Archive for May 10th, 2010

2 found dead in Roswell, NM, home after 3 police Officers and Another Man Injured in Shootout

May 10, 2010

Associated Press

Last update: May 10, 2010 – 11:02 AM

ROSWELL, N.M. – Three Roswell, N.M., police officers are hurt after a man opened fire as police responded to a domestic dispute, and the man was hit as the officers returned fire.

Police found two other people dead inside the home after the shootout early Monday in the southeastern New Mexico city.

Roswell police spokesman Travis Holley says the officers’ wounds were “somewhat superficial” and all three are expected to make a full recovery.

No names have been released.

The man who police say opened fire was flown to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment. Holley says state police have him in custody at the hospital.

His condition was not immediately known.

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Changes Possible for Miranda Rule

May 10, 2010

Justice Department is examining a potential expansion of the “public safety exception” to deal with terror suspects.

By ANNE E. KORNBLUT, Washington Post

Last update: May 9, 2010 – 9:34 PM

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is considering changes to the laws requiring police to inform suspects of their rights, potentially pursuing an expansion of the “public safety exception” that allows officers to delay issuing Miranda warnings, officials said Sunday.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department is examining “whether or not we have the necessary flexibility” to deal with terrorist suspects such as the Pakistani-born U.S. citizen who tried to detonate a car bomb in New York City’s Times Square last weekend.

“We’re now dealing with international terrorism,” Holder said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And if we are going to have a system that is capable of dealing in a public safety context with this new threat, I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public safety exception.”

The announcement marked a potentially significant change by the administration as it tries to manage the politics of national security after repeatedly coming under fire, mainly from conservatives, for being too willing to read Miranda rights to terrorism suspects.

The administration is trying to thread a difficult needle: of taking a harder line on terrorism while also doing so within the confines of the criminal justice system.

Holder and other administration officials said they would be engaging Congress on putting together a proposal for the changes to the law, which requires suspects to be told that they have the right to remain silent and that their statements may be used against them in court. They did not provide specifics of possible changes.

Under the public safety exception, statements obtained pre-Miranda may be used in court — including to charge suspects — if it is determined that police needed to obtain information quickly to prevent further crimes. Once an immediate threat is ruled out, the Miranda warning must be read, under current law.

Yet the changes Holder would seek are not simply about the admissibility of pre-Miranda statements in court, officials said. The goal would be to give law enforcement officials greater latitude to hold suspects within the criminal justice system and interrogate them for long periods of time — without having to transfer them to a military system or designate them as enemy combatants, they said.

That could mean seeking a change to a separate statute that governs how long a suspect may be interrogated before being brought before a judge. Currently, there are limits on how long that period of time may last.

Nat’l Guard in Chicago? Idea Gets Chilly Reception

May 10, 2010
AP
By DEANNA BELLANDI, Associated Press Writer Mon Apr 26, 7:17 pm ET

CHICAGO – While two Illinois lawmakers want National Guard troops deployed to help quell violence on Chicago’s streets, Mayor Richard Daley and the city’s police superintendent aren’t embracing the idea and crime statistics show the number of homicides is no worse than in previous years.

Daley and Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said Monday that getting guns off the streets was the way to end violence, and they renewed their call for tougher gun legislation.

“Everybody knows there’s frustration when one crime is one too many in any community,” Daley told reporters.

But he was tepid about calling in the National Guard, calling it only “something to think about.”

The call by the lawmakers for the military to help Chicago police comes during the approach of summer, when the number of crimes often rises along with the temperature. It also follows a recent headline-grabbing night of violence when seven people were killed and more than a dozen others were injured in shootings.

“I want our city to be free of crime as much as possible and that’s what I’m shooting for,” said Rep. LaShawn Ford, who joined Rep. John Fritchey in making a public plea over the weekend for Gov. Pat Quinn to call out the troops.

Quinn made clear on Monday that he would defer to Daley and not take action unless Daley and Weis wanted it.

“Anytime you do something serious like this you must have absolute cooperation and coordination,” Quinn said. “You just can’t just willy-nilly do this.”

Weis also has resisted the idea, saying training is different for members of the military and civilian law enforcement officials.

Bringing in help for Chicago police isn’t a new idea. Ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich once suggested turning to the Illinois State Police, but the idea went nowhere when Daley rejected it.

Chicago police have rolled out their plans to stem violence this summer, including using gang intelligence and a mobile unit of officers that can saturate an area when there’s trouble. Weis said the areas most affected by violent crime account for about 9 percent of the city.

The number of Chicago homicides this year is in line with recent years. The city has had 113 so far in 2010, compared with 109 between January and April in 2009 and 134 for the same period in 2008. The city had a total of 458 homicides in 2009, down from 512 the year before.

“Our current total is consistent with the average from the last five years and the last five years have been the lowest 5-year total since the city began keeping this statistic,” Chicago police spokesman Roderick Drew said.

In New York, there have been 143 homicides since the start of the year compared with 119 in the same period last year, when there was a total of 471 homicides.

Los Angeles has had 90 homicides since the start of the year. Last year, the city recorded 315 homicides, compared with 385 in 2008.

Bringing in the National Guard could make Chicago look bad and might discourage tourists from visiting, said Mike Conklin, a former journalist who teaches communications and Chicago history at DePaul University.

“People have this vision of brigades of soldiers marching up the streets,” he said.

But Conklin said National Guard troops could be used in creative ways to help police by monitoring schools and Chicago park district facilities where trouble could start.

The guard’s intelligence units also could be of use to the city, as well as aerial equipment like helicopters, Quinn said.

Daley said a long-term solution is needed to eradicate the violence in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“People have to get involved in their community family by family and block by block,” he said. “Like anything else that is the key.”

___

Associated Press Writer Don Babwin contributed to this report.

Bernie Kerik’s Excessive Sentence

May 10, 2010
Sunday, 21 Feb 2010 10:39 PM
By: Christopher Ruddy
www.newsmax.com
 
Multi committunt eadem diverso criminal fato: ille crucem sceleris pretium tulit, hic diadema.Juvenal

Last week, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

This was bad news, not just for Mr. Kerik.

The unusual sentencing of Kerik, and the handling of this case, should give pause to all Americans of every political stripe.

The long prosecution of Mr. Kerik, which began in 2005, is a complicated one to explain here [More details can be found in a Newsmax magazine report: Bernard Kerik: Trial of an American Hero.] It ended last week when federal district judge Stephen C. Robinson slapped Kerik with a harsh jail sentence of four years, ignoring federal guidelines that he receive a maximum of 33 months in prison.

The judge’s sentencing decision was extremely excessive, as were the federal and state prosecutions that must have cost taxpayers a pretty penny, my guess some $15 million to $20 million, at least, over five years.

Mr. Kerik was a high-profile figure, a celebrity for his heroism on 9/11 and his remarkable personal story of rising from an underprivileged background to become police commissioner and, later, President George W. Bush’s nominee for the position of Homeland Security secretary.

“I think it’s fair to say that with great power comes great responsibility and great consequences,” Judge Robinson told the court Thursday. “I think the damage caused by Mr. Kerik is in some ways immeasurable.”

Justice is often unfair and excessive toward the famous. I have written in the past that I believe Michael Skakel, for example, should never have been convicted of the murder of Martha Moxley. The evidence simply was not there. But being a Kennedy cousin acted like a double-edged sword against Skakel.

The Kerik case is far different from the Skakel one. Kerik was a hero policeman and detective who had won numerous awards long before Sept. 11. His long public service had been exemplary until a series of nasty allegations arose when he was nominated as Bush’s Homeland Security chief.

Among these allegations was the claim that Kerik, while the city’s correction commissioner, had gotten free renovations for his apartment from a company that did business with the city.

In 2005, the matter was quickly brought before a Bronx grand jury that probed the matter for 18 months. At the end, the local prosecutors found no evidence that Kerik had engaged in actual corruption, that is he gave benefits to the construction firm. Kerik claimed he had paid the firm $50,000 for the renovations, and the prosecutors alleged the renovations amounted to more than $200,000 (a remarkable amount for a small 1,100-square-foot apartment).

In the end, Kerik pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors for not reporting the “gift,” and paid the city a fine of $225,000.

Typically, the case should have ended there. But in 2007 a tumbling series of dominos led to a federal investigation by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Prosecutors typically love high profile cases like this — and this was no different.

This time, the feds used their subpoena powers to give Kerik’s professional life a proctology exam.

They eventually charged him for crimes state prosecutors could not uncover, specifically that he had engaged in a theft of “honest services” corruption charge. Apparently seeing that the evidence for this was weak, the federal prosecutors also took the “kitchen-sink” approach and indicted him on a slew of minor matters (amazingly filing three separate indictments against him in two different jurisdictions — talk about overkill!).

These other charges included the claim Kerik had not paid Social Security taxes for his nanny (the first I have ever heard of some official charged and jailed for this) and not paying taxes on a BMW that was given him to use during this time he served as a BMW company adviser (Tom Daschle was never charged for something quite similar).

Late last year, Kerik pleaded guilty. I believe he was denied a fair process. On the eve of his trial in November, Judge Robinson even threw him in jail. The reason? One of Kerik’s attorneys had sent an e-mail to a Washington Times reporter on the case.

For this, Judge Robinson lambasted the former hero cop as “arrogant” and worthy of immediate imprisonment before his trial. The judge also didn’t like the fact Kerik had a legal defense Web site. The judge also ordered he shut down his legal defense web site.

Are you starting to get a picture of this case?

To top it off, just as the case was to go to trial, the judge announced that he was considering removing Kerik’s defense attorney from the case (which would have been the third defense attorney the prosecutors had forced off of his case), meaning he wouldn’t have an attorney for the trial date.

Is this looking a little like a kangaroo court? In theory, Kerik could hire another attorney, but he had already exhausted millions of dollars and had no money left.

A new attorney would mean another year of delays and perhaps millions of dollars more legal fees, money that, according to a Cindy Adams New York Post column, the nearly bankrupt Kerik simply didn’t have.

Kerik pleaded guilty. He pleaded guilty to essentially the same crime he pleaded guilty to in state court in 2006.

As for the federal charge of corruption, that was completely dropped. If the feds had strong evidence that Kerik had engaged in a quid pro quo with the construction firm, as was alleged in their indictment, it is doubtful they would have agreed to such a plea.

The crimes Kerik pled to centered around the tax evasion on the BMW and for lying on his federal forms, which he prepared for the position of Homeland Security secretary.

At sentencing, Judge Robinson justified his excessive sentence by making great hay out of the fact that Kerik lied “in the process of attempting to become a Cabinet-level position in the government of the United States.”

The claim Kerik lied on his federal forms was his failure to declare the renovations on his apartment and that they amounted to a gift. It is important to remember that the renovations took place in 1999.

At the time Kerik prepared his federal documents for the Cabinet position in 2004, no one had ever raised an issue over the value of the renovations. All of this came out after he had filed those forms, so Kerik should have consulted a psychic to have known that the renovations would be a major legal issue for him and that the value of the renovations would be contested.

So why was the prosecution so overzealous and the judge so harsh with Kerik?

I have no idea. One can guess. So closely associated with Rudy Giuliani, Kerik may have been a convenient punching bag for those who didn’t like Giuliani. Giuliani rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. [I should note that I am not a political supporter of the former mayor.]

Judge Robinson, a Democrat, admitted late in the case that he once worked under Giuliani in the U.S. attorney’s office. Why didn’t he declare that and recuse himself from the beginning? Giuliani’s name has been mentioned in almost every article ever written about this case.

I am not the only one to think the unfolding of this case has been somewhat bizarre.

Andrew Kreig is executive director of the Justice Integrity Project, an organization “created to improve oversight of federal white-collar prosecutions.”

In his column on the liberal-leaning Huffington Post, “Feds Bullied Kerik into 4 Year Term, Hurting Us All,” Kreig writes: “Even after the prison doors are scheduled to clang shut on Kerik May 17, we in the media need to re-examine how federal authorities can railroad someone like Kerik into a guilty plea this way. The procedures violate my sense of fairness, albeit probably not in a way legally enforceable by anyone if a defendant can’t fight any longer.”

Krieg continues: “U.S. District Judge Stephen Robinson approved unusually aggressive prosecution tactics, such as depriving the defendant of lawyers by designating them as witnesses. Robinson even suggested last fall to the defense that Kerik use a friend of the judge’s if another removal became necessary.

“Meanwhile, the judge was crippling the defense by imprisoning Kerik pending trial and berating him in open court as exemplifying ‘arrogance,’ and worse.”

It is important to note here that neither Kreig (nor I) has ever said that Kerik is innocent. Kreig asserts that Kerik was denied a fair process, which is fundamental to our justice system to work properly. Kreig also points out that Kerik had millions to spend when most people don’t. If he could not get a fair hearing, who among us can?

Jeralyn Merritt, a well-known criminal defense attorney who appears frequently on television news, also found the handling of the Kerik case unusual.

A liberal, Merritt noted her in her TalkLeft blog column that she simply didn’t “know what all the fuss was about” in the Kerik case.

She reminded readers of some of the facts: “The case is largely based on the same conduct to which he pleaded guilty in the Bronx, and received no jail time.. .

“What did he do that was so terrible? He didn’t declare the value of the renovations on an apartment on his tax returns; he made false statements about them; he didn’t declare the value of a BMW he received from a company he was working for; and he spoke for free at organizations and deducted his normal speaking fee on his return as a charitable contribution. Total: About $300,000. He didn’t tell the White House he had a full-time nanny whom he hadn’t paid social security and medicare taxes for. (He’s since paid them.) . . .

“The Government makes a point of acknowledging that there is no evidence Kerik was involved in organized crime or had improper dealings with them.”

Merritt’s bottom line: “I may not share Kerik’s politics, but I have no problem looking at the facts of his case and wondering what the big fuss is all about.”

Ditto for me.

Kreig offers a warning about the implications of the Kerik case: “Whatever Kerik’s crimes or misdeeds, he got railroaded through the legal process despite spending millions. That’s bad for all of us. Let’s dig deeper into his case, and others like it.”

Mexico’s Treatment of Illegals

May 10, 2010
By Michelle Malkin
Monday, May 3, 2010
 Mexican President Felipe Calderon has accused Arizona of opening the door “to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse in law enforcement.” But Arizona has nothing on Mexico when it comes to cracking down on illegal aliens.

While open-borders activists decry new enforcement measures signed into law in “Nazi-zona,” they remain deaf, dumb or willfully blind to the unapologetically restrictionist policies of our neighbors to the south.

The Arizona law stiffens penalties against illegal alien day laborers and their employers, makes it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to complete and carry an alien registration document, and allows the police to arrest immigrants unable to show documents proving they are in the U.S. legally. If those rules constitute the racist, fascist, inhumane regime that the National Council of La Raza, Al Sharpton, Catholic bishops and their grievance-mongering followers claim, then what about Mexican regulations and restrictions imposed on foreigners?

      • The Mexican government will bar foreigners if they upset “the equilibrium of the national demographics.” How’s that for racial and ethnic profiling?

     • If outsiders do not enhance the country’s “economic or national interests” or are “not found to be physically or mentally healthy,” they are not welcome.

     • Illegal entry into the country is equivalent to a felony punishable by two years’ imprisonment. Illegal re-entry after deportation is punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment.

     • Law enforcement officials at all levels — by national mandate — must cooperate to enforce immigration laws, including illegal alien arrests and deportations.

     • A National Population Registry tracks and verifies the identity of every member of the population, who must carry a citizens’ identity card. Visitors who do  not possess proper documents and identification are subject to arrest as illegal aliens.

All of these provisions are enshrined in Mexico’s General Law of the Population and were spotlighted in a 2006 research paper published by the Washington, D.C.-based, Center for Security Policy. There’s been no public clamor for “comprehensive immigration reform” in Mexico, however, because pro-illegal alien speech by outsiders is prohibited.

Consider: Open-borders protesters marched freely at the Capitol building in Arizona, comparing GOP Gov. Jan Brewer to Hitler, waving Mexican flags, advocating that demonstrators “Smash the State,” and holding signs that proclaimed “No human is illegal” and “We have rights.”

But under the Mexican Constitution, such political speech by foreigners is banned. Noncitizens cannot “in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.”

Mexico is doing the job Arizona is now doing — a job the U.S. government has failed miserably to do: putting its people first. Here’s the proper rejoinder to all the hysterical demagogues in Mexico (and their sympathizers here on American soil) now calling for boycotts and invoking Jim Crow laws, apartheid and the Holocaust because Arizona has taken its sovereignty into its own hands:

Hipocritas.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2009).