Tag Archives: Investigation

Sandra Bland Investigation Falling Apart

Looks like the investigation into Sandra Bland’s death  has been derailed….

The Sandra Bland Investigation Is In Trouble

Sandra Bland

On July 13, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, three days after being arrested over a traffic stop gone wrong. Sheriff Glenn Smith, who oversees the county jail and had been fired from a previous job after allegations of racism and police brutality, promised an all-access, top-to-bottom investigation to uncover what happened to Bland. He set up an “independent” commission to review the sheriff’s department. Smith tapped Paul Looney, a local criminal defense lawyer, to lead the probe and to pick the commission’s other members.

“The whole nation, the whole world is looking at us,” the sheriff said.

But from the beginning, Looney’s investigation was beset by a conflict of interest: His law firm had a financial relationship with Carbett “Trey” Duhon III, Waller County’s top elected official — and the man who’d likely have to write the Bland family a large check out of county funds if that inquiry turned up wrongdoing. (Duhon, who referred clients to Looney in exchange for a monthly retainer, has since severed that relationship.)

Now, despite Waller County officials’ vows, Looney says his panel isn’t looking for possible wrongdoing at all and is simply compiling recommendations that Smith can “throw in the trash” if he chooses.

“I am not looking forward to sharing this information with the Reed-Veal and Sandra Bland family at all,” Cannon Lambert, a Bland family attorney, said when told about Looney’s comments. “I am dreading this conversation. It’s stunning.”

Duhon, for his part, clearly recognizes the value to Waller County of a fair investigation by an untainted commission. “To avoid the appearance of impropriety,” he told The Huffington Post, he asked Looney to serve as a nonvoting member of the six-person panel. Duhon cited worries that “somehow I could influence the outcome of that investigation. That’s the insinuation that people have made.”

Looney agreed not to vote on the panel’s recommendations. He’s still running the probe.

Duhon, who was elected county judge in 2014, is relatively new to Waller County. He moved from suburban Houston a decade ago and started a solo law practice, doing a lot of title insurance work. He also began involving himself in the kinds of local groups and governance boards that ingratiate a new guy with the old guard, such as the chamber of commerce, a toll road authority and a sub-regional planning commission.

When the county judge slot opened up, Duhon won the Republican primary and then a gently contested general election last year. In Texas, a county judge, though properly addressed as “judge,” is not a judicial official. He’s the executive officer of county government and presides over the elected commissioners’ court, which is not a court but the county’s legislative body. In other words, Duhon straddles the executive and legislative branches of local government, much like a mayor who votes with the city council.

With the new job, his law practice got squeezed. “There’s only so many hours in a day,” Duhon said. “The county judge position in Waller County just absolutely requires an incredible amount of time, day in and day out.”

So from June 2015 — a month before Bland’s death — until Sept. 1, Duhon was “of counsel” at Looney & Conrad. What that meant, Duhon explained, is that Looney’s firm paid him a fixed amount each month, and in exchange he passed along potential clients he didn’t have time to help.

Despite his wide network in Waller County, Duhon told HuffPost he is “the anti-good ol’ boy.”


“I am not about sheltering elected officials or anyone else,” he said. “If people need to be responsible for their actions, they need to be responsible for their actions. I am not about to sacrifice my integrity for another elected official.”

Duhon wanted to be clear that he is not somehow profiting, or helping others profit, from the independent investigation run by Looney. He pointed out that Looney and the others on the panel are not being paid and that, in any case, the monthly retainer he received from the firm was not tied to its revenues. He also expressed hope that Looney serving as a nonvoting member would alleviate any suspicions about deals among political insiders.

The county judge is likely best-known for two ill-conceived tweets that he sent after Bland’s death. The first referred to “high levels of active THC in her system at time of death.” In the second, Duhon tried to explain why he mentioned Bland’s possible marijuana use by writing, “It goes to her mental state. Also relevant if she was self-medicating for depression.” He quickly deleted his Twitter account.

Concerns about potential conflicts posed by the county judge’s recent relationship with the law firm of the man probing the sheriff’s work cannot be so easily erased, for they go beyond private profit. Duhon writes the county budget, including funding for the jail and the sheriff’s department. (The commissioners’ court then votes on it.) Waller County collects about $1.23 million in fines a year — otherwise known as revenue — thanks in large part to the sheriff’s department. And county funds could take a serious hit, in the form of a settlement with the Bland family, if Looney’s investigation turns up civil rights violations, criminality by government employees or other wrongdoing.

Looney told HuffPost last week that Duhon’s ties to his firm posed no conflict of interest. He also said that their arrangement ended as of Sept. 1 because it was scheduled to run just three months.

Duhon has a slightly different take. He told HuffPost he ended the relationship because of an Aug. 3 advisory opinion from the chair of the ethics committee of the State Bar of Texas’ Judicial Section. Evelyn Keyes, who also sits on an appeals court in the Houston area, indicated that a county judge being of counsel to a law firm did indeed pose a conflict for that firm within that county’s courts.

Whatever the reason, Duhon’s departure seems to resolve the appearance of at least one conflict that hung over the Looney-led commission, leaving it free to uncover malfeasance and root out wrongdoing in the sheriff’s department and the Waller County Jail.

Waller County Courthouse

But that still isn’t what the commission is doing.

“We’re not trying to do an exposé,” Looney told HuffPost. “It’s more in the nature of a consultant report for the sheriff to use as he wants.”

Looney emphasized that his independent commission would make its report public at the same time the findings went to the sheriff — but the sheriff has sole discretion over what to do with the report. “He can read it or not read it,” Looney said. “If he wants to throw the whole thing in the trash can, he can.”

Duhon, who said he’s had no involvement with the panel since asking Looney to be a nonvoting member, had a different impression of its mission. “I was told early on that they would be doing a comprehensive review,” he said. “If that’s changed, that’s not anything I would have any knowledge of.”

According to Looney, the voting members of the commission are taking their jobs seriously and pursuing their review earnestly. “It’s kind of cool to see,” he said, although they are mostly just “observing and taking notes” at this point.

There is no deadline for Looney’s panel to finish its work. Meanwhile, local and outside critics have begun calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate potential civil rights violations in Bland’s case.

Unprompted, Duhon raised the possibility that the federal government could conduct its own inquiry.

“Waller County has been open to that since day one,” said Duhon. “We are OK with the Justice Department. We have never been opposed to that.”



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NYPD Fabricating Drug Arrests By Planting “Evidence”

It just doesn’t get much uglier than this. In a country which incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than even communist regimes…

The Police in the Big Apple have been found to be framing suspects to make drug arrests. The Big Apple certainly isn’t a stranger to crooked cops.

Kinda makes you wonder how prevalent this is around the country?

Former Detective Stephen Anderson, seen here in 2009, is testifying under a cooperation agreement with prosecutors.We fabricated drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas, former detective testifies

A former NYPD narcotics detective snared in a corruption scandal testified it was common practice to fabricate drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas.

The bombshell testimony from Stephen Anderson is the first public account of the twisted culture behind the false arrests in the Brooklyn South and Queens narc squads, which led to the arrests of eight cops and a massive shakeup.

Anderson, testifying under a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, was busted for planting cocaine, a practice known as “flaking,” on four men in a Queens bar in 2008 to help out fellow cop Henry Tavarez, whose buy-and-bust activity had been low.

“Tavarez was … was worried about getting sent back [to patrol] and, you know, the supervisors getting on his case,” he recounted at the corruption trial of Brooklyn South narcotics Detective Jason Arbeeny. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Domestic terrorism


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Formal Complaint to Judiciary Committee Filed Against Clarence Thomas

At least some folks are beginning to get serious on Capitol Hill.  Tommie Clarence’s “Pay for Justice” scheme may well be unraveling fast…

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Democrats, demand ethics probe of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

A group of liberal Democrats, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, will formally ask theHouse Judiciary Committee today to investigate “ethical lapses” by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

At issue is Thomas’ failure to report “at least $1.6 million” in earnings by his wife Virginia for her work at the conservative Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2007. Virginia Thomas has been one of the most vocal critics of the federal health care law. The Supreme Court will hear a case this term determining the law’s constitutionality.

The letter also asked the committee to examine “air travel and yacht stays and other gifts from wealthy supporters.”

“Reports of potential ethical lapses by Justice Thomas’s actions give rise to concerns about conflicts of interest undermining appellants’ rights of due process and also raise substantive questions about Justice Thomas’s ability to retain his seat,” said the letter, which was written by Blumenauer and will be delivered today.

“We urge that your committee hold hearings regarding the nature of these questions, their factual basis, and their potential to undermine the public’s trust in the Supreme Court,” it says.

During a news conference Wednesday, Blumenauer also said a similar letter will be sent to the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee in coming days.

“Nobody is unaccountable in our system of government and we need to take steps to make sure this is always the case,” he said. “These are fundamental questions about the administration justice and it doesn’t necessarily need to be partisan to make sure there are rules of the road for the Supreme Court.”

In January, Thomas eventually amended several years of financial disclosures he is required by law to file after media reports raised questions about the omission. Simultaneously he released letters saying his wife’s income was “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.”…

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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Black Conservatives


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Calls To Investigate Clarence Thomas Intensify

Don’t expect any Republicans to stand up for whats right on this one – but 20 Democrat Congressmen have called for an investigation into the questionable finances of Clarence Thomas, and “pay to play” justice at the Supreme Court.

The 5-4 Supreme Court - All the Justice You Can Afford

Clarence Thomas Should Be Investigated For Nondisclosure, Democratic Lawmakers Say

Democratic lawmakers on Thursday called for a federal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual financial disclosure forms.

Led by House Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), 20 House Democrats sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States — the entity that frames guidelines for the administration of federal courts — requesting that the conference refer the matter of Thomas’ non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice.

The letter outlines how, throughout his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Thomas routinely checked a box titled “none” on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income. But in reality, the letter states, she earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007 alone.

Slaughter called it “absurd” to suggest that Thomas may not have known how to fill out the forms.

“It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income,” Slaughter said in a statement. “To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation. To accept Justice Thomas’s explanation without doing the required due diligence would be irresponsible.”

The letter also cites a June report in The New York Times indicating Thomas may have regularly benefited from the use of a private yacht and airplane owned by real estate magnate Harlan Crowe and failed to disclose the travel as a gift or travel reimbursement.

Current law requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General any judge the conference “has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported.”

Slaughter’s press statement also notes that the Heritage Foundation was a prominent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, an issue the Supreme Court is expected to rule on by next summer.

“The Attorney General would be the appropriate person to investigate the issue of non-disclosure, and that is why my colleagues and I are making this request today,” Slaughter said. “I cannot determine guilt or innocence, but I can request that the government do our due diligence in investigating a situation that strikes me, and many other members of Congress, as suspicious.”

Other members of Congress on the letter include Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), John Olver (D-Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.).

Money, Honey… Indeed.


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Racist Republican Wants Congressional Hearings on Obama’s Uncle

You would think that, with the country in it’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, millions of Americans out of work losing their homes and falling into poverty…

That Congress could find something better to do with their time than spend millions of taxpayer dollars investigating Obama’s Uncle for his DWIs.

Obama’s Uncle is an alcoholic… Big freakin’ deal. Most families, if you dig deep enough have one or more members with “problems”. Nobody is going to deport a sitting President’s relative. Bush’s felonious brother Neal was made to “disappear” during his term – despite a number of questionable business dealings with folks who wound up in jail. In this country, sans capital murder or some other violent crime – the President’s family is pretty much immune in this country from persecution for petty crime or stupidity…

And especially Congress using them as a political weapon. Obama’s Uncle needs to be taken care of by local authorities by being sentenced to a rehab facility or jail – just like any other miscreant.

The real question is why does Congress let a racist Piece of Shit like King continue to serve?


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Investigation Finds Massive Problems in NOLA Police Department

One of the impacts of Katrina’s aftermath…

A Corrupt Beauty

Report Finds Wide Abuses by Police in New Orleans

Justice Department officials on Thursday released the findings of a 10-month investigation into this city’s Police Department, revealing a force that is profoundly and alarmingly troubled and setting in motion a process for its wholesale reform.

The report describes in chilling detail a department that is severely dysfunctional on every level: one that regularly uses excessive force on civilians, frequently fails to investigate serious crimes and has a deeply inadequate, in many cases nonexistent, system of accountability.

Using the report as a guideline, federal and local officials will now enter into negotiations leading to a consent decree, a blueprint for systemic reform that will be enforced by a federal judge.

“There is nobody in this room that is surprised by the general tenor and the tone of what this report has to say,” said Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans, at a news conference attended by city and federal officials.

But, added Mr. Landrieu, who publicly invited federal intervention in the Police Department just days after his inauguration in May, “I look forward to a very spirited partnership and one that actually transforms this Police Department into one of the best in the country.”

The city’s police chief, Ronal Serpas, said he fully embraced the report and would be going over its findings with senior leadership later in the day.

While the report describes an appalling array of abuses and bad practices, it does not address in detail any of the nine or more federal criminal investigations into the department. These inquiries have already led to the convictions of three police officers, one for fatally shooting an unarmed civilian and another for burning the body.

Justice Department officials chose to exclude the information gleaned in the criminal inquiries to keep a wall between those investigations and the larger civil investigation into the practices of the department. But there were more than enough problems left to uncover.

While other departments generally have problems in specific areas, like the use of excessive force, “New Orleans has every issue that has existed in our practice to date, and a few that we hadn’t encountered,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

The report reveals that the department has not found a policy violation in any officer-involved shooting for the last six years, though federal officials who reviewed the records found that violations had clearly occurred. The department’s canine unit was so badly mismanaged — the dogs were so aggressive they frequently attacked their handlers — that federal officials encouraged the department to suspend it last year even though the investigation was still under way.

The report details a record of discriminatory policing, with a ratio of arrests of blacks to whites standing at nearly 16 to 1. Calls for police assistance by non-English speakers often went unanswered.

The report also found that the police “systemically misclassified possible sexual assaults, resulting in a sweeping failure to properly investigate many potential cases of rape, attempted rape and other sex crimes.”


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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in American Genocide, Domestic terrorism


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Eleanor Holmes Norton on Republican Darrel Issa’s Need to Investigate


Representative Norton points out what happened the last time right-wing iseologues controlled Congress with a Democrat President.

Seems a lot of Republicans wound up having to retire early. Neut Gingrich and Bob Livingston just to mention two…

Does Issa really want to repeat history?

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Posted by on January 4, 2011 in Stupid Republican Tricks


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