The name of James A. Mitzelfeld, a Consumer Litigation Civil Division trial attorney honored by Attorney General Janet Reno, was misspelled in the Law & Order column on yesterday's Federal Page. (Published 09/25/1999)
Attorney General Janet Reno, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and the committee's ranking Democrat, Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), had a meeting Wednesday that could prove to be a breakthrough.
The topic of discussion was the committee's desire for records related to President Clinton's clemency decision on the FALN terrorists and the threat of subpoenas to get those documents.
When the talking was done, Hatch and Leahy, instead of issuing a subpoena, seemed to have agreed to a shadow of a subpoena. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted yesterday that if the documents are not turned over by 5 p.m. next Thursday, subpoenas will be served on Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder and pardon attorney Roger C. Adams to appear on Oct. 7 to deliver the documents and answer questions.
"When Senator Leahy and I met with the attorney general . . . she expressed a hope and a desire to agree to a process wherein documents would be provided to the committee without the force of a subpoena," Hatch said. "This proposal means that the Justice Department will have to meet its commitments to the committee and do so in a timely manner. If not, the subpoenas will be served."
Reno said yesterday she was pleased with her talks with Hatch. "He's a great student of government," she said. "In his thoughtful, positive way, I think we have worked out some processes that are satisfactory to him."
The Justice Department still has to face the House Government Reform Committee, which has peppered the agency with subpoenas on the FALN. Chairman Dan Burton (R-Ind.) has said he only rarely can get DOJ to give the panel sensitive documents without a subpoena.
WACO READING: Waco, like the John F. Kennedy assassination, seems destined to generate investigations, reports and books. So far, there are 12 government reports and 41 books or dissertations, according to a bibliography by Bluffton College religion professor Loren L. Johns.
Here are a few titles: Mike Cox's "Stand-off in Texas: Just Call Me a Spokesman for the DPS" (published in 1998 by Eakin Press); Jack DeVault's "The Waco Whitewash: The Mt. Carmel Episode Told by an Eyewitness to the Trial, Tragedy, Treachery, Tyranny, Treason: This Government's Crimes Under Color of Law" (published in 1994 by Rescue Press); and Benjamin P. Kilpatrick's "Janet Reno and Dick DeGuerin: Competing Narratives in the Wake of the Mt. Carmel Fire," (unpublished master's thesis, Baylor University, 1993). DeGuerin was Branch Davidian leader David Koresh's attorney.
JUST FINES: Justice's Antitrust Division has been busy with more than the Microsoft case. It also collected half a billion dollars in federal fines in 1997 and 1998 from criminal commercial enterprises. Reno honored the division and other stalwarts this week for efforts in collecting criminal fines, the proceeds of which go to compensating and assisting crime victims.
At a ceremony Wednesday, Reno gave awards to James M. Griffin, a division attorney; Gerald M. Rhodes, a Bureau of Prisons correctional counselor; Elizabeth Stein, a Southern District of Florida assistant U.S. attorney; Gregory J. Leonard, Middle District of Georgia court clerk; W. Charles Grace, Southern District of Illinois assistant U.S. attorney; James A. Mitzelfel, a Consumer Litigation Civil Division trial attorney; Peter R. Galenda, a Western District of New York paralegal; Beverly J. Parody, a Northern District of New York paralegal; John Ross, a Western District of Texas financial litigation agent; Eric J. Klumb, an Eastern District of Wisconsin assistant U.S. attorney; and William Cleary, assistant director of detention and deportation of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
DRUGNET: The Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs Service announced a major international drug bust this week. One of the interesting things about the case--in addition to the 100 arrests and $19 million in cash and 13 tons of cocaine seized--had to do with the drug organization behind the trafficking, known as the Carillo Fuentes federation. Turns out it was a surgeon, not law enforcement, who took Amado Carillo Fuentes himself out of circulation.
Carillo Fuentes died in Mexico in 1997 of complications from plastic surgery he underwent to mask his identity. He left behind an active cartel so extensive that it bore his name. DEA and Customs now feel they have made a major dent in the Fuentes network.