Tag Archives: Federal prosecutors

Case Against Cliven Bundy, Sons Ammon and Ryan, Dismissed Due to Prosecutorial Misconduct

Case Dismissed Against Cliven Bundy Sons Prosecutor Misconduct

Multiple felony charges against Cliven Bundy, his sons; Ammon and Ryan, and Ryan Payne have been dismissed by a federal judge in Las Vegas, due to prosecutorial misconduct.

Earlier today (January 8th, 2017), a federal judge in Las Vegas threw out multiple felony charges against Cliven Bundy, his sons; Ammon and Ryan, and Ryan Payne due to prosecutorial misconduct during and prior to two previous trials, which had previously ended in mistrials (the first as a result of a hung jury).

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U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning that the charges cannot be refiled by prosecutors. The Bundys and Payne were all four facing felony charges of threatening a federal officer, carrying and using a firearm and engaging in conspiracy and potentially decades in prison. Those charges resulted from the “Bunkerville Standoff” against the Bureau of Land Management and other members of federal and local law enforcement back in 2014.

Judge Navarro ruled that the Federal Government had violated disclosure requirements by withholding evidence that could be beneficial to the Bundys’ defense. Under the Brady Rule, prosecutors are required to provide any such information to defendants. As a result Navarro declared that “the court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated” and therefore a fair trial could not be conducted.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

Despite the mistrial, federal prosecutors argued in a legal brief filed Dec. 29 that they didn’t willfully withhold evidence from the defense and they still planned to press ahead with another trial.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Steven Myhre wrote in his brief that the government shared 1.5 terabytes of information and noted it was “by far, the largest review and disclosure operation in this [U.S. attorney’s office] history.”

Myrhe also argued the government needed to protect some witnesses from leaks that might lead to threats, so it “culled the database with witness protection in mind.”

“Unprecedented database volume and witness concerns aside, the government never let these obstacles stand in the way of diligently working to fulfill its discovery obligations,” he wrote.

But defense lawyers for Payne — Renee Valadares, Brenda Weksler and Ryan Norwood — argued in their Dec. 29 briefing seeking to dismiss the case that government “failed to accept responsibility for any of its failure to disclose evidence” and the withholding of evidence was “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct.”

“The government’s irresponsible and, at times, false proffers to this Court as well as its dismissiveness toward the defense inspires no confidence in the prospect of fairness,” they wrote. “A dismissal is necessary to remedy the constitutional violations, to preserve the integrity of this court’s processes, and to deter future misconduct. Anything short of a dismissal is tantamount to condoning the government’s behavior in this case.”

In October 2016, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, along with five others, were all acquitted by a federal jury of charges relating to the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

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Three New Orleans Police Officers Caught Selling Untaxed Cigarettes; Not Choked to Death

Late last month, six people including three New Orleans police officers, were indicted as part of an illegal tobacco smuggling ring. The scheme, which lasted just about one year, involved smuggling cigarettes and cigars across state lines in order to avoid paying federal and state taxes.

Officers Justin Brown and Joshua Carthon, of the New Orleans Police Department and Deputy Garrett Partman, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, are accused of accepting bribes in exchanging for transporting the products across state lines and providing protection during the trips.

Via TheAdvocate.com:

Federal prosecutors say the conspiracy began in September 2015, when two Gretna men, Jadallah Saed, 30, and Anwar “Tony” Abdelmajid-Ahmad, 29, started buying thousands of cartons of cigarettes considered by the authorities to be contraband because they had no state tax stamps on their packaging.

Authorities said the racket involved at least 15,000 cartons of cigarettes. It was unclear where they obtained the cigarettes.

Beginning in January, the indictment says, the two police officers, joined by Abdelmajid-Ahmad, would transport the cigarettes to another co-defendant in North Carolina, Atalla Atalla, a 38-year-old Wilmington man known as “Tommy.” The officers made their second trip in March but were joined this time by Partman, the indictment alleges.

The defendants face a host of charges, including conspiring to traffic contraband cigarettes, evading federal excise tax and interstate transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises.

Partman, 31, resigned from the Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, said Philip Stelly, an agency spokesman. Stelly said Partman was hired in January 2010, but it was not clear whether he had been assigned to the city’s jail or the Sheriff’s Office’s civil division.

Meanwhile, the two officers, Brown and Carthon, were placed on emergency suspension without pay this week, officials said. Brown, 29, has been with the New Orleans Police Department for four years and most recently was assigned to the Special Operations Division.

Carthon, 32, is a seven-year veteran and most recently served in the 7th District, which covers New Orleans East. He previously was suspended for 25 days following an April 2014 drunk-driving incident in which he crashed his pickup while driving with a blood-alcohol content of .131. He also was involved in a fatal officer-involved shooting following an armed robbery last year, which the authorities deemed to be justified.

I’d say I was surprised by that last paragraph, but it’s getting hard to find a report of a cop who was (finally) busted that already didn’t have a long list of previous misconduct and very mild slaps on the wrist. One thing I did find just a bit odd was that, unlike Eric Garner in New York, the cops in New Orleans weren’t forced to choke any of these guys to death for selling untaxed cigarettes.

NYPD Costs Taxpayers Over $66 Million Dollars After Six People Wrongfully Imprisoned For Murder

Four men and one woman have accepted a settlement offer after being released for a 1995 murder they didn’t commit. Each of them had served 18 years in prison due to “unethical tactics” by NYPD detectives, including coaching witnesses, breaking the rules for photo lineups, and withholding video evidence that would have contradicted a major witness.

The “Soundview Five” will receive $40 million dollars collectively from New York taxpayers in this settlement. Previously, they had received $19.45 million in another settlement over the wrongful convictions. In addition, the estate of a sixth person also falsely convicted, who has since died, received a $6.89 million settlement. All told, the totals for all three settlements equal $66.34 million that the NYPD will be forcing the citizens of New York State to pay.

Via the New York Daily News:

The city settled lawsuits Thursday brought by five wrongly convicted people who spent nearly two decades in prison, agreeing to pay out $40 million — one of the largest such amounts in city history.

The four men and one woman were wrongly identified as the killers in two 1995 murders, at least one of which was linked to a vicious gang in the Soundview section of the Bronx called “Sex Money Murder.”

The quintet was dubbed the “Soundview Five,” a reference to the high-profile Central Park Five who settled their lawsuits with the city for $41 million in 2014, after being wrong convicted of beating and raping a jogger in 1989.

The Soundview Five were released in 2012 and 2013 after new evidence surfaced that the real killers had confessed to one of the murders. Before Thursday’s agreement, they had previously settled with the state in the Court of Claims for a separate $19.45 million.

Earl Ward of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady and Julia Kuan of Romano & Kuan, the lawyers for Perez and Michael Cosme, another member of the quintet, issued a joint statement Thursday.

“So many lives were ruined by the shoddy, flawed, and unconstitutional police work that no amount of money could ever compensate our clients for their lost years,” the statement said. “But the settlement reaffirms what they have been saying for 20 years — ‘We are Innocent!’ ”

Perez, Cosme, Cathy Watkins, Eric Glisson and Devon Ayers were just starting their lives when they were arrested by police for the murders of a cab driver and a Federal Express executive in the Bronx in 1995.

Glisson, Vasquez, Ayers and Cosme knew each other from the neighborhood, but Perez and Watkins didn’t know any of them. Watkins didn’t even live in the Bronx.

Cops used unethical tactics to build their case against the quintet, including coaching witnesses on what to say and violating rules for photo lineups, Ward said. He said police also withheld a security video that would have undermined a key witness’s testimony.

“These suits were brought by people who together spent nearly one hundred years in prison, whose convictions were vacated by the Court after reviews by federal and local prosecutors,” a city Law Department spokesman said. “The parties have agreed to resolve these longstanding and complex cases through settlements we believe are fair and in the best interests of the city.”

All five were convicted and got life sentences, but they never gave up trying to get someone to listen to their pleas of innocence. They wrote letter after letter after letter to everyone they could think of.

In 2012, the convictions began to collapse when Glisson wrote a letter to an investigator with the U.S. Attorney’s office. That investigator, John O’Malley, read the letter and recalled that when two of the gang members agreed to cooperate years earlier, they admitted to killing the cabbie.

“He told us that when he read the letter, it sent shivers up his spine because he realized two people he had spoken to years earlier had confessed to the crime,” Ward said.

O’Malley provided an affidavit to the court, and the Bronx District Attorney eventually agreed not to oppose their release. The quintet then filed suit.

Perez, who was knifed in prison in 2003, said he clung to his faith to survive the long ordeal.

“I cried every day for 18 years,” he said. “You have that faith that someday you will be free. One day.”

Of course, there’s nothing in the article about the punishment the cops and prosecutors who ruined these six people’s lives will (not) be receiving for the “shoddy, flawed, and unconstitutional police work” that sent them to prison for 18 years each, even though they were completely innocent. Not surprisingly, the taxpayers will be the only ones being punished for that.