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Undocumented Immigrant Paid Nearly $500,000 After Being Shot by Border Patrol Agent

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. government was ordered to pay nearly $500,000 to an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who was shot by a Border Patrol agent on Nov. 16, 2010, the USA Today reports.

U.S. District Court Justice James Soto said the agent’s “use of force was not justified” because the plaintiff, Castro Romo, “was not in the motion of throwing a rock at Canales.”

“Put more bluntly,” the judge wrote, “a rock is not as deadly an object as a gun and requires a greater degree of certainty that the object will be used than the threat or perceived threat of a gun.”

It’s not yet clear how the ruling will impact Border Patrol agents, who killed at least nine people for allegedly throwing rocks since 2010.

“The court has put some strength into the idea that you can’t just say ‘he had a rock in his hand so it was justified,’ which was their successful default defense for many shooting deaths,” said Texas attorney Bob Hilliard, who is representing families in three wrongful-death cases against Border Patrol agents who shot alleged rock throwers. “He’s saying you have a professional duty to exercise reasonable care. … It still gives Border Patrol agents the power to defend themselves, and it gives Mexican nationals under arrest their constitutional protections.”

 

Iowa Couple Accused of Torturing, Forcing Woman into Prostitution, Are Charged

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Iowa couple accused of torturing a 20-year-old woman and forcing her into prostitution was charged this week with sex trafficking and torture, Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Charges in U.S. District Court allege Aldair Hodza, 36, and Laura E. Sorensen, 31, abducted the woman before subjecting her to sexual abuse, starvation and burning.

“She was forced to engage in prostitution in order to earn money for Sorensen and Hodza to use for food and gas on the trip,” according to federal documents.

The couple is accused of forcing the woman on a cross-country trip aboard a 37-foot Sun Voyager recreational vehicle.

The nightmare ended in New Kent County in Virginia on Jan. 6, when a truck alerted police to the woman inside the recreational vehicle.

Stories of Other Interest


Republicans in Congress Reach Impasse on Funding for Homeland Security

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security is within two months of running out of money, and Republican Congressional leaders acknowledge they don’t have the votes for their budget plan for the department.

The New York Times reports that Republicans have reached an impasse after failing three times to pass a bill to finance Homeland Security.

“I think it’s clearly stuck in the Senate,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader. “We can’t get on it, we can’t offer amendments to it. And the next step is obviously up to the House.”

 

The budget impasse follows attempts by the GOP to prevent President Obama from carrying out his immigration policies.

GOP leaders said the Republican have not started working on an alternative.

FBI Investigates Hacking Attempt Targeting Jacksonville International Airport

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating what appears to be a hacking attempt from a “foreign party” targeting Jacksonville International Airport, First Coast News reports.

Investigators said the hacking attempt was unsuccessful.

“There was an incident that occurred around Thanksgiving and the FBI is investigating,” JAA spokesperson Michael Stewart said in a statement.

The FBI declined to provide further details.

The hacking attempt underscores the dangers of hacking.

Richard Frankel Becomes Agent in Charge of Newark Division in New Jersey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Richard Frankel, who began his FBI career as a special agent in the New York Field Office in 1995, is the new agent in charge of the bureau’s Newark Division, MyCentralJersey.com reports.

Comey named Frankel to the position after serving in several different positions in New York. He fought organized crime and terrorism and served as assistant special agent in charge of the New York Field Office.

Frankel also served as associate director of national intelligence in the Office of the Director of National intelligence beginning in 2011.

In addition, Frankal worked in the Inspection Division at FBI’s Headquarters as a team leader.

“Throughout his career, Frankel has served as the FBI’s deputy on-scene commander in Afghanistan and led a team who supported U.S. Special Forces components,” MyCentralJersey.com wrote. “He was also the on-scene commander for FBI personnel that investigated the bombing of the Rugby Club in Uganda during the World Cup and he led the team that arrested the surviving pirate involved in the Maersk Alabama incident off the coast of Somalia and investigated the terror attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya.”

ACLU Sues Border Patrol for Records on Questionable ‘Roving Patrols’

istock photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ACLU sued Border Patrol to get more insight into the use of “roving patrols,” Reuters reports.

The suit comes after the CBP ignored a July 2014 request under the Freedom of Information Act to release information on the patrols, which lead to people being stopped more than 100 miles from the Mexico border.

“The Border Patrol operates as a rogue agency, claiming extra-constitutional powers that extend far from any border, and operating with no effective oversight,” said Adrienna Wong, attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California in a statement.

The request seeks records from the San Diego and El Centrol sectors. The ACLU wants to know how many people are stopped, what the policies are and what the complaints are.

“Roving patrols have long been associated with civil rights violations, and abuses are not limited to the Southwest, as prior FOIA lawsuits have shown,” the statement said.

 

ATF Investigates Alleged Affair Between Agent, Prosecutor During Storefront Investigations

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An ATF agent and a prosecutor had a secret affair while working together on controversial storefront operations in Georgia and are under investigation following allegations they illegally helped in informant, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. 

The storefront investigations were the subject of intense scrutiny following alarming reports by the Journal Sentinel that showed numerous problems.

ATF said it is investigating the relationship between Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Ippolito and ATF Special Agent Lou Valoze.

“The department takes these allegations seriously and is taking active and appropriate steps with regard to the employees involved,” said ATF spokesman Patrick Rodenbush, who declined to elaborate further because it is a personnel matter.

According to the Journal Sentinel, the ATF is investigating whether Valoze and Ippolito presented false information to Homeland Security for a visa for an informant.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Investigating Voter Fraud, Financial Mismanagement in The Bronx

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating voter fraud and financial mismanagement of politicians in The Bronx, the New Work Post reports.

The probe comes at a time when Albany’s power shifted to Bronx politicians after Sheldon Silver stepped down as speaker of the New York Assembly following his arrest by the FBI.

Replacing him was Carl Heastie, a Bronx political powerhouse.

The target of the probe, however is unclear, but the Post reported that the investigation was prompted, at least partially, by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

“I’m hearing that one document turned over to Bharara shows that some candidates in certain Bronx districts got more votes than the number of voters who went into the booths,” the Post’s John Crudele wrote.

“There is also a question about the use of campaign funds for personal purposes, a source tells me,” wrote Crudele. “Stay tuned. This could get interesting quickly.”