Archive for the ‘Court decisions’ Category

Court battle continues in L.A. over illegal alien drivers’ privilege

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, May 4th, 2014

This is article 428 of 444 in the topic Immigration

A top “Inside-the-Beltway” public-interest group, which created a quite a stir earlier this week by exposing a Benghazi memorandum emanating from the Obama White House, filed a brief on Thursday in the California Court of Appeals following the appeal by the Los Angeles, Calif., city government to overturn a state Superior Court decision that Special Order 7 is unlawful. Special Order 7 is a city ordinance that prohibits police officers from impounding vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers.

Judicial Watch, a nonpartisan government watchdog, had brought a lawsuit on behalf of taxpaying Californians and obtained a favorable decision from the Superior Court last year. The court ruled that the Special Order 7 regulation violated both the state’s constitution and its Motor Vehicle Code.

“The Appeals Court should uphold the Superior Court’s decision and protect and defend California’s Constitution against LAPD regulation,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.

“Special Order 7 is illegal and dangerous. Unlicensed drivers – whether they are illegal aliens or not – are a menace to public safety. Los Angeles should not put immigration politics above the public safety,” he added.

According to Judicial Watch’s announcement on Thursday:

The primary argument raised by the City and Interveners in defense of Special Order No. 7 is that the City’s regulation is only guidance and municipalities must be allowed to provide guidance to their police officers … The lower court agreed that Special Order No. 7 is not mere guidance, “But this Special Order 7 is much more than just guidance. It’s much more than just training. It actually changes. It changes the law. It changes the outcome” … In the words of the lower court, Special Order No. 7 is a “game changer” … No. 7 does not guide officers in the exercise of their discretion; it re-writes the law.

Meanwhile, in its own lawsuit, the Los Angeles Police Department’s union, the Police Protective League (PPL), claimed that Special Order 7 could lead to police officers “being held legally liable” if a driver with no driver’s license was allowed to keep driving illegally and got involved in an automobile accident.

“LAPD officers were caught in the middle of a legal controversy over whether they must impound vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers as required by the state vehicle code or follow LAPD Special Order No. 7,” Tyler Izen, president of the PPL.

“The LAPPL felt strongly that it was unreasonable and unacceptable to place our membership in this position,” he said.

According to former police detective and airlines security director, Benny Cardoza, in essence the special order gave illegal aliens a privilege not enjoyed by American citizens.

“If a police officer in L.A. stops a U.S. citizen and tows that person’s auto, the officer will have it impounded for a number of offenses such as a DUI or driving without car insurance or other moving violation. That American will have to pay the traffic summons’ penalty and pay more than a hundred dollars to retrieve his or her car. But an illegal alien doesn’t have to worry about that even if he or she has no driver’s license, auto registration or insurance card,” noted Cardoza.

“Are these [political] fools trying to make citizenship irrelevant? Or are they trying to create a new protected class of lawbreakers?” he asked.

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Mexican mobster gets life sentence for murdering U.S. consulate worker

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, April 27th, 2014

This is article 321 of 327 in the topic Criminal Activity

A Mexican crime gang lieutenant, who directed his underlings to kill a U.S. consulate employee and two other Americans in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, will spend the rest of his life in federal prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday.

Arturo Gallegos Castrellon — a/k/a, “Benny,” a/k/a “Farmero,” a/k/a “51,” a/k/a “Guero,” a/k/a “Pecas,” a/k/a “Tury,” a/k/a “86,” — the 35-year-old lieutenant of a major organized crime gang, had been convicted of murder, drug trafficking and money laundering by a federal jury in February. Besides the life sentence, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone ordered Castrellon to pay more than $1.5 million — $998,840 in restitution and $785,500 in forfeiture.

One of the leaders of a Mexico-based drug gang known as theBarrio Azteca, Castrellon had been extradited to the United States more than 24-months-ago for the 2010 murder of a U.S. State Department worker named Leslie Ann Enriquez, her husband and the husband of another consulate employee.

The three victims were followed by Barrio Azteca gang members after they left a children’s party to drive home. The three victims were killed in separate attacks on their automobiles. Ms. Enriquez was expecting a baby at the time of her assassination by the mobsters.

Evidence presented during his trial revealed that Gallegos Castrellon headed a “crew” of assassins, whom he helped create and directed between 2008 and 2010. The prosecution proved that Castrellon’s assassins murdered up to 800 persons between January and August 2010, with a total reaching close to 1,600 deaths in a multi-year period. The drug routes through Juarez, which is known as the Juarez Plaza, are important to drug trafficking organizations because it is a principal illicit drug trafficking route into the United States.

According to Thursday’s Justice Department statement, DEA administrator Michele Leonhart said: “The DEA is committed to ensuring cold-blooded criminals, like Arturo Gallegos Castrellon, who murder innocent victims, traffic huge amounts of drugs worldwide, and incite violence are taken off the street and remain behind bars.”

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Homegrown jihadist sentenced to federal prison for threatening American Jews

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, April 27th, 2014

This is article 749 of 773 in the topic Terrorism

A homegrown Islamist on Friday in Alexandria, Va., learned he will spend two-and-a-half years in federal prison for his creating a radical Muslim website devoted to instilling fear in American Jews on the Internet through threats of violence, according to an FBI and U.S. Department of Justice press statement on Friday.

Yousef Mohamid Al-Khattab, who changed his name from Joseph Cohen when he converted to Islam after being an Hasidic Jew, was sentenced in an Alexandria, Va., courtroom to federal prison for using his position as a leader of the “Revolution Muslim” to cause American Jews to fear serious bodily injury from Muslims who visited Al-Khattab’s websites. The websites he helped create also encouraged Muslims to support al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.

According to the Justice Department, Al-Khattab, who lived in Atlantic City, N.J., and his colleague, Younus Abdullah Muhammad (a/k/a Jesse Curtis Morton) started Revolution Muslim in December 2007 in order to operate Internet message boards and websites with the purpose of encouraging Muslims in the United States and other nations to support Osama bin Laden, who was still alive at the time.

Al-Khattab and Muhammad also encouraged Muslims to give their support to American jihadist Anwar Al Awlaki, the al-Qaida terrorist network, the Taliban fighting the U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, and other groups or individuals engaged in violent terrorism, the prosecutors said.

On Jan. 8, 2009, Al-Khattab posted a video on the Revolution Muslim website that urged viewers who supported the Palestinians in Gaza to assist them by locating the leaders of the Jewish Federation in the U.S. and face them directly where they and their families lived. For example, Al-Khattab posted the names and addresses of synagogues in New York and the location of another Jewish organization in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Al-Khattab’s website also contained a hyperlink to the website that posted “The Anarchist Cookbook,” which is a manual for building improvised explosive devices (IEDs). On Jan. 23, 2009, Al-Khattab’s Revolution Muslim website displayed a video that accused the Jewish Federation of funding Israeli military operations against innocent Palestinians and called on viewers search for leaders of Jewish organizations in the United States, according to the Justice Department.

On June 22, 2012, Revolution Muslim founder Younus Abdullah Muhammad was sentenced to more than 11-years in federal prison. On Feb. 24, 2011, Revolution Muslim administrator Zachary Chesser was sentenced to 25-years in prison. Muhammad and Chesser were arrested for making terrorist threats against the producers of the “South Park,” a hit animated television series that poked fun at Muslim terrorists, according to an Examiner news story.

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Jihad Jane’s partner sentenced to prison for plotting to kill artist

by Jim Kouri on Friday, April 18th, 2014

This is article 746 of 773 in the topic Terrorism

A Pakistani national, who pleaded guilty to a federal terrorism charges, was sentenced on Thursday to five years in prison for his partnering with the woman known as “Jihad Jane” — Philadelphian Colleen LaRose — in a plot to murder a Swedish artist, according to the FBI.

The 20-year-old homegrown terrorist, Mohammad Hassan Khalid, 20, has been in custody for three years due to his involvement in the “Jihad Jane” conspiracy. Judge Petrese Tucker of the federal district court in Philadelphia ruled that Khalid will be credited for three-years time served and therefore will only spend two years in prison to complete the five-year-sentence. In addition to the prison term, Judge Tucker sentenced him to three years of supervised release, with limited access to computers.

“I believe this will not be the last time we hear about Mohammad Hassan Khalid. His total sentence of five years is a slap-in-the-face to all Americans who are battling these Muslim terrorists. Limited access to computers? How does one do that? It’s a joke in the era of Obama’s non-war on terrorists,” said former New York police detective, Sid Franes.

Khalid was arrested in 2011, when he was 17-years-old, and charged with providing material support to terrorists. He worked with another homegrown Islamist named Colleen LaRose, a housewife living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She was dubbed “Jihad Jane” by police and news reporters.

In January 2014,LaRose got a 10-year prison sentence for plotting to murder Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who had created the cartoon of the head of Muslim Prophet Mohammad atop a dog’s body.

While the prosecutors requested a tougher prison sentence for Khalid, the judge appeared to side with the defense attorney who said the case was much-ado about nothing and claimed Khalid suffered from Asperger’s Sydrome, a high-performing type of autism.

Meanwhile, LaRose admitted to taking directives from alleged members of al-Qaida. She had flown to Ireland in 2009 to meet with Ali Damache, an Algerian national. Damache is now fighting extradition from Ireland to the United States to face terror charges.

Prosecutors had argued that Khalid helped Damache recruit others and helped LaRose in her destroying of evidence. The FBI also uncovered evidence that Khalid helped LaRose and Damache in translating violent Islamist videotapes from Urdu into English.

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Federal prisoner pleads guilty to killing corrections officer

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

This is article 314 of 327 in the topic Criminal Activity

A federal prisoner, who is already serving a life sentence in federal prison, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Atwater, Calif., to murder for his role stabbing and killing a federal corrections officer at a penitentiary in Central California, according to U.S. Justice Department officials.

The 48-year-old James Ninete Leon Guerrero, of Guam, entered the guilty plea and is expected to testify against his accomplice during his murder trial.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner for the Eastern District of California said in a statement that Guerrero held Officer Jose Rivera down at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atwater in 2008 while his fellow inmate, Jose Cabrera Sablan, repeatedly stabbed the officer more than 20 times with an eight-inch “shank.”

The 22-year-old Rivera, who served in the U.S. Navy before becoming a corrections officer, was performing the daily headcount of prisoners when he was attacked and killed. Ironically, Officer Rivera served two tours in Iraq at the height of the insurgency, yet returned home unscathed only to be murdered on U.S. soil.

While law enforcement and corrections officers believe this is a death penalty case, prosecutors say under the plea agreement, the sentencing judge will give Guerrero another life sentence.

Guerrero was serving a life prison sentence in connection with an armed bank robbery. His accomplice in the killing of Officer Rivera, Sablan, is scheduled to go on trial next month.

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"THE WORLD IS A BAD SOAP OPERA and "IT’S NOT HEARSAY, IT’S HERESY"

by Burt Prelutsky on Monday, March 10th, 2014

by Burt Prelutsky

Burt’s Radio Webcast is this Wednesday, March 12, 1PM Pacific Time on K4HD.com
His Call-in Number will be: (225) 209-6188

The health and fashion magazines keep telling their readers that 60 is the new 50, and 50 is the new 40, and so on. We now have further proof that college is the new high school. It seems that the SAT, an exam that is supposed to establish which 18-year-olds are college material and which ones should consider getting into politics as soon as possible, is not only making the essay portion optional, but removing difficult words from the vocabulary part of the exam.

Apparently, anyone who can spell c-a-t and is willing to hock his or her future for a college loan is now deemed to be college material.

Speaking of places that have the effrontery to claim they’re institutions of higher learning, Rutgers’ Faculty Council passed a resolution calling for the university to rescind its invitation to Condoleezza Rice to be this year’s commencement speaker. The tenured pinheads based their objection on her having played a role in the Iraq War and in “Bush’s policy of enhanced interrogation techniques.” You know, those watery techniques used on a trio of Muslim terrorists that led to our finding and killing Osama bin Laden.

I have to ask: Is there any group of individuals that is simultaneously as stupid, arrogant and self-righteous, as those to be found on our nation’s college campuses? Of course I mean, aside from the members of the current administration.

Rutgers, I should add, is the same place that paid Snooki (real name: Nicole Polizzi) of the so-called reality show “Jersey Shore” $32,000 to share her wisdom at a couple of hour-long Q&A sessions. And you no doubt had been wondering what colleges did with all that tuition money they scarf up like industrial-sized vacuum cleaners.

While we’re on the subject of education, Barack Obama took a break from a visit to a pre-school – which is a heck of a thing for a place that claims to be a school to call itself –to give a press conference. He took the occasion to say, “Putin may have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations, but I don’t think that’s fooling anyone.”

Wow! Kennedy said, “Ich bin eine Berliner;” Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall;” and Obama stands around comparing lawyers. Rumor has it that on his way out the door, a four-year-old bullied Obama out of his lunch money.

In other news of the day, I have to admit that when I heard that some young New Jersey woman, possibly a friend of Snooki, was suing for child support, I naturally assumed she was suing a husband or a boyfriend who had dumped her and their kid. But it seems that the child was herself and that Rachel Canning, 18, was suing her parents because they insisted that so long as she lived in their home, she’d abide by their rules. So she moved out and tried to get the court to force them to support her.

In a voice mail to her mother, Rachel had said: “I really just wanna s— all over your face right now because it looks like that anyway.

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Filipino weapons smugglers sentenced to U.S. federal prison

by Jim Kouri on Friday, February 28th, 2014

This is article 311 of 327 in the topic Criminal Activity

Three Filipino citizens were sentenced in a Los Angeles federal courtroom for being captured while illegally importing military-grade weapons into the U.S. during a law-enforcement undercover operation in Manilla, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement released on Thursday.

The suspects smuggled military-style machine guns, sniper rifles with high-powered scopes, grenade launchers and grenades, a mortar launcher with mortar shells, as well as top-of-the-line body armor, into the United States, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said.

Sergio Syjuco received a seven-year sentence in federal prison; Cesar Ubaldo got a five-year sentence; and Arjyl Revereza got 4 years in prison, U.S. Justice Department officials said in their statement on Thursday.

Upon release from prison, the three convicted weapons-smugglers will remain under the supervision of U.S. prison authorities.

Following a trial that lasted almost one month, a federal jury convicted the felons in March 2013 of conspiracy to import the illegal weapons and aiding and abetting the importation of those weapons into California.

The 28-year-old Ubaldo began meeting an FBI agent who was posing as a prospective buyer of high-powered weapons for U.S. and Mexican drug cartels in the fall of 2010, according to the FBI.

Prosecutors told the court that Ubaldo helped the undercover agent connect with 27-year-old Syjuco — who provided the weapons for the smuggling operation — and connect with Revereza, 27, a Philippines Bureau of Customs officer who aided in the surreptitious transportation of the weapons and body armor between the Philippines and the U.S.

The there suspects were indicted after the FBI intercepted the shipment of weapons at a seaport located in Long Beach, Calif., in June 2011.

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Female Philly firebomber sentenced to life in prison for murders

by Jim Kouri on Monday, February 24th, 2014

This is article 310 of 327 in the topic Criminal Activity

The female sibling of a convicted murderer and racketeer in Philadelphia, Penn., who carried out a firebombing that killed a federal witness’ mother, his wife and four children, was sentenced in federal court on Friday to life in prison, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Kidada Savage was involved in the firebombing on Oct. 9, 2004, that wiped out the entire family of a federal witness who testified against her brother, Kaboni Savage, according to the Justice Department.

The convicted killer’s brother had ordered the attack on Eugene Coleman and his innocent family after Coleman agreed to testify against Kaboni at his trial, according to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Zane David Memeger.

Coleman, who wasn’t in the home during the firebomb attack, was once a member of Kaboni Savage’s crime crew. He made a deal with the prosecutor to testify against Savage in a narcotics trafficking and racketeering case in return for a lighter sentence.

Both 38-year-old Kaboni and his sister, 31-year-old Kidada Savage, were also convicted of the conspiracy to perpetrate the revenge killings, attempting to murder a federal witness as revenge for his testimony, and detonating an incendiary device, according to the FBI.

Kaboni Savage is well-known in Philadelphia for threatening to murder police investigators, a captain from the detention facility, and saying during a taped conversation that he would torture and kill a federal law enforcement official, according to Bigtrial.net.

“Savage’s brutality — a police official once called him ‘pure evil’ — has been part of the case from the start of the trial. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Troyer flashed pictures of the firebombing victims on large television screens for the jury to see during his opening statement back in February,” according to Big Trial.

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Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin found guilty on 20 charges of bribery and fraud

by Doug Powers on Thursday, February 13th, 2014

This is article 412 of 448 in the topic Government Corruption

Early last year, former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was indicted on 21 counts of corruption. He’s just been convicted on 20 of them:

Jurors returned a guilty verdict against former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin Wednesday in his federal corruption trial.

The jury made the announcement after just over six hours of deliberation, according to WDSU in New Orleans.

Nagin faced a 21-count indictment and was found guilty of 20. The jury returned a “not guilty” verdict for one charge of bribery.

Prosecutors couldn’t prove the 21st charge because Nagin stored that alleged bribe in William Jefferson’s freezer and the evidence somehow disappeared. Just kidding … I think.

Flashback a dozen years:

In inauguration remarks May 6, 2002, Nagin promised a City Hall “where permits and licenses are provided quickly, predictably and honestly; where contracts are awarded based on what you can do, not who you know.”

Time now to go read a number of mainstream media stories about Nagin’s conviction and then play “name that political party.”

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Former U.S. Navy cryptology tech imprisoned for espionage

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

This is article 29 of 33 in the topic Espionage

A former U.S. Navy cryptology technician was sentenced on Monday to 30-years in federal prison for his attempt to steal military secrets and give them to men he believed were spies for the Russian Federation, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The 40-year-old submarine systems operator, Robert Patrick Hoffman of Virginia Beach, Va., was sentenced by Senior United States District Court Judge Robert Doumar in an Eastern District of Virginia courtroom.

“By attempting to hand over some of America’s most closely held military secrets, Robert Hoffman put U.S. service members and this country at risk,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Carlin.

“ Today, Mr. Hoffman is being held accountable for his actions. This prosecution should serve as a warning to others who would compromise our nation’s secrets. I commend the prosecutors, agents and analysts who worked diligently on this case,” said Carlin, who works in the DOJ’s National Security Division.

“Hoffman attempted to spy on behalf of the Russian Federation and betrayed the trust this country placed in him,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Dana Boente. “He was willing to place American lives at risk for personal gain.”

Following a five-day jury trial that ended on Aug. 21, 2013, a Norfolk jury found Hoffman guilty of attempted espionage, as charged in the one-count superseding indictment filed on May 8, 2013, which was covered by an Examiner news story.

According to court records and the Examiner, Hoffman is a U.S. citizen born in Buffalo, N.Y., who served for 20 years in the U.S. Navy until retiring with the rank of Petty Officer First Class on Nov. 1, 2011.

Hoffman’s MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) in the Navy was Cryptologic Technician – Technical (CTT). As such, he served onboard — or in conjunction with — U.S. nuclear submarines for most of his career. Hoffman operated electronic sensors and systems designed to collect data and information about potential enemies, scanned the environment for threats to the submarine, and provided technical and tactical guidance to the submarines’ commanding officers.

Because of his MOS, of necessity, Hoffman held security clearances and regularly received access to classified national defense information about U.S. submarines and their capabilities and equipment, about specific missions, and about U.S. military and naval intelligence.

As a condition of receiving access to this sensitive information, Hoffman repeatedly signed nondisclosure agreements and regularly received training about his obligations to protect intelligence and to report without delay any suspicious contacts, according to trial testimony.

In 2012, the FBI agents initiated an investigation to determine if Hoffman was willing to act as an agent for a foreign government and commit espionage against the United States by divulging classified information, according to the Examiner.

As part of this investigation, undercover FBI agents posing as operatives of the Russian Federation contacted Hoffman seeking defense information. On three occasions in September and October 2012, Hoffman did just that and filled the drop site with encrypted thumb drives containing answers to the questions posed to him by persons he believed to be Russian agents.

In his answers, Hoffman supplied, among other things, national defense information classified at the levels of secret and top secret/sensitive compartmented information. Following these disclosures, FBI and NCIS (Navy Criminal Investigation Service) agents arrested Hoffman on Dec. 6, 2012, and the court ordered him detained.

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