Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts

DEA Presentation Shows How Agency Hides Investigative Methods From Trial Review 266

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the inventing-probable-cause-for-fun-and-profit dept.
v3rgEz writes "CJ Ciaramella stumbled upon some interesting documents with a recent FOIA request: The DEA's training materials regarding parallel construction, the practice of reverse engineering the evidence chain to keep how the government actually knows something happened away from prosecutors, the defense, and the public. 'Americans don't like it,' the materials note, when the government relies heavily on classified sources, so agents are encouraged to find ways to get the same information through tactics like 'routine' traffic stops that coincidentally find the information agents are after. Public blowback, along with greater criminal awareness, are cited among the reasons for keeping the actual methodologies beyond the reach of even the prosecutors working with the DEA on the cases."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DEA Presentation Shows How Agency Hides Investigative Methods From Trial Review

Comments Filter:
  • Prohibition... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2014 @09:19PM (#46146275)

    Prohibition creates corruption at all levels of society. Lessons from history learned: zero. Film at 11.

  • by pla (258480) on Monday February 03, 2014 @09:24PM (#46146305) Journal
    Americans don't like it,' the materials note, when the government relies heavily on classified sources

    That doesn't mean you need to find a way to "fake" the chain of evidence. It means that Americans don't fucking like classified evidence, what with our constitution guaranteeing us the right to face our accusers. As in, our actual accusers, not some fictional "these guys who just happened to smell bomb-making chemicals on your breath" accusers.

    You want to keep the public off your backs, quit playing all these bullshit "Big Brother knows best" games, and if you can't come out and say how you know something, keep it to yourselves.
  • by Sean (422) on Monday February 03, 2014 @09:31PM (#46146337)

    The DEA are the real criminals.

  • by duckintheface (710137) on Monday February 03, 2014 @09:31PM (#46146339)
    Not all evidence is admissable in court. Evidence that is illegally obtainted can't be used in a prosecution. And any resulting evidence (like from a traffic stop as described in the article) is excluded as fruit of the poisoned tree. So this DEA "parallel construction" is not only a subversion of the intent of the law but is actually a conspriacy to subvert justice. The people who organized and practiced this system are guilty of a crime.
  • Cheaters (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Avidiax (827422) on Monday February 03, 2014 @09:36PM (#46146371)

    The underlying problem here is that prohibition is a failed policy, and yet another form of moral panic.

    As such, the DEA has an impossible task (enforcing the failed policy), and yet also knows that everything they do to enforce that policy is Right (justified by the moral panic).

    Hence, they will cheat once, they will cheat always, they will make deals with the Devil, just to "win".

    And this is the modus operandi for an organization that operates a fleet of drones.

  • by melstav (174456) on Monday February 03, 2014 @09:48PM (#46146441)

    duckintheface didn't say it wasn't being used in court.

    the statement was that it can't [LEGALLY] be used in court.

  • by flaming error (1041742) on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:10PM (#46146579) Journal

    "confidential informants, undercover work, legal wiretaps, etc. are all things which should be protected"

    So says the government. The Constitution says the defense is supposed to get all the evidence. That's been taken to include the whole story of what opened the case, and what led the cops to look where.

    Maybe the Constitution is wrong; I wouldn't know. But this "parallel evidence" is a secret end run around the Constitution, and it is illegal.

    If you want to allow this "parallel evidence" history revision, amend the constitution to say the government can lie about their evidence trail to keep secrets from defendants and even the prosecutors.

    Until then, follow the law. Or just stop pretending we have a Constitution.

  • by demonlapin (527802) on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:13PM (#46146587) Homepage Journal
    Good luck getting a prosecutor to go after a cop for perjury.
  • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:17PM (#46146613)

    (I doubt the DEA is going to use secret sources of evidence or parallel construction to ensnare Joe Sixpack trying to score some recreational drugs. The fish will have to be worth the effort and the risk for the DEA to use this tactic themselves, but a casual word to the local sheriff might be used more often than you think.)

    The problem is that while it's doubtable, we can't actually know. Every time a cop has ever testified that he just had a "gut" feeling about a certain car, we should instantly be skeptical that it was not a gut feeling, but rather, corruption.

    And the presumption is now that everytime a cop says he or she did something randomly they are lying.

    Given that his happens, the word of ANY law enforcement official, in any jurisdiction, in any part of the country, must not be trusted. Anything they say on the stand should be treated as hearsay, just like any other person, and the presumption should be that's false.

    We don't need any new laws, we need the people who broke the system to go to jail, for a long time, and mass amnesty for anyone convicted with any evidence provided by the DEA.

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:33PM (#46146707)

    That would make it practically impossible to defend yourself against any charges brought against you by a government agency. They would have all this information that they gathered by whatever means are at their disposal, and you'd only have the evidence they presented to be used you and whatever else you are legally able to obtain (within your financial means). There is no way that scenario fits the definition of due process, the government would be practically guaranteed to win every time. According to you, they could have evidence that exonerates you and simply choose not to present it and it would all be totally legal.

    You are not correct, during the discovery process the prosecution is required to turn over all the evidence they gathered. Not just whatever they saw fit to present.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:37PM (#46146721) Homepage

    Not all evidence is admissable in court. Evidence that is illegally obtainted can't be used in a prosecution. And any resulting evidence (like from a traffic stop as described in the article) is excluded as fruit of the poisoned tree.

    The one I've been noodling on lately is privileged communications. Doctor/patient, supplicant/confessor, and attorney/client privilege come to mind. Could the government tap the communication between a criminal and his lawyer and use the information to construct a parallel evidence chain? Seems that fear of such would have a chilling effect on medical care, legal representation, and mystical absolution.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Monday February 03, 2014 @11:08PM (#46146881) Journal

    "Americans don't like it". Did anyone note how they did not use "we" or "some people" they used "Americans" it's almost as if they recognize they are outside and apart from the rest of us.

    These people hate freedom, they hate the rule of law, and they don't think of themselves as citizens and neighbors. I really think it's time the rest of 'us' start treating these folks accordingly, that is anyone working for a three letter should be assumed a scumbag until proven otherwise. Don't help them, if you see something say nothing, don't socialize with them, shun them. We can dismantle this crap from the ground up, nobody will join these organizations if they know it mean being blackballed the rest of there lives.

  • by Peyna (14792) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:11AM (#46147183) Homepage

    The prosecution is required to hand over all the evidence they intend to use at trial, and any potentially exculpatory evidence. Not "all the evidence they gathered."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:14AM (#46147203)

    And the problem with this is?

    Most folks frown on cops breaking the laws simply because it's convenient for them.

  • by KingOfBLASH (620432) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:20AM (#46147223) Journal

    It's about over reaching.

    A LEO may in the course of his or her duties come across information that he can't use. For instance, hearsay is inadmissable in a court of law so if someone tells a cop he heard you say something, it is not something you could use to send the person to jail. Then the officer is allowed to dig up, legally, evidence that might be able to use to convict. With warrants and proper investigation.

    The problem is that the DEA takes this one step further. They take investigative measures they're not supposed to, and then try to do the whole "well let's find some legal way to find this."

    That's the issue.

  • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:33AM (#46147283)

    Except, the illegal wiretap probably gets the case thrown out.
    And with it, the search of your car.
    A traffic violation does not automatically give the police the right to search.

    Its much easier for the police to say they got an anonymous tip.
    Even if that tip was texted to 911 on anonymous burner phone. (Which happened to be in the possession of a DEA agent).
    That would be probable cause.

  • by allaunjsiIverfox2 (3506701) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:34AM (#46147285)

    Well, not to state the obvious, but you could actually not do the crime!

    Well, not to state the obvious, but it's entirely possible that you didn't do anything illegal, or that the law is absolutely unjust and should be challenged.

  • by aviators99 (895782) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @04:13AM (#46147891) Homepage

    Well, not to state the obvious, but you could actually not do the crime!

    I guess there's no point in even having a trial?

    Contrary to popular opinion, its not too hard to go about your life without attracting any police attention.

    Happens every day. The odds of it happening to a particular individual may be pretty low, but when you beat those odds, you'll probably argue for the rules of justice to be followed.

The degree of technical confidence is inversely proportional to the level of management.

Working...