Trump's Long History With The FBI: In 1981, He Offered To “Fully ...
According to a 1981 FBI memo, Trump offered to “fully cooperate” with the bureau, proposing that FBI agents work undercover in a casino he was considering ...
Former FBI Agent to Speak to Norwalk Students about How to ...
NORWALK, CT — Quentin Williams, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, is scheduled to speak to Norwalk High and Brien McMahon High School ...
Squalls, likely tornadoes, damage Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade ...
"It was a majestic tree," said Wayne Barnes, 69, a retired FBI agent who lives nearby. "It made a big opening in the sky." Additionally, it is forecast to be another ...
Van Wagner's new hire will target global events
New York Business Journal-
Her husband, Bobby Chacon, is a retired FBI agent and a technical adviser on the television show “Criminal Minds,” and they both wanted to remain closer to ...
FBI Decides It's Finally Time To Do A Terrible Job Of Defending Civil ...
The FBI tries to spin this as a limited-use tool that only affects convicted criminals. But even in its defense of the process, it can't help but enthuse about the near ...
Perhaps sensing the wave of civil asset forfeiture reform might eventually come crashing against the seized beach houses of the federal government, the FBI has decided to post a defense of the oft-abused process at its website.
The post speaks in warm terms about federal partnerships with state law enforcement agencies -- partnerships often abused by local authorities to route around restrictive state laws governing forfeiture. Of course, there's no mention of this particular facet of federal partnerships in the FBI's post. Instead, the post does all it can to portray it as a legitimate tool of law enforcement, rather than the analogue for legalized theft it's become.
The FBI tries to spin this as a limited-use tool that only affects convicted criminals. But even in its defense of the process, it can't help but enthuse about the near lack of limitations it enjoys.
Many—though not all—federal crimes have forfeiture provisions, but just about every law the FBI is charged with enforcing has some forfeiture aspect—from organized crime activities, financial frauds, drug trafficking, and cyber crimes to public corruption, child pornography, human trafficking, and terrorism.
Not "Just For Drug Dealers™," as so often seems to be the case. All sorts of criminal acts -- even those committed with zero criminal intent -- can result in people (or their parents, relatives, roommates, etc.) losing their property to the government. How many laws allow for forfeiture? The FBI doesn't say, but it's probably in the thousands. Here's a recent federal criminal law count:
There are at least 5,000 federal criminal laws, with 10,000-300,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally.
"Many" is the word the FBI uses, so it's not just the rogue's gallery they trotted out in defense of the controversial process. It also can be owners of small restaurants or guitar manufacturers or whoever runs afoul of a few hundred thousand federal regulations.
But don't worry, says the Feeb, we have to do stuff to take stuff.
In all Bureau cases, the burden of proof to demonstrate that the property in question is forfeitable under the applicable federal law rests with the government.
This looks like it means the government has to prove the seized property is directly derived from criminal activity. But that's not what the sentence actually says. All the government has to prove is that the law provides for its forfeiture. Actually proving seized property is derived from criminal activity isn't something the government has to do. It only has to do this if the seizure is challenged. If it isn't, the normal boilerplate assertions about agents' information and belief are usually enough to net the government some extra spending money or fine auctionables.
The real fun begins when the FBI talks about civil forfeiture -- the process in which assets are treated as suspected criminals while the suspected criminals who own the property are sidelined by the legal process.
Civil forfeiture [...] is brought against property rather than the actual wrongdoer—it’s not dependent on a criminal prosecution, it’s based on the strength of the evidence at hand, it’s available whether the owner of the property is living or dead, and it allows us to obtain the assets of fugitives who have escaped the arm of the law or subjects who reside outside our borders.
This is law enforcement's favorite brand of forfeiture, as it eliminates tons of paperwork, arraignments, courtroom testimony, Fourth Amendment "technicalities" that spring suspected criminals, and dangerously unpredictable juries.
The most laughable part of this sentence is what the FBI claims civil forfeiture is used against -- fugitives and foreigners. In "many" cases (to borrow the FBI's vague term), the people assets are taken from are not only not fugitives or foreigners, they're also left uncharged and unjailed while their belongings begin the streamlined process of becoming government assets.
The FBI freely admits it engages in another form of parallel construction to better ensure the government ends up with something in every forfeiture case.
In some instances, the FBI—in conjunction with U.S. Attorney’s Office—will run parallel criminal and civil forfeiture cases. There are several reasons for this. Parallel proceedings help us get the proceeds of a crime back to the victims more quickly. Also, if the case involves depreciating assets (like cars), we can civilly forfeit those assets faster than in the criminal proceeding, then liquidate the assets and get them back to the victim at a better return than if we had held the assets until the criminal case was completed. We also do parallel cases to ensure we can forfeit the assets civilly in case the defendant flees or dies before the forfeiture order is handed down.
Handy. If the government can't get a conviction, it can still possibly take property from someone it couldn't prove was an actual criminal. By running them in parallel, defendants are left with almost no time to fight for the return of their property after they're exonerated.
And there's another laughable statement hidden in this paragraph: the notion that asset forfeiture has anything to do with "returning" the proceeds of criminal activity to victims. The FBI says it has returned $100 million over the last two years to crime victims. Sounds impressive, but that's only when presented without context, as the FBI does here. Scott Shackford of Reason provides some much-needed fiduciary bracketing:
In just 2014 the federal government deposited $5 billion in seized assets. That was just one year. So this $100 million in restitution over two years is a drop in the bucket compared to what they've taken. Most of the money is kept for themselves or shared with local law enforcement agencies.
The government's do-gooding only looks like do-gooding when deprived of context. The FBI -- and countless local law enforcement agencies now facing pushback from legislators and
11:17 AM PST 1/23/2017 by Tatiana Siegel
The plot is thickening in the tale of the mysterious cyberattack that crippled the Sundance Film Festival's box-office systems over the weekend.
The FBI is investigating the hack and is working with Sundance officials to identify the culprit, a festival spokesperson tells The Hollywood Reporter. Although the festival was able to get its ticketing systems back online within an hour of the Saturday breach, multiple other denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Sundance’s IT infrastructure followed. A DDoS attack works by flooding the bandwidth or resources of a targeted server.
Reached for comment, an FBI spokesperson says the agency is looking into the matter. A Sundance Film Festival rep offers the following statement: "The FBI is reviewing the case. At this point, we do not have any reason to believe the cyberattack was targeted towards a specific film. No artist or customer information was compromised."
At the time of the hack, the festival offered little in the way of explanation of what happened, but hinted that filmmakers at the annual celebration of independent cinema may have been the target. "We have been subject to a cyberattack that has shut down our box office," the festival tweeted. "Our artist’s voices will be heard and the show will go on.”
One producer of a Sundance documentary critical of the Russian government believes his film could have played a role in the attack.
“There's been speculation that our film may have sparked retribution,” Icarus consulting producer Doug Blush tells THR. “It does not paint a flattering picture of [president Vladimir] Putin.”
Icarus, which made its world premiere at the festival the day before the hack, centers on a Russian doctor who oversaw and then spoke out about Russia's widespread state-sponsored sports doping. The Bryan Fogel-helmed film, which is being pitched to distributors, has played throughout the weekend in Park City at screenings for both press-and-industry and the public.
Icarus isn’t the only Sundance film that could antagonize the Russian government and Putin. Evgeny Afineevsky’s Cries From Syria -- one of several docs tackling the war-torn nation -- also takes a critical look at Putin and Russia's military intervention in Syria. Cries From Syria made its world premiere at Sundance on Sunday, the day after the initial box-office cyberattack.
Afineevsky, who is Russian but has lived in the United States for 17 years, downplays the idea of a connection between his film and the hack.
“If it was Russia, they would have blown the whole system out,” he says.
Russia, of course, has been at the center of a U.S. government probe into the hack of the Democratic National Committee before the November election. But other projects playing at the festival take aim at groups known to have hacking capabilities. The New Radical looks at the new cyber-warfare b
s effort to halt the FBI's so-called sneak-and-peek searches of e-mails may ride on whether it's allowed to defend its customers' constitutional rights. The judge ...
Microsoft to argue in Seattle court Monday for right to inform users ...
Danielle Paquette, Washington Post 01.23.2017
A federal judge has awarded nearly $40,000 in fees to attorneys for a woman who accused a former Louisiana police chief of sexually assaulting her in his office while she was drunk and he was on duty.
The woman's lawyers sought nearly $90,000 in fees, but
The FBI's website defines CODIS as a “program of support for criminal justice DNA databases as well as the software used to run these databases.” “It's pretty ...
FBI agents protected Cohen?
Former FBI Criminal Investigations Director Joins DLA Piper in Miami. January 23, 2017 by LawFuel Editors Leave a Comment · +1 · Tweet · Share · Share · Pin.
Parker: Supreme Court Strengthens Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Officers’ Use of Deadly Force
It was a tough year for law enforcement officers. Line of duty deaths, especially intentional killings of police, were up dramatically. Several categories of violent crime, including homicides, rose significantly after two decades of steady decline in crime statistics. Recruitment of new officers is becoming difficult, and officers confronting deadly situations are justifiably wary about the public (and media) second-guessing life or death decisions that had to be made under pressure within seconds.
Heather MacDonald, in her recent book The War On Cops, blames these developments on an anti-law enforcement movement led by groups like Black Lives Matter, accentuated by media attention, and facilitated by the policies of the Obama Administration. Whether you buy all of her conclusions, she does make a persuasive case that the current atmosphere in some segments of the public about law enforcement has resulted in officers being less aggressive in discretionary policing and that is a factor in a new crime wave, especially in the nation’s cities.
Into this troubling and dangerous situation, a potential boost in law enforcement confidence came this month from an unlikely source, a per curiam opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Per curiam (Latin: by the Court) decisions are judgments by appellate courts as a whole in which no particular judge or Justice is identified as the author. In the Supreme Court per curiam opinions are almost always unanimous and usually represent brief rulings on non-controversial subjects. They tend to be short. They seldom set an important precedent or alter the rule of law.
But there are exceptions. In 1972 the per curiam opinion by the Court in Furman v. Georgia turned capital punishment upside down when it struck down every death penalty law and practice in the country as arbitrary and capricious under the 8th Amendment. It took four years for the states to re-institute death penalty statutes and, in many ways, the case began to diminish the role of the supreme penalty which continues to this day.
Bush v. Gore
In Bush v. Gore (2000) the Court issued a per curiam opinion in one of the most controversial cases in the Court’s history. The Court upheld the razor-thin Florida vote which gave the presidency to George Bush by a single electoral vote over Al Gore. The 5-4 vote followed party lines with the Republican appointed Justices in the majority, but the ruling was brief and unauthored. Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz called it the “single most corrupt decision in Supreme Court history,” but others thought it was a profile in courage which preserved the republic.
Earlier this month the Court decided another per curiam opinion which has gotten much less attention but which could have profound implications, especially to law enforcement officers on the front line. White v. Pauly was an appeal from a civil ruling by a federal district court against New Mexico State Police Officer Ray White, who had shot and killed Samuel Pauley in a police confrontation outside of Santa Fe.
Witnesses had called 911 to report Pauley as a drunk driver. Two police officers went to his residence where he lived with his brother Daniel Pauly in a secluded area to talk with Pauly. They ordered him to open the door. It was asserted in the complaint that the brothers had not heard the officers identify themselves. The Paulys got their firearms.
A few minutes after the initial confrontation, Officer White arrived at the scene outside of the Pauly residence. The Paulys yelled that they had guns and Daniel fired two shotgun blasts outside the back door. Samuel stuck his handgun outside a window in the front of the house and pointed it in the officers’ direction. All three of the officers took cover, White behind a stone wall. One of the initial two officers fired his gun at Pauly and missed. Officer White fired and killed Samuel Pauly.
Border Patrol Chief Steps Down After Trump Reveals Wall Plan
Border Patrol chief, Mark Morgan
The Border Patrol chief stepped down Thursday after President Trump signed executive orders increasing border security.
It remains unclear whether Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan resigned voluntarily or under pressure, CNN reports.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: FBI Went too Far Running a Child Porn Site
The FBI is supposed to protect children from predators, not use them as pawns in a pornography sting. That is what happened, however, and now the agency is under fire from civil rights groups, defense attorneys and even some scholars and federal judges. Not for the first time — remember when agents impersonated a journalist in pursuit of a teenager who was making bomb threats to a school? — the FBI has demonstrated embarrassingly poor judgment in an internet-based investigation.
For two weeks in 2015, after seizing control of a child porn website, the FBI not only allowed the site to remain operational but operated it, becoming what The Seattle Times called “one of the largest purveyors of child pornography on the internet.” The goal of Operation Pacifier was to identify those who used the site and file charges against them. By the time the FBI pulled the plug, it had the goods on nearly 190 people, thanks to special technology it used to hack into users’ computers.
When is distribution of child porn not a crime? According to the FBI, when it’s the one doing the distributing. Its operation of the site allowed visitors to access pornographic images, further exploiting the victims. It’s even been accused of improving the site’s functionality, making it friendlier for porn-seekers to use during the sting.
Trump May Bring Back Secret CIA Torture ‘Black Site’ Prisons
President Trump may bring back so-called CIA “black site” prisons where terrorism suspects are held and were once tortured.
President George W. Bush used the black sites to combat the “war on terrorism” following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but former President Barack Obama closed them.
In the next few days, Trump is expected to sign an executive executive order to call for a high-level review into “whether to reinitiate a program of interrogation of high-value alien terrorists to be operated outside the United States” and if the CIA should run the facilities, Reuters reports.
The information comes from a copy of
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Trial for former BRPD officers accused of abuse of power involving sex act continues
Thursday, January 26th 2017, 6:25 pm ESTThursday, January 26th 2017, 6:25 pm EST
The trial of three former Baton Rouge Police officers accused of abuse of power related to a sex act that allegedly occurred in a park is now in its second day.
Travis Wheeler, Emerson Jackson, and Isaac Bolden are accused of going up to a man and woman in a car at a BREC park and telling the man to leave and asking the woman to perform a sex act on one of the officers while the two other officers watched.
Thursday's testimony included the man who was with the woman in the car, along with a
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