Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

Loretta_LynchI will have the honor of appearing today as part of the confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee for Loretta Lynch, nominee to serve as United States Attorney General. Below is my written testimony for the hearing today.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

It is unfortunately not surprising that anything that the CIA does should be considered suspect.  When the CIA recently came under fire for allegedly spying on Senate computers, no one, except the Senators who were spied on were surprised.  Now that Director John Brennan has completed his internal “investigation” into the matter, the truth has come out.  John Brennan says he and the CIA did nothing wrong! (more…)

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

walker-guilty-photoAfter what was declared to be prosecutorial misconduct, the Washington Supreme Court reversed a jury conviction of Odies Delandus Walker. The defendant was convicted as being an accomplice to first degree murder, first degree assault, first degree robbery, solicitation, and conspiracy after a robbery at a Lakewood Walmart.

In closing arguments during trial, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office showed the jury a PowerPoint presentation having over one hundred of a total of approximately two hundred fifty slides having headings such as “DEFENDANT WALKER GUILTY OF PREMEDITATED MURDER,” including one slide having a booking photograph of Walker altered to have “GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT” superimposed in boldfaced red letters over his photograph. Additional photographs presented included those of Walker and his family juxtaposed with those of the murder victim emblazoned with inflammatory captions.

Walker asked the court to address if such actions violated his right to a fair trial due to the prejudicial nature of the presentation.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

It is always tragic when anyone is killed.  It doesn’t matter if it is accidental or intentional.  The tragedy of someone dying is universal.  However, when the person killed by a Cleveland Police Officer is a 12-year-old, tragic just doesn’t seem to describe it correctly.  You will probably recall the recent case out of Cleveland, Ohio where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by Officer Timothy Loehmann.

Tamir Rice was shot while playing in a Cleveland park.  A citizen called 911 and suggested that a juvenile was pointing a gun, which was probably a toy, at people in the park.  When Officer Loehmann and his partner answered the call they saw Tamir playing on a swing with the “weapon” in the waistband of his pants.  Released videos suggested that Officer Loehmann fired at Tamir within 1-2 seconds of arriving at the park. That same video evidence also shows police throwing Tamir’s 14-year-old sister to the ground and handcuffing her.

When I first heard about the November 22nd, 2014 incident, I was shocked that a 12 year could be gun downed by a police officer.  Even the recent stories about the police killing suspects in New Mexico, Missouri, New York City, to name a few, did not prepare me for this killing.  Tamir was a 12-year-old child.

When the videos came out and when the truth about Officer Loehmann surfaced, I realized that Officer Loehmann was unfit for duty as a police officer anywhere and the Cleveland Police Department was negligent in hiring an unstable young man to patrol its streets.  The decision to hire Officer Loehmann initiated the sad outcome in November. (more…)

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Attorney General Holder

Attorney General Holder

The Justice Department announced a new policy directive issued by Attorney General Eric Holder prohibiting the practice of the federal government adopting local asset forfeiture cases to the federal level. Adoption allows local law enforcement agencies the ability to utilize broad and powerful federal forfeiture and seizure laws that offer greater ability to take assets than what similar state laws would provide.

This comes as a reversal of a decades old policy of “Equitable Sharing” where the federal government would allow local law enforcement agencies the ability to use federal agencies and law to take assets in situations where state law would not permit such seizures.

The former policy had essentially the effect of hiring out the federal government in exchange for a “piece of the action.” The US would retain twenty percent of the assets and remand the remaining eighty percent to the states. With the exception of seizures relating to “public safety” such as firearms and explosives cases, this new policy change effectively could shut the door on what has been widely criticized to be a form corruptive abuse against citizens.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty, (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

In our sometimes upside down world, it can seem that the lives and secrets of our intelligence service employees and their agencies are worth more than the lives and physical and mental well-being of the countless prisoners who were tortured by the CIA .  That is the same torture that was authorized and approved at the highest levels of our government.

Let’s also not forget the many instances of allegedly criminal activity by large banks and their employees that resulted in civil fines or no action at all, notwithstanding the lives that were shattered in the meantime.

Recently it was disclosed that the Department of Justice and the FBI have recommended that Gen. David Petraeus be criminally prosecuted for allegedly passing his classified CIA email account and exposing state secrets to the biographer/author he was having an affair with.  This is the very same Department of Justice, along with the Obama Administration that claims it did not have enough evidence to file charges against admitted torturers and those that authorized the torture and destruction of evidence. (more…)

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

The instances of reported abuse of our country’s laws by our Intelligence services seems never-ending.  The National Security Agency, or NSA is at the top of the list when it comes to violations of our laws and even its own rules and procedures that are allegedly designed to protect our privacy.

Pursuant to a court order in a case brought by the ACLU, the NSA is required to provide a list of its abuses on a quarterly basis.  Of course, the NSA redacts most of what it puts in its own disclosures. (more…)

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