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June 2022


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: Court of Appeals

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal of Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick


By Allan Lengel

DETROIT — Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s travels through the federal court system came to an end on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected without comment his request to appeal his conviction.

A federal jury in 2013 convicted Kilpatrick, 46, of public corruption charges. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison and is currently serving his time in a federal prison in El Reno, Okla.

He appealed his case to U.S. Court of Appeals, which refused to overturn the conviction.

The odds were against the Supreme Court taking the case. It takes so few and usually looks to see if a case brings up new legal issues that need clarification.

One key issue of the appeal, his attorney Harold Gurewitz argued, was that the trial judge gave federal agents too much latitude by letting them interpret for jurors written communications involving Kilpatrick.


Appeals Court: Different Standards for FBI Fitness Test Is Not Discrimination

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling

The FBI’s physical fitness test has different standards for men and women. Men, for example, must do more than twice the number of push-ups as women.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit dismissed a challenge to the test by a man who was turned down to become special agent because he could only do 29 of the required 30 push-ups, The Washington Post reports. 

Jay J. Bauer filed a discrimination suit, saying he was held to a different standard than women.

But the appeals court said that’s not necessarily a problem because the “physical fitness standards suitable for men may not always be suitable for women, and accommodations addressing physiological differences between the sexes are not necessarily unlawful.”

Women are required to perform 14 push-ups.

Case Stemming from ATF Stash House Sting Shouldn’t Be Dismissed, Appellate Court Rules

By Steve Neavling 

Federal agents did not commit “outrageous” misconduct by luring suspects into a robbery of a fictitious drug house, a federal appellate panel ruled Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The decision reverses a district court judge’s earlier ruling that the suspects’ due process rights were violated when the ATF enticed them into committing a robbery.

The reversal by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals means the suspects, Antuan Dunlap and Joseph Whitfield, still face charges.

The three-judge panel questioned the practice but said the actions didn’t raise to “extremely high standard” for dismissing cases.

“The ATF targeted individuals who had already demonstrated an interest in committing robberies, and did little more than ‘set the bait’ by inventing a fictitious cocaine stash house they could rob,” the judges wrote.

Other Stories of Interest

Court of Appeals Grills Justice Department Over Handling of Barry Bonds’ Steroids Case

Barry Bonds/facebook

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department’s attempt to maintain a criminal conviction against retired baseball slugger Barry Bonds is a swing and miss, several U.S. appeals court judges ruled.

Reuters reports that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had serious doubts that Bonds’ testimony about steroids amounted to a crime.

“I find your reading of the statute absolutely alarming,” Judge William Fletcher told the government.

Bonds testified in 2003 under a grant of immunity that he did not use performance-enhancing drugs.

The judges expressed serious doubts that Bonds committed a crime.

In April 2011, the slugger was convicted of one obstruction charge, while the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on three perjury charges.

Attorneys for Convicted Nazi War Criminal Seek Posthumous Restoration of U.S. Citizenship

John Demjanjuk/msnbc

Shoshanna Utchenik

Even in death, his legal battle continues.

The JTA News Service reports that attorneys for deceased Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk are trying to restore his U.S. citizenship. They’ve asked a U.S. appeals court to restore his status posthumously.

Demjanjuk, a former Cleveland area autoworker, died in Germany in March at age 91. He was free at the time appealing his conviction for participating in the murder of 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp in Poland.

To read the full story, click here.

Appeals Court Upholds Multi-Million $$ Judgments Against Feds in Whitey Bulger Murders

By Allan Lengel

Payday may be getting closer for families who had relatives who fell victim to Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger.

The Associated Press reports that a federal appeals court has upheld multi-million dollar judgments against the government in the deaths of three people supposedly murdered by Bulger, who sits behind bars now after being the on lam for 16 years.

AP reported that the court on Friday “upheld awards of $1.3 million, $350,000 and $1.1 million for the families of Debra Davis, Deborah Hussey and Louis Litif, respectively.”

AP reported that the higher court echoed the sentiments of the trial judge, who found the FBI was reckless in using Bulger and fellow mobster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi as snitches while protecting them from prosecution. Bulger is accused of 19 murders.


Appellate Judges Skeptical of Ex-Congressman Jefferson’s Appeal

file photo

By Allan Lengel

It’s been six years since FBI agents raided ex-Congressman William Jefferson’s Capitol Hill home and found $90,000 in his freezer, and more than two years since he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for bribery and other public corruption charges.

Still, the 64-year-old New Orleans politician, who lost Jefferson a re-election bid in 2008, hasn’t served one day in prison. He’s out awaiting the outcome of his appeal on a sentence that was the harshest ever given to a member of Congress for a public corruption conviction.

Last week, Appellate judges expressed skepticism about his appeal, according to New Orleans Times-Picayune star reporter Bruce Alpert. Jefferson was convicted in August 2009 of 11 of 16 counts.

Alpert writes that legal experts say Jefferson could get some of the 11 counts overturned.

But the question, according to the Times-Picayune, is whether getting some overturned will make a difference and prompt the stoic federal judge in Alexandria, Va. T.S. Ellis III to lower his sentence.

“He really needs a home run in his appeal, a triple or double might not help him,” Dane Ciolino, a law professor at Loyola University told the Picayune.

To read more click here.



Mass. Democrat Asks Congress to Pay $8.5 Mil to Victims’ Families in Whitey Bulger Murders

Rep. Keating/gov photo

By Danny Fenster

Rep. William R. Keating (D-Mass.) is asking Congress to pay the families of two men allegedly killed by James “Whitey’’ Bulger the $8.5 million they were initially awarded by a Boston federal judge, the Boston Globe reported.  The Court of Appeals this year tossed out the award on a technicality, saying the families filed the suits too late.

Bulger allegedly killed the two men after learning from the FBI that one of them was cooperating with agents against Bulger,  reports

A judge in 2009 found the government responsible for the 1982 deaths of  Michael Donahue and Edward “Brian” Halloran. The judge found the government acted irresponsibly by essentially letting Bulger run wild and commit crimes while he worked as an informant. But the Justice Department fought against the judgment, and successfully argued on appeal that the lawsuit had not been filed on time.

The Quincy Democrat reported that Keating filed two bills late Tuesday seeking compensation for the families of Donahue and Halloran because they failed to get justice in federal court.

“I just thought justice wasn’t being served,’’ Keating told the Globe. “I know if it was my family, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sleeping at night until every possible avenue was pursued.’’ The Democrat from Massachusetts filed two bills late Tuesday seeking compensation for the families.

Donahue, a 32-year-old truck driver, was giving Halloran, a 41-year-old associate of Bulger’s, a lift home from a waterfront bar in Boston on May 11, 1982. Bulger and an unidentified associate allegedly opened fire on the car, killing both men. A longtime sidekick of Bulger’s, and fellow informant, Stephen “The Rifleman’’ Flemmi testified in court that John J. Connolly Jr., a former FBI agent, warned him and Bulger that Halloran was cooperating with the feds, even implicating the gangsters in an earlier slaying.

“Flemmi said the tip prompted Bulger to kill Halloran and that Donahue was just an innocent bystander,” reported the Globe.

To read more click here.