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June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter


Terrorists Have Probably Given Secret Service More Credit Than It Deserves

Director Julia Pierson

By Allan Lengel

I think the American public in general has been blown away by recent news of the lapses in Secret Service security involving the President.

I have to think, had terrorists any clue that it was so easy to breach security and get into the White House, they would have tried something long ago.

Thank goodness that the perception of a secure White House has trumped the reality. How any one could make it so far into the White House is mind boggling. 

Of the many times I passed the White House, I never once thought it would be easy to get in.  It looked so daunting. So secure. Apparently, not so.

 I’ve known a lot of outstanding Secret Service agents over the years, and I have to believe there’s a collective feeling of shame for the agency.  

Should Secret Service Director Julia Pierson have been fired?

Well, under the circumstances there seemed to be no other choice.  

There had to be an expression of outrage that came from the Hill as well as the White House, not to mention the public.

So, yes, the coach had to be fired when the team performed so poorly. In this case, it’s not a game.  

Now, we have to bring some of the top security experts in the world to evaluate the weak points in the presidential security details, both on the road and at the White House. It wouldn’t hurt to bring someone from Israel, a nation obsessed with security.

 We in America need so be obsessed about this issue. 



A Book Review About Baseball, A-Rod and the Steroid Era

Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis, and the Quest to End baseball’s Steroid Era , By Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts

By Greg Stejskal

This is not a traditional book review as those are usually done about the time a book is published and first available for sale. Also in the interest of full disclosure, another retired FBI agent and I are mentioned in the book albeit briefly and tangential to the primary focus of the book. The mention is related to a FBI steroid investigation we did in the early ‘90s. I’ll explain more about that later.

One of the authors of Blood Sport, Tim Elfrink, is a reporter for the “Miami New Times”, and he broke the story of the Biogenesis/Major League Baseball performance enhancing drugs scandal. Tony Bosch, Biogenesis’ founder and owner, had become a supplier of PEDs to a number professional and college baseball players. Several the MLB players were some of biggest stars in the game, and one Alex Rodriguez, “A-Rod,” the highest paid player in the history of the game.

Blood Sport is not only a great telling of the sordid story of Bosch peddling steroids and other PEDs to baseball players, but it’s an insider’s perspective of investigative journalism. The Biogenesis saga is arguably the biggest scandal in MLB since the “Black Sox” conspiracy that fixed the 1919 World Series.

In setting the stage for the Biogenesis story, Blood Sport describes some of the very early efforts to gain an advantage by the use of chemical enhancement. One such episode occurred in 1889 and involved a 32-year-old pitcher for the (Pittsburg) Alleghenies.

The pitcher, James “Pud” Galvin, had been one of the best pitchers of the era, but at 32 was past his prime. He was asked to participate in an experiment involving the use of an anti-aging elixir which was administered by injection and was nothing more than a liquid derived from the crushed testicles of animals. (Pud’s elixir came from sheep testicles, Rocky Mountain Oysters.)

The experiment was publically known and not illegal. (The sale and use of drugs was not regulated by the US government until the early 1900s.) Pud pitched a great game, and for short time his performance was proclaimed as proof the elixir worked. It was later determined that the elixar’s relatively small amount of testosterone could not have enhanced Pud’s pitching. He probably benefited from the psychological benefit of the placebo effect. But in thinking that the male hormone, testosterone, might have performance enhancing potential, they were on to something.

Blood Sport goes on to trace some of the other efforts to gain advantage in sports through chemistry like the open and pervasive use of amphetamines starting in the 50s and going into the 80s and to some extent the present.

Contemporaneous with the decline of amphetamine use began the use of PEDs that could dramatically improve a player’s performance and potentially destroy the integrity of sports – anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are synthetic testosterone which in large amounts increases muscle size and strength. Not all steroids have this anabolic effect, but the steroids that are considered PEDs and illegal are anabolic. Testosterone is produced in males’ testicles, but much larger amounts than occur naturally are needed to enhance athletic performance.


The use of steroids as PEDs came later to baseball than to some other sports, notably football, but when they did come, it was with a vengeance.

This is where the “full-disclosure” thing I mentioned earlier comes in. It was gratifying that Blood Sport tells the story of the advent of the first major federal investigation of steroids, a FBI undercover operation dubbed Equine, and how it relates to MLB’s “steroid era.”

Equine started with a meeting of the legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, his strength and conditioning coach, Mike Gittleson, and me. Bo’s reason for meeting with me was his concern that steroids were becoming prevalent in high school and college football. Steroids were illegal under federal law except by prescription for rare circumstances that did not include enhanced performance in sports. So inspired by Bo, I decided to initiate an undercover operation, Equine, that targeted the illegal distribution of steroids. That UCO ultimately resulted in the successful prosecution of over 70 dealers in the US, Canada and Mexico and the seizure of millions of dosage units of steroids and human growth hormone (HGH).

Read more »

We May Never Feel As Safe As We Did on Sept. 10, 2001

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel

Thirteen years  ago today, I was walking down Connecticut Avenue NW  in Washington, D.C.,  on my way to work, about to get on the subway, when I ran into a friend who asked if I had heard about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center.

I hadn’t. By the time I got off the subway at the Farragut North stop downtown, the city was in a panic. I ran into my editor at the Washington Post, who said she had heard that planes had crashed into the Pentagon and the State Department. Rumors were running rampant.

We got to the newsroom and everyone was standing around TVs watching the incredulous events unfold. 

A second plane had already crashed into the World Trade Center and a third had crashed into the Pentagon, not all that far away. We were under attack.

We all got our assignments. I was sent to D.C. Police headquarters on Indiana Avenue NW to hang out all day. I walked there, about 1.5 miles.  On the way over there, you could hear everyone on the street calling loved ones, checking in.

At police headquarters, a  group of reporters stood out front, hanging out. The police chief, Charles Ramsey, (who is now the Philadelphia Police chief) would occasionally drive by and give us updates. A plane in Pennsylvania was still unaccounted for. We kept looking up at the sky wondering if it just might come our way.

The world changed that day. We had been shaken before as Americans. We had the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, but this was of a magnitude we had never seen before.

We’ve learned a lot since that time. At first, the FBI, jittery from not unearthing the 9/11 plot, and getting plenty blame for that, followed up on every tip it got, regardless of how silly it might have seemed. In time, it learned to separate the wheat from the chaff. Also, for a while, authorities were overly paranoid about anyone in D.C. taking photos or video of buildings. That eventually changed.

Plus, the government, the White House, the FBI and other agencies,  had a lot to learn about Islam.  The FBI shifted its top priority to terrorism, and we created the Department of Homeland Security, which frankly, the verdict is still out on how effective that has been.

Since that day, Sept. 11, 2001, we’ve become far more aware of  the potential terrorism threat.

Frankly, in the days that followed Sept. 11, 2001, I thought life would never be normal again.  Fortunately, things have returned to some semblance of normalcy.

But we’ll likely never feel as safe as we did on Sept. 10, 2001.

Law Enforcement Fatalities Up in First Half of 2014

By Ross Parker

 The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty went up 31%  during the first half of 2014, compared to the same time period last year. Of the 67 officers killed, 26 were in traffic-related incidents, 25 were killed by gunfire, and 16 due to job-related illnesses and other causes. 

Despite the increase, the overall trend of officer fatalities continued to trend downward from the the 1970 when 140 officers were killed during the same period.

The number of annual firearm-related deaths has decreased from 62 in the 1970s to 24 on average during the period since 2000. The statistics were compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  (Their full report can be viewed by clicking here. 

Particularly disturbing were the sharp increases in deaths by gunfire (56%) and in fatal on-duty heart attacks (62%). Gunfire deaths were caused primarily by handguns either while the officer was investigating suspicious persons or circumstances or was the victim of an ambush.

Federal officers killed in the line of duty so far this year include three territorial officers and a military officer. In addition, LA County Sheriff Detective/DEA Task Force Officer Al Riveria passed away after surgical complications for an on the job The most dangerous places for law enforcement officers were California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Virginia. Michigan and nineteen other states have had no fatalities so far this year.

The deadliest day of the week was Monday (15) and Tuesday (5) the least deadly.  The deadliest month overall was May and April had the fewest fatalities.

The average age of the officer killed in the line of duty was 42 with an average of 13 years of service. He (64) or she (3) had an average of two children. The spike in the number of officer fatalities, even with an overall downward trend, is a grim reminder that law enforcement continues to be a dangerous job performed to keep the rest of us safe.


Supreme Court Effortlessly Throws Out Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

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

Guessing the correct result and even the basic rationale of the Supreme Court’s cell phone case could be considered a minor achievement, but not even the most ardent defense attorney would have predicted that the opinion would be a unanimous 9-0 decision authored by the normally pro-law enforcement Chief Justice. Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion held, without a single dissent, that the warrantless search of an arrestee’s cell phone incident to his arrest was in violation of the 4th Amendment. It’s embarrassing to miss the ease with which the Court made the decision.

In doing so the Court resolved a split in lower courts and rejected a line of cases which compared the cell phone search to be analogous to the previously authorized search of an arrestee’s papers, diaries and the like. That had been the rationale of one of the two cases reviewed, the California Court of Appeals decision in Riley v. California, which had upheld the police search of a man’s cell phone when he was stopped on a traffic charge and then arrested for illegal firearm possession. The search had produced data linking him to a gang shooting, and he was convicted of attempted murder. Instead the Court followed the other decision reviewed, U.S. v. Wurie, in which the Court of Appeals threw out drug and firearm convictions for a defendant whose cell phone was searched incident to his arrest.

The Court rejected the Justice Department position and reasoned that the invasion of privacy was not comparable to the other cases involving the search of notes, private documents and the like. The extent of private material exposed in a modern cell phone is of an entirely different magnitude than that which could be kept in such papers. The extra-legal consideration was perhaps left between the lines. Everyone including Supreme Court Justices has a cell phone and increasingly relies on it for a variety of private and extensive purposes.

The opinion found a clear distinction in the latest cell phone technology and its ever-expanding capacity to store a vast trove of private information. From a legal analysis standpoint (and foreseeable only with 20-20 hindsight), the case was a logical extension of the Court’s increasing propensity to rein in law enforcement’s use of advanced technology. Thermal imaging, DNA, and transponders are a few of the techniques which had been found to be “unreasonable searches” without prior judicial authorization.

So what does the case portend? The loss of free rein to investigate the secrets of those arrested without prior judicial authorization will be an inconvenience to law enforcement, especially since nearly every person arrested possesses a smart phone. But enterprising agents will mitigate this loss in many cases by imaginative considerations of probable cause to present to a judge. Other advanced tools of the expanding sources of technology should probably be second-guessed in terms of the need for a warrant. But most prosecutors and case agents were already aware of this trip for the unwary.

Does it mean a cutting back from the wide scope of non-cell phone searches incident? Probably not since the prior cases in this category set forth a fairly well defined course of action by arresting officers.

On the other hand, being presumptuous about who your friends are on the High Court can be a humbling experience.


Strongest Medical Evidence Yet of the Harm from Marijuana Legalization

By Ross Parker

The evidence continues to mount of the dangerous health risks of today’s potent forms of marijuana, especially to segments of the population such as juveniles and young adults. But the medical evidence seems to be having little effect in view of a combination of denial, lack of political will, and ignorance on the part of state legislators and the public in general, as well as the well organized and financed forces of legalization.

Last week The New England Journal of Medicine, probably the most respected medical journal in the United States, reported in an article entitled, “Adverse Effects of Marijuana Use,” by four physicians and researchers that there is a substantial level of scientific confidence that the drug can result in addiction, memory and cognitive function damage, impairment of motor function, and long lasting negative changes in brain function. Their conclusion was that increased availability from legalization will significantly increase the negative health consequences to the population.

As shown in other studies, short term use makes it difficult to learn and retain information. Driving skills are impaired. Risky behavior and even paranoia and psychosis can result. Long term use can alter brain development, encourages dropping out of school, a lower IQ during adolescence, reduced satisfaction and achievement, chronic bronchitis, and an increased risk of schizophrenia.

Although the study advises that there can be other factors involved in these devastating results, the link between marijuana and social factors such as lower income, more public assistance, unemployment, criminal behavior, and a lower life satisfaction has been established by several studies. People who used the drug before driving were from 2 to 7 times as likely to be responsible for an accident than those who had not used alcohol or marijuana.

The increase in the average potency of THC content continues to increase, from 3% in the 1980s to 12% in 2012. As the cultivation continues to become more sophisticated in states like Colorado and California, one could expect this figure to increase significantly and, correspondingly, to increase the extent of the adverse effects on increasing numbers of people in the population. Increased emergency room visits (100 % increase from 2004 to 2011) and reports to poison control centers (three times the number in legalization states) forcefully demonstrate that this phenomenon is well under way.

Importantly, this steep increase in the THC content also calls into question the validity of all of those studies done in previous decades. The assurances of those early studies, on which pro-legalization forces rely so heavily to assuage the reluctance of state legislators, are worth little in the face of these statistics and the recent medical studies.

The article reports that there is evidence that marijuana or other cannabinoids may benefit symptoms associated with certain clinical conditions such as glaucoma, nausea, inflammatory diseases, MS, and epilepsy. However, more research is necessary to confirm these findings, as well as to determine the most effective form of administration.

Since medical marijuana prescriptions issued to adults are a major source of recreational use by juveniles, states must develop an effective method of regulation, as well as education about the dangers of both inadvertent and commercial distribution for non-medical use. Anyone who reviews medical marijuana advertisements or talks to law enforcement officers about the level of therapeutics of many of such clinics, can only question whether the drug legalization is actually accomplishing a fraction of the benefits touted by its advocates.

Recently, I walked around Venice and Santa Monica beaches in southern California. The number and appearances of the “medical” marijuana clinics in the narrow streets leading to the beaches were strikingly non-medical to everyone I was with. The medical purpose of such businesses seemed like a joke. A local federal agent confirmed that the great majority of the large amounts dispensed were universally known to be used recreationally and were so ubiquitous as to be unenforceable. The genie was out of the bottle.

Twenty-two states have legalized marijuana use in some form or another. One can only hope that other states will pause in this trend and consider the mounting medical evidence of significant health and well being problems in so many different categories. Perhaps studies in the 22 states will demonstrate that the cost of these policies is so great as to demand reconsideration.


Mississippi Burning 50 Years Later

By Greg Stejskal
The 60s were a tumultuous decade, and 1964 was emblematic of that decade. Arthur Ashe won the US Open, and Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace. The Beatles came to America and established a beachhead for the “British invasion.” Lyndon Johnson, a Southern Democrat, having become President when John Kennedy was assassinated in November of 1963, showed great political courage and legislative acumen by getting landmark civil rights laws passed in Congress.

On June 19th the US Senate passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Two days later the need for that legislation became clear when three civil rights workers disappeared under suspicious circumstances in Mississippi. Two of the workers were white and from the north, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. The third, James Chaney, was black and from Mississippi.

In the heady days of the spring of ’64 with the civil rights bills moving through Congress, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) announced an initiative, the Mississippi Summer Project. It was to participate in this project that Schwerner and Goodman had traveled to Mississippi. There, they joined-up with Chaney and other local civil rights workers.

There were those in Mississippi who were dead set (literally) against the civil rights initiatives or any of the changes to the status quo that were portended by the civil rights legislation. Foremost in this opposition were the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi.

The following is a rendition of events based on the testimony at the 1967 federal trial, US v. Price; et al:

In May of 1964, Sam Bowers, Imperial Wizard of the Mississippi KKK sent word to his fellow klansmen, it was time to activate “Plan 4” – the “elimination” of Michael Schwerner. Schwerner had drawn the enmity of the Klan because he had organized a black boycott of a white-owned business and had aggressively been trying to register blacks to vote. The Klan referred to Schwerner as “Jew-boy” and “Goatee.”

On June 16th the Klan’s first effort to eliminate Schwerner failed. A group of klansmen went to Mt Zion Church, a church with a black congregation in the rural community of Longdale. The klansmen expected Schwerner to attend a meeting at the church. Some of the klansmen frustrated by Schwerner not being at the church beat some of the church members and burned the church to the ground.

Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman were at a meeting in Ohio to train recruits for the Mississippi Summer Project when they heard about the events at Mt Zion Church. On June 20th, the 3 drove to the CORE office in Meridian, Mississippi. After spending the night in Meridian, they drove the CORE station wagon to the ruins of the Mt Zion Church and spoke to some of the members of the congregation. The 3 civil rights workers were warned that members of the Klan were looking for them. Longdale was in Neshoba County, known to be a hostile area for civil rights workers. The sheriff of the county, Lawrence Rainey, and his deputy Cecil Price, were both members of the Klan, and they had reputations for being tough on blacks.

At about 3pm the 3 workers began their trip back to the relative safety of the Meridian office. The route they chose on Hwy 16 would take them through the town of Philadelphia, the Neshoba County seat. (This was a longer route, but it was a black-topped, relatively well-traveled road.) As fate would have it, Deputy Sheriff Price was heading the opposite direction. The deputy spotted the well-known CORE station wagon. He did a U-turn and stopped the wagon. Price arrested the 3, allegedly for suspicion of having been involved in the arson of the church and lodged them in the county jail. Deputy Price then met with the local Klan kleagle (recruiter), Edgar Ray Killen, to tell him of the arrest of Schwerner and the other 2 workers. They then planned their Midsummer’s Night tragic conspiracy.

Shortly after 10pm Deputy Price released Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman. They departed in the station wagon with Chaney driving, and Price followed them as they drove southeast on Hwy 19 towards Meridian. Price then returned to Philadelphia.

While the 3 were in jail, Edgar Ray Killen, the Klan kleagle and an ordained Baptist minister, had been busy recruiting klansmen from the Neshoba and adjoining county klaverns for what he referred to as “butt ripping.”

After returning to Philadelphia, Deputy Price again departed in pursuit of the station wagon. Two other cars full of klansmen joined in the pursuit. A short high-speed chase ensued, but the station wagon was stopped and the 3 civil rights workers surrendered and were placed in Price’s cruiser. Then the 3 car procession, Price and the 2 klansmen’s cars, drove down an unmarked dirt road.

There is contradictory evidence as the whether the workers were beaten, but it is known that a dishonorably discharged Marine, Wayne Roberts, fatally shot Schwerner, then Goodman, then Chaney, all at close range. The bodies of the 3 men were taken to an earthen dam site on the Old Jolly Farm owned by Philadelphia businessman and member of the Klan, Olen Burridge. Apparently at a Klan meeting, Burridge had previously offered the use of his dam as a burial site for eliminated civil rights workers.

The following morning the phone rang at the FBI Resident Agency in Meridian. (Mississippi at the time was covered by the FBI Field office in New Orleans.) The Resident Agent, John Procter was apprised of the disappearance of the civil rights workers. Special Agent Procter was originally from Alabama and had developed good relationships with people from different walks of life in his territory including people in law enforcement.

John Doar, an attorney, was the US Department of Justice’s point-man in Mississippi. He had also been apprised of the disappearance. Doar characterized the disappearance as a possible kidnapping, thus, giving the FBI immediate jurisdiction to investigate.

Within hours, Proctor was in Neshoba County interviewing Blacks, community leaders, Sheriff Rainey and Deputy Price. The next day, June 23rd, Procter was joined by ten more agents. J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI was ordered by President Johnson, with whom he had a close relationship, to make the investigation a priority. (Director Hoover, who had been less than sympathetic towards the civil rights movement, was none the less all in on this investigation.) The case was designated a bureau “Special” and titled Mississippi Burning – the shortened title MIBURN.

Joseph Sullivan, the FBI’s Major Case Inspector was dispatched to Mississippi. Later Director Hoover flew to Mississippi to announce the FBI would open a Field Office in Jackson, Mississippi.

The first break in the case came when Proctor received a tip that a smoldering car had been found abandoned in northeast Neshoba County which turned out to be the CORE station wagon. As Proctor was examining the car, he met Inspector Sullivan, a partership was formed and as Sherlock Holmes would say, “the game was afoot.”

The investigation was arduous and frustrating. The white Neshoba County residents, many of whom either participated in the conspiracy or knew of it, were uncooperative. The black citizens were terrorized. After the disappearance, Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Philadelphia, and he observed: “This is a terrible town. The worst I’ve seen. There is a complete reign of terror here.”

Inspector Sullivan realized early on that he could get useful information from local children. He made it a habit to carry candy with him. He would try to engage children in conversations, but not anywhere where they could be seen talking by disapproving adults.

Additional agents were sent to help with the investigation. Cartha “Deke” DeLoach, an assistant director of the FBI, described those agents, “Many of them were big, bruising men, highly trained in the tactics of interrogation.” (In other words they knew how to be very persuasive.) Unofficial reports indicated there were occasions when unorthodox means were used to obtain information. Known Klan members would be driven in bureau cars in public places to give the appearance they were cooperating.

There is the possibly apocryphal story that a Mafia capo, Gregory Scarpa Sr., who had a special relationship w/ the FBI. According to the story, Scarpa was brought to Mississippi. A Philadelphia appliance dealer and Klan member was identified as a weak link. He was “kidnapped” and threatened by Scarpa. According to Scarpa, he put “a gun in his mouth.” As a result the appliance dealer gave-up the location of the bodies.

The less dramatic, but official version was that a $30,000 reward was offered for information. A “Mr. X” collected the reward and provided information as to the location of the bodies. (The identity of Mr. X was a closely guarded secret until a Journalist and historian determined he was a Mississippi State Trooper, Maynard King.)

In any case, 44 days after the disappearance, the bodies were exhumed from under 12’ of dirt in an earthen dam on Olen Burridge’s farm. The FBI now had the proof that Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney were murdered. (Without the bodies the case may never have been solved like the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.) Now a case had to be made as to who did it.

It would be informants (really cooperating witnesses, technically informants are never identified) from within the Klan that would make the case. Information from a Klan member at the periphery of the conspiracy enabled the FBI to identify the more central figures. One Klan member who John Procter worked hard to “flip” was James Jordan. Over the course of five increasingly “rough” interviews, Jordan came to see that cooperating and testifying against other Klan conspirators was his best bet to avoid a long prison term. Jordan had been present when the civil rights workers were murdered and would become a key witness at the trial.

In February 1965 federal indictments were obtained charging 19 klansmen with conspiracy to deprive Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney of their civil rights under color of law.

In 1988 a movie based on the civil rights workers disappearance and the FBI investigation premiered and was aptly titled “Mississippi Burning.” The two main characters were loosely based on FBI agents John Proctor and Joseph Sullivan. The movie was an artistic triumph and was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, best actor (Gene Hackman portraying a character similar to John Proctor) and best supporting actress. It won only one Oscar for best cinematography.

The movie was roundly criticized for having fictionalized history. One critic referred to the film as a “cinematic lynching of the truth.” The overriding theme of the criticism seemed to be that the critics could not accept the premise that agents of Hoover’s FBI could be heroes in a civil rights investigation.

The movie did take some dramatic license with the facts as most movies based on true stories do. (Otherwise they would be documentaries.) The movie used a variation of the story about kidnapping the klansman and threatening him. In the movie it’s even more dramatic, instead of a Mafia capo, a black agent wielding a straight edge razor threatens to castrate the hapless klansman.

But the late Chicago columnist, Mike Royko, wrote a generally favorable review of the movie and made the point: “But give the FBI some credit or the Justice Department or President Lyndon Johnson. Despite J. Edgar Hoover’s reluctance, the FBI did crack the case. It did so by offering a $30,000 reward for information, which an informer provided. Less dramatic, but the result was the same.”

The movie was far closer to the facts than the critics knew or were willing to admit.

But more importantly the case did not signal the end of the bureau’s efforts to enforce the civil rights laws in the South. The battle was joined and over the next few years the Klan was destroyed in Mississippi and elsewhere. Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney did not die in vain. I doubt that in 1964 this case would have been pursued with the resources and tenacity that it was had 2 of the murdered civil right workers not been white. The case was solved and it changed history for the better.


After the indictments were obtained the trial judge, US District Court Judge William H. Cox, a segregationist, dismissed the indictments against all the defendants except Sheriff Rainey and Deputy Price. The judge found that only Rainey and Price were state agents and thus could act under color of state law. The US Supreme Court reversed Judge Cox and ruled it was sufficient that any participants in the conspiracy were agents for the state for the conspiracy and all the participants to have acted under color of law (US v. Cecil Price; et al).

The trial occurred in October 1967. The lead prosecutor for US was John Doar, who had been involved in the case since the beginning. Seven of the defendants were convicted. The Imperial Wizard, Sam Bowers and the trigger-man, Wayne Roberts, were sentenced to 10 years. Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price was sentenced to 6 years.

It wasn’t a complete victory, but it was a victory. The “NY Times” called the verdict, “a measure of the quiet revolution that is taking place in southern attitudes.”





Supreme Court to Consider Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

By Ross Parker

The U. S. Supreme Court will hear argument today on two cases involving warrantless searches of cell phones. The case is probably the most important and most difficult 4th Amendment case of the term. Lower courts are split on the issue, and the number and tone of the appellate briefs in the cases illustrate the future ramifications of the case in the Cyber Age.

In U.S. v. Wurie the Court of Appeals threw out drug and firearm convictions for a defendant whose cell phone was searched incident to his arrest. The California Court of Appeals went the other direction in Riley v. California, upholding the police search of a man’s cell phone when he was arrested on firearms charges. The search produced data linking him to a gang shooting, and he was convicted of attempted murder.

Warrantless searches of all materials on the person of one lawfully arrested have traditionally been upheld without serious controversy. Isn’t the cell phone just a 21st Century version of a personal notebook or photo album? That is why many, perhaps most, commentators are predicting that the conservative majority of the Court will hand down a decision sometime before the end of the term in June which upholds the law enforcement position in these cases.

However, several factors seemingly unconnected to traditional 4th Amendment theory make this a much closer question. First, everyone including Supreme Court Justices has a cell phone and increasingly relies on it for a variety of purposes. Second, the latest cell phone technology has an ever-expanding capacity to store all kinds of private information. Finally, the Court has shown an increasing propensity to rein in law enforcement’s use of advanced technology. Thermal imaging, DNA, and transponders are a few of the techniques found to be “unreasonable searches” without prior judicial authorization. Traditionally conservative Justice Anton Scalia has surprised many by his views in this area.

Prediction: 5-4 vote requiring warrants for cell phone searches incident to arrests.