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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Department Investigates Jail in Virginia Following Numerous Deaths

jail2photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has launched an investigation into Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Virginia following numerous deaths and allegations of prisoners being denied medical and mental health care.

Jail officials said they had nothing to hide and welcomed the investigation, CBS News reports. 

The deaths of two inmates in separate incidents prompted the Virginia Attorney General’s Office to request the Justice Department investigation.

Since 2012, 18 inmates have died at the jail, ranging from internal bleeding to suicide.

CBS wrote:

On August 19, 2015, 24-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell’s body was found inside the Hampton Roads Regional Jail. He had been arrested in April of that year for stealing $5 worth of food from a convenience store. Mitchell’s family sued after a medical examiner concluded he likely experienced cardiac arrhythmia related to wasting syndrome, a disorder characterized by extreme weight loss.

Mitchell has been diagnosed years earlier with paranoid schizophrenia, but jail officials had said no beds were available at the state mental health facility, Crimesider reported.

In another more recent case, after 60-year-old inmate Henry Stewart died in early August 2016, his family said they recovered an emergency grievance form Stewart had written indicating he had repeatedly begged for medical help.

Sen. Orrin Hatch: Why Jeff Sessions Is the Right Choice for Attorney General

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

By Sen. Orrin G. Hatch
Washington Times

Americans spoke resoundingly last month that they want our country to chart a new course. A newly-elected president’s first decisions are typically his Cabinet choices, and President-elect Trump is already charting that new course. Nominees such as Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general show that Mr. Trump is serious about getting that job done.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say that the country has been on the wrong track. That certainly describes the Department of Justice. Just last year, I spoke out about how the department had been politicized, compromised, weakened, and even corrupted. Jeff Sessions is the right person to put the Justice Department back on track.

No attorney general in American history has had Mr. Sessions’ combination of hands-on experience in both criminal justice policy and its implementation. He was a front-line prosecutor for 18 years, 12 of them as United States Attorney. At his confirmation hearing in January, he will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on which he has served for 20 years.

The Senate is receiving letters endorsing Mr. Sessions’ nomination from those who know best what the job of attorney general requires. One letter from 10 former attorneys general and deputy attorneys general over the past three decades says that he is “a person of honesty and integrity” who is “superbly qualified by temperament, intellect, and experience to serve as this nation’s chief law enforcement officer.” Another letter from a bipartisan group of former DEA administrators praises Mr. Sessions’ commitment to “the just and fair enforcement of the laws that Congress has written” and concludes that “he is a protector of civil rights and defender of crime victims.”

To read more click here. 

Police Reforms Likely Won’t Be Priority of Trump’s Justice Department

Militarized police

Militarized police

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eight years of police reforms under President Obama could be undone with the election of Donald Trump.

That’s a big concern for former Attorney General Eric Holder, who has described the Civil Rights Division as the department’s “crown jewel,” Vice News reports. 

Trump’s choice of Alabama Sen. Jeff Session as attorney general has raised serious concerns because his voting record and statements as a senator suggest he believes the federal government should not be involved with policing.

And with Trump’s pledge to reestablish “law and order,” many worry that the Justice Department is poised for a dramatic shift in priorities

Vice News wrote:

The Justice Department under President Barack Obama focused on criminal justice and police reform more heavily than past administrations did.

Laurie Robinson, who served as assistant attorney general from 1993 to 2000 and then again from 2009 to 2012, characterized Obama’s personal interest in the issue as “highly unusual” for a president but “helpful in spearheading attention.”

Ezekiel Edwards, director of the Criminal Law Reform Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, added that “the Obama administration understood better than previous administrations the calamities that were taking place.”

Senator Demands Answers about Suspension of Whistleblowing FBI Agent

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Senate committee chairman wants more information from the Justice Department about an FBI agent who was suspended after blowing the whistle on a former Louisiana district attorney accused of trading sex for leniency, the Associated Press reports. 

FBI Special Agent Mike Zummer filed an ethics complaint in 2013 against a federal prosecutor, Fred Harper, of New Orleans.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Zummer complained that Harper’s relationship with a defense attorney may have resulted in a lenient plea agreement for former St. Charle Parish District Attorney Harry Morel.

The FBI suspended Zummer and his security clearance earlier this year after he made the conflict-of-interest allegations in a letter to a judge.

“That looks like it could be a misuse of the security clearance process to mask retaliation for protected whistleblowing,” Grassley wrote in Nov. 15 letters to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey.

Grassley said he has not yet received a response.

Jeff Sessions’ Appointment As Attorney General Would Make Immigration a Top Priority

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Jeff Sessions was one of Congress’ leading crusaders for cracking down on illegal immigration and increasing mass deportations – positions he could turn into a reality as attorney general.

If President-elect Donald Trump officially choose Sessions to lead the Justice Department, immigration could be the top priority of his administration, the Associated Press reports. 

The AP writes:

As the nation’s top law enforcement official, Sessions could execute maneuvers to limit which nationalities the U.S. would accept as refugees and to reverse a federal policy that protects young people from deportation.

“The president has the clear power to suspend immigration to protect America,” Sessions said during the Republican convention when he was discussing the threat of terrorism and the need to scrutinize refugees more closely.

The fourth-term Republican from Alabama was the first senator to support Trump’s candidacy, and he helped shape Trump’s positions on immigration. Sessions favors limiting the number of refugees coming into the U.S. and turning away children who arrive at the border alone who are attempting to reunite with families living in the U.S.

Justice Department Tries to Block Release of Inmate Featured on ‘Making a Murderer’

Brendan Dassey

Brendan Dassey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is trying to block the release of a Wisconsin inmate whose case was featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer.”

Brendan Dassey is urging a federal appeals court to releases him from prison.

After a federal judge overturned the conviction in the death of a photographer, the state Justice Department has appeared the ruling, the Las Vega Review-Journal reports. 

That hasn’t stopped a judge from ordering Dassey’s release from prison by this evening.

The Justice Department argues Dassey’s confession was voluntary and that he is a risk to society.

Dassey’s attorneys countered that he has behaved well in prison and poses no danger to society.

Other Stories of Interest

Rudy Giuliani: Probably Nobody ‘Knows Justice Department Better Than Me’

Rudolph Giuliani

Rudolph Giuliani

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rudy Giuliani sounded a lot like President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday when he spoke of his qualifications to head the Justice Department.

“There’s probably nobody that knows the Justice Department better than me,” the former New York mayor said, adding that “I certainly have the energy” to take on the task of attorney general, USA Today reports

He added: “I know the bottom of the Justice Department, and I know the top of the Justice Department.”

It’s unclear whether Giuliani will be tapped for the job.

In the meantime, some members of Trump’s transition team appeared to suggest that the new administration won’t try to prosecute Hillary Clinton.

A Very Different Justice Department Expected under Trump Presidency

Rudolph Giuliani

Rudolph Giuliani

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Donald Trump presidency likely means a very different Department of Justice, which had focused on civil rights issues under President Obama.

That means potentially dramatic changes in the leadership at the DOJ, the New York Times reports. 

Career lawyers who handle prosecutions in the Justice Department are the least likely to be affected because they handle the day-to-day work of prosecuting cases.

Many are speculating that the new attorney general will be Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York. The new AG will have the authority to implement new priorities.

Because of Trump’s promised tax cuts, there likely will be fewer resources in the Justice Department, and that could mean devoting less time to white-collar crime, which takes a significant amount of time.