Thursday, March 5, 2009

Army captain charged with stealing $690,000

An Army captain stationed at Fort Lewis has been charged with stealing nearly $700,000 from the government while he was serving in Iraq.


An Army captain stationed at Fort Lewis has been charged with stealing nearly $700,000 from the government while he was serving in Iraq.

A federal grand jury in Portland indicted Capt. Michael Dung Nguyen on charges of theft of government property, money laundering and structuring financial transactions.

The indictment alleges that between April 2007 and February, the 28-year-old Nguyen stole more than $690,000 in U.S. currency entrusted to him as the battalion civil affairs officer in Muqdadiyah, Iraq.

Prosecutors say the funds were designated for local commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan to respond to urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction.

The indictment resulted from an Internal Revenue Service investigation after IRS agents tracked large cash deposits.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Threat to kill Wash. municipal judge reported

One man has been arrested and police are looking for a second man after a threat to kill Tacoma Municipal Court Elizabeth Verhey was reported.


One man has been arrested and police are looking for a second man after a threat to kill Tacoma Municipal Court Elizabeth Verhey was reported.

Pierce County prosecutors have charged Ronald Ewing, 51, with intimidating a judge and felony harassment. Darrel Talbott, 61, also was charged and is being sought by police.

Prosecutors said a witness told police that he heard Ewing and Talbott discussing killing the judge sometime in February.

Court papers said the witness told police that Talbott ordered guns by telephone and that the two men discussed "taking a 'long shot' at the judge with a rifle." The News Tribune reported the men were apparently angry at a sentence she gave Talbott.

The court papers said the witness told police the threats were made at a house in Tacoma.

The documents said Ewing mentioned that Verhey was about to sentence him, and Talbott responded by saying he wanted to harm her.

"The witness expressed the belief that Talbott was angry enough to kill Judge Verhey," the papers said.

Talbott has been before Verhey many times and Ewing had a scheduled court date Wednesday in Tacoma Municipal Court, according to the papers. They didn't specify what the charge is, but KING-TV reported that the judge was scheduled to sentence Talbott for a drunken driving charge this month.

Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said Ewing was arrested Thursday. He was arraigned in Pierce County Superior Court Friday.

Meanwhile, Verhey is refusing to talk to the media because of safety concerns and didn't let television cameras in her courtroom last week.

Court Administrator Yvonne Pettus said she was working with officials at the County-City Building to ensure that courtrooms are secure.

"The judge is just being careful, changing driving routes, that kind of thing," Pettus said.


Information from: The News Tribune,

Seattle Marijuana Policy Review Panel Concludes I-75 Working As Intended

From NORML Website

January 3, 2008 - Seattle, WA, USA

Seattle, Washington: Initiative 75, passed by the Seattle, WA voters in September of 2003, requires that "the Seattle Police Department and City Attorney’s Office shall make the investigation, arrest and prosecution of marijuana offenses, when the marijuana was intended for adult personal use, the city’s lowest law enforcement priority." The ordinance subsequently adopted by the Seattle City Council to implement the new policy included provisions for the president of the city council to appoint an eleven-member Marijuana Policy Review Panel to assess and report on the effects of this ordinance.

Today, following more than three years of meetings and reviews, the Marijuana Policy Review Panel issued their final report, including the following conclusions and findings:

I. I-75 was implemented and following its implementation there were reductions both in the number of Seattle Police Department marijuana incident referrals and in the number of Seattle City Attorney filings of marijuana charges, although it is impossible to say whether these reductions were the result of I-75;

II. There is no evidence of any adverse effect of the implementation of I-75, including specifically

1. no evident increase in marijuana use among youth and young adults:

2. no evident increase in crime; and

3. no adverse impact on public health.

III. There is some evidence of arguably positive effects from I-75in the following substantive areas examined:

1. Fewer adults experiencing the consequences of involvement in the criminal justice system due to their personal use of marijuana; and,

2. A small reduction in the amount of public safety resources dedicated to marijuana possession cases and a corresponding slight increase in availability of these resources for other public safety priorities.

The panel then recommended that the City Council (1) keep the current ordinance in effect; (2) require the City Attorney’s Office to provide the city council with an annual report describing the disposition of each case in which an individual was referred for misdemeanor marijuana charges, tracking the disposition of the charges, including an analysis of the racial and gender breakdown of those referred for prosecution; and (3) disband the Marijuana Policy Review Panel.

NORML Board member Dominic Holden, a Seattle resident who led the successful effort to pass I-75 and is one of the 11-members appointed by the City Council President to serve on the review panel, stated:

"The panel’s report is the first of its kind in the US to show that de-prioritizing marijuana enforcement has no negative impact on society. In contrast, this report shows that the measure freed up limited law enforcement resources to focus on violent and dangerous crime. This is the result that initiative backers and endorsers, including the League of Women Voters, promised voters when I-75 was on the ballot.

To view the final version of Seattle’s Marijuana Policy Review, visit