August 20, 2013

BLOWBACK: Defense lawyers insist on clients’ right to use NSA records.

One of the lawyers who contacted Dore was John Steakley in Cobb County, Ga., where he represents a client in a double homicide case.

“I have a double homicide where witnesses called each other upon hearing gunshots,” Steakley said in an e-mail to El Nuevo Herald. “If those calls took place before my client arrived in the area [we have his records], then he couldn’t have done the shooting. I’ve tried to get the records of those phone calls, but the cell companies no longer have the records. If the NSA has been stockpiling the data, I’d like to get it.”

Steakley said on Thursday that he plans to file a motion demanding NSA phone records for those calls.

More lawyers became interested in filing motions after Reuters broke the story on the DEA’s unit to combat drug-trafficking Latin American cartels through a partnership with the NSA and other federal agencies that include the CIA, Homeland Security, the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The DEA’s Special Operations Division’s practice of feeding tips on suspects to local law enforcement has drawn criticism because the initial source of the information, possibly NSA intercepts of phone data, has not been revealed when cases reach the courts.

According to Reuters, the original tip was concealed from judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys because of the classified nature of the unit. The tip generally was relayed to a state trooper who was told by investigators to search a specific vehicle in which drugs would be found.

In court, investigators would say that the case began with the vehicle search, not the SOD tip. Investigators called the procedure parallel construction.

The subterfuge has upset some legal experts who feel that court cases in which the practice was used have been compromised.

The John Steakley quoted above is my former student, and a regular InstaPundit reader, not the late John Steakley who wrote Armor, who confusingly also emailed me occasionally. . . .

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