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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Department Threatens to Sue Florida Over Voting Rights

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com
 

The Justice Department said it will sue Florida if it doesn’t scrap its controversial voter purge program, which critics says unfairly targets minorities based on largely inaccurate information, CNN reports.

At issue is a Republican-led effort to eliminate non-eligible voters in a battleground state that will play a key role in the 2012 presidential election.

The state said it identified more than 100,000 non-eligible voters who could be on the list illegally, according to CNN.

Although states have the legal authority to remove non-eligible voters, the Justice Department argues the program violates legal standards designed to avoid mistakes.

CNN reports:

While the Justice Department notes that states can legally remove non-eligible voters from their lists, the letter Monday argues that the Florida program does not comply with legal standards, has “critical imperfections, which lead to errors that harm and confuse eligible voters.”

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties voluntarily ended the removal of names from voting lists on the recommendation of Florida county election officials, CNN reported.

Justice Department to Oversee Elections in South Carolina

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department announced it will monitor primary elections in two South Carolina counties following complaints of discrimination.

Tasked with ensuring fair elections, the Justice Department said in a press release that it will assure that local officials comply with the Voting Rights Act, which bans discrimination on the basis of race.

Civil rights groups have complained that Fairfield and Williamsburg counties unfairly target minorities.

The Justice Department sends hundreds of federal observers to monitor elections across the country.

Holder Faces Possible Contempt of Congress Charges

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House Oversight Committee will take the unusual step this week of deciding whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents in the controversial Fast and Furious weapons sting investigation, CBS News reports.

Republicans say the Justice Department is withholding tens of thousands of pages of documents that would shed light on a sting operation that put guns in the hands of thugs and drug dealers.

Holder can prevent a contempt hearing by handing over the documents, CBS News reports.

But the Justice Department said it has been open and cooperative about requests for records.

If the committee takes action, it will be Congress’ fourth contempt action against a presidential cabinet member in 30 years.

Is NYPD ‘Stop and Frisk’ Illegal? Justice Department May Decide.

 

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department may soon investigate whether New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk program unfairly targets racial minorities.

Opponents, who say the program is illegal because it has led to countless race-based searches, met with the department Thursday to call for its involvement, according to USA Today.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defends the program as an effective crackdown on crime, saying the effort has resulted in 6,000 guns being taken off the streets over the past decade.

But a study by the New York Civil Liberties Union found that nearly 90% of those stopped under the program were black or Hispanic, reported the USA Today.

To read more, click here.

Justice Department Kicks Off Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Pride Month

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj file photo

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

There was a time in Washington where such an event would have been unheard of. That’s all changed.

Attorney General Eric Holder kicked off  the Justice Department’s annual LGBT Pride Month Program on Wednesday, celebrating contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) employees as well as the civil rights gains made across the country.

Highlights of the event’s honors, according to a press release included:

  • Keynote speaker Chai Feldblum was the first openly lesbian Commisioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, whom Holder described as an “advocate, a law professor, a public servant, and a pioneer.”
  • The James R. Douglass Award was presented to Diana Flynn –Chief of the Civil Rights Division’s Appellate Section for raising awareness about and addressing issues facing LGBT employees in the Justice Department.
  • The Roemer Award recognized legal teams from the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, and student plaintiffs for resolving harassment of middle and high school students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota.

Holder said to the crowd, “we have made meaningful, once-unimaginable progress in recent years. And we come together at an exciting moment…But there can also be little doubt that, when it comes to making good on the promise of equality for every American, the hard work is far from over.”

To read the Attorney General’s entire speech, click here.

 

Tribal Special U.S. Attorney Pilot Program Will Bridge Tribal and Federal Law Enforcement, Targeting Violence Against Women

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) announced Tuesday that four Native American Tribes will participate in a new program aimed at improving law enforcement coordination in cases of violence against Native women, which “has reached epidemic proportions” according to the OVW press release.

The pilot program supports four Tribal Special U.S. Attorneys (SAUSA’s) to serve as cross-designated prosecutors, working with both Tribal and Federal law enforcement. The recipients of these awards are:

  • Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico
  • Fort Belknap Tribe in Montana
  • Winnebago Tribe in Nebraska
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in North Dakota and South Dakota

The program pays for training, salary and travel costs to selected applicants. SAUSA’s will maintain an active violence against women crimes caseload, in tribal and/or federal court, also promoting higher quality investigations, improved training and better inter-governmental communication.

OVW Director Bea Hanson stated in the press release,  “Restoring safety for Native women requires the type of sustained cooperation between the federal and tribal justice systems that we see in the jurisdictions participating in our Tribal SAUSA project.”

The John Edwards Case Just Didn’t Feel Right

Edwards after the trial/ from NBC newscast

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some federal cases are too complicated for jurors. Some may be borderline illegal. And some may end up being a waste of taxpayer money.

The trial against ex-presidential hopeful John Edwards was probably all of the above.  A jury on Thursday acquitted him on one count and deadlocked on five others in a scandal that involved using nearly $1 million  – in what should have been declared as campaign funds — to help hide an extra-marital affair during the 2008 campaign.

It had a lot of gossip appeal, which made for good press, but in the end it seemed to lack the appropriate outrage quotient necessary to get all the jurors to jump into the guilty pool.

Who’s the loser.

The list is long.

For one, Edwards paid some serious bucks for a top-flight legal team.

Additionally, his reputation, which was already pretty poor, got tarnished even more. If you had any doubts that he was a sleaze, the trial helped put those to rest.

And he had to bear responsibility watching his family suffer through the trial.

 

The Justice Department once again looks bad. Granted, federal prosecutors shouldn’t fear losing. They should just worry about standing on solid ground. Some how, this one didn’t ever feel right to me.

The feds should have gone after some hefty civil fines. Edwards has lots of money. He would have gladly paid to make it go away. Maybe the money could have been put to good use.

And then there’s the former U.S. Attorney George Holding, who stuck around in his post to make sure that Edwards was indicted. He’s running for Congress and is expected to win.

But there’s talk of him jumping into the Senate race in North Carolina in 2014. A conviction of Edwards could only have bolstered his political capital. Now, sorry George, no added points for you.

So at this point, the question is: Should the feds go for a retrial?

I say absolutely not. In a case like this, one bite of the apple is enough. It’s not like the Rod Blagojevich case, which was certainly worth going after a second time after Blago was convicted on only 1 of 24 counts. The feds nailed him the second time.

This one is not worth going after again. Was Edwards a sneak? Yes. Is he a sleaze? Yes.

As the Washington Post noted:

“The mixed result in a trial that laid bare Edwards’s sexual indiscretions and serial deceptions came after nine days of jury deliberations.”

There are bigger crimes out there. And he’s paid  for his digressions. Let’s move on, and let’s forget we knew a Presidential candidate named John Edwards.

He is not worthy.

Colombo Mob Boss Pleaded Guilty to Racketeering and Firearms Charges in Boston Fed Court

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Mob boss DeLeo’s been off the streets for a while, but that hasn’t kept the feds from coming after him.

The 69-year-old Colombo Family ‘Street Boss’, of Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in Boston Federal court Thursday to racketeering conspiracy and illegal possession of firearms, the Justice Department announced in a press release.

As head of the DeLeo Crew based in Somerville, Mass., DeLeo led cocaine and marijuana trafficking operations between Massachusetts, Arkansas, Florida and New York. In addition to weapons and drugs, he was busted with a stash of costumes including police uniforms.

At the sentencing set for  Sept. 6, DeLeo will face up to nearly 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine, followed by three years of supervised release. According to the Wall Street Journal, DeLeo’s already serving a 12 year sentence in federal prison for related drug crimes in Arkansas.

To read more click here.