HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Liberaltalker » Journal
Page: 1

Liberaltalker

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Nov 16, 2011, 12:56 AM
Number of posts: 27

Journal Archives

ATF's Operation Gideon Raises Questions of Fairness, Justice, and Race

Early in May, a panel of judges from California's 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals denied petitions for an "en banc" hearing that would have allowed the full court to consider overturning long prison sentences for four would-be robbers seduced by an informant into believing they were about to rip-off a stash house loaded with drugs.
The stash house was fictional, those drugs never existed, and the brains behind the plot were not criminals, but federal agents.

The denial of the petition was not a unanimous decision, and it revealed deep fissures on the appeals court. Dissenting judges argued that the practice of enticing poor young men into robbing stash houses raised questions not only of fair play, but also of constitutionality. The dissenters were particularly concerned that federal agents targeted primarily minority neighborhoods filled with desperate, unemployed young men tempted by the lure of fast cash.

"The sting poses questions of whether the government intentionally targets poor minority neighborhoods, and thus, seeks to tempt their residents to commit crimes that might well result in their escape from poverty," Justice Stephen Reinhardt wrote in a blistering dissent. He also called it "a profoundly disturbing use of government power that directly imperils some of our most fundamental constitutional values."

The case involved four Phoenix men -- Cordae Black, Kemford Alexander, Angel Mahon and Terrance Timmons -- who were convicted in 2010 on charges of conspiracy to distribute more than five pounds of cocaine, as well as federal firearms charges, for a fake drug rip scheme set up by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). All four are now serving prison sentences of 13 to 15 years.

Even though federal appeals court judges have joined defense attorneys in calling the ATF drug rip schemes "outrageous conduct," they are not an anomaly, but are instead part and parcel of ATF's Operation Gideon, a nationwide program. The ATF, federal prosecutors, and the Phoenix police said a press release announcing a pilot sweep that rolled up 70 people, including Cordae Black and his crew, that Gideon "involved the deployment of some of ATF's most experienced undercover operatives to team with local agents and police investigators by conducting sting investigations involving violent home invasion crews."

According to a USA Today investigative report, as of last year, the feds had already locked up more than a thousand people who its agents had enticed into conspiracies to rob fake drug stash houses. And it's not just the AFT. The DEA often uses the fake drug rip-off schemes, as well.


US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt
The argument at the 9th Circuit in the Phoenix case centered on entrapment and whether ATF agents illegally enticed the defendants into the crime through "outrageous government conduct" beyond that allowed by entrapment doctrine.
Relying on the US Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in US v. Russell, where the court upheld such schemes if the defendant showed a predisposition to commit the offense, 9th Circuit Judges Susan Graeber and Raymond Fisher rejected claims of entrapment and outrageous conduct by the agents, and argued that the reverse sting was within legal boundaries of law enforcement tactics, which includes officers working undercover to infiltrate criminal organizations.

Fisher and Graeber said the agents' actions were reasonable when they offered the men the opportunity to make money by committing a drug robbery. The pair also held the defendants failed to show they lacked "predisposition to commit the offense."

That provoked a sharp retort from a second dissenter as well, Judge John T. Noonan.

"Today our court gives approval to the government tempting people in the population at large currently engaged in innocent activity, and leading them into the commission of a crime, which the government will then prosecute," he wrote.

Read more here: [link:http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2014/may/30/operation_gideon_atf_raises_que|
Posted by Liberaltalker | Sat May 31, 2014, 08:39 PM (1 replies)

NSA data-gathering may run into California roadblock

(Reuters) - The federal government would need a warrant from a judge if it wants the cooperation of California officials in searching residents' cellphone and computer records, under a bill making its way through the state legislature.

The bill, which passed the state Senate with just one opposing vote on Monday, was introduced in the wake of information leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showing massive internal surveillance of U.S. citizens by the NSA.

"The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is very clear. It says the government shall not engage in unreasonable search and seizure," said the bill's author, Democratic State Senator Ted Lieu, of Torrance. "The National Security Agency's massive and indiscriminate collecting of phone data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a threat to our liberty and freedom."

The California bill is the farthest along of several such measures that have been introduced in eight states, according to Lieu's spokesman Jeff Gozzo, including Alaska, Arizona and Oklahoma.

It comes as Congress wrestles with a similar bill at the national level.

A federal judge ruled last year that the National Security Agency's practice of gathering so-called meta-data on U.S. residents was likely unconstitutional, but the ruling is being appealed by the Obama administration.

The California bill would not allow law enforcement and other officials in the most populous U.S. state to assist federal agencies looking for records of phone calls, Internet use or other electronic activity by residents unless a warrant has been issued by a judge.

It was opposed by the California District Attorneys Association, which said the bill was too vague.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/20/us-usa-california-spying-idUSBREA4J02I20140520




Thank god I live in California! I think this is the only real way to fight back against the NSA's over-reach and violation of our fourth amendment rights! As the old saying goes "all politics is local". I encourage all DU'ers to contact your local state representatives and senators and put pressure on them to enact similar state bills.

Moved from latest breaking news... I'm mostly a lurker on here as I'm kinda shy. I'm fairly new to posting news articles on DU and did not realize the 12 hour rule... I'm sorry I did not mean to break the rules...
Posted by Liberaltalker | Thu May 22, 2014, 06:29 AM (0 replies)

NSA data-gathering may run into California roadblock

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - The federal government would need a warrant from a judge if it wants the cooperation of California officials in searching residents' cellphone and computer records, under a bill making its way through the state legislature.

The bill, which passed the state Senate with just one opposing vote on Monday, was introduced in the wake of information leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showing massive internal surveillance of U.S. citizens by the NSA.

"The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is very clear. It says the government shall not engage in unreasonable search and seizure," said the bill's author, Democratic State Senator Ted Lieu, of Torrance. "The National Security Agency's massive and indiscriminate collecting of phone data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a threat to our liberty and freedom."

The California bill is the farthest along of several such measures that have been introduced in eight states, according to Lieu's spokesman Jeff Gozzo, including Alaska, Arizona and Oklahoma.

It comes as Congress wrestles with a similar bill at the national level.

A federal judge ruled last year that the National Security Agency's practice of gathering so-called meta-data on U.S. residents was likely unconstitutional, but the ruling is being appealed by the Obama administration.

The California bill would not allow law enforcement and other officials in the most populous U.S. state to assist federal agencies looking for records of phone calls, Internet use or other electronic activity by residents unless a warrant has been issued by a judge.

It was opposed by the California District Attorneys Association, which said the bill was too vague.




Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/20/us-usa-california-spying-idUSBREA4J02I20140520



Thank god I live in California! I think this is the only real way to fight back against the NSA's over-reach and violation of our fourth amendment rights! As the old saying goes "all politics is local". I encourage all DU'ers to contact your local state representatives and senators and put pressure on them to enact similar state bills.
Posted by Liberaltalker | Thu May 22, 2014, 06:13 AM (1 replies)
Go to Page: 1