the switch will have much of an effect on the fate of nominees for the federal bench and the Justice Department.

Lawyers and lobbyists who follow the Senate Judiciary Committee have long said that it’s difficult to predict how Specter will vote on nominees — even when he asks critical questions of them in confirmation hearings. On Tuesday the Pennsylvanian vowed not to change his approach.

“I will not be changing my own personal independence or my own approach to individual issues. I will not be an automatic 60th vote,” Specter told reporters, referring to the votes needed to invoke cloture and cut off Senate debate. He added later, “I have always agreed with John Kennedy that sometimes parties ask too much. And if the Democratic Party asks too much, I will not hesitate to disagree and vote my independent thinking.”

In fact, Specter provided a fresh example of that independence Tuesday, saying for the first time that he is “opposed” to the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to be assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel.

Her confirmation is a priority for the Democratic Party’s base, in part because the office has been at the center of the battle over interrogation policies.

For Full Story

Family Endures Pain of Missing ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

Are Iranian officials hiding this man? That is the big question.

By Lisa J. Huriash
South Florida Sun Sentinel
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Every day, one of Robert Levinson’s seven children cries for him and turns to the others for emotional support.

“The rest of us will console the one who’s upset,” said Dan Levinson, 23, the oldest son. “Everybody takes turns breaking down about it. Everybody tries to stay strong for the others. It just gets to you. It’s been two years, it’s been very frustrating.”

In March 2007, Robert Levinson, of Coral Springs, disappeared from Kish Island, a Persian Gulf resort that is also a smuggling hub. His family said the retired FBI agent, who was working as a private investigator, traveled there for a cigarette smuggling case.

Since then, Christine Levinson has devoted her time and energy to finding her husband and bringing him home. She flew to Tehran to pass out fliers written in Farsi, and hired an attorney there to file paperwork urging the government to open an investigation. She also traveled to Washington, D.C., on a mission to get diplomatic support to pressure Iranian officials to cooperate.
For Full Story