Date: Sun, 27 Dec 1998 00:34:29 EST


Re: Federal Prosecutorial Tyranny

Please follow the:

Citizen's Protection Act of 1998 as it passes through the Congressional Hearings and Committees this winter. My sources tell me it is that it is being watered down by the Senate.

The Act is HR 3396 and is also referred to as The McDade-Murtha Bill and The Citizens Protections Act of 1998. It was attached to the
Appropriations Bill and passed along with that Bill in August. Fortunately, it's sponsors also retained the Bill as HR 3396 and it is passing along as HR3396 with Congressional Hearings

It the Appropriations Bill it is attached as Title 8. This is one of the best kept secrets of the year. How many of you have read about it in your newspaper?

This bill under attack and is opposed by:

1) The Department of Justice
2) The FBI
3) The National Director of Drug Control Policy
4) The Faternal Order of Police
5) National District Attorney's Association
6) National Association of U. S. Attorney Generals
7) many former members of the above associations who are now members of the
House of Representratives.
8) The National Sherrif's Associaiton

This Citizen's Protection Act was historically argued on the floor of the House of Representatives for 3 hours on August 5, 1998.

This act proposes to limit Federal Prosecutors by telling them:
1) Don't lie to the Court!
2) Don't withhold exculpatory evidence!
3) Don't intimidate witnesses or color his testimony!
4) Don't leak information! (How many lives/families/careers have been ruined by this unethical tactic of the Department of Justice?)

5) Don't buy testimony!
6) Don't offer leniency for testimony!

Unfortunately, we know all too well what can happen to an important bill with this many National Associations lobbying against it!

Dianna Joyce Roberts, Former Candidate
for Chair of the Board of County Commissioners, Multnomah County Portland, Oregon

--------- End forwarded message ----------



Use the following toll-free numbers to reach any Congresscritter. Call not only your own, call as many of them that you can.

Use this web site to locate any Congresscritter.

Type in the your zip code and be connected to your Congresscritters office free
of charge.

Call 1- 800-361-5222, ext 90001 which connects you to the Capitol Switchboard, where you can request to be connected to the office of any Congresscritter.

TELEPHONE NUMBER TO CONGRESS: 1-800-335-4949 ask operator for your Congresscritter

For more details visit our website. Next Pdx NORML meeting is Wed., Jan. 27th at Phantom Gallery; 3125 SE Belmont Street, Portland, metro bus route 15. Thx!

Perry Stripling
Asst. Director
Subj: [cp] HR3396, Date: 12/27/98 9:42:52 AM
From: (Margi Crook), Reply-to: (Cannabis

Call your reps! If you have never done it before, CALL THEM ON THIS ONE! MAKE THE TIME! Pass this on to everyone you know! It is time to reign in the over zelous morons who think THEY are in charge and show them that WE THE PEOPLE are in charge! Just do it!

P.S. Use the following toll-free numbers to reach any Congresscritter. Call not only your own, call as many of them that you can. Use this web site to locate any of "them" > or 1-800-343-3222
Type in the your zip code and be connected to your Critters office free of charge. Call 1- 800-361-5222, ext 90001 which connects you to the Capitol Switchboard, where you can request to be connected to the office of any "them". TELEPHONE NUMBER TO CONGRESS: 1-800-335-4949 ask operator for your Congresscritter

David E. Parsons
Home Page: >




Law to Curb Federal Prosecutors




tooloo <>


Posting History

Justice is said to be blind, but apparently she opens her eyes and sees the light sometimes.

Law to curb federal prosecutors effective
Sunday, April 18, 1999
By Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Legislation aimed at curbing abuses by
overzealous federal prosecutors becomes law
tomorrow, despite repeated efforts to derail it by
the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Sen.
Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate
Judiciary Committee.
"Win at all costs"
They say the bill will hamstring federal
crime-fighting efforts, a notion proponents scoff
at. First sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Murtha,
D-Johnstown, and former U.S. Rep. Joseph
McDade, R-Scranton, the Citizens Protection
Act was approved by a 345-82 vote in the
House last fall. One of its key provisions --
requiring federal prosecutors to adhere to local
ethics rules in the states in which they operate
-- was then attached to the budget bill that
passed the Senate. Murtha believes that the bill
will be a first legislative step in eliminating some
of the abuses detailed in the Post-Gazette's
series "Win At All Costs," which was published
in November and December. Murtha mailed a
copy of the series to each member of
It also has become a subject of controversy in
federal and state prisons. In at least two federal
prisons, inmates -- many of whom were
featured in the 10-part series -- were placed in
solitary confinement for as long as 35 days after
they were accused of either causing security
risks by possessing and/or distributing the
series or of causing security problems for
themselves by being in the series. It was
banned, for a short time, in a Pennsylvania

state prison after it was deemed a "security"
issue. Reprisals for series?
Hatch, with strong Justice Department lobbying,
has made two recent moves to delay
enforcement of the law over the past month.
First, he introduced an amendment to a
spending bill in the Senate that would have
postponed enactment of it for six months. The
position of Hatch and the Justice Department is
that the law will hamstring the government's
get-tough-on-crime efforts and cause chaos
among prosecutors who will face ethics rules
that differ from state to state. One specific
provision in the law says prosecutors are
forbidden from conducting interviews with
potential witnesses outside the presence of
their lawyers. Opponents of the law say that will
compromise investigations. After his first effort
was rebuffed, on March 26, Hatch introduced
another bill that would have postponed the law
and tried to bring it to a voice vote on the
Senate floor. He could not elicit enough support
to bring the matter to a vote. Brian Steel, a
Justice Department spokesman, refused last
week to discuss specifics of the last-minute
lobbying effort to postpone enactment of the
law. "The Department of Justice is proceeding
as if the Citizen's Protection Act will go into
effect on April 19," he said. Since the
Post-Gazette series was published, the only
people sanctioned for improper conduct have
been some of the same people who tried to
expose corruption in the law enforcement
system. For Peter Hidalgo, who says he was a
scapegoat for Florida drug dealers who pinned
their drug running scheme on him, the
Post-Gazette series led to a 23-hour-a-day
lock-down in his cell for more than a month. In
an interview for the series, Hidalgo, who is
serving a life sentence after a conviction in
connection with a 930-pound cocaine
smuggling venture, complained that misconduct
had permeated his case and those of his
co-defendants. He and his co-defendants have
filed papers in court alleging that the
government withheld information from him
about witnesses in his trial who received huge
sums of money from the government for their
testimony and that the government withheld
some evidence of heinous criminal conduct
perpetrated by witnesses against him. Hidalgo
argues that the government's own surreptitious
tapes of the drug operation, which never
implicated him in the crime, showed that some
of these witnesses not only arranged the drug

deal but also supervised it. He contends that
these same witnesses were involved in the
disappearance of 50 1/2 pounds of cocaine
seized in the drug raid. The missing drug issue
was never presented to the jury because a
prosecutor convinced a judge that none was
missing. After the trial, Hidalgo learned that the
government had other surveillance tapes and
witnesses that showed federal authorities knew
about the missing drugs. Prosecutors called
Hidalgo the crafty kingpin of the conspiracy who
carefully insulated himself from actions of
people directly involved in the large drug
conspiracy. Had he agreed to a plea bargain,
Hidalgo would have served no more than nine
years in prison. Fighting for his innocence
against paid witnesses, some of whom also
were allowed to keep their drug-gleaned assets
while escaping hefty prison sentences, resulted
in a life sentence for Hidalgo. Hidalgo was
moved from the Federal Detention Center in
South Florida after he was interviewed for the
series. He is now at the U.S. Penitentiary at
Leavenworth, Kan. On Jan. 8, Hidalgo was
locked down in the special housing unit, known
as "the hole," for 35 days after prison officials
received copies of the Post-Gazette stories that
focused on Hidalgo. Hidalgo, in letters and
phone calls, said he was told he was locked
down for his own safety. "Once they were able
to read the story for themselves, they saw there
was no threat to me. I was fighting my case, not
cooperating with the government," he said. He
was released back into the general population
in Leavenworth Feb. 11. Security problems
At the Federal Correctional Institution at Miami,
Ramon Castellanos also was locked down for
almost 20 days in early January along with
three others because of the series. He was
charged with possessing and distributing copies
of the series in the prison. Prison officials said
possession and distribution of the articles could
cause a security problem for other inmates, a
violation of prison rules. Castellanos denied any
improper conduct, providing the newspaper with
copies of logs that show he was not even in the
areas of the prison where copies can be made
on the days he was accused of violating prison
rules by copying and distributing the series to
other inmates. The U.S. Department of Justice's
Federal Bureau of Prisons Program Statement
on Incoming Publications specifies that
newspaper clippings from any source are
allowed in federal prisons. In the Post-Gazette

series, Castellanos provided detailed
information about a scam known as "jumping on
the bus." In the scheme, prisoners obtain
confidential information on federal crime
suspects, memorize it, then offer to corroborate
the testimony of other government witnesses
before a grand jury or at the suspect's trial. The
criminals who employ this scam, and who
usually buy the evidence from other inmates,
often receive dramatic reductions in their
sentences. The practice of essentially
condoning perjury is widespread, the
Post-Gazette found. Castellanos said in a letter
that after he and three others were locked
down, two corrections officers told him, "Several
U.S. attorneys [and private attorneys] were
worried about some of their clients [imprisoned
at FCI-Miami], because of the newspaper
articles." Eventually, prison staff determined
that Castellanos caused an inflammatory
situation by showing the newspaper articles to
others. The newspaper clips and other
jump-on-the bus documents he had were
confiscated by prison officials, he said. He was
released from the segregation unit in late
Warden flip-flops
Justice spokesman Steel said privacy statutes
prohibited him from discussing specific
disciplinary cases in the U.S. Bureau of
Prisons. But he made this general comment:
"It's not the intent nor the policy of the BOP to
restrict or limit inmate access to subscribe to or
to receive publications or newspapers.
However, in situations where inmates within a
correctional facility may jeopardize institution
security or inmate safety by distributing any
material, institution staff must take appropriate
action. ... We can tell you that no disciplinary
action has been taken against any inmate for
having copies of the story." Steel said that
under prison policy, an inmate could be placed
in 23-hour lock-down while an investigation is
undertaken. He said that was not considered
discipline. The series also was banned for a
time by the superintendent of the State
Correctional Institution Mahanoy in Eastern
Pennsylvania. An inmate named Kenneth
Davenport was prohibited from receiving copies
of the series that he ordered from the
newspaper. Davenport, serving a life prison
term for the murders of members of his family in
the late 1960s, ordered the series after reading
the opening three installments in the prison
library, where the newspaper is collected every
day. But when the final seven installments
were mailed to him, the prison's Incoming
Publication Review Committee confiscated
them. Davenport, who was a co-plaintiff in a
lawsuit that caused the federal court to take
over the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh
in the 1980s because of inhumane prison
conditions, filed a grievance. It was rejected by
Martin L. Dragovich, superintendent of the
prison, even though he acknowledged in his
ruling that the newspapers had been displayed
in the prison for months before Davenport
received his copies. After the Post-Gazette
questioned state Department of Corrections
officials about the action, especially because
the series did not deal with any cases involving
Pennsylvania state prisoners, Dragovich
re-examined his decision in the Davenport
situation. In a memo April 14, about a week
after the newspaper questioned the action,
Dragovich changed his decision. "Upon review
of the above captioned matter, the decision has
been made to permit the Internet copies of the
'Win At All Costs' newspaper series to be
permitted into the institution inasmuch as it has
already been run in the Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette," Dragovich said. Davenport was
told in the memo that he would receive the
copies of the story taken from him
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