A major player in the struggle for control of the Sinaloa cartel just surrendered in the US

Damaso Lopez Serrano Mexico Sinaloa cartel

Damaso Lopez Serrano, the son of one of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s main henchmen and a competitor for control of the Sinaloa cartel, crossed the border and turned himself into US authorities on Wednesday.

Lopez Serrano reportedly crossed from Mexicali in Mexico’s Baja California state to Calexico in California, where he surrendered to the Customs and Border Patrol on Wednesday morning and was turned over to agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday afternoon.

“What we know is that he handed himself over yesterday (Wednesday). The case is now with authorities over there,” a Mexican security official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, told Reuters.

Lopez Serrano is the son of Damaso Lopez Nuñez, aka “El Licenciado,” a nickname typically given to holders of law degrees in Mexico. Lopez Nuñez, a former security official who also held several jobs in the Sinaloa state government, was a close deputy of Guzman, reportedly helping the cartel chief escape from a prison where he worked in 2001.

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman Mexico extradition jail Sinaloa cartel

His role in the escape burnished Lopez Nuñez’s status in the cartel, elevating him to the upper echelons of the organization, according to Mike Vigil, former chief of international operations for the DEA. Lopez Nuñez’s role in the government also underscored what many saw as the state’s complicity in the Sinaloa cartel’s rise to power.

In the wake of Guzman’s arrest in January 2016, the Lopezes became one faction in a fight to assume control of the Sinaloa cartel — a fight that has intensified since Guzman’s extradition in January this year.

They reportedly joined forces with the Jalisco New Generation cartel, vying with a faction led by Guzman’s sons, called the Chapitos, and with another led by members of the Beltran Leyva Organization, a one-time ally of the Sinaloa cartel. Guzman’s brother, Aureliano “El Guano” Guzman, appears to be in the mix as well.

Damaso Lopez

Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, Guzman’s partner and a cofounder of the Sinaloa cartel, is still involved in the cartel and is reportedly working with Guzman’s sons, though reports also indicate he is in poor health and not directly involved in cartel operations.

The strategy of the Lopezes — the younger one nicknamed “El Mini Lic” — included cyber warfare, according to Televisa, using bots and contacting hackers. The latter move proved to be the elder Lopez’s undoing, as the hacker contacted authorities and eventually helped them arrest him in Mexico City at the beginning of May.

Over the first half of this year, Sinaloa state saw 879 homicides compared to 524 over the same period last year, according to government data. (Though that data may undercount the number of killings.) The violence in the state seems to have intensified in the weeks since Lopez Nuñez’s arrest. During the first weekend of July, there were at least 30 killings — victims’ relatives allege that one incident involved the extrajudicial killing of 17 suspected criminals.

Damaso #Panteras #Armas #Damaso #MiniLic #MiniLicenciado #AhijadoConsentido #Rayo #CasiNada #NoPasaNada #EscuelaDamaso #FED

A post shared by Damaso Lopez Serrano (@damasojrminilic) on Jul 2, 2017 at 12:28pm PDT on
Jul 2, 2017 at 12:28pm PDT

Lopez Serrano got an early start in the Sinaloa cartel, reportedly leading Los Antrax, an armed faction of the cartel made up of young members. Much like Chapo’s sons, he appears to have documented his wealth and exploits on social media. Though, like the Guzmans, its not clear if the accounts attributed to him are actually his.

Lopez Serrano also has an apprehension order against him issued by the District Court for Southern California in October 2016, and it appears that recent developments on the ground in Mexico may have prompted him to surrender.

“The reason for surrender is he was being hunted by the Sinaloa cartel and ‘El Chapo’s sons [because of] his father’s attempt to take over the cartel,” Vigil told Business Insider. In addition to Lopez Nuñez’s partnership with the Jalisco New Generation cartel, the elder Lopez was also accused of orchestrating an ambush on Zambada and Guzman’s sons in February that killed several of their body guards.

Media in Sinaloa state, where Zambada, the Guzmans, the Lopezes are all from, have reported that Zambada may have been after Lopez Serrano and threatened him. Regarded as a “spoiled narco brat who never got his hands dirty,” Vigil said, Lopez Serrano was likely unable to protect himself by forging a partnership with the CJNG or by marshaling the armed force established by his father, prompting him to surrender.

Mexico Sinaloa Culiacan crime scene soldier military

Some reports indicate Lopez Serrano spent several days in a rural area near Mexicali before crossing the border to surrender. According to Televisa, Mexican authorities believe he did so in order to negotiate or to act as a protected witness. Vice News, citing sources with the Mexican defense secretariat’s second military region, reported that Lopez Serrano requested protection from the US government.

US officials are likely to look to Lopez Serrano for information on his father’s associates and the dealings of his cartel, Vigil said. He may also be called to take part in the trial of Guzman, which is slated to start in April 2018 in the Eastern District of New York.

The balance of power within the cartel remains unclear — though, according to El País, Lopez Serrano’s surrender appears to clear the way for Zambada, despite his purported frailty, to assume full control of the cartel he helped found and in which he has long been a partner.

“The leaders — under whatever circumstances — have always been Guzman Loera and Zambada Garcia,” local crime analyst Alejandro Sicairos told El País. “And while one of the two lives, he will continue operating with the same force.”

Mexico Sinaloa state Culiacan shooting killings violence

Even if that is the case, the Sinaloa cartel will still be under pressure not only from the government, but from its new chief rival, the ascendant Jalisco New Generation cartel.

The CJNG is contesting Sinaloa’s control of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, both valuable smuggling territories on the US border.

The group is also adding to the bloodshed in areas where Sinaloa has long been dominant, including Guerrero and Sinaloa states. In the latter, security officials have admitted that police are underequipped and ill-prepared to deal with the rising narco violence.

Lopez Nuñez remains in custody in Mexico, held in the same jail Guzman occupied before he was extradited. Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong has said Mexico is not considering extraditing him because he could be a valuable source of information regarding the Sinaloa cartel.

Lopez Nuñez himself appears disposed to extradition however, reportedly saying he would prefer making a deal with US authorities to potentially being killed in a Mexican jail.

SEE ALSO: ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s powerful Sinaloa cartel is withering while he sits in a US jail

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NOW WATCH: Here’s footage of ‘El Chapo’ arriving to the US

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“Criminal Minds” And Seoul To Start Joint Campaign Fighting Violence Against Women – soompi

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Criminal Minds” And Seoul To Start Joint Campaign Fighting Violence Against Women
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tvN's “Criminal Minds” will be joining the city of Seoul in a campaign to prevent violence against women. On July 31, the production team of “Criminal Minds” announced, “From August to September, we will raise awareness fighting violence against women …

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Federal prosecutor against Lindemuth's lawyers dropping out of case – Topeka Capital Journal

A federal prosecutor opposes the withdrawal of Kent D. Lindemuth’s defense attorneys from his criminal case just six weeks before Lindemuth’s trial is to start, citing an American Bar Association standard and their client’s opposition to their withdrawal.

On Friday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway filed the response to the motion of Kevin Babbit and William J. Skepnek to withdraw from the Lindemuth case or to postpone the trial.

“No legitimate purpose exists for the continuance,” Hathaway said, adding the Lindemuth attorneys have a $300,000 fee contract with Lindemuth, who has the resources to pay them.

As of Friday, a 114-count criminal case is scheduled to start on Sept. 12. The criminal case returns to federal court on Aug. 8 for U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree’s ruling on the motion to withdraw.

In seeking to withdraw, Skepnek said Lindemuth “has failed to pay his attorneys fees and expenses.” Skepnek said he is a one-lawyer law practice, and Babbit works in a small law firm, and both “cannot afford to bear the unreasonable financial burden of representing” Lindemuth.

Hathaway countered that the American Bar Association Standards for Criminal Justice and U.S. Court of Appeals case law require Skepnek and Babbit to continue representing Lindemuth.

The ABA Standards “emphasize that ‘counsel initially provided should continue to represent the defendant throughout the trial court proceedings,’ ” Hathaway’s response said.

Hathaway quoted case law as saying that non-payment of legal fees usually isn’t a sufficient basis to permit an attorney to withdraw from representing the client. In another case, the appeals court said the law requires an attorney to “continue to execute his professional and ethical duty to zealously represent his client.”

In the Lindemuth case, “there is no evidence of irreconcilable differences between (Skepnek and Babbit) and their client,” Hathaway said. “Instead, their dispute centers entirely around attorney fees.”

In opposing allowing the two defense lawyers to withdraw from the case or postponement of the trial, Hathaway said the Lindemuth trial was rescheduled once from May 8 to Sept. 12 at the request of the defense, the judge will have to find a three-week time frame in which to reschedule the trial , and that Hathaway consumed “substantial” resources preparing for the Sept. 12 trial.

On Monday, Crabtree made it clear he was leaning toward denying the motion of Skepnek and Babbit. Crabtree said he was “sort of taken aback” by their request. Defense attorneys “enter the case and they stay in the case,” Crabtree said.

On Wednesday, a third defense attorney, William J. Skepnek Jr., filed a notice of withdrawal of appearance from the Lindemuth criminal case.

On July 17, Lindemuth was in Shawnee County District Court during a hearing in the divorce case of he and his wife, Vikki Lindemuth, when he sought $200,000 to pay his criminal case attorneys and to hire experts to represent him in his criminal case.

All of Kent Lindemuth’s funds are part of the bankruptcy case, and he doesn’t have a separate fund to borrow from, his divorce attorney said. Shawnee County District Court Judge Evelyn Wilson asked what assurance Vikki Lindemuth would have that if he borrowed from the “marital fund,” she would get back the $200,000. His attorney said the net worth of the couple’s assets is $16 million to $20 million.

Wilson authorized up to a $200,000 payment to Kent Lindemuth’s criminal defense fund and ordered that it be cleared through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s trustee.

In all, Lindemuth is charged with 107 counts of bankruptcy fraud, six counts of money laundering, one count each of perjury and receipt of ammunition, and two counts of receipt of firearms. That totals 117 counts.

On Monday, the judge granted a defense motion to sever two counts of receipt of firearms while under indictment and one count of receipt of ammunition while under indictment.

Lindemuth will be tried on those three counts during a second trial soon after the first trial of 114 counts is completed, Crabtree said.

Contact reporter Steve Fry at (785) 295-1206 or @TCJCourtsNCrime on Twitter.

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'Irresponsible, unprofessional': NYPD slams Trump comments urging police not to be 'too nice' to suspects

trump police law enforcement

One day after President Donald Trump drew cheers and applause from a crowd of police officers by urging them not to be “too nice” to suspected criminals, the commissioner of the New York Police Department denounced Trump’s comments as sending “the wrong message.”

“The NYPD’s training and policies relating to the use of force only allow for measures that are reasonable and necessary under any circumstances, including the arrest and transportation of prisoners,” commissioner James O’Neill said in a statement.

“To suggest that police officers apply any standard in the use of force other than what is reasonable and necessary is irresponsible, unprofessional and sends the wrong message to law enforcement as well as the public.”

Trump had been addressing law enforcement officials in Brentwood, New York, on Friday when he departed from remarks on his administration’s efforts to dismantle the street gang MS-13, and began discussing the way officers lead suspects into police vehicles.

“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough,” Trump said. “I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.'”

He continued: “Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over. Like, ‘Don’t hit their head’ and they’ve just killed somebody.

“‘Don’t hit their head.’ I said, ‘You can take the hand away.’ OK?”

Trump’s comments come at a significant moment in police-community relations, particularly in New York City. The NYPD is among many departments across the country that has attracted national scrutiny over its use of force against civilians, particularly African-Americans.

One of the most prominent instances was the death of Eric Garner in 2014, who died after being placed in a banned chokehold by officer Daniel Pantaleo. A grand jury in Staten Island later declined to indict Pantaleo.

O’Neill had declined to send NYPD officials to Trump’s Long Island speech, telling reporters that the department was too busy with promotion ceremonies.

The department has had a rocky relationship with the Trump administration, particularly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April called New York City “soft on crime,” prompting O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio to publicly rebuke the comment.

But the NYPD was not the only police department to speak out against Trump’s Friday remarks encouraging violence against suspects. The Suffolk County Police Department, which sent officers to the speech, tweeted afterwards that it maintains strict regulations around the handling of prisoners.

“Violations of those rules are treated extremely seriously,” the department wrote. “As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.”

A spokesman for the Gainesville Police Department in Florida also drew widespread praise for his tweet condemning Trump’s remarks:

Watch Trump’s full remarks below: 

SEE ALSO: Trump slams China via Twitter: ‘They do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk’

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NOW WATCH: Listen to the leaked audio of Australia’s prime minister mocking Trump

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tvN Confirms “Criminal Minds” PD's Statement On Parting Ways With Show – soompi

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tvN Confirms “Criminal Minds” PD's Statement On Parting Ways With Show
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Producing director (PD) Lee Jung Hyo will be leaving tvN's Wednesday-Thursday drama “Criminal Minds.” On July 28, a source from tvN stated, “PD Lee Jung Hyo will be parting ways with 'Criminal Minds' due to having differences in opinion with the …

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Positively Philadelphia: A Criminal Defense By Lawyer Bill Myers Jr. – CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)A Criminal Defense is a fast selling legal thriller on Amazon written by Philadelphia lawyer Bill Myers Jr.

“In the book a young journalist is found dead,” said Myers Jr.

And a prominent Philadelphia businessman is accused of her murder. The book is not based on real people but is based on real places in the city.

Philadelphia attorney Bill Myers, Jr.

Philadelphia attorney Bill Myers, Jr. (credit Lauren Lipton)

“I talk about events that happen down at our criminal justice center,  characters go to local restaurants and they’re traveling down local streets,” said Myers Jr. “If you’re from Philadelphia you’ll  say, ‘I know that place. I know that place.”

Myers tries to take the reader behind the scenes of a real trial.

“When you’re trying a case, it’s like being on a roller coaster trying to juggle a bowling pin,” he said. “In the morning, you can have the jury in tears for your client but by the afternoon the jury could be looking at you and your client both with daggers.”

Myers says the city shines.

“I think it’s a great place to live, it’s a great place to work. I love it and I hope that comes across in the book,” said Myers Jr.

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Texas is shedding its lock-'em-up image thanks to a 37-year-old tattooed lawyer and an unlikely political alliance

nueces county district attorney mark gonzalez

Mark Gonzalez had never prosecuted a single case before he was elected district attorney of Nueces County, Texas, last November.

The 37-year-old self-described “Mexican biker defense lawyer” spent his first decade in law poking holes through bad cases and defending low-level offenders from what he viewed as unnecessary prosecutions and unduly harsh penalties. So when the 2016 election season approached, Gonzalez thought the Nueces County district attorney’s office was ripe for an overhaul.

To say Gonzalez isn’t the archetype for the chief criminal prosecutor for the southern Texas county is an understatement. He’s covered in tattoos — the words “Not Guilty” stretch from shoulder to shoulder in jagged type, and his left forearm is inked with a portrait of Moses because, as his clients say, “he sets people free.” He spends his free time riding one of his three Harley-Davidson motorcycles along the barren Texas highways with the Calaveras Motorcycle Club, a group some of his critics called a “biker gang.” And at 19, he was arrested for a misdemeanor, driving while intoxicated. He keeps his mugshot framed in his office.

But there he was on January 5, in a tiny courthouse in his hometown of Agua Dulce, sworn in while wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey in a private ceremony in front of his family.

Gonzalez’s inexperience and tattoos didn’t matter to Texans — they liked what he had to say.

Gonzalez beat a tough-on-crime 29-year Democratic incumbent and an experienced Republican prosecutor by calling for reform. He said he planned to eliminate a notorious court backlog by choosing cases more thoughtfully and making better and fairer deals with defendants. He spoke of offering treatment, education, and job training to low-level offenders rather than jail time, and refocusing police officers on serious crimes.

In short, he wanted to get “smart on crime.” And he’s far from alone in Texas, where the political conditions have allowed for a Republican-controlled legislature to push through a series of criminal-justice reforms.

Over the past decade, Texas, a state once infamous for its ruthless, lock-’em-up justice system — it had the country’s fastest-growing prison population throughout the 1990s — has staked out a hard-earned, bipartisan consensus: The state’s bursting prison population has been expensive, counterproductive in reducing crime, unsatisfying for victims, and devastating for the families and communities of the incarcerated.

“It was perfect timing,” Gonzalez told Business Insider of his surprise election win. “People realized what we were doing wasn’t working, so what do we have to lose by trying something different?”

‘This is not a Republican or Democratic issue’

texas prisonDoug Smith, a policy analyst at the left-leaning nonprofit Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, has dedicated his career to crafting reforms to help the incarcerated.

The Austin native has a personal stake in the battle. He would likely still be in prison if it weren’t for recent reforms implemented in Texas.

Smith, a former social worker and University of Texas at Austin professor, was imprisoned in 2009 on a 15-year sentence for a string of robberies that he says were the result of a crack-cocaine addiction and mental illness.

Three of those robberies had been committed while Smith was on probation, and although he hadn’t used a deadly weapon, he was sentenced harshly.

“I was about the worst risk you could think of, someone with a substance abuse disorder who has a relapse history and a revocation history,” Smith told Business Insider. “Not a great candidate for parole.”

But people like Smith — an educated, rehabilitated ex-offender with meaningful employment, dedication to treatment, and bright prospects — were exactly the reason legislators like Democratic state senator John Whitmire and Republican representative Jerry Madden introduced a bill in 2005 that launched Texas’ landmark attempt to overhaul its criminal-justice system.

In the mid-2000s, the Texas prison population was skyrocketing. Texas prisons filled to 97% capacity by 2005, with estimates suggesting the state would need room for 17,000 more inmates within a decade. By 2010, the population reached an all-time high of more than 170,000 state and federal inmates.

Madden and Whitmire argued that the situation was neither effective nor cost-efficient, and that expanding prisons wasn’t the answer. Their bill called for allocating millions to treatment programs and specialized supervision for probation, while also calling for a reduction in prison terms for certain probationers.

“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” Madden would later say of the legislation. “It’s about what’s smart for Texas.”

The bill, an adjusted version of which became law in 2007, kick-started a series of legislative efforts over the next decade that have dropped the prison population by about 10,000 inmates in five years and helped put people like Smith back on their feet.

Smith was released years early, in 2014, thanks to reforms that allowed for certain prisoners to be released, so long as they were placed under intensive supervision.

“While I was incarcerated, the idea that parole was a given, or that you would be given an opportunity for rehabilitation was unheard of. And I was in prison when this began to shift,” Smith said. “I was a beneficiary of that.”

Forging bipartisan consensus

marc levin right on crime texas public policy foundationUntil 2005, criminal-justice reform had been nearly impossible to pass in Texas, as was the case in many conservative states.

Reformers were derided as “soft on crime” while even popular bills ran into vetoes from Republicans like Gov. Rick Perry, budget crises, and tough-on-crime district attorneys, many of whom view securing harsh sentences as a metric of success.

But with Texas’s prisons bursting at the seams, legislators were faced with a choice: reduce incarceration with reforms or funnel billions into new prisons.

At the same time, a new movement emerged among conservatives, led by Marc Levin, the director of the Right on Crime campaign created by the right-leaning Texas Public Policy Foundation. Levin, an Austin-based attorney and public-policy expert, and other conservatives like him understood ideas such as addressing substance abuse with treatment rather than incarceration, and promoting parole, probation, and reentry programs, as inherent to conservative ideology, not antithetical to it.

Meanwhile, fiscal conservatives in the state had grown appalled by the taxpayer burden of funding and maintaining new prisons, while libertarians were cynical of the broad government power required to funnel vast numbers of Texans through prisons each year.

Social conservatives like Prison Fellowship, an evangelical Christian organization founded by Chuck Colson, a former Watergate-era felon, approached reform after witnessing through their prison-ministry programs how rarely inmates were given opportunities for redemption.

“You really had a point where the only thing that was standing against reform from the conservative perspective … would just be the muscle memory of being ‘tough on crime’ for decades,” Derek Cohen, the deputy director of Right on Crime, told Business Insider.

What propelled reform forward, however, was that those groups were able to join with liberals long clamoring for change in the Republican-controlled state. The movement formed the Texas Smart On Crime Coalition to push their agenda in the statehouse and, while the coalition is bipartisan, that doesn’t mean they agree on everything.

The movement can be thought of as a sort of Venn diagram. Liberals, conservatives, and religious groups each have their own reform plans, and they work together on issues where there is broad agreement, while still vehemently opposing one another where values diverge.

“This shows that just because it’s bipartisan doesn’t mean that it’s compromise,” Cohen said. “We’re retaining our perfect circles and just in the few places that they overlap, that’s where we’re working together.”

Common issues like bail reform, rehabilitation and treatment programs, and prosecuting youths through juvenile rather than adult courts are all fair game for collaboration. But issues like “mens rea reform,” or requiring more proof of a defendant’s culpable mental state, are more polarized. Similarly, en masse sentence reductions for drug crimes and “ban the box” initiatives — some of which impose civil or criminal penalties on employers that ask about applicants’ criminal histories — remain partisan battlefields.

criminal justice reform texas

Cohen said the key to unlocking reforms in Texas has been that most Americans, whether conservative or liberal, just want a system that works.

“They want a system that shows that that behavior is morally blameworthy … but also that which rehabilitates,” Cohen said. “There isn’t this monolithic, punitive impulse in Texas or in conservatives or liberals or anywhere in the country.”

Smith, the policy analyst for the left-leaning TCJC, recalled being incarcerated in Texas’ Huntsville Unit as the Texas reform movement turned bipartisan. When groups like Right on Crime began talking about how over-incarceration represses human potential and fails the communities it’s supposed to protect, Smith said he knew progress was coming.

“I’m reading about these things from the inside, and I can’t tell you how moved I was that this was the message that I was hearing from the conservative community,” Smith said.

Reform in the age of Trump

donald trump jeff sessionsTexas’ smart-on-crime crusade has come to be viewed as a model for conservative states like Louisiana, Georgia, and Kentucky, which all recently passed major reform packages.

Those efforts come even as President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have embraced a tough-on-crime agenda that has alarmed progressives and conservatives alike.

In May, Sessions directed US attorneys to seek the harshest charges and sentences against defendants and, last week, he rolled back Obama-era reforms to the policing practice known as civil-asset forfeiture — a way for the federal government to seize the assets of citizens suspected of criminal activity, even if they are not formally charged with a crime.

In many ways, the Trump administration is alone on criminal justice. Multiple Democrats and Republicans decried the civil forfeiture changes as unconstitutional and the sentencing directive as regressive.

The vast majority of conservatives and liberals agree that incarceration in the US has spun out of control. The country has, by far, the largest incarcerated population in the world at 2.3 million people.

Cohen, of Right on Crime, says he is “very optimistic” that federal reform could still happen soon. Last year, Congress came close to passing bipartisan reforms to mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Many reformers criticize the laws, which require prison terms of certain lengths for certain crimes, as cruel and counterproductive.

The effort stalled as Trump turned to tough-on-crime rhetoric in the election, scaring many Republicans into thinking they’d be painted as soft. It’s not hard to see a rare bipartisan effort gaining momentum, particularly given the criminal-justice system’s ties to the opioid crisis, which has seen an unprecedented spike in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse in recent years.

Lawmakers and the public alike have begun to recognize that the country cannot punish its way out of drug epidemics, Cohen said, adding that there has been “a very marked shift” toward seeing illicit drug use as an offense fueled by addiction, rather than a moral failing.

texas inmates prison program

Whether or not federal reform is successful, many advocates think the more important arena for reforms lies in the states. Only about 200,000 of the more than 2 million people incarcerated in the US are locked up in federal prisons.

Kate Trammell, the senior state campaign manager for Prison Fellowship, said that the Christian group is focusing its efforts on the state side, even as it pushes Washington for reform.

“States have been and will continue to be the laboratory of democracy, and Texas has really embraced that,” Trammell told Business Insider, adding that Texas has become the success story that reformers show to those wary of change.

Louisiana, for instance, recently brought together conservative groups, liberal social-justice activists, business leaders, and religious organizations to win support for sentencing and parole reforms that sailed through the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and were signed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in June. Louisiana anticipates a 10% jail-population reduction over the next decade as a result.

Reform has filtered to the local level too. Newly elected reformers like Gonzalez, the Nueces County district attorney, are beginning to make the day-to-day decisions of what charges to press, what cases to pursue, and who gets a second chance. The stakes are high — even a modest crime spike could torpedo the public’s appetite for leniency to offenders — but Gonzalez is confident he knows the way forward.

“If you make a mistake and they’re misdemeanor offenses, we hope you learn your lesson,” Gonzalez said. “My standpoint is — the bad guys? We slam them … You need to make sure you don’t mess up. Not in my county.”

SEE ALSO: This 1980s-era letter from Jeff Sessions is a peek into his scorched-earth crime-fighting policies

DON’T MISS: More from Undividing America

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'Criminal Minds' Season 13 Spoilers: Who Will Be Scratch's New … – Christian Post

Jul 28, 2017 | 8:50 AM
Facebook/CriminalMindsScratch will be back in the next season of “Criminal Minds.”

Mr. Scratch, the ultimate bad guy in “Criminal Minds,” will definitely be back in the upcoming season of the CBS series.

According to CarterMatt, new villains will likely be added to the show in the new installment. While these unsubs will be committing unspeakable crimes against humanity, no one will likely hold a candle to Scratch, the serial killer who has been a thorn in the BAU’s side for the longest time. Last season, he came after Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), who was already worried over his mother’s condition. Diana (Jane Lynch) had Alzheimer’s and this made it possible for Scratch to play around with the FBI agent’s feelings.

Previously, Scratch was also the reason why former unit chief Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) quit his post. He had to submit his resignation to enter the witness protection program to protect his son from his stalker. Viewers are wondering which BAU member he will torment next. He can go after Rossi (Joe Mantegna) or Prentiss (Paget Brewster) or one of the younger members of BAU. Scratch is dangerous and completely crazy. For reasons known only to him, he finds enjoyment in stalking the squad.

Meanwhile, spoilers indicate that season 13 will see Reid finally ready to return to work after his ordeal. His mother is somewhere safe, and he wishes it would always stay that way. Last time, Diana was abducted by her caretaker. Reid does not want a repeat of that incident; hence he will be keeping his mom close. Working at the BAU is still the best option for him. His friends all understand what he has been through and can sympathize with his misgivings. While he may not be his 100 percent self, Prentiss and the others will not pressure him. They all cannot wait to see his lanky frame strolling the hallways in headquarters.

“Criminal Minds” season 13 will premiere on Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. EDT on CBS.

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Top FBI lawyer and Comey ally under criminal investigation – WND.com

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I had a feeling! And, for better or sometimes worse, I am usually right. The lawsuit that NSA/CIA whistleblower Dennis Montgomery and I filed against former FBI Director James Comey and the intelligence agencies over allegations of illegal and unconstitutional spying against us – as well as millions of Americans including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, President Trump and his associates and family members – just got bigger and more serious.

As I go into with more depth on my weekly radio show, “Special Prosecutor With Larry Klayman,” which can be found at RadioAmerica.com, Radio America’s blog site, as well as FreedomWatchUSA.org, Comey’s former general counsel at the agency, James A. Baker, has been revealed to have allegedly leaked classified information presumably on behalf of his boss, in violation of various criminal statutes. According to Sara Carter of Circa News (see the below visually embedded appearance on Hannity last Thursday), Baker is now under criminal investigation by the Justice Department.

But as Sara Carter also knows, since she interviewed my client Montgomery for hours a few months ago, this is not the whole of the story. And, since this was not mentioned on Hannity or in her report, let me bend your ear with yet another felonious outrage by the Comey crowd at our formerly honorable FBI, the nation’s supposed premier investigative agency.

When I first met Montgomery through my client, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s chief investigator Mike Zullo, years ago, I decided that we needed to bring this major whistleblower in from the cold – after no one in Congress or elsewhere in government would take the time, much more fortitude, to listen to what he had to say. To do this, I went to the only person in Washington, D.C., during the Obama years whom I totally trusted. His name is Royce C. Lamberth, and he is the only federal judge who had the courage to hold Bill and Hillary Clinton’s feet to the fire for their myriad of scandals during their White House years. While the judge always acted ethically, as I did, many in the leftist media believed that he and I were working together to “persecute” the Bonnie and Clyde of American politics.

After I left Judicial Watch to run for the U.S. Senate in Florida in 2003-2004, and later founded Freedom Watch, I took the opportunity to finally pay my respects to the judge who had done so much for the American people, and had taken a lot of heat for it with the vile crowd of Clinton loyalists who were trained to destroy anyone and anything in their march to regain control of the government. When I met with him, we reminisced about our independent but parallel exploits, and I thanked him for his integrity to do what is right, regardless of which political party is involved. I firmly believe that he is only one of a few federal judges in the nation whose rulings are not influenced by politics or his personal biases. (Years ago, he held a Republican secretary of the interior, Gale Norton, in contempt over misuse of Indian trust funds).

When I met with Montgomery, I realized that perhaps this courageous jurist could help pave the way for someone in government to listen to my client, who had come forward with perhaps the biggest scandal in American history.

Having asked Judge Lamberth how he thought it best to proceed, he recommended first that I take Montgomery to the soon-to-be Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley of Iowa. But after contacting him and having then met with his staff, they proved to be uniformly unhelpful, instead suggesting that I take Montgomery to the inspector general of the Defense Department. This was absurd. Why would I hand my client over to an Obama-run department, when he had the goods on illegal spying during Obama’s administration, among others?

When I took this back to the judge, he then recommended that we go see former FBI Director James Comey. After all, during the years of the prior Bush administration, as then-deputy attorney general, Comey had stood up to those in the administration who thought warrantless wiretaps on American citizens, in the wake of Sept. 11, were a “peachy keen idea.” To make this connection, Lamberth suggested that we go see Comey’s general counsel, James Baker, whom he knew.

And so it was the judge and I and another member of my staff who soldiered over to the FBI and met with Baker, explaining to him what Montgomery had and what was at stake for the nation if his whistleblowing was not addressed. During at least two meetings in the general counsel’s office, one of which had three FBI special agents in attendance, I asked to meet with the director himself. Baker came back and told us this would not be necessary, as he would supervise the Montgomery investigation at the direction of Comey, keeping Comey apprised of its progress every step of the way. In addition, Baker helped arrange for Montgomery to get immunity to produce his hard drives and testify to the FBI. As as result, my client performed his part of the bargain. But ever since then, Baker, Comey and their corrupted FBI have apparently buried the information and testimony that Montgomery provided to them.

And now it is even more apparent why! Baker and Comey were themselves involved in alleged criminality at the agency, having violated the constitutional rights of not just Trump, but also a huge number of American citizens. In effect, through no fault of Judge Lamberth, my client and I were fraudulently induced by this less than “dynamic duo” (now it appears more akin to the Penguin and Joker in the famous Batman comic series) to turn over incriminating information to the FBI.

And this underscores why Montgomery’s and my case against Comey, the FBI, NSA and CIA is so important. (See FreedomWatchUSA.org.) Despite the courageous, patriotic efforts of one of the few federal judges, Royce Lamberth, who has the guts to mete out the rule of law, Comey and Baker deep-sixed evidence about what will ultimately prove to be the most dangerous exercise of unbridled government tyranny in the nation’s history.

Recently, I have moved the court, under the direction of another fine federal judge, Richard J. Leon, a colleague of Lamberth’s, to allow me to depose Comey and Baker, as well as former corrupt Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former equally lying Obama CIA Director John Brennan. Given the cover-up orchestrated by these less-than-stellar public servants, our court case may be the last hope for justice over the criminality of the Obama-Clinton Orwellian deep state.

Media wishing to interview Larry Klayman, please contact [email protected].

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'She would not stop laughing at me': A Utah man was charged with murdering his wife aboard a cruise ship in Alaska

princess cruises alaska domestic dispute death

A Utah real estate agent killed on an Alaska cruise was remembered by her employer as a trusted adviser and valued sales associate.

Kristy Manzanares was found dead Tuesday night as the cruise ship Emerald Princess traveled between Ketchikan and Juneau.

Her husband, Kenneth Manzanares, was charged with murder after he was discovered with blood on his hands and clothes, and with blood spread throughout the cabin on the Princess Cruises ship, according to a criminal complaint by FBI Special Agent Michael L. Watson.

“Kristy was a dedicated and loving mother who juggled her business schedule to make her children the top priority,” the statement from Summit Sotheby’s International Realty in St. George, Utah, said.

Kristy Manzanares, 39, had a severe head wound, but authorities have declined to release other details in the case, including how many people were traveling with the couple on the 3,400-passenger Emerald Princess that left Sunday from Seattle.

A man and other people went into the room before medical workers and security officers had arrived and saw the woman on the floor covered in blood, according to court documents.

The man asked Manzanares what happened, and the suspect said, “‘She would not stop laughing at me,'” according to the FBI complaint.

Manzanares then grabbed his wife’s body and tried to drag her to the balcony, but the man stopped him, Watson wrote. The name of the man was not included in the complaint.

A ship security officer handcuffed Manzanares, who was held in a nearby cabin, authorities said.

While the FBI searched him, Manzanares said, “‘My life is over,'” the complaint states.

Passengers aboard the ship at the time of the incident said they initially believed the commotion was a hoax as any had been attending a “murder mystery” themed dinner when an announcement was read over an intercom saying a “domestic altercation” had occurred.

“Whoever was talking was pretty scared because their voice was shaking,” one passenger, Ruby Plata, told CBS News.

Another passenger, Chris Ceman, had been just across from the room the alleged murder took place.

“One of the little girls from that room came running out, calling for help, that her parents had been in a fight. She sounded pretty desperate, but the crew came up as quickly as they could,” Ceman told CBS. “It became apparent last night that something serious had happened, but we didn’t know how serious.”

princess cruises alaska domestic dispute death murder

Manzanares, 39, participated in his first court appearance Thursday by teleconference from Juneau, where he is in custody.

He appeared to be crying at times before the hearing and near the start, when U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McCoy began speaking.

Manzanares dabbed at his eyes and nose with tissues.

He was wearing an orange jumpsuit during the proceedings. He had his ankles shackled and was wearing slip-on shoes.

McCoy appointed assistant Federal Defender Jamie McGrady to represent Manzanares. McGrady was not at the hearing and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bail has not been set and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 10. McCoy approved change of venue from Anchorage to Juneau for further proceedings.

Manzanares has no criminal history, according to online Utah court records.

The ship was diverted to Juneau because of the investigation, which the FBI is leading because the death occurred in U.S. waters.

___

Becky Bohrer reported from Juneau, Alaska. Contributing to this report were AP writer Brady McCombs in Salt Lake City and AP researcher Monika Mathur in New York.

SEE ALSO: Trump to cops: ‘Please don’t be too nice’ while arresting ‘thugs,’ and don’t worry about their heads when you toss them in the ‘paddy wagon’

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