Archive for the ‘Criminal Justice’ Category

Minuteman group talked of shutting down Arizona freeway

By Nick R. Martin | Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 | 12:20 am | 3 Comments »
Read the leaked memo
This U.S. Border Patrol memo leaked by hacker group LulzSec says a Minuteman group talked about shutting down a stretch of Arizona freeway in 2010.

Click for two-page PDF.

U.S. Border Patrol memo leaked by LulzSec

Federal agents were warned last year that a Minuteman group was planning to shut down a large section of freeway in central Arizona in an attempt to catch smugglers crossing through the desert, according to a secret law enforcement memo leaked last week.

The April 28, 2010 memo said the U.S. Border Patrol had received information that the group, which went by the name “A Concerned Citizen,” was recruiting people to help it shut down part or all of a 30-mile stretch of Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend.

The group reportedly wanted to carry out the operation to show support for Arizona’s strict new immigration law, known as SB1070, which had been signed by Gov. Jan Brewer five days prior.

The document didn’t say where the Border Patrol got its information, but it was clear the agency was worried about the development. It said the “tone of this information is quite unlike” that of better-publicized operations by Minuteman groups that had patrolled the borderlands.

“If this new operation happens,” the memo said, “there could be potential for human rights violations and a possibility of violence between armed civilians and smugglers or with law enforcement.”

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Leaked memo shows Border Patrol found roadside bomb along smuggling route

By Nick R. Martin | Monday, June 27th, 2011 | 12:14 am | 1 Comment »

Roadside bomb found by a US Border Patrol agent
Documents leaked by hacker group LulzSec reveal a U.S. Border Patrol agent discovered a roadside bomb planted along a smuggling route west of Tucson in 2009.

Read the leaked memo
This memo, leaked by hacker group LulzSec, reveals the U.S. Border Patrol discovered a roadside bomb along an Arizona smuggling route in 2009.

Click for two-page PDF.

Pima County Sheriff's Department memo leaked by LulzSec

A U.S. Border Patrol agent discovered a roadside bomb planted in the dirt along a known smuggling route west of Tucson in 2009, according to a secret memo leaked during last week’s hacking of Arizona Department of Public Safety email accounts.

The May 2009 memo, written by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad and marked “not for public or media dissemination,” said the explosive detonated during the subsequent investigation. The document didn’t say whether anyone was hurt in the explosion.

The memo said the device appeared to be “moderately complex” in its construction. It was made out of pipe and wrapped in wires.

It was unclear to investigators at the time who planted the bomb or why. Law enforcement officers patrolling the area were told to be extra careful and to look out for similar devices. The investigation was handed off to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the FBI.

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Sheriff wants neo-Nazi group to stay away from Pinal County

By Nick R. Martin | Saturday, June 19th, 2010 | 1:43 pm | 2 Comments »

Paul Babeu
Paul Babeu

Sheriff Paul Babeu made it clear Friday he wants an armed group of neo-Nazis to stay out of Pinal County, but acknowledged there is nothing he can do to stop them.

The sheriff was concerned with reports that the group, led by J.T. Ready of the National Socialist Movement, was planning to set up camp this weekend in the vast desert south of Phoenix to hunt for drug and human smugglers.

“Not only did we not ask for, we do not want any activity by a neo-Nazi, racist group,” Babeu said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “This group that’s here — it really is not helpful.”

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Neo-Nazi who called for landmines on border heads to the desert, armed

By Nick R. Martin | Friday, June 18th, 2010 | 12:03 am | 4 Comments »

Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready
Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready talks about his plan to patrol the Arizona desert. Courtesy KPNX

See the flier
This is the flier neo-Nazi J.T. Ready handed out at the “Stand With Arizona” rally on May 29. Contact information on it has been redacted by Heat City.

Click for larger image.
Neo-Nazi border flier

Just three weeks ago at a tea party rally in Tempe, he handed out fliers calling for landmines to be placed along the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing into Arizona.

Now, neo-Nazi J.T. Ready says he plans to lead an armed group into the desert south of Phoenix this weekend to put a stop to what he called “narco-terrorists.”

Ready appeared decked out in camouflage during an interview Wednesday with KPNX (Channel 12). He showed off a stockpile of guns and ammunition he plans to take with him and claimed his group will stake out an area of Pinal County that drug smugglers use as a route to bring “chemical warfare into Phoenix.”

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Federal agents join investigation into explosive thrown at house of gov's aide

By Nick R. Martin | Monday, April 12th, 2010 | 4:16 pm | No Comments »

Federal agents are helping investigate who threw a Molotov cocktail at the house of one of Gov. Jan Brewer’s aides overnight.

Special agent Tom Mangan said investigators with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were at the Peoria home of governor’s spokesman Paul Senseman, whose garage was hit with the explosive while he and his family slept. The attack caused some damage to the garage door but did not set the house on fire.

Mangan declined to speculate on a motive for the attack, which was first reported this afternoon by the Arizona Republic. He referred all other questions to Peoria police, who were also being assisted by the state Department of Public Safety.

Jail was no place for detention officer Stoddard, appeals court says

By Nick R. Martin | Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 | 2:13 pm | 25 Comments »

Adam Stoddard
Adam Stoddard

Maricopa County detention officer Adam Stoddard should have never been sent to jail for sneaking a document from the confidential files of a defense attorney, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled today.

A three-judge panel decided [PDF] that, while Stoddard’s actions did break rules of the court, forcing him to spend time behind bars because he refused to hold a news conference and publicly apologize for his actions was too harsh a penalty. The judges sent the case back to the lower court to find a new, lighter punishment for the detention officer.

“We’re happy,” said Stoddard’s attorney, Tom Liddy, after the decision was published. “Ordering a press conference was absurd. We knew it. They knew it.”

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Another 2 bomb threats shut down Maricopa County courthouse

By Nick R. Martin | Friday, January 8th, 2010 | 12:45 pm | 2 Comments »

A pair of bomb threats shut down part of Maricopa County’s main courthouse this morning, about five weeks after a string of similar threats disrupted the local justice system over several days.

Two separate threats were made to one of the court’s main towers, known as the East Court Building, sometime after it opened this morning, according to the court’s highest ranking judge, Barbara Rodriguez Mundell.

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Reports: Federal grand jury looking at possible charges against Arpaio, deputy

By Nick R. Martin | Thursday, January 7th, 2010 | 6:24 pm | 3 Comments »

A federal grand jury is examining possible criminal charges against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, according to reports by two Phoenix television stations.

KPHO (Channel 5) and KPNX (Channel 12) both reported during their evening broadcasts that a grand jury is looking into accusations that Arpaio has abused his law enforcement power with criminal investigations of critics and political foes. The sheriff’s No. 2 man, Chief Deputy David Hendershott, is also targeted in the investigation, KPNX reported.

The stations said two of Maricopa County’s top appointed officials, County Manager David Smith and County Budget Director Sandi Wilson, received subpoenas to appear before the grand jury next week.

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Court halts Thomas and Arpaio's criminal case against Maricopa County judge

By Nick R. Martin | Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 | 11:35 pm | No Comments »

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe will get to breathe a little easier for the next couple of months.

A judge in neighboring Pinal County today put a temporary halt to the criminal case against him by Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Arizona Republic reported. The case is now on hold until the state Supreme Court decides whether to toss the charges for good.

Thomas and Arpaio have accused Donahoe, one of the most powerful judges in Maricopa County, of obstructing justice and taking bribes because he ruled against them in cases earlier this year.

At rally, lawyers call Maricopa County prosecutor 'a threat' to the rule of law

By Nick R. Martin | Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | 10:32 am | 7 Comments »

Lawyers of Maricopa County protest against prosecutor
A woman holds up a sign Monday outside of Maricopa County’s main courthouse as part of a large protest against prosecutor Andrew Thomas. Photo by Nick R. Martin

In his political campaigns, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has fashioned himself as a man of law, a prosecutor offering no tolerance to those who step past certain boundaries.

But on Monday, hundreds of lawyers gathered in front of the county’s main courthouse in downtown Phoenix to tell Thomas they believe he has crossed a line himself with his an ongoing war against some of the area’s most-powerful judges.

In recent weeks, the prosecutor has launched criminal investigations or leveled felony charges against several Superior Court judges, mostly for decisions they made from the bench.

“By your very conduct, Mr. Thomas, you have become a threat to the rule of law and to the very Constitution you swore to uphold,” attorney Tom Ryan shouted into the microphone, raising cheers and applause from the crowd. “You have made yourself a domestic enemy to our Constitution.”

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