Local Eastern District Firm Subject Of Congressional Probe? Criminal Conspiracy For Hacking?

There is news in the last month that local business HB Gary (whose slogan is “Detecting Tomorrow’s Malware Today”) is in the hot seat for their e mails and contracts with the US Chamber Of commerce; those contracts and e mails are now considered evidence of a federal criminal conspiracy by some respected observers. (See interviews with Richard Clarke, former cyber security czar for the Bush administration who had served in the National Security Council under three presidents, about his views that the US Chamber was plotting “with a group of military contractors to hack into progressive groups.” here. The military contractors he was talking about includes local Sacramento business HB Gary. Here.

The scandal is that the Chamber had agreements with these companies to hack into the computer and social networking systems of certain progressive groups that oppose some of the Chamber’s policies. The companies make a poretty good dollar existing also on US Military contracts. Now members of Congress have issued subpoenas to the Defense Department and the NSA to examine their own contracts with these companies, including local HB Gary.

As for what HB Gary was alleged to have done, Mr. Clark stated ” I think it’s a violation of 10USC. I think it’s a felony, and I think they should go to jail. You call them a large trade association, I call them a large political action group that took foreign money in the last election. But be that as it may, if you in the United States, if any American citizen anywhere in the world, because this is an extraterritorial law, so don’t think you can go to Bermuda and do it, if any American citizen anywhere in the world engages in unauthorized penetration, or identity theft, accessing a number through identity theft purposes, that’s a felony and if the Chamber of Commerce wants to try that, that’s fine with me because the FBI will be on their doorstep in a matter of hours.”

Will grand jury subpoenas follow soon for a possible investigation locally in Sacramento or Washington DC, the headquarters for the Chamber?

Supreme Court Holds Post Sentence Rehabilitation Important at Re Sentencing

In 2010, I appeared before Judge William Shubb for final sentencing in the case of United States v. Jeff Grubbs. Jeff Grubbs was arrested in 2003, and spent almost 4 months in jail before he was bailed out. We litigated his matter extensively, solely on the search issues. We lost, and were allowed to plead guilty in 2004 with a reservation allowing us to appeal the search issue. He was sentenced to 41 months. He was allowed bail pending appeal.

The appeal went up to the Supreme Court and back down to the Ninth Circuit. We did prevail on a minor issue regarding the confession in the Ninth Circuit, and so we decided to eventually withdraw our prior guilty plea, and then re plead right away again. At sentencing, the major issue was whether Judge Shubb could consider Jeff’s post sentence rehabilitation. Jeff had been excellent since the sentence in 2004. It had been 6 years. Judge Shubb, over the position of probation and the United States, felt that the case law and statutes allowed him to consider the post sentence conduct of Jeff. He sentenced him to straight probation. He was taking a chance on him. Jeff has lived up to that so far.

Today, the United States Supreme Court decided as Judge Shubb did last year. In United States v. Peppers, they held that post sentence conduct is relevant for re sentencing purposes. They over ruled contrary case law. The opinion is available here.

Former Attorney General Thornburgh Criticizes Over Federalization Of Criminal Matters

“Sacrificing The Rule Of Law In The Pursuit Of Justice.” Former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh delivers a well reasoned criticism of the expanse of federal criminal law and especially the legislation of serious penalties for crimes that are vague and ambiguous. His very interesting comments are in a written speech delivered to the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. and are available here.

Banks Closing Accounts Of Legal California Dispensaries Based On Federal Demands

Recently, in the Eastern District and elsewhere, banks have closed the accounts and sent packing the legal dispensary businesses. Several dispensaries in the Sacramento area, and San Joaquin as well, have had their accounts closed and the money frozen for a 30 day period.

The Press Democrat exposes the situation in the Northern District as well. One wonders what happens in Oakland and San Francisco, also the home of legal dispensaries and the financial and banking center of northern California.

Despite Obama’s proclaimed policy of respecting state marijuana laws, federal regulators are increasing the pressure on banks to crack down on medical marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. One might think that in this time of economic straits, federal regulators would have better things to do. In the words of California NORML, “An example of how the federal war on drugs has become a hydra-headed bureaucratic monster raging out of control.”Continue reading