Second Amendment ATF gets Spanked, HARD, in Federal Court.....

Discussion in 'Bill of Rights' started by BTPost, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Federal judge blasts ATF stings

    A federal judge in Los Angeles blasted ATF for sting operations that he said unfairly enlist people in a "made-up crime" by offering them a huge payday for robbing a non-existent drug stash house.
    • Judge accuses ATF of enlisting unsuspecting suspects in a 'made-up crime'
    • Order drops charges against a defendant in one Los Angeles sting
    • ATF more than quadrupled use of stash house stings

    A federal judge in Los Angeles blasted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for sting operations that he said unfairly enlist people in a "made-up crime" by offering them a huge payday for robbing a non-existent drug stash house.

    Declaring those tactics "outrageous" and unconstitutional, U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright took the unusual step last week of throwing out charges against a man arrested by ATF agents after one such sting.

    "Society does not win when the Government stoops to the same level as the defendants it seeks to prosecute — especially when the Government has acted solely to achieve a conviction for a made-up crime," Wright wrote. He said the stings have done little to deter crime and instead are "ensnaring chronically unemployed individuals from poverty-ridden areas."

    The ATF has quietly made those fictional stash-house robbery cases a central feature of its efforts to target violent criminals, more than quadrupling the number of stings it conducted over the past decade. Although the stings are meant to target some of the nation's most dangerous criminals, a USA TODAY investigation last year found they routinely ensnare small-time crooks who jump at the chance to score a small fortune from a few hours of work.

    "The time has come to remind the Executive Branch that the Constitution charges it with law enforcement — not crime creation. A reverse-sting operation like this one transcends the bounds of due process and makes the Government the oppressor of its people," Wright wrote in a scathing 24-page order.

    Wright's order, filed March 10, instructed federal officials to release Antuan Dunlap, who was arrested during an ATF sting in Los Angeles last year. Wright said agents had no evidence that Dunlap had been involved in drug house robberies in the past or that he would have participated in one had an undercover ATF agent not offered him the chance to steal as much as 25 kilograms of non-existent cocaine. He criticized the government for basing the severity of the charges Dunlap faced on the "whims" of federal agents and questioned whether the ATF's investigations have done anything to benefit public safety.

    "Zero. That's the amount of drugs that the Government has taken off the streets as the result of this case and the hundreds of other fake stash-house cases around the country. That's the problem with creating crime: the Government is not making the country any safer or reducing the actual flow of drugs," Wright wrote.

    Wright, a former deputy sheriff, was nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in 2007.

    An ATF spokesman declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation.

    It is unclear what effect Wright's order could have on other ATF sting cases. Although some judges have expressed reservations about the government's tactics, most have concluded that the stings don't amount to entrapment.

    A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles declined to comment. Prosecutors filed a notice Monday that they intend to appeal, a step that will require approval from Justice Department officials in Washington.

    Separately, federal courts in at least three states are weighing allegations by defense lawyers that the ATF stash house stings disproportionately target racial and ethnic minorities. U.S. District Court Judge Ruben Castillo wrote last year that there was "a strong showing of potential bias" in how ATF conducted those stings in Chicago.
  2. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    When it rains it pours.


    ATF hit with House subpoenas over botched storefront stings

    The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a subpoena to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives related to the agency's botched storefront gun stings.

    In a letter sent late Wednesday, Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa tells ATF Director B. Todd Jones he was issuing a subpoena for documents because the agency has failed to comply with repeated congressional requests for information.

    "After more than a year of promised cooperation, multiple letters to you and several unfulfilled document requests, I have no choice today but to issue the enclosed subpoena to compel the production of documents relevant to the Committee's investigation," the California Republican wrote.

    Issa set a March 31 deadline for complying with the subpoena.

    The Oversight Committee is conducting an investigation into the storefront operations, and the Department of Justice inspector general is doing his own investigation into the stings, both following a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigative report.

    The news organization found the agency used mentally disabled people to promote operations and then arrested them on drug and gun charges; opened storefronts close to schools and churches, boosting their arrest numbers and penalties; and attracted juveniles with free video games and alcohol.

    Agents paid inflated prices for guns, which led to people buying weapons at stores and selling them to undercover agents hours later, in some cases for nearly three times what they paid. In addition, agents allowed armed felons to leave their fake stores and openly bought stolen goods, spurring burglaries in surrounding neighborhoods.

    In Milwaukee, the Operation Fearless' lead undercover agent had three of his guns, including a machine gun, stolen from his car. The machine gun and a handgun remain missing, according to Milwaukee police.

    The subpoena sought all communications about the Operation Fearless received by the Monitored Case Program at ATF headquarters, operational plans and reports of investigation for undercover storefront operations done around the country, documents relating to authorization for agents to sell weapons during such stings, policies for conducting undercover storefront operations and reports of investigation for undercover storefront operations conducted between Jan. 1, 2010, and March 19, 2014, in Milwaukee; Portland, Ore.; Wichita, Kan.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Atlanta, Ga.

    At a hearing last month, ATF's second-in-command testified that he learned of problems in stings outside of Milwaukee from the Journal Sentinel report. He said new rules were in place to run such stings, but none were being conducted.

    Read more from Journal Sentinel: Watchdog Update - ATF hit with House subpoenas over botched storefront stings
    Follow us: @JournalSentinel on Twitter
  3. NWPilgrim

    NWPilgrim Monkey++

    Its always easier to sting and arrest the regular citizen or the homeless or petty thief. Doing it to real drug or arms criminals could be dangerous. They get funding to bust up violent crime then go target the otherwise innocent and go home safe and happy.
    Yard Dart and Georgia_Boy like this.
  4. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Until there are personally significant repercussions for their actions, there is no real motivation for the players to change their behavior. Prosecutors need to be fired and even disbarred for prosecutorial misconduct, agents terminated and personally fined or jailed before change will truly happen. A judge denouncing the ATF's actions is certainly meaningful for the involved defendant, but pretty inconsequential beyond that. They'll just tweak their playbook a bit to try and sidestep any precedent setting ruling and they'll run it again. Just sayin...

    Mountainman and oldawg like this.
  5. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    I'll withhold any statement until I see if anything comes of it! there is so much house cleaning to do in Washington!! :mad:
  6. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    You always wonder in hindsight, what if? Circa 1981-1984 I had a guy I had never seen before offer to sell me 2 full auto UZIs for $150 each. At the time the semi auto version was selling for $695 each in gun shops. This occurred in a bar while shooting pool and talking a bit too open about our feelings about Californication's oppressive gun purchasing laws and waiting period. I didn't bite. Seemed too damn good to be anything but a sting.
  7. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    @Dunerunner Is your avatar "Shop smart, shop S-Mart?"
    ditch witch and kellory like this.
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    You have a sharp eye, @VHestin, I was in that movie, and I missed that. ;)
  9. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    How could you miss the boom stick?
    kellory likes this.
  10. firekey

    firekey Monkey

    oh, yeah. Right, SO many of those batfags ended up shot or in prison over this. They really got spanked, all right.
  11. Georgia_Boy

    Georgia_Boy Monkey+++

    Dissolution of any of the ABC outfits would mean a tremendous tax savings for the American people and in many cases increase our freedom and lower the risks of being hurt by these unhelpful groups.
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