Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vice and Vengeance



Detective Dennis Zigrang, Long Beach Police Department, is a twenty year veteran of law enforcement who has worked patrol, special enforcement, bike patrol, vice, burglary and arson.  Dennis Zigrang is the author of Vice and Vengeance: Travis Jensen.

According to the book description of Vice and Vengeance: Travis Jensen, “Relying on his more than two decades in law enforcement, author Dennis Zigrang introduces readers to a rarely seen side of police work in his first novel VICE AND VENGEANCE. This small group of undercover detectives is charged with discreetly dealing with the moral ills that plague civilized society. Often on their own, they have to use their cunning and wits to blend in with the fringe elements that roam the streets of Long Beach.”

More about Dennis Zigrang

Friday, April 26, 2013

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION NETWORK ADVANCES CONVERGENCE THROUGH INITIATIVES ON ENFORCEMENT COOPERATION AND INVESTIGATIVE PROCESS


WASHINGTON — The International Competition Network (ICN) advanced convergence through important initiatives on international enforcement cooperation and investigative processes in competition cases, the Department of Justice announced today. The ICN adopted new work product on economic analysis in merger review, legal theories in exclusive dealing investigations, international cooperation and information sharing in cartel enforcement, and the benefits of competition.

The 12th annual ICN conference, hosted by Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP), was held on April 24-26, 2013, in Warsaw, Poland. More than 500 delegates participated, representing more than 80 antitrust agencies from around the world, including competition experts from international organizations and the legal, business, consumer and academic communities. Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez led the U.S. delegation. The conference showcased the achievements of ICN working groups on cartels, competition advocacy, competition agency effectiveness, mergers and unilateral conduct.

“One of the defining characteristics of the ICN is the deep engagement of its members on critical antitrust issues, including mergers, anti-cartel enforcement, unilateral conduct and competition advocacy,” said Assistant Attorney General Baer. “The discussions and work product emerging from this meeting strengthen the ties between U.S. enforcers and our counterparts around the globe and enhance effective antitrust enforcement for the benefit of all consumers.”

Bronislaw Komorowski, the President of Poland, provided opening remarks at the conference. John Fingleton, former Chief Executive of the UK Office of Fair Trading and former ICN Steering Group Chair, moderated a panel on competition and its relevance to global economic policy discussion among representatives from the World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Chamber of Commerce. Joaquin Almunia, European Commission Vice President and Commissioner for Competition, also addressed the conference. Eduardo Pérez Motta, ICN Steering Group Chair and President of the Mexican Federal Competition Commission, spoke about his initiatives to support ICN member competition advocacy and enhance cooperation with international organizations.

Assistant Attorney General Baer moderated a panel of antitrust officials on international enforcement cooperation to discuss the strengths and limitations of current cooperation frameworks. The panel also discussed future ICN work that could best help antitrust agencies address the challenges of engaging effectively in international enforcement cooperation. Over the past year, the ICN partnered with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Competition Committee on a comprehensive study of the state of international enforcement cooperation. Lynda K. Marshall, Assistant Chief of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division’s Foreign Commerce Section, led a discussion on future work on international cooperation in cartel enforcement.

The Polish OCCP led a special project devoted to the interaction between competition agencies and courts, culminating in a session led by OCCP President Malgorzata Krasnodebska-Tomkiel. FTC Chairwoman Ramirez addressed the vital role of economic evidence in competition cases and offered guidance for how to effectively present this evidence to generalist courts. She also highlighted the various tools available to competition agencies to encourage courts to recognize competition law principles.

“This 12th annual ICN conference demonstrated how competition agencies from around the world can come together both to advance convergence toward best practices in antitrust enforcement and to strengthen the voice of competition policy as our governments confront common economic challenges,” said Chairwoman Ramirez.

The conference also highlighted the work of the Cartel Working Group, co-chaired by the Department of Justice, the Japan Fair Trade Commission and Germany’s Bundeskartellamt. The working group brings together antitrust enforcers to address the challenges of anti-cartel enforcement, through the examination of important policy issues and the exchange of effective investigative techniques. The group presented a new chapter on international cooperation and information sharing for its Anti-Cartel Enforcement Manual, a reference tool for antitrust agencies on effective investigative techniques.

The Agency Effectiveness Working Group, co-chaired by the FTC, the Mexican Federal Competition Commission and the Norwegian Competition Authority, examines the institutions and procedures that support the enforcement missions of competition agencies. Randolph W. Tritell, Director of the FTC’s Office of International Affairs, led a panel discussion and presentation of the group’s work related to investigative tools and agency transparency practices, part of a project on investigative processes in competition cases. The working group also presented two new chapters on effective knowledge management and human resources management for its competition agency practice manual.

The conference showcased the ICN Curriculum Project, a project led by the FTC to create a “virtual university” of training materials on competition law and practice. FTC Counsel Paul O’Brien presented the Curriculum Project and its new modules on planning and conducting investigations, competition advocacy and challenges for agencies in developing countries.
The Merger Working Group, co-chaired by the European Commission’s Competition Directorate, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Italian Competition Authority aims to promote best practices in the design and operation of merger review regimes. The FTC’s Director of the Bureau of Economics, Howard Shelanski, participated in a panel discussion of the role of economic analysis in merger review. The panel highlighted the group’s new work addressing the role of economic evidence in merger analysis, a comprehensive overview of the qualitative and quantitative analyses available to antitrust agencies for the review of horizontal mergers.

The Unilateral Conduct Working Group, co-chaired by the Swedish Competition Authority, the Turkish Competition Authority, and the UK Office of Fair Trading, promotes convergence and sound enforcement of laws governing conduct by firms with substantial market power.  The working group presented a new workbook chapter on exclusive dealing arrangements as part of a project that is producing a practical guide to the investigation of the various types of unilateral conduct.

The Advocacy Working Group, co-chaired by the French Autorité de la Concurrence, the Portuguese Competition Authority and the Competition Commission of Mauritius, develops practical tools and guidance to improve the effectiveness of ICN members’ competition advocacy. This year, the working group developed draft guidance on procedures and analysis for assessing existing or proposed laws and regulations to determine whether they may have a significant impact on competition. The group also presented its work on practical techniques to help promote a competition culture and strategies for explaining the benefits of competition to other government entities.

The ICN was created in October 2001, when the Department of Justice and the FTC joined antitrust agencies from 13 other jurisdictions to increase understanding of competition policy and promote convergence toward best practices around the world. The ICN now includes 126 member agencies from 111 jurisdictions.

ICN documents are available at www.internationalcompetitionnetwork.org.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Victim Advocates help sexual assault survivors seek help, justice

by Staff Sgt. Susan Davis
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


4/25/2013 - GRAND FORKS AFB, N.D. -- April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and Grand Forks Air Force Base has an effective weapon to combat sexual assault within its gates--volunteer victim advocates.

The advocates, referred to as VAs, act as first-line responders when a sexual assault occurs, offering information, guidance and assistance to the victim, or even just a listening ear.

"First and foremost, I have absolutely no tolerance for sexual assault or for those who would commit this crime," said Col. Christopher Mann, 319th Air Base Wing interim commander, who oversees the program. "However, if an assault occurs, I am completely committed to ensuring the victim receives the best possible care. Recovering from a sexual assault is an extremely difficult process but, due to the hard work and dedication of our VAs, it is a process no victim has to go through alone."

Advocates are placed on a rotating on-call roster, so someone is always on duty. If they receive a call from a victim, the victim then becomes their top priority.

Susan Grollimund, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program assistant, supports the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), and provides training and education to VAs, as well as the base at large. She also maintains the on-call schedule for victim advocates.

"Victim advocates are a sort of catch-all support mechanism for victims of sexual assault," she said. "They educate victims on their options, and help them with anything else they need help with; deciding whether to file a restricted or unrestricted report, supporting them through the forensic or legal investigative process, getting them chaplain support, helping them find resources to get their lives back together, anything. Part of my job is to make myself accessible for the VAs and offer support to them if they need it."

Each VA has his or her own personal reasons for volunteering for the program. Some just want to be there to help someone in their time of need.

"When I decided to become a victim advocate, I just knew I wanted to help other people," said Staff Sgt. Camesha Rives, 319th Force Support Squadron, who has been a VA for more than two years. "When you hear that phone ring, you never know who's on the other end. It could be someone just looking for some information, or it could be someone who's having the worst day of their life."

She first decided to become a VA while stationed at Ghedi Air Base, Italy, a small installation of less than 200 military members. Her philosophy on sexual assault prevention is that it all comes down to being vigilant.

"Being a good wingman is as simple as seeing someone who looks like they might be in an uncomfortable situation, approaching them and asking, 'you good?'" she said. "It doesn't mean you have to get totally involved. It just means you care enough to make sure the person isn't in any immediate danger."

Others become VAs to turn a personal tragedy into a tool to empower other victims.

"I first decided to become a victim advocate back in 2006 while I was stationed at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., when the program was new to the military," said Tech. Sgt. Erica Claus-Numsali, 319th Force Support Squadron.

She explained that she was a victim of sexual assault at her first duty station, and almost didn't re-enlist because of the lack of support, even after she reported it.

"I changed my mind because I told myself that I wasn't going to let anybody else decide my future for me by getting out, when my original intention before that incident was to retire from the Air Force," she said.

Claus-Numsali has a unique attitude toward people who have experienced sexual assault.

"I have learned that the victims should not be seen as 'victims,' but rather as 'survivors,'" she said. "They have bravely come forward to seek help and justice, and I want to be there for them."

Still other VAs use the program as a stepping stone toward a career as a full-time victim advocate.

"My passion is helping people, especially women and children," said Senior Airman Jasreen Kaur, 69th Reconnaissance Group, who is also a VA for the Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) in Grand Forks.

Kaur, who also has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, said that being a VA is something she takes very seriously.

"Not just anyone can or should be a victim advocate," she said. "If you want to stand up for a cause, and you're passionate and committed to helping people, you can do what we do."

Grollimund said she currently has 14 VAs on the books--males and females, officers, enlisted and civilians. However, due to permanent changes of station, temporary duty assignments, deployments, retirements and other commitments that might tie up other VAs, she always welcomes new victim advocate applicants.

"The more victim advocates we have, the more opportunity we have to reach out to the base," she said.

However, she also advised that the application process to become a VA can be a lengthy one, and requires a serious commitment on the part of the applicant.

Applicants are asked in the questionnaire to explain why they want to become a VA, what skills, education or life experience they possess, and what stressors they have in their lives. Applicants are also required to list two references on the application form.

"I expect our VAs to perform their duties with the highest levels of caring, empathy, and respect," said Mann. "VAs must uphold the highest standards of our Air Force and ensure victims of sexual assault know they are never alone in the recovery process, no matter how long it may take. The role of the wing commander is to ensure that only our best Airmen are selected and trained to provide the full range of support to any and all victims of sexual assault. It's my responsibility to ensure victims of sexual assault receive the best possible care, and our VAs are vital to our Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Programs."

Upon selection, new VAs must undergo 40 hours of training, which is the same type of training as SARCs undergo at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

"In addition to that, victim advocates are now also required to be nationally certified through the National Organization for Victim Assistance, or NOVA, a private, charitable non-profit," said Grollimund.

Rives said that becoming a VA has been beneficial to her in many ways; she said it has even made her a better supervisor.

"I wish everyone could be a VA," said Rives. "It's made me more perceptive, more sensitive and more knowledgeable. It's seriously one of the most rewarding things you can do in the military."

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Call the SARC hotline at 701-747-SARC (7272).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Former North Las Vegas Corrections Officer Indicted on Excessive Force and Obstruction Charges

The Department of Justice today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Las Vegas has indicted a former North Las Vegas corrections officer on federal civil rights and obstruction of justice charges.   Stuart Barlow Johnson, 47, was indicted on one count of violating the victim’s civil rights by using excessive force on the victim and one count of obstruction of justice for falsifying an incident report in an attempt to cover up the incident.  
 
The indictment alleges that on Nov. 29, 2008, while acting as a corrections officer at the North Las Vegas Detention Center, Johnson assaulted an unnamed victim, identified as “D.H.,” resulting in bodily injury to D.H.   The obstruction count alleges that on the same day, Johnson knowingly falsified a document with the intent to impede, obstruct and influence the investigation and proper administration of a matter within the jurisdiction of the FBI.
 
If convicted, the defendant faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the civil rights count and a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the obstruction count.
 
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
 
This case is being investigated by the Las Vegas division of the FBI.   It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Dickinson of the District of Nevada and Trial Attorneys Ryan Murguía and Patricia Sumner of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Identity Theft Concerns Drive Social Security Number Program

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013 – The loss of personally identifiable information -- such as Social Security numbers -- is a concern throughout the Defense Department, the director of the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Office said last week.

"When people lose control of the Social Security number and other personally identifiable information, they really are susceptible to identity theft," Michael E. Reheuser said during an April 19 interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

The department’s Social Security number reduction program is intended to help protect the privacy of DOD employees, he said.

"We're asking every component to look at the way it uses Social Security numbers and see if they can voluntarily reduce [that],” Reheuser said.

As that effort goes on within DOD’s components, Reheuser said, his office will be working in the coming years to help in reducing the use of Social Security numbers in systems that work across multiple components. One way that reduction will occur is through the use of DOD identification numbers, he said.
Similar to the service numbers issued to military personnel until 1969, 10-digit Electronic Data Interchange Personal Identifier numbers will be used to replace Social Security numbers in record tracking systems whenever possible.

"There are certain times where we have to use the Social Security number -- for example, when we're dealing with the Internal Revenue Service and other tax issues,” Reheuser said. “But,” he continued, “there are plenty of times when we need an identifier, but we don't need that Social Security number, and that's where the new EDIPI will come in."

Everyone entitled to a common access card will get an EDIPI, Reheuser said.

As CACs expire, they will be replaced with cards containing the EDIPI, he said. "The idea is that we keep it limited to uses within the Department of Defense, so we don't create a new Social Security number and have the same issues with identity theft in the future."

Developed by the Defense Manpower Data Center, EDIPI numbers are assigned for life and have numerous uses. For example, medical activities use them to track patients and patient records and to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. They also are part of DOD's public-key infrastructure certificates, which are encoded into the Common Access Card and -- in combination with a password -- grant access to DOD information systems.

The department intends to implement technology to prevent Social Security and credit card numbers from leaving DOD networks via email, Reheuser said. A blocking tool would identify those numbers and let senders know they need to encrypt the email or take out the numbers, he added.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Two Atlanta Men Plead Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Against Gay Man

Case Marks the First Convictions in Georgia for Violations of the Sexual Orientation Provision of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act 
 
Christopher Cain, 19, and Dorian Moragne, 20, both of Atlanta, pleaded guilty today in federal court to beating a man because of his sexual orientation.
 
According to information presented in court, Cain, Moragne and a juvenile, all associated with the Jack City street gang, targeted a 20-year-old gay man on Feb. 4, 2012, as the man left a grocery store in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood.   Cain punched the victim in the head and pushed him to the ground.   Cain, Moragne and the juvenile surrounded the victim and repeatedly punched and kicked him while the group yelled anti-gay epithets, including “No f****** in Jack City.”   Moragne then picked up a tire and struck the victim with it.  The group also stole the victim’s cell phone.   A fourth person, also with the defendants, recorded the assault using a cell phone. The video footage was posted to the internet.  
 
“Hate-fueled violence will not be condoned,” said Roy L. Austin Jr., Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will use all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.”
 
“Using violence against another person because of his or her sexual orientation has no place in our civilized society. The Department of Justice is committed to aggressively enforcing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to prosecute acts motivated by hate,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
 
Cain and Moragne admitted to violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal jurisdiction to include certain assaults motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation.   The federal hate crimes law criminalizes certain acts of violence motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender or gender identity.   This case is the first in Georgia to charge a violation of the sexual orientation provision of this federal hate crimes law.  
 
Last year, Cain, Moragne and the juvenile, who was considered an adult under Georgia law, were prosecuted in Fulton County, Ga., Superior Court for offenses that did not include a hate crime.  In state court, Cain and Moragne were sentenced to a term of 10 years in prison, suspended upon the service of five years.  As part of their plea agreement, federal prosecutors recommended that their federal and state sentences run concurrently.
            
This case is being investigated by special agents of the FBI and investigators with the Atlanta Police Department.   The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Nicole Lee Ndumele of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Alan Gray.

Florida Man Indicted on Drug Conspiracy and Sex Trafficking Charges

A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Andrew Blane Fields, 62, of Lutz, Fla., with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, namely Oxycodone, Dilaudid and Morphine; three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; and two counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.   If convicted on all counts, Fields faces a maximum of life in federal prison.
 
According to allegations in the indictment and criminal complaint, at least as early as 2008 through the end of 2012, Fields engaged in the sex trafficking of three different victims for commercial gain, who are identified in the indictment by their initials.   Fields coerced and controlled the victims by, among other methods, supplying them on a daily basis with a large number of highly addictive prescription drugs. During the execution of a federal search warrant, law enforcement recovered thousands of prescription pills from Fields’ residence. Fields was previously charged by criminal complaint on March 20, 2013.
 
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
 
This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations with the assistance of the Clearwater, Fla., Police Department and members of the Clearwater Area Human Trafficking Task Force. It will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Josephine W. Thomas and Trial Attorney William E. Nolan with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Attempted Murder Suspect Arrested by U.S. Marshals Task Force



Memphis, TN - Yesterday the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force (GCRFTF), in conjunction with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI), the Lauderdale Sheriff’s Office and the Ripley Police Department, was able to locate and arrest attempted first degree murder suspect Darius Mitchell.

On March 23 Mitchell allegedly chased down a vehicle and shot the driver in the face. After being charged with attempted first degree murder by the Henning Police Department, Mitchell was added to the TBI top ten most wanted fugitive list. The case was subsequently investigated by members of the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Information was developed that the fugitive was located at an address in Ripley, TN. The Task Force and members of the Ripley Police Department and Lauderdale County Sheriff’s office surrounded the house. Mitchell attempted to flee out the back of the house when Task Force members entered the front of the house, but upon seeing that there was no escape he reentered the house and was taken into custody without further incident. He was transported to the Lauderdale County Jail.

The U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force is a multi-agency task force with divisions in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The Western Tennessee Division of the GCRFTF has offices in Memphis and Jackson, and its membership is primarily composed of Deputy U.S. Marshals, Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies, Madison County Sheriff’s Deputies, Jackson Police Officers, and the Tennessee Department of Corrections Special Agents. The primary mission of the Task Force is to arrest violent offenders and sexual predators.

Acadiana's Most Wanted Nabbed in Philadelphia

Lafayette, LA – Wade Lohse was arrested this afternoon by the U.S. Marshals’ Eastern Pennsylvania Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force in downtown Philadelphia at 1:10 p.m. (CST). This arrest concludes an extensive fugitive investigation that began on March 25th when Lohse fled his trial on charges of Vehicular Homicide, Felon in Possession, and Burglary in Lafayette Parish.

The arrest occurred without incident near the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia. This fugitive investigation spanned three weeks and included multiple law enforcement offices from Texas to Pennsylvania.

Henry Whitehorn, the United States Marshal for the Western District of Louisiana, said, “The coordinated effort of all law enforcement to bring dangerous criminals to justice ensures that the streets and neighborhoods of Louisiana are a safer place to raise our children.”

The Western District of Louisiana’s Violent Offender Task Force (VOTF) in Lafayette is a team comprised of full-time law enforcement officers from the Lafayette City Marshals, Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Lafayette Police Department, St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Louisiana Probation and Parole. Further, VOTF calls upon part-time TFO’s throughout its eight parish area. In 2012 VOTF in Lafayette closed nearly 400 Warrants, most of which were violent felony offenses. US Marshals Task Forces throughout the United States arrested more than 86,000 state and local fugitives on felony charges

Virginia Fugitive Arrested by U.S. Marshals in Vermont




Burlington, VT - The U.S. Marshals Service Vermont Violent Offender Task Force (VVOTF) arrested a Virginia fugitive who was wanted for a multitude of sexual crimes against a child.

Walter Montenegro, 38, of Burlington, Vermont was arrested in the evening hours on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Burlington when located by Deputy U.S. Marshals and Vermont State Police. Montenegro has been on the run since the end of March, 2013 and his whereabouts were unknown. Four felony warrants for Montenegro were issued at the end of March, 2013 by the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia, charging him with: Indecent liberties with a child; Use of a communication system to solicit a child under 15; Solicitation of a child under 15 to perform child pornography and possession of child pornography with intent to distribute.

The U.S. Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Task Force contacted the VVOTF in late March and asked for assistance in locating and apprehending Montenegro.

Montenegro was held on a $50,000 bail last night and lodged at the Chittenden County Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington, VT. He is expected to go before a Vermont Superior Court judge in Chittenden County today as a Fugitive from Justice.

Montenegro’s arrest was a result of a culmination of investigative efforts by the U.S. Marshals VVOTF, the Vermont State Police and the U.S. Marshal Service, Capital Area Regional Task Force in Virginia.