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  • crimewatchrt 8:34 am on November 2, 2009 Permalink |
    Tags: abuse, analysis, analyst, , , BAC, , breath analysis, breath test, , , convicted, , , , , , , , CSI, dna, document, DUI, evidence, expert, faulty, , forensic, , , , innocent, , , , , Lab, Labs, , , Oversight, , study, , , unreliable, , , wrongful,   

    Faulty Forensic Analysis That Lead To Convictions 

    Forensic science was not developed by scientists. It was mostly created by cops, who were guided by little more than common sense. And as hundreds of criminal cases begin to unravel, many established forensic practices are coming under fire. Take an in-depth look at the shaky science that has put innocent people behind bars.

    Crime Lab Audit Stirs Calls For Independent Operation

    A legislative committee meets today to discuss the State Bureau of Investigation.

    There are increasing calls for the state crime to become independent from the SBI  after an audit found problems with 230 cases in which analysts misrepresented or wrongly reported blood evidence. WFAE’s Greg Collard takes a closer look at the issue in this report.

    Law enforcement agencies run nearly all of the country’s crime labs.

    Greg Taylor of Durham would like that to change. He spent 17 years in prison for a murder he did not commit thanks in large part to the failure of an SBI lab analyst to tell prosecutors that key blood evidence actually tested negative for blood.

    “These scientists are performing these tests and procedures should be reporting in an unbiased way. And, to report in unbiased way, should report to an unbiased authority,” Taylor says.

    *********************************************************************

    Hundreds of D.C. Residents Could Have Been Wrongfully Convicted of a DUI

    Nearly 400 people were convicted of driving while intoxicated in Washington, D.C. in 2008 because of inaccurate calibrations of the breath test equipment.

    Imagine being charged and convicted of a crime, only to find out nearly two years later that your conviction was the result of faulty police technology. This is exactly what happened to nearly 400 people. They were convicted of driving while intoxicated in Washington, D.C. in 2008 because of inaccurate calibrations of the breath test equipment.

    According to results of an investigation led by D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles, breath analysis equipment used by city’s law enforcement officers was found to be improperly adjusted, resulting in inaccurate readings. Analysis of all 10 of the District’s breath test machines found that readings produced a driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) to be about 20 percent higher than it actually was….

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    Report Condemns Police Lab Oversight

    The New York State Police’s supervision of a major crime laboratory was so poor that it overlooked evidence of pervasively shoddy forensics work, allowing an analyst to go undetected for 15 years as he falsified test results and compromised nearly one-third of his cases, an investigation by the state’s inspector general has found.

    The analyst’s training was so substandard that at one point last year, investigators discovered he could not properly operate a microscope essential to performing his job, the report released on Thursday said.

    And when the State Police became aware of the analyst’s misconduct, an internal review by superiors in the Albany lab deliberately omitted information implicating other analysts and suggesting systemic problems with the way evidence was handled, the report said. Instead, the review focused blame mostly on the analyst, Garry Veeder, who committed suicide in May 2008 during the internal inquiry.

    “Cutting corners in a crime lab is serious and intolerable,” said the state’s inspector general, Joseph Fisch. “Forensic laboratories must adhere to the highest standards of competence, independence and integrity. Anything less undermines public confidence in our criminal justice system.”

    Several lab workers whose actions were criticized in the report remain in their jobs pending an internal review of the inspector general’s findings, the State Police said.

    The State Police superintendent, Harry J. Corbitt, said that the agency planned to hire an outside consultant. “Appropriate remedial measures will be taken with respect to any conduct falling below the highest standards,” said Mr. Corbitt, whose nomination last year by Gov. David A. Paterson was meant to help rehabilitate the scandal-tainted agency.

    After the State Police began its internal investigation last year, it notified district attorneys across the state that evidence in criminal cases examined by Mr. Veeder might have been compromised. Mr. Veeder worked in the crime lab analyzing so-called trace evidence, like fibers, hair, impressions and other physical material found at scenes of crimes, including homicides.

    But on Thursday, police officials said that none of the district attorneys had found that Mr. Veeder’s work had cast doubt on any of their convictions.

    “We are satisfied that there were no wrongful convictions, nor any miscarriages of justice which resulted from these improper procedures,” Mr. Corbitt said, stating a viewpoint also shared by Mr. Fisch.

    Still, forensic science experts and advocates for those wrongfully convicted said the case pointed to longstanding problems in police behavior and underlined the need to hold law enforcement agencies accountable.

    “It is a wake-up call to the forensic community,” said Barry Scheck, director of the Innocence Project and a member of the New York State Commission on Forensic Science, which monitors all the state’s crime labs. “What’s alarming about this report and others that we’ve seen like it is it’s not so much the bad actors, it’s the fact that the system didn’t detect them earlier.”

    There have been several high-profile cases in recent years in which police labs mishandled crime scene evidence, casting doubt on convictions. A convicted rapist was released in 2003 after an examination of the Houston Police Department’s lab found widespread deficiencies. Detroit shut down its police crime lab last year after an outside audit found errors in 10 percent of cases surveyed.

    In Mr. Veeder’s case, supervisors discovered during an internal inquiry that he had routinely skipped a preliminary fiber analysis and then created data “to give the appearance of having conducted an analysis not actually performed,” the inspector general’s report stated.

    The State Police have disputed the effectiveness of the preliminary test and said there was no evidence that Mr. Veeder’s work resulted in a piece of trace evidence’s being misidentified.

    The report said Mr. Veeder used a “crib sheet” provided to him by a former supervisor to falsify the test results. At one point, Mr. Veeder told investigators, “They told me from the past, you go to this and plug it in,” the report said. “This is how I was trained to, how we’ve always done it.”

    But Mr. Veeder’s allegations involving other lab workers were never part of the final report to the State Police’s internal affairs division. State Police investigators and the lab’s management “minimized and precipitously discarded the seriousness and extent of problems” at the lab, the inspector general’s report said.

    It said that one State Police investigator, Keith Coonrod, mischaracterized Mr. Veeder’s responses implicating other lab scientists and skewed Mr. Veeder’s statements to give the impression that it was his incompetence — not widespread misconduct — that led to the problems.

    Mr. Coonrod has been temporarily reassigned to a State Police job outside of the lab pending the outcome of the internal review.

    Despite Mr. Coonrod’s omissions, the inspector general also faulted Mr. Coonrod’s superiors. “There exists no doubt that laboratory management possessed sufficient information that Veeder’s individual misconduct implicated potentially broader systemic issues, but failed to take appropriate action,” the report said.

    The report named a number of lab supervisors at the time — including the director, Gerald Zeosky, and assistant director Richard Nuzzo — and describes them as unfazed by the inquiry and dismissive of Mr. Veeder’s broader claims. Mr. Zeosky remains in charge of the lab. Mr. Nuzzo was promoted and given a new job in the internal affairs division, but police officials said he would have had no involvement in the investigation of the lab.

    Another section of the report stated that Mr. Nuzzo was also found to have intimidated a lab technician who was working on a case unrelated to Mr. Veeder.

    Problems with Mr. Veeder’s work were first detected in 2008 during an accreditation review by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board. The State Police then did an internal investigation and alerted the inspector general’s office, which began its own review.

    On May 23, 2008, Mr. Veeder hanged himself in the garage of his home outside Albany.

    Faulty forensic test put innocents in jail over decades

    A faulty forensic analysis has put hundreds of innocent people in jail over decades, according to a joint investigation by The Washington Post and 60 Minutes. Eventually found to be unreliable, it was quietly dumped four decades later without alerting those convicted.

    The “comparative bullet-lead analysis” claimed to link a bullet with ones in suspects’ possession. However, faulty statistical analysis of the elements contained in different lead samples resulted in false matches.

    Excerpt from eFluxMedia:
    The comparative bullet-lead analysis was based on the supposition that each batch of lead would have a particular, almost unique, chemical makeup. The National Academy of Sciences, however, has invalidated this claim in 2004, pointing out that FBI experts who claimed to jurors the test linked a particular bullet to those found in a suspect’s gun or cartridge box were more or less misleading the jury.
    Unfortunately, according to The Washington Post:
    But the FBI lab has never gone back to determine how many times its scientists misled jurors. Internal memos show that the bureau’s managers were aware by 2004 that testimony had been overstated in a large number of trials. In a smaller number of cases, the experts had made false matches based on a faulty statistical analysis of the elements contained in different lead samples, documents show.
    The reporters have since alerted the FBI on at least 250 cases that may require closer examination.

    John Miller, FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs, noted that the FBI is taking a series of steps to try to fix this snafus on cases where the conviction might have resulted from the flawed analysis.

    The question remains as to why it took a media investigation for the FBI to notice and take action.

    Thinking ahead, what do you reckon are the chances of flawed computer forensics resulting in a hapless computer idiot being charged for computer crimes that they did not commit.

    Read more about faulty forensics here:

    Stop Police Abuse

    Faulty forensic evidence

    Biased Forensics

    Serious Problems with Forensic Science

    Innocent people in jail because of bite-mark testimony

    Eyewitness Misidentification and Unvalidated or Improper Forensic Science

    CSI Myths: The Shaky Science Behind Forensics


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  • crimewatchrt 7:56 am on November 1, 2009 Permalink |
    Tags: abuse, agreement, , attorney, , bargain, , , , , , , , , defendent, defender, , , , , , , , offer, plea, prosecution, prosecutor, , , , Wanted,   

    The Problem With Plea Bargains 

    From the state’s point of view, the main benefit of the plea bargain is that it saves time See full size imageand money. It’s a good thing for someone who is guilty, someone who has factually done that which he or she is charged with doing, who is confronted with overwhelming evidence, and where the state is inclined to make some kind of offer because they would not want to put the victim, or families of the victim, or put the state, to the cost of proving the case at trial.

    For every criminal conviction that comes after a trial, 19 other cases are settled by plea bargain. This system can easily be abused by over zealous prosecutors and low paid public defenders.  It can extract guilty pleas from absolutely innocent people who plead guilty to charges they did not commit because they can’t afford the risk of going to trial. Especially when their own lawyer is telling them that they stand a good chance of going to prison unless they accept the agreement that the prosecution is offering.

    So why would an innocent person admit to a crime they didn’t commit? If an individual refuses to take the plea bargain and accept a guilty plea, and is later convicted, they face penalties up to ten times greater than if he were convicted of trial.

    About 95 percent of all felony convictions in the United States are the result of plea bargains.

    Judge Ralph Adam Fine’s comment on plea bargaining:

    During my nine years as a trial judge, I had several defendants who wanted to plead guilty even though when I then asked them to tell me what they did, responded with stories of innocence. When I asked them why they were trying to plead guilty, they all told me that they had been threatened with harsher penalties if they insisted on going to trial. In rejecting their pleas, I told them that we had enough guilty persons to convict, and that we did not need to dip into the pool of the innocent.

    In each of the instances, we went to trial and the defendants were acquitted.

    Judge Fine proves that plea bargaining is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in an excellent article he wrote for the Federalist Society; the article is located here (large .pdf).

    Prosecutors are under significant pressure to negotiate plea agreements. a criminal trial costs approximately $10,000 per day to prosecute, prosecutors have very heavy case loads, the jails are crowded and the criminal court calendars are full. In addition, various pressures lead defense attorneys to plea bargain most cases.

    Going to a jury trial is a roll of dice—even with the best attorneys and the most exonerating evidence in the world, you just never know what kind of decision a jury of 12 people will come to with your case!

    When plea bargaining is available, prosecutors can extract a guilty plea in nearly every case, including very weak cases, simply by adjusting the plea concession to the defendant’s chances of acquittal at trial. When almost every case results in a plea of guilty, regardless of the strength of the evidence, prosecutors have much less interest in screening away weak cases. Since some cases are weak because the defendant is innocent, however, more innocent defendants are charged and as a result more are convicted.

    More Reading On This Topic:

    In the prosecutor’s view, there is no such thing as an innocent suspect or defendant.

    Prosecutors are intimidating, and threatening to those who are being prosecuted for something they did not even do.

    For every false conviction due to plea bargaining, there exists a criminal on the streets whom the police no longer care about.


     
  • crimewatchrt 10:22 pm on October 24, 2009 Permalink |
    Tags: abuse, abused, advocate, assistance, , crimes, help, resources, , ,   

    Crime Victims Resources 


    The National Center for Victims of Crime is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. Since its inception in 1985, the National Center has worked with grassroots organizations and criminal justice agencies throughout the United States serving millions of crime victims.

    Our Mission

    The mission of the National Center for Victims of Crime is to forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives. We are dedicated to serving individuals, families, and communities harmed by crime.

    How We Help Victims of Crime

    Working with local, state, and federal partners, the National Center for Victims of Crime:

    • Provides direct services and resources to victims of crime across the country;
    • Advocates for laws and public policies that secure rights, resources, and protections for crime victims;
    • Delivers training and technical assistance to victim service organizations, counselors, attorneys, criminal justice agencies, and allied professionals serving victims of crime; and
    • Fosters cutting-edge thinking about the impact of crime and the ways in which each of us can help victims of crime rebuild their lives.

    Contact us for help, information about your options, and referrals to local services anywhere in the country.

     
  • crimewatchrt 10:15 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink |
    Tags: abuse, admitted, , authorities, bad cop, , badge, beat, beating, behind bars, Bill Fitzgerald, Bobby Lee Garrett, Brian Ferrell, , Buckly McColl, Carlton Moore, Charles Ryan, Christian Brezill, Christopher Lloyd, Christopher McCathern, co-defendant, corrupt, , , , Denver Police, , documents, Driving Under the Influence, drunk, fine, Frank Russo, G. Thomas Porteous Jr., Gary Hale, , , incarcerated, , , Jason Hanrahan, John McKinney, killed, LaDonna Dixon, Leo Liston, Marcia Powell, Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Martha Garnica, Middle Ground Prison Reform, , NPMSRP, obstruction, , Officer Scott Childers, Patrick Marlowe, , Police Chief Paul Ciesielski, , police union, , , Ronald Jackson, shooting, stealing, suspended, Timothy Bullock, Tommy Shane Conatser, Travis Bradley, , Vincent T. Carr, William Westmoreland, without pay,   

    Corruption 

    dirtycop

    Who’s Protecting Us From The Protectors?

    The following stories and links are just a small example of the reports from news agencies around the web. Read recent updates and get an idea of the magnitude of this problem at the following link:

    >> Bad Cops, Bad Cops, Who Ya’ Gonna Call<<

    Corruption in Government agencies goes far beyond crooked cops. It comes from all levels of government at local, state and federal levels. It does appear to be hidden better or covered up deeper at the higher levels. However, once in a while, we may hear a whisper that it exists.

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    LA ethics panel urges ban on some free tickets for top officials

    “It’s as if we believe everybody’s corrupt, and I just don’t think everybody’s corrupt and everybody’s subject to undue influence,” she said.

    Deltona, FL Mayor bought 4 vodka shots on city’s dime

    Deltona Mayor Dennis Mulder has promised to repay the city for four vodka drinks he bought with his city credit card…

    Impeachment trial of federal judge gets under way in US Senate

    Adam Schiff: Porteous “participated in a pattern of corrupt conduct for years” Washington (CNN) — The U.S. Senate on Monday started the impeachment trial of federal judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. — the first such trial since the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton in 1999….

    Woman’s links to Mexican drug cartel a saga of corruption on US

    Lots of attention is paid to the role of corrupt Mexican officials in drug trafficking, but the story of Martha Garnica, a US border agent, reveals how a

    Charges: Russo corrupt virtually from the start

    According to the federal charges, Frank Russo has been corrupt virtually the entire time he’s been county auditor…which was more

    ***

    Image of a t-shirt that was sold by the Denver police union as a way to thank their member officers for what they did during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in a way that mocked allegations of excessive force during that event.

    And they’re proud of it!!

    National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP) places them in 6th position as the worst in America.

    This just goes to show how they feel about their reputation.


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    Marcia Powell’s Death Unavenged: County Attorney Passes on Prosecuting Prison Staff

    Woman Sentenced To 2 Years In Prison For Prostitution. Prison Guards Put Her In A Human Cage In 107 Degree Heat In Arizona Desert For 4 Hours. Then, Illegally Terminate Her Life Support At The Hospital, She Dies. Attorney General Refuses To Prosecute.

    The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has chosen not to prosecute Arizona Department of Corrections staff in the death of inmate Marcia Powell.

    Powell, 48, died May 20, 2009, after being kept in a human cage in Goodyear’s Perryville Prison for at least four hours in the blazing Arizona sun. This, despite a prison policy limiting such outside confinement to a maximum of two hours.

    The county medical examiner found the cause of death to be due to complications from heat exposure. Her core body temperature upon examination was 108 degrees Fahrenheit. She suffered burns and blisters all over her body.

    Witnesses say she was repeatedly denied water by corrections officers, though the c.o.’s deny this. The weather the day she collapsed from the heat (May 19 — she died in the early morning hours of May 20) arched just above a 107 degree high.

    According to a 3,000 page report released by the ADC, she pleaded to be taken back inside, but was ignored. Similarly, she was not allowed to use the restroom. When she was found unconscious, her body was covered with excrement from soiling herself.

    Powell, who was serving a 27-month sentence for prostitution, actually expired after being transported to West Valley Hospital, where acting ADC Director Charles Ryan made the decision to have her life support suspended.

    (Ryan lacked the authority to do this)

    ADC conducted its own criminal investigation into Powell’s agonizing demise. The information I have indicates that ADC submitted its conclusions to the county attorney earlier this year.  ADC was seeking charges of negligent homicide against at least seven c.o.’s, as well as related charges against other prison staff.

    Why didn’t the county attorney’s office pursue those charges? Apparently, they didn’t think they could prevail in court.

    County attorney spokesman Bill Fitzgerald issued the following terse statement.

    “There is insufficient evidence to go forward with a prosecution against any of the named individuals,” he e-mailed me, declining to elaborate further.

    Donna Hamm of the advocacy group Middle Ground Prison Reform wasn’t buying it.

    “Having read the bulk of those 3,000 pages of reports,” she told me, “if someone in a prosecutorial position can’t find a crime in those pages, they have absolutely no credibility in my opinion.”

    Hamm noted that guards passed Powell several times throughout her stay in the cage, and that some mocked her pleas for water. As for c.o. claims that Powell was given water, Hamm countered that Powell’s eyes “were as dry as parchment,” and that the autopsy results show there was no sign of hydration.

    Hamm was incredulous that the county attorney couldn’t find enough evidence to bring charges.

    “It’s just beyond comprehension,” she stated. “This is the same office that has prosecuted mothers who left their babies in a couple of inches of water to go outside and take a cell phone call or look in the mail.”

    She also cited the case of “Buffalo Soldier” Charles Long, who was prosecuted by the MCAO for negligent homicide in the 2001 death of a kid who had enrolled in his program for troubled teens and died after being exposed to the heat and put in a bath, where he inhaled water.

    The ADC did make some reforms in the wake of Powell’s death. It was discovered that the cages were being used to control unruly prisoners, and the ADC claims this practice has stopped. However, Hamm says she has uncovered a case of a man in a Tucson facility who, earlier this year, was held all day and overnight in an outside cage.

    Some 16 prison employees were sanctioned in one way or another as a result of the Powell incident, and some were fired. But Hamm says she believes some of those sanctioned have been reinstated.

    The outdoor cages are still in use, but have been retrofitted to provide shade, misters, water stations, and benches, which, ironically, Hamm says are metal, and would thus soak up the heat. She’s toured ADC facilities to see the redone cages, and admits that changes are positive, but too late to save Powell’s life, obviously.

    “All the retrofitting in the world is worthless if the staff doesn’t follow the policy,” she insisted.

    Powell had been diagnosed as mentally ill, and was on more than one psychotropic drug, drugs that increased her sensitivity to heat, sunlight and lack of water. All the more reason, according to Hamm, that prison staff should be held accountable.

    The only next of kin that was located for Powell was an aged, adoptive mother in California, who had not had contact with Powell for years, and did not want to take possession of the remains.

    So, with the help of Hamm and others, Powell’s ashes were interred last year at Phoenix’s Shadow Rock Church of Christ.

    Brophy College Preparatory School also dedicated a plaque to Powell on school grounds this year.

    But with no one with standing to bring a federal lawsuit (Hamm says the deadline for a state lawsuit has expired), and with the MCAO unwilling to bring a case against those responsible for Powell’s well-being, there looks to be no justice for the schizophrenic deceased woman.

    I asked Hamm what this means for the case.

    “It means they’ve gotten away with the most colossal example of brutality I have seen against a female prisoner in the history of the Arizona Department of Corrections,” remarked Hamm, adding, “And they got off scot-free.”

    Stephen Lemons, Wed., Sep. 1 2010


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    Woman claims IMPD officer’s beating caused miscarriage

    Cop beat a woman so badly she miscarried. Now she’s suing the police.

    LaDonna Dixon claims she got these bruises from a beating that a police officer gave her.

    Indianapolis – The Indianapolis Metro Police chief plans to investigate allegations of police brutality involving one of his officers.

    An Indianapolis woman is suing the city in federal court. LaDonna Dixon claims the officer beat her so severely during an arrest that she had a miscarriage.

    “[He was] punching me, kicking me, after he maced me,” Dixon said.

    “This person was angry, was enraged and just beat her,” said Dixon’s attorney, Everett Powell. “I would say it’s a crime.”

    LaDonna Dixon is suing the city over what she claims happened in her yard last June. She says she was helping a friend who collapsed from a seizure and needed medicine.

    When police arrived, the complaint says Officer Scott Childers told Dixon she was disrupting emergency crews and that she needed to get in her house.

    Dixon admits she argued with Childers, but says that’s when the officer turned violent.

    “He says I was resisting arrest, but I don’t see how I’m resisting when I’m already handcuffed and maced,” Dixon said.

    Dixon claims that the beating continued even after she told the officer she was three months pregnant. She says she miscarried at Marion County’s arrestee processing center, just hours after her arrest.

    “She was beaten so bad that she passed out,” Powell said. “She was hemorrhaging directly after getting beaten like this.”

    Dixon says she was refused medical attention at the jail.

    Her attorney filed a tort claim with the city last year.

    It was denied in March, saying “a settlement is not warranted in this matter.”

    Now, Dixon has filed suit in federal court, seeking punishment for the officer in what she claims was an unnecessarily violent arrest.

    “Justice, I mean…can’t bring back my child,” Dixon said.

    Dixon’s attorney fears a pattern in excessive force by police.

    This lawsuit comes just a few weeks after a Metro officer was fired and another disciplined after beating an Indianapolis teenager.

    Wednesday evening, Metro Police Chief Paul Ciesielski released the following statement:

    “After claims of alleged police brutality being brought to my attention today, I have begun a review process of the arrest of Ms. Ladonna Dixon on June 21, 2009 at 6132 Nelson Place. We have decided to voluntarily review this arrest and will release more information once this review is completed.”

    Jennie Runevitch/Eyewitness News

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    Former Hockley County Chief Deputy Sheriff Pleads Guilty in Methamphetamine Trafficking Conspiracy

    LUBBOCK, TX—Gordon Clark Bohannon of Levelland, Texas, the former Chief Deputy of the Hockley County Sheriff’s Office, pleaded guilty this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to his role in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Bohannon and 27 others were charged in July 2009 in a 110-count indictment with operating a major methamphetamine trafficking organization in west Texas, Arizona, and in the Modesto, California area since 2003. One other Hockely County Sheriff’s Deputy charged in that indictment, Jose Jesus Quintanilla, 39, of Smyer, Texas, pleaded guilty last month to one count of misprision of a felony, and is awaiting sentencing. The lead defendant in the case, Bobby Duwayne Froman, of Levelland, Texas, pleaded guilty to his role as leader of the conspiracy earlier this month. If the Court accepts the terms of Froman’s plea agreement, he will face a 240-month prison sentence and will be required to forfeit two residences, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and a truck. Additionally, he will have to pay a $900,000.00 money judgment to the United States. A sentencing date for Froman has not yet been set.

    Bohannon, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of life in prison and a $4 million fine. Under the terms of the plea agreement, however, Bohannon faces a sentence of 120 months in prison, and no fine, if the Court accepts the plea. Judge Cummings ordered a pre-sentence investigation report with sentencing to be scheduled after the completion of that report. Bohannon has been in custody since his arrest in July. All but one of the defendants charged in the case have pleaded guilty to their roles and are awaiting sentencing. The indictment was dismissed against three of the defendants.

    In October 2007, law enforcement initiated an investigation into the narcotics trafficking activities of Bobby Duwayne Froman, a/k/a “Quick,” the founder of the Aces and Eights Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMG). From January 2003 to early July 2009, defendants Bobby Duwayne Froman, Gordon Clark Bohannon, Charity Bell Barron, Jeffrey Paul Bayer, Clifford Leroy Clark, Earnest Gale Flowers, Sharon T. Froman, Billy Charles Fuller, Bradley Gene Gore, Danny Keith Gregory, Jason Gutierrez, Dennis Carl Hegwood, Gary Duane Hegwood, Kimberly Hull, Andrew Clay Hurst, Kenneth Ray Johnson, Teddy Ralph Johnson, Stephanie Renee McKee, Keith Allen Miller, Jamie Paul Nickell, Kristi Ann Quillen, Jose Jesus Quintanilla, Hector Ramos, Perry Dean Roberson, David Lee Russell, Steven Allen Savell, Toni Jo Petska-Wood, and Marvin Lee Whittington, conspired with each other and others to distribute and possess with intent to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine.

    Froman’s co-conspirators transported large amounts of U.S. currency from Lubbock and Levelland, Texas, to Modesto to purchase large quantities of methamphetamine from Russell and Hegwood. Froman and others then distributed it in Levelland, Lubbock and throughout the South Plains area of West Texas.

    Some of the conspirators maintained the following residences to store, weigh, package and distribute the methamphetamine: (1) Froman’s residence on Cactus Drive in Levelland; (2) Bayer’s residence on North Highway US 385 in Levelland; (3) Gore’s residence on Elgin Avenue in Levelland; (4) Whittington and Petska-Wood’s residence on 53rd Street in Lubbock; and (5) Ramos’s residence on 91st Street in Lubbock County.

    Bohannon was employed as deputy, lieutenant, and chief deputy of the Hockley County Sheriff’s Office. According to documents filed in court, on April 1, 2009, the government asked permission to conduct a wire intercept of Froman’s cell phone, which the district court granted. Based in part on information obtained from that wiretap, the district court authorized the Government to conduct a wire intercept of Bohannon’s cell phone. During the approximate two-month period that Froman’s calls were intercepted, 473 pertinent calls were recorded. For the approximate month that Bohannon’s calls were intercepted, 155 pertinent phone calls were recorded.

    Bohannon played a vital role in the conspiracy by using his position in law enforcement to protect and shield Froman’s methamphetamine trafficking organization. Bohannon not only obtained sensitive law enforcement information for the benefit of the conspiracy, but he also disrupted legitimate law enforcement efforts to investigate the conspiracy, thereby protecting it from discovery and its members from apprehension. In so doing, Bohannon aided and abetted prohibited persons in possessing firearms, aided and abetted a co-conspirator in possessing a sawed-off shotgun, and assisted that same co-conspirator in fabricating a statement in an attempt to avoid liability for that illegal shotgun.

    Bohannon made several efforts to get charges against Froman dropped after Froman was arrested on December 30, 2007, for evading arrest with a motor vehicle, including meeting with the District Attorney and vouching for Froman, asking the DA if he could find it in his heart to dismiss the current case against Froman in the interest of justice. As Froman’s state trial date approached, Bohannon’s attempts to influence the District Attorney to dismiss the case escalated.

    Bohannon disclosed confidential law enforcement information. In one instance, on May 15, 2009, Bohannon advised Bradley Gene Gore that law enforcement was executing a search warrant on Gore’s residence. Bohannon expressed concern that Gore possessed a sawed off shotgun, a prohibited weapon, and coached Gore to fabricate a false statement regarding the sawed off shotgun.

    The following month, on April 20, 2009, Bohannon disclosed confidential law enforcement information when he advised Froman that his (Froman’s) residence was under surveillance, revealing the identity of two Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) surveillance vehicles that were, in fact, involved in an active surveillance in and around Levelland to augment the ongoing wiretap and react to information gleaned from that wiretap. Bohannon later admitted to FBI agents that he had talked to Bobby Froman and “alerted him to the fact he was being watched, and [he] kn[ew] this was not the right thing to do. It was wrong to tell Bobby Froman of the law enforcement operations.”

    In another instance, Bohannon vouched for Froman when he received a phone call from a narcotics detective with the Roswell Police Department who informed him that he was involved in a narcotics investigation, which was probably going to go federal, and that during the investigation an informant gave the name Bobby Froman as a major methamphetamine dealer. Bohannon told the narcotics detective that it would be a waste of time to investigate Froman.

    Bohannon also retaliated against people he perceived to be a threat to the drug distribution conspiracy. Bohannon furnished the name of informants to Froman and used Deputy Jose Jesus Quantinilla to help orchestrate one person’s arrest in June 2009. After Froman and Patrick McKnight’s arrest on December 30, 2007, Bohannnon instructed Deputy Jose Jesus Quintanilla to get a search warrant for McKnight’s residence. Bohannon told Quintanilla that the dope would be in a stereo speaker in the “little house” where McKnight resided. Quintanilla obtained a search warrant for McKnight’s residence on October 16, 2008. Quintanilla and other deputies executed the search warrant while Bohannon was physically located at the Sonic in Levelland. Co-conspirators Froman, Gore, and J.P Nickell watched from Froman’s back yard on ladders. While Quintanilla found two syringes, he could not find any methamphetamine. He called Bohannon at the Sonic and told him there was no dope. Bohannon asked Quintanilla if he was sure, telling him to look in the stereo system cabinet for a Marlboro box which would contain the methamphetamine. Quintanilla told Bohannon that the box was there, but there were only two syringes. Bohannon told Quintanilla to look in the speakers and that he was going to send the confidential informant over there. Bohannon then stated words to the effect of “well, hold on, let me call and see where she pu . . ., hold on I’ll call you back.” This was a reference to Bohannon contacting the purported confidential informant, who was to plant methamphetamine in McKnight’s residence. Bohannon stated he was going to send the confidential informant over there to Quintanilla, stating you’ll know the CI when she comes. Bohannon then contacted Gore and instructed Gore to pick up the confidential informant and bring her to Quintanilla. Bohannon did this to discredit McKnight and further assist Froman in having his state drug case dismissed. Prior to this incident, J.P Nickell heard Froman tell Bohannon that McKnight was a snitch on Froman, and “we’re going to get him.” Bohannon responded okay.

    On July 10, 2009, Bohannon admitted to FBI agents that some of the guns in Gore’s possession belonged to Froman. Bohannon admitted that he knew Froman was a convicted felon who was prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.

    The investigation is being conducted by the FBI, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Marshal Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Hockley County District Attorney’s Office, the Levelland Police Department, the Lubbock Police Department, and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office.

    Assistant U.S. Attorneys C. Richard Baker, Jeffrey R. Haag, and Denise Williams, of the Lubbock, Texas, U.S. Attorney’s Office, are prosecuting the case.

    Two Former San Juan Municipal Police Officers Sentenced for Using Excessive Force Resulting in Death

    WASHINGTON—Two former San Juan, Puerto Rico, Municipal Police Officers, Elias Perocier Morales and Eliezer Rivera Gonzalez, were sentenced yesterday in federal court for using excessive force that resulted in the death of Jose Antonio Rivera Robles, the Justice Department announced.

    Perocier Morales received a sentence of 10 years in prison.Rivera Gonzalez received a sentence of six and a half years in prison.

    Both Perocier Morales and Rivera Gonzalez pleaded guilty in June 2009.In the plea proceedings and court documents, Perocier Morales admitted that on July 20, 2003, in the course of arresting Rivera Robles, he punched his prisoner repeatedly in the face while Rivera Robles was handcuffed and incapable of defending himself.He also admitted to later kicking Rivera Robles hard when he appeared unconscious.Rivera Gonzalez admitted to kicking Rivera Robles extremely hard when he was lying face down toward the ground, in no way posing a threat to anyone. Both men admitted that their actions, together with the actions of their fellow officers, resulted in Rivera Robles’s death.

    On Aug. 13, 2009, three other officers were convicted, following trial, of civil rights violations arising out of the fatal assault, and one other officer was convicted of obstruction-related offenses.Vidal Maldonado, Juan Morales Rosado, Carlos Pagan Ferrer, and Jose Pacheco Cruz will be sentenced on their convictions at a later date.

    “Every person has the right to expect that they will be safe when in the custody of law enforcement officers. Today’s sentence reflects the damage done to the public trust when law enforcement officers engage in such egregious misconduct,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said.“The Civil Rights Division will continue to aggressively prosecute officers who abuse their power in this manner.”

    Special Agent Louis Rivera of the FBI’s San Juan Office investigated this matter.The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Antonio Bazan, Special Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan, and Trial Attorney Avner Shapiro of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

    St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges

    ST. LOUIS, MO—Christian Brezill pleaded guilty to the theft of government property by stealing stolen merchandise after an arrest, Acting United States Attorney Michael W. Reap announced today. According to court documents, Ronald Jackson and Christian Brezill were uniformed patrol officers assigned to work in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s Sixth District out of the North Patrol Division. They were responsible for collecting, preserving and inventorying evidence; interviewing witnesses; making lawful arrests; conducting lawful searches; and making truthful and accurate reports of their official activities.

    Court documents and statements made in court during the plea hearing by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith state that on July 27, 2009, Jackson was on duty when he received information from an individual that a woman identified in the court documents only as Jane Doe was in possession of electronics equipment stolen from the retailer Best Buy, and was in a vehicle on the parking lot of the Phillips 66 station at 5728 West Florissant Avenue. Jackson agreed with the individual that he would find Jane Doe, seize the stolen electronics equipment from her vehicle, and split some of the stolen electronics equipment with that individual. Jackson then shared that information with Christian Brezill, who was also on duty and they both drove their police vehicles to the Phillips 66 station to meet Jane Doe. Jackson and Brezill did a computer check on Doe, discovered that she had outstanding minor traffic warrants, arrested her on those traffic warrants, and placed her handcuffed into Brezill’s police vehicle. They searched the trunk of Doe’s vehicle and discovered brand new electronics equipment, in original boxes and in Best Buy store bags, including a Sony speaker system, a Phillips I-Pod docking system, speaker cable, a Wii gaming system, an X-Box gaming system, a Logitech computer speaker system, a Dell Inspiron laptop computer, and a Dynex LCD flat screen television. Jackson and Brezill removed all of the electronics equipment from Doe’s vehicle, and placed the items into the trunk of Brezell’s police vehicle. They then conveyed Jane Doe to the North Patrol Division where she was booked on the outstanding minor traffic warrants. Doe was neither arrested nor charged relative to her possession of the electronics equipment. Jackson and Brezill failed to report to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, either verbally or in writing, their seizure of the electronics equipment from Jane Doe’s vehicle.

    After their work shift ended during the early morning hours of July 27, 2009, Jackson and Brezill met at a residential location and split up the seized electronics equipment between themselves. Jackson kept the Sony speaker system, the speaker cable, the X-Box gaming system, and the Dynex LCD flat screen television; he later gave the Sony speaker system and the speaker cable to the individual who had originally provided him the information regarding Jane Doe, and sold the Dynex LCD flat screen television to another individual for cash. Brezill kept the Phillips I-Pod docking system, the Wii gaming system, the Logitech computer speaker system, and the Dell Inspiron laptop computer; he later sold the Phillips I-Pod docking system and the Logitech computer speaker system to an individual for cash.

    Unbeknownst to Jackson and Brezill, Jane Doe was cooperating with federal law enforcement, and the electronics equipment seized from her and stolen by the defendants was the property of the United States of America.

    Brezill, 25, St. Louis City, plead guilty to one felony count of theft of United States Property before United States District Judge Donald J. Stohr, who set sentencing for March 19, 2010.

    Co-defendant Ronald Jackson, 58, St. Louis City, pleaded guilty last week to one felony count of theft of United States Property, and is scheduled for sentencing March 12, 2010.

    Theft of United States Property carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or fines up to $250,000. Reap commended the work on the case by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Assistant United States Attorney Hal Goldsmith, who is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    A St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer pled guilty to stealing stolen merchandise after an arrest.

    ST. LOUIS, MO—Ronald Jackson pleaded guilty to the theft of government property by stealing stolen merchandise after an arrest, Acting United States Attorney Michael W. Reap announced today.

    According to court documents, Ronald Jackson and Christian Brezill were uniformed patrol officers assigned to work in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s Sixth District out of the North Patrol Division. They were responsible for collecting, preserving and inventorying evidence; interviewing witnesses; making lawful arrests; conducting lawful searches; and making truthful and accurate reports of their official activities.

    Court documents and statements made in court during the plea hearing by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith state that on July 27, 2009, Jackson was on duty when he received information from an individual that a woman identified in the court documents only as Jane Doe was in possession of electronics equipment stolen from the retailer Best Buy, and was in a vehicle on the parking lot of the Phillips 66 station at 5728 West Florissant Avenue. Jackson agreed with the individual that he would find Jane Doe, seize the stolen electronics equipment from her vehicle, and split some of the stolen electronics equipment with that individual. Jackson then shared that information with Christian Brezill, who was also on duty and they both drove their police vehicles to the Phillips 66 station to meet Jane Doe. Jackson and Brezill did a computer check on Doe, discovered that she had outstanding minor traffic warrants, arrested her on those traffic warrants, and placed her handcuffed into Brezill’s police vehicle. They searched the trunk of Doe’s vehicle and discovered brand new electronics equipment, in original boxes and in Best Buy store bags, including a Sony speaker system, a Phillips I-Pod docking system, speaker cable, a Wii gaming system, an X-Box gaming system, a Logitech computer speaker system, a Dell Inspiron laptop computer, and a Dynex LCD flat screen television. Jackson and Brezill removed all of the electronics equipment from Doe’s vehicle, and placed the items into the trunk of Brezell’s police vehicle. They then conveyed Jane Doe to the North Patrol Division where she was booked on the outstanding minor traffic warrants. Doe was neither arrested nor charged relative to her possession of the electronics equipment. Jackson and Brezill failed to report to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, either verbally or in writing, their seizure of the electronics equipment from Jane Doe’s vehicle.

    After their work shift ended during the early morning hours of July 27, 2009, Jackson and Brezill met at a residential location and split up the seized electronics equipment between themselves. Jackson kept the Sony speaker system, the speaker cable, the X-Box gaming system, and the Dynex LCD flat screen television; he later gave the Sony speaker system and the speaker cable to the individual who had originally provided him the information regarding Jane Doe, and sold the Dynex LCD flat screen television to another individual for cash. Brezill kept the Phillips I-Pod docking system, the Wii gaming system, the Logitech computer speaker system, and the Dell Inspiron laptop computer; he later sold the Phillips I-Pod docking system and the Logitech computer speaker system to an individual for cash.

    Unbeknownst to Jackson and Brezill, Jane Doe was cooperating with federal law enforcement, and the electronics equipment seized from her and stolen by the defendants was the property of the United States of America.

    “The vast majority of police officers are dedicated men and women who put their own safety on the line everyday to protect their communities,” said Roland Corvington, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in St. Louis. “But the few who put their own self interests first taint the credibility of all the others making it that much harder for the honest officers to perform their duties.”

    Jackson, 58, St. Louis City, pleaded guilty to one felony count of theft of United States Property before United States District Judge Donald J. Stohr. Sentencing has been set for March 12, 2010.

    Co-defendant Christian Brezill, 25, St. Louis City was indicted on the same charge and awaits trial.

    Theft of United States Property carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or fines up to $250,000.

     
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