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Fresh DOJ loss in ‘Fast and Furious’ Docs Fight

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder/doj photo

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has rejected Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempt to keep the courts from wading into the “Fast and Furious” documents dispute that led to him being held in contempt by the House last year.

In a ruling Monday night, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson turned down the Justice Department’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege to prevent some records about the administration’s response to the “Operation Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal from being turned over to Congress.

To read more click here.

 

Ex-Fed Prosecutor Alan M. Gershel Who Helped Convicted Detroit Police Chief is Named Head of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission

Alan M. Gershel

Alan M. Gershel, a law school professor and ex-federal prosecutor whose high-profile cases included the prosecution of Detroit Police Chief William L. Hart, has been named grievance administrator for the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission.

The commission is the investigative and prosecutorial arm of the Supreme Court for allegations of attorney misconduct.

“Mr. Gershel has a focused vision for the future, decades of experience successfully managing a team of attorneys, and a reputation for professional integrity that will be a credit to the AGC,” Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr.  said in a statement.

Gershel resigned from Cooley Law School last Friday.

Gershel replaces interim administrator John Van Bolt.  Bolt was filling in after administrator Robert Agacinski, was fired earlier this year. Agacinski is suing Young and the Grievance Commission, alleging he was fired for reporting illegal misconduct of commission staff members.

Gershel was one of three prosecutors who convicted Chief Hart in May 1992 for embezzling funds earmarked for undercover operations.  Gershel also helped oversee an FBI sting involving local Detroit judges that resulted in a number of them pleading guilty in the late 1980s.

Gershel, a 1978 graduate of University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, taught at Thomas M. Cooley Law School from 2008-2014. Before that, he worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for nearly 30 years, and was chief of the Criminal Division from 1989-2008.

 

Cities with Patterns of Civil Rights Abuses Still Receive Surplus Military Equipment

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Cities nationwide that are under investigation for alleged civil rights violations are still eligible to receive surplus military equipment, the Justice Department reports, according to the Associated Press.

The discovery raises questions about the controversial Pentagon program following the militarized law enforcement response in Ferguson, Mo.

The Pentagon responded that it would work closer with the Justice Department to prevent the weaponry from falling into the hands of problematic police agencies.

“We need to do a better job there,” Alan Estevez, a Defense Department official who oversees the program, said.

The Los Angeles Police Department, which has been under the oversight of the Justice Department because of substantiated cases of excessive force and fake arrests, continues to get militarized supplies.

The same goes for other troubled police departments across the country, the AP reports.

Border Patrol Official Says More than 4,300 New Officers Are Needed to Protect U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 

CBP needs more than 4,300 new officers to adequately protect the borders, acting Customs and Border Patrol Assistant Commissioner John P. Wagner, from the Office of Field Operations, told PJ Media.

With the increased dangers of ISIS and the influx of immigrants,

Wagner said a lot more manpower is needed.

“We’ve done an analysis and we have a need for 4,373 new CBP officers to staff all of the ports of entry across the United States,” he said. “Congress was generous enough to provide us with funding for 2,000 of those officers for this fiscal year and the [Obama] administration’s budget proposal for 2015 contains a request for another 2,373, so the answer is yes.

“A lot of those would be dedicated to the ports of entry at the southwest border as well as the gateway airports all across the United States.”

Wagner emphasized the importance of the manpower and said CBP is taking extra efforts to prevent terrorists from entering the country.

“CBP officers scan the traveler’s entry documents to perform queries of various CBP databases for exact or possible matches to existing lookouts, including those of other law enforcement agencies. For most foreign nationals arriving at U.S. airports, CBP officers collect biometrics – fingerprints and photographs – and compare them to any previously collected information,” Wagner said.

Border Patrol May Get More Surveillance Balloons Because of Success of Others

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents are finding success with surveillance balloons that hover high above the Rio Grande and can zoom in on a license plate from miles away, the Valley Morning Star reports.

Border Patrol officials said more balloons are possible to keep more eyes in the sky.

The balloons are stationed in Rio Grande City, Penitas and near Falfurrias.

“We place them strategically in locations where there’s the most traffic,” agency spokesman Joe Gutierrez Jr. said. “Wherever the risk is greater, we focus resources and technology.”

The balloons, called aerostats, are surplus from the Army.

Secret Service Looks to Beef Up White House Security After Embarrassing Blunder

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was an embarrassment and failure of the Secret Service.

An Army veteran with a pocketknife scaled the White House fence and entered the executive mansion Friday.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Secret Service is reviewing ways to better protect the White House.

The suspect on Friday, Omar J. Gonzalez, sprinted across the north lawn and reached the unlocked doors of the North Portico, raising serious concerns about the level of security.

One place to start may be portions of the fence that date back to 1818, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“If the Secret Service wanted to stop fence jumpers, it could close Pennsylvania Avenue and there wouldn’t be any,” one law-enforcement official said. “But that’s not reasonable.”

The issue is a delicate balance between security and preserving public access and architectural integrity, the Wall Street Journal wrote.

Other Stories of Interest



DOJ Supports Special Needs Student Who Was Used As ‘Rape Bait’

Sparkman Middle School, Google Maps

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is supporting the family of a girl who was raped after a teacher told her to act as bait to catch a suspected sexual predator at Sparkman Middle School in Toney, Ala.

The Daily Mail reports that the school had failed to discipline the suspected predator because he had not been caught in the act. So a teacher told a 14-year-old special needs student to meet the boy in a bathroom where he had allegedly had sexual encounters with other girls.

The ill-conceived plan took a horrifying turn when the suspect met her in a different bathroom, so no one came to help.

To support the family’s lawsuit against the Madison County School Board, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief.

The filing alleges that the incident violated Title IX.

“School administrators knew the student’s extensive history of sexual and violent misconduct and were alerted to the substantial risk he posed,” the brief read.

 

Judge Rules In Favor of Ex-ATF Agent Jay Dobyns and Slaps ATF

Jay Dobyns

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge gave what former ATF agent Jay Dobyns seemed to want most: Vindication.

The Arizona Republic writes that U.S. Federal Claims Judge Francis M. Allegra of D.C. ruled in a lawsuit filed by Dobyns that ATF failed to properly respond to death threats against him after he infiltrated the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, then reneged on previous agreements to address his complaints. In 2008, his house was set afire. 

The ruling, unsealed Tuesday, awarded Dobyns of Tucson $173,000 for emotional stress caused by ATF, the paper reported. 

The paper also reported that the judge denied the government’s counterclaims for royalties from Dobyns’ book, No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels, and the films rights to the book, which are held by 20th Century Fox.

The $173,000 award fell far short of what he had sought. But he said he was pleased, nonetheless, with the ruling.

Dobyns wrote on his blog:

“I will not seize upon this opportunity to gloat or celebrate. From my view there is nothing to rejoice in. This is a sad day for my beloved ATF, the Department of Justice and all who believe in and support America’s law enforcement officers.”

“The title of the lawsuit alone — Dobyns v. USA — is humiliating for me. I never stood against the USA; only the corruption and abuse that infect parts of ATF and DOJ in leadership. I blew the whistle on that corruption. For that I was severely punished and left undefended.”

Dobyns also wrote in his blog:

Today, Judge Allegra describes ATF as an agency with, “organizational weaknesses, the inability of agency officials to supervise and control, and of demonstrated misfeasance – all rooted in the sorry failure of some ATF officials”. Further he wrote, “the story of how Agent Dobyns was treated is neither entertaining nor an easy read.”

Judge Allegra wrote in his opinion that Marino Vidoli, Steve Pugmire and Bill Newell, “ignored information about threats to Agent Dobyns and his family”, that, “the removal of the fictitious identification put Agent Dobyns and his family at risk”, that there was “no valid reason” for ATF’s failure to support us. The court wrote that the conduct of Vidoli was “unprecedented as the only instance in which Vidoli ever withdrew backstopping issued to an ATF employee.”

In 2007, Dobyns won a $373,000 award against ATF after it was concluded  that the agencies failed to take proper action to keep him safe.

ATF issued a statement that was posted on The Phoenix New Times:

“We have received and are reviewing with the Department of Justice the Court’s decision in Dobyns v. United States. We cannot, however, further comment on this case because portions of the litigation are still pending, including matters that may be appealed by the parties.”