Bad Week For Carmen Ortiz: Admits To Botched Gang Arrest As Congress Kicks Off Swartz Investigation

from the complete-flops dept

Carmen Ortiz is not having a good month. The US Attorney who was in charge of the ridiculous Aaron Swartz prosecution -- and now has over 50,000 people asking the White House to fire her -- now will have to deal with an official investigation by Congress into that particular case. A bipartisan pair of Congressional representatives, Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings -- who are basically the top dogs from each party on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee -- have officially kicked off their investigation. They're asking these specific questions:
  • What factors influenced the decision to prosecute Mr. Swartz for the crimes alleged in the indictment, including the decisions regarding what crimes to charge and the filing of the superseding indictment?
  • Was Mr. Swartz's opposition to SOPA or his association with any advocacy groups among the factors considered'?
  • What specific plea offers were made to Mr. Swartz, and what factors influenced the decisions by prosecutors regarding plea offers made to Mr. Swartz?
  • How did the criminal charges, penalties sought, and plea offers in this case compare to those of other cases that have been prosecuted or considered for prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?
  • Did the federal investigation of Mr. Swartz reveal evidence that he had committed other hacking violations?
  • What factors influenced the Department's decisions regarding sentencing proposals?
  • Why was a superseding indictment necessary?
Combine these with the questions already sent by Senator Cornyn, and the DOJ is going to be busy.

But, of course, that's not all that is weighing on Carmen Ortiz. Last week, we noted, she lost a highly questionable case in which it appears she tried to seize a family-owned motel based on some trumped up charges concerning drug deals, even though there weren't that many drug problems there (less than others in the area) and the owners of the motel had worked with law enforcement to try to crack down on them.

And... that's not all. Today there's news of an even bigger embarrassment as it appears that Ortiz had to go to court to admit that her office arrested the wrong man in a gang takedown a few weeks ago. Basically, her office is coming to the conclusion -- weeks later -- that one of the guys arrested may just look like the guy they wanted.
In the latest setback for Boston’s beleaguered U.S. attorney, red-faced feds admit they may have arrested the wrong man during a massive gang and drug takedown two weeks ago because he looked like someone they wanted, after they were forced to tell a judge there was “sufficient doubt” that he was the suspect.
How many screw-ups do you get to make and keep such a job?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 11:21am

    This is only coming to light because of all the public outrage that followed Aaron's death. When people get interested and involved all sorts of things come to light.

    One can only hope this doesn't lose momentum and leads to much needed reviews and changes.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 11:44am

      Re:

      One can also hope that she does not become the sacrificial lamb used to avoid a more detailed look at the department.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 1:49pm

        Re: Re:

        Indeed. In fact, that might be the point. Perhaps someone wants her to remain the focus of blame, and hopes that when she steps down, the public will be satisfied and stop prying. I'm sure it wouldn't be hard for someone like that to sabotage an investigation or two, just to make sure.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 2:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I agree but I think the hope is that this case becomes a catalyst for change in the law such that accountablility and a vehicle for recourse is added such that there is a significant deterence of this sort of behavior in the future.

           

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      Rebelready (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

      Re: This is only coming to light

      oops! guess this dude is lucky this happened at this time because with eyes not focused as they currently are these fools we support probably would not have even listened and extorted a guilty plea with their unprofessional abusive tactics!!!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 1:43pm

      Re:

      As far as I can see she will have a field day when it comes to maneuvering around anything illegal. When it comes to being immoral and or lack judgement it is probably a 50/50 if she goes unscratched.

      Chances are that she resigns from her current position after answering the questions, since the internet population is a truely frightening enemy. As soon as the buzz dies down she will be in another good prosecutor job. Lapse of judgement is not uncommon in court rooms...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 2:56pm

        Re: Re:

        I don't really know about that. This is one of those things where her name is now known and permanently associated with this case world wide. Do you really think someone would want to take the risk of having to answer for the fact that they hired her as a prosecutor after this?

         

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      gorehound (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 2:31pm

      Re:

      To bad Public Outrage won't End ICE and the DOJ.

       

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    crade (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 11:40am

    Q: "•How did the criminal charges, penalties sought, and plea offers in this case compare to those of other cases that have been prosecuted or considered for prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?"

    A: They are mostly equally ridiculous.

     

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    TheArchitect, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    Consequences

    Aaron Swartz stopped SOPA to maintain civil rights, and the federal prosecutors threw the book at him. Ortiz overstepped her bounds with Swartz, and now the public is targeting her. Here's to the book getting thrown at her just as hard as she's used to throwing it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

      Re: Consequences

      On most of the points, I am pretty sure she has perfectly canned answers with some "precendence". On the question of SOPA, it is 99% certain that the answer is going to be no or something about how such an activity can not influence the courts decission etc.

      If it is only an initial question she can easily get cooked on this one if the committee has a broader angle to it, like asking how much she knew about it and to reveal her emotional state at time of the filings.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 5:11am

      Re: Consequences

      I wish that was enough, im overjoyed the the people are actually getting a say, hope it becomes a beautifull standard, but i still have my apathy, how many ortiz's are there out there, when will we finally have a just system

       

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        shane (profile), Jan 30th, 2013 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re: Consequences

        We need to attack corruption on a broad array of issues.

        1. Central Banking - this allows central control of the money supply.
        2. IP Laws - These allow ownership of information, and central control over who is allowed to know what.
        3. Limited Liability - this allows "owners" to have their interests protected from "labor" and "consumers" - an artificial and unjust separation by any measure.

        The more I read, the more I realize all of history is a long, slow march towards totalitarianism. We are far less free than our Medieval cousins were, shockingly. We just don't comprehend it yet.

         

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    Michael, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    and now has over 50,000 people asking the White House to fire her

    I think that is ridiculous. She shouldn't be fired. She should have a group of people go through her life and find any crimes they can possibly charge her with and offer her a "deal" if she only wants to spend a year in prison.

    With any luck, she has an unlocked smartphone.

     

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      Rebelready (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:30pm

      Re: With any luck, she has a smart phone (LOL)

      How about aiding and abetting obstruction of justice??? And it seems to me that there are conspiracy laws where the the person conspired against dies but can"t say for sure at the moment.

      The Office of General Counsel from the Administrative Offices of the US Courts needs to be confronted at these hearings in DC because the stone covering the PACER incident needs to be turned; this was a huge embarrassment to the FBI where their harassment of Aaron over the PACER download ended with the fact that absolutely no law had been broken. The aforementioned makes the current situation look like a “We got him this time” scenario chased by some heavy handed retaliation.

      Was US Attorney Ortiz pressured by the US Courts to pursue Aaron is a question that MUST be asked! Further, US Attorney Ortiz needs to be asked why she felt she should be so heavy handed on Aaron when her office chose to ignore alleged computer fraud by court staff which was supported by material evidence submitted to her office such as court dockets and filings as well as affidavits? US Attorney Ortiz needs to be asked why the FBI and her office ignored alleged fraud by staff at the USDC of Massachusetts and First Circuit where computers provided to them by the tax payer were used with the purposeful intent to obstruct justice. US Attorney Ortiz needs to be asked why no action was taken when her office was informed that these acts were not only carried by clerk staff but, also, carried by a Magistrate Judge and an Assistant Circuit Executive with the Title LEGAL AFFAIRS who felt she could render fraudulent documents with an inactive law license and post those documents on a government web site. Criminal defendants are not the only ones being abused in the very corrupt US Courts and the abandonment of principle, oath and duty by the front line staff in these courts is happening throughout this country; citizens are being robbed of life, liberty and property at the hands of corruption. Further the federal court system has set the standard and many state courts throughout the country are following suit; they are also infested with corruption.

      NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW yet Aaron with his open records campaign, connections after working to defeat SOPA and general capabilities that could lead to full exposure of the corruption in the US Courts was the one being persecuted! Hopefully MIT will answer why they chose to bow to a corrupt federal government over standing by Aaron!!!

      http://www.scribd.com/tired_of_corruption https://public.resource.org/aaron/army/

       

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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Got Milk?

    Masnick, you forced my hand on this one!

    http://i.imgur.com/lsdUxnM.png

     

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    identicon
    TheArchitect, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Consequences

    Aaron Swartz stopped SOPA to maintain civil rights, and the federal prosecutors threw the book at him. Ortiz overstepped her bounds with Swartz, and now the public is targeting her. Here's to the book getting thrown at her just as hard as she's used to throwing it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:01pm

    She hasn't been fired yet?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:04pm

    Holy shit issa is working on something legitimate for once...wow, just slap me silly and call me suprised

     

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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:10pm

    Does any of this remind you of Prenda?

    All this stuff coming out at the same time as all the insanity from John Steele and Prenda Law. It seems very similar, actually: Come up with as many crazy charges as you can think of, throw them all at someone and try to get them to settle (plea-bargain) and if not, throw the book at them in court with even more craziness.

    Maybe it's time we started using a new term to describe this behavior from prosecutors. I nominate "indictment trolling". Anyone else like the idea?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:17pm

      Re: Does any of this remind you of Prenda?

      you think it needs a name? I've got a very apropos name for you.

      "business as usual". this is how prosecution is done. welcome to our "justice" system.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 3:16pm

      Re: Does any of this remind you of Prenda?

      Indictment trolling is a very good term to use and describe this type of garbage. I hope that it catches on.

       

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    identicon
    Applesauce, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    This is all Aaron's fault.

    What do you want to bet that right now, Carmen is whining about how Aaron Swartz planned all this with deliberate and malicious intent to ruin her gubernatorial prospects.

    She is thinking: He ruined her life.

    Just like:
    1. I didn't want to rob that bank, but it had all that money in it, I had to.
    2. I didn't want to rape that girl, but she wasn't properly veiled and so she forced me to rape her.

    Criminals always blame their victims.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    She should remember...

    The Internet doesn't forget either.

     

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    anonymous dutch coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:28pm

    scapegoat

    ah luckily an easy scapegoat. she gets fired/leaves for personal reasons. gets a cushy job when all has died down. nothing changes. next!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:33pm

    How many screw-ups do you get to make and keep such a job?

    She must belong to one hell of a union.

     

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    rorybaust (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:45pm

    How many screw-ups do you get to make and keep such a job?

    5 the first 3 just alert you to the allegation of maybe your not being fair or reasonable in your prosecutions , the next 1 will move you into mediation and show you informational aides promoting you on how to improve your performance however if you get the 5th and final warning your career is slowed to 1/10th of the previous level and you can't switch jobs.

     

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      Coogan (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

      Re: How many screw-ups do you get to make and keep such a job?

      5 the first 3 just alert you to the allegation of maybe your not being fair or reasonable in your prosecutions , the next 1 will move you into mediation and show you informational aides promoting you on how to improve your performance however if you get the 5th and final warning you resign and take a consulting job on K Street at 3x your previous salary

      Fixed it for you...

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 7:16pm

      Re: How many screw-ups do you get to make and keep such a job?

      The same logic figures in RIAA cases. Somehow, they sue so many dead grandmothers and still they're in business!

       

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    ahow628 (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

    "The US Attorney who was in charge of the ridiculous Aaron Swartz prosecution..."

    Man, TechDirt needs to get a spellchecker. You keep misspelling "persecution" in every single one of these Aaron Swartz articles.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

    Bad Week For Carmen Ortiz

    Yeah... not as bad as her victims.

     

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    BreadGod (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 1:32pm

    "How many screw-ups do you get to make and keep such a job?"

    She's a government employee. Government employees are impossible to fire. Have you ever wondered why public schools never bother to fire bad teachers? The process is so hard and complicated that most schools don't even try.

    On a more related note, I'd like to thank Carmen Ortiz and the federal government. By persecuting Aaron Swartz and bullying him into suicide, they turned him into a martyr. Many more people are carrying on his legacy. Governments have this strange idea that if they get rid of a radical thinker, then no one will try to follow in his footsteps. They have this idea that if a radical thinker dies, then all his ideas will die with him. Hahaha! Jesus Christ!

     

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      Mason Wheeler (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 4:05pm

      Re:

      She's a government employee. Government employees are impossible to fire. Have you ever wondered why public schools never bother to fire bad teachers? The process is so hard and complicated that most schools don't even try.


      Actually it's not that hard... unless the teacher has tenure. Then it's almost impossible even if the teacher commits a felony. (Literally.)

      Not quite a felony, but I remember in high school, our school paper ran an article one time strongly suggesting that a significant fraction of high school-age students who lived on farms were in the habit of participating in sexual activities with animals. (This was in a rural community where a lot of the kids at my school lived on farms, BTW.)

      The school paper was supposed to be supervised by a teacher who acted as editor. The buck stops there, as they say. Turns out she let the article go through because she thought it was "amusing." She should have been thrown out on her ear for that... but she had tenure. So instead they moved her to teaching history.

      I ended up in her class the next year. Worst teacher I've ever had. She did some stuff in there that should have gotten her thrown out again, but... tenure. (I also ended up writing for the school paper. The guy they got to replace her actually did a really good job.)

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 1:40pm

    'How many screw-ups do you get to make and keep such a job?'

    i suppose that depends on how many and for how long the fuck ups can be kept quiet!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    That's the first time I saw the SOPA angle being suggested. Given the ties between DOJ and Hollywood. It would most certainly be interesting if any link between Ortiz actions and SOPA could be found. I doubt any solid evidence of that could be found though.

     

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    otb (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 2:37pm

     

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    Jay (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 2:59pm

    How many screw-ups do you get to make and keep such a job?

    The government doesn't give a care about screw ups. She'll get a raise for that.

     

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    totalz (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 7:09pm

    "May the dark force be with her."

     

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    Doganlaw (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 9:01pm

    Petition the Whitehouse

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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