October 2012

NAFUSA Update is published monthly. NAFUSA's website can be accessed directly from this newsletter. New articles are posted to the website during the month.  You may also subscribe to NAFUSA email updates, delivered to your inbox overnight, the day after any new items are posted. (Be sure to complete the two step process.) You can also follow NAFUSA on Twitter (@NAFUSAorg).

Mike Cody to Replace John Doar as Keynoter

Mike Cody Health issues have forced John Doar to withdraw from the NAFUSA Atlanta conference. Doar, 91, was hospitalized in New York in August with a blood clot in his lung. He is recovering and his health is improving, but he will be unable to travel to Atlanta in October.



Long time NAFUSA member W.J. Michael ("Mike") Cody, shown right, has agreed to stand in for Doar as this year's keynote speaker. John Doar served in the Justice Department during the critical years of the civil rights movement. Cody, as a young lawyer in Memphis during that era, was also a witness to some of the most significant events of the times. His keynote topic will be entitled King at the Mountain Top: The Representation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memphis, April 3-4, 1968. Cody was one of six lawyers providing legal representation to Dr. King on that momentous day in Memphis when King was assassinated while in town to support the striking sanitation workers. Young Mike Cody is shown below on the right at the injunction hearing where the City of Memphis attempted to prevent the march in support of the workers.


Mike Cody in Memphis 1968 



Cody served as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee (1977-1981) and as the Attorney General of the State of Tennessee (1984-1988). He served on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee (1979-1980).


Except for his years in public service and one year at another firm in Nashville, he has been a partner at Burch Porter & Johnson PLLC in Memphis since 1961. He has been a professor at Rhodes College and Lemoyne Owen College, Memphis State University School of Law and Vanderbilt University School of Law. Cody is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is co-chair, Society of Attorneys General Emeritus. He was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve and earned his J.D. at the University of Virginia. Cody is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

Inspector General's "Fast and Furious" Report Issued


On September 19, 2012, the Justice Department released the 471-page report from Michael Horowitz, the DOJ Inspector General, finding federal agents and prosecutors in Phoenix primarily responsible for the failed effort to infiltrate weapons into smuggling rings in the operation named "Fast and Furious."


As reported in The Washington Post in an article entitled  Justice IG Critical of ATF in Gun Operation,


The long-awaited report also criticized senior officials at the Justice Department and its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington for lax oversight of the attempt to block the flow of weapons to Mexico's violent drug cartels. Many of the weapons later turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States, including one where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed.
The inspector general's report recommended that the Justice Department review the actions of 14 officials and consider whether disciplinary action is warranted. Among them are former acting deputy attorney general Gary Grindler, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, former acting ATF director Kenneth Melson, former ATF special agent in charge William Newell and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein.


Weinstein resigned on September 19, but called the IG's conclusion that he knew about and failed to stop the practice of allowing guns to cross the border "completely false." Weinstein is represented by NAFUSA member and former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich.

The IG's report failed to criticize Attorney General Eric Holder Jr,. finding that he had no advance knowledge of the tactics an risks involved in the operation.


The New York Times, in an article entitled Guns Inquiry Urges Action Against 14 in Justice Dept., Charlie Savage, who moderated the NAFUSA panel in Santa Fe on the Southwest border, writes,


The Justice Department's inspector general on Wednesday issued a scathing critique of federal officials for their handling of the botched gun-trafficking case known as Operation Fast and Furious, but essentially exonerated Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., whom many Republicans have blamed for the scandal.


In a long-awaited report, the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, laid primary blame on w hat he portrayed as a dysfunctional and poorly supervised group of Arizona-based federal prosecutors and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, describing them as "permeated" by "a series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures" that allowed a risky strategy to continue despite the danger to public safety.



Latest Developments on Law of Indefinite Detention

On September 12, 2012, Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a permanent injunction barring the government from enforcing a statute authorizing the indefinite detention without trial of terrorism suspects. On September 17, 2012, Judge Raymond J. Lohier of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted an interim stay until a panel of judges hold a hearing scheduled for September 28.


NAFUSA held a two hour panel in New York in 2010 on the prosecution of terrorism suspects and Charlie Savage of The New York Times moderated the panel. Two years later this issue has not gone away and Savage writes in The Times,

The United States has been detaining terrorism suspects indefinitely since 2001, relying on an authorization by Congress to use military force against perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks and those who helped them. Last year, Congress decided to create a federal statute that codified authority for such detentions.


The new statute went beyond covering the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks to also cover people who were part of or substantially supported Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the United States or its allies. Its enactment was controversial in part because lawmakers did not specify what conduct could lead to someone's being detained, and because it was silent about whether the statute extended to American citizens and others arrested on United States soil.


It was challenged by Chris Hedges, a journalist who interacts with terrorists as part of his reporting, and by several prominent supporters of WikiLeaks. They argued that its existence chilled their constitutional rights by creating a basis to fear that the government might seek to detain them under it by declaring that their activities made them supporters of an enemy group.


In May, Judge Forrest agreed, issuing a preliminary injunction barring the government from relying on the law to detain anyone without trial, and Wednesday she made that injunction permanent in a 112-page opinion.

Federal Civil Trials at Risk in Budget Impasse

The ABA Journal reported that Chief Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia told a Judicial Conference meeting at the U.S. Supreme Court on September 11, 2012, that unless a federal budget impasse is resolved by Congress, all federal civil jury trials may have to be eliminated in 2013.


Judge Sentelle is the chairman of the executive committee for the Judicial Conference. The committee is making contingency plans to deal with a possible need for $500 million in cost-cutting next year, as the judicial system's share of $1.2 trillion in spending cuts due to take effect next year, absent a new budget agreement.



Seagal Wheatley Dies

Seagal WheatleySeagal  V. Wheatley passed away Tuesday, September 25, 2012 of pancreatic cancer, he was 77. Wheatley served as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas (1969-1971) and was a long time member of NAFUSA.


His 53 year legal career was spent specializing in complex business litigation and he was well recognized as one of the most effective trial attorneys in Texas.


Wheatley graduated from the University Of Texas School Of Law and began his first law practice with a law firm specializing in trial work. He was mentored by John H. Wood who later became a Federal District Judge, but whom Wheatley always gave credit to as his teacher.


In 1969, when at the age of 34, he was nominated by President Nixon and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the United States Attorney, he was one of the youngest U.S. Attorneys in the country. In 1970 Wheatley was selected the "Outstanding Young Man of San Antonio" by the Rotary Club.


In 1971, Wheatley became a partner in a newly formed firm with Jesse Oppenheimer, Stanley Rosenberg and Herb Kelleher where he led the litigation section for 25 years and represented many local and national corporations as well as the personal attorney for many prominent businessmen such as the former owner of the New Orleans Saints, the owner of the Houston Astros, owners of the Detroit Tigers, a former King Ranch heir and two former Mayors of San Antonio. Wheatley continued to practice until he was invited to join the law firm of Jackson Walker, LLP where he practiced complex business litigation until his death.


Wheatley is survived by his two daughters, Jill Wheatley of San Antonio and Julie Gosh of Austin. NAFUSA has arranged for an American flag to be flown over the U.S. Deaprtment of Justice in Wheatley's honor and to be presented to his family as a lasting memorial from his former collegues.

2012 Conference Sponsors
National Association of Former United States Attorneys (NAFUSA).
Richard A. Rossman
Executive Director
27 Oakland Park
Pleasant Ridge, Michigan 48069
Phone: 248-548-8289

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