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The Courts News

Ortiz-Heymann: the Prior Generation 57

theodp writes "Two decades before the White House was petitioned to remove U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and her Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann from their jobs for the allegedly overzealous prosecution of Aaron Swartz, the Boston Globe reported on allegations of 'sometimes heavy-handed tactics and inaccuracies' of an NFL investigation into sexual harassment charges made by a sportswriter against the New England Patriots that was led by Watergate prosecutor Philip Heymann (Stephen's father) and included Ortiz. 'From the day Philip Heymann and his colleagues walked into Foxboro Stadium to investigate Lisa Olson's charges of sexual harassment,' the Globe reported, 'the New England Patriots were on the defensive, and apparently, they stayed there to the end. One day after conducting a preliminary six-hour interview with Olson, Heymann introduced each investigator to the Patriots and outlined their backgrounds at a meeting he later called benign. Yet he also said two weeks ago, "They were frightened from the beginning by the way I introduced people. I said that Jerry O'Sullivan had been US Attorney. I said Jim Ring had been FBI special agent in charge of organized crime."'

Regarding Ortiz, the Globe reported, 'Heymann investigator Carmen Ortiz wrote in a memo of her Oct. 18, 1990, interview with [Lisa Olson] that she took no notes and did not tape-record the conversation. Yet she used direct quotes when writing up her 15-page report on the session. When asked to explain, she referred the Globe to Heymann.' Aside from transcripts of two interviews (the tapes of which were destroyed), the Globe reported the NFL kept no notes on its interviews with 89 other people. '"It was contemplated that there would be a motion such as this [a lawsuit by Olson] and we did not want to create that type of document," an NFL attorney explained. According to the Globe, an attorney representing the Patriots said that 'one reason the tapes were destroyed may be that the NFL did not want anyone to hear raised voices or pounding of tables. He said some of those interviewed were not allowed to leave the room and had their livelihoods threatened if they did not cooperate.' Curiously, the elder Heymann featured prominently in a recently-upheld DOJ motion to keep the names of key people involved in the Aaron Swartz case secret — a postcard threat received by Philip Heymann was cited by Ortiz's office as evidence of why such secrecy was necessary."
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Ortiz-Heymann: the Prior Generation

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  • Government discriminates and over time government grows to become more and more abusive, especially when government connected people's interests are at stake, news at 11.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      What's that have to do with investigating alleged crimes?

    • by anagama ( 611277 )

      Thank you for the apathy. I'm sure that will do a lot to improve things. In fact, everything will just get better if we stop hearing about government abuses at all. Brilliant plan.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY ( 1334993 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @02:37AM (#44020239)

    They both need to be removed from their positions. Their conduct demonstrates such a gross lack of proportionality and such a funhouse mirror-like distortion of the relative importance and societal significance of Aaron's crimes that their continued employment represents an ongoing threat to the respect we need society to have for its laws and for the judicial system generally.

    If we want people to respect laws, we need prosecutors who at the very least have good judgement .

    We would actually prefer prosecutors who had wisdom.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 16, 2013 @03:36AM (#44020433)

      Obama needs to be removed from his position. I'm at scandal overload right now. It does not matter anymore that Obama was not directly involved in some of the scandals. It is obvious that he has been appointing hacks and assholes, so he should have to answer for their crimes.

      Recent scandals:
      * Aaron Swartz 'murder by prosecution'
      * IRS targeting conservatives
      * State dept covering up a coverup about a US Ambassador soliciting prostitutes
      * NSA spying using writs of assistance
      * DOJ spying on reporters/threatening reporters

      Oh, and now the asshole is trying to get us involved in Syria. Obama promised the rebels guns. Now Iran is giving the regime troops and Russia is giving them anti-aircraft missiles. I can't wait to hear Obama's next move there. Fucking proxy wars.

      Impeach and then remove Obama. I say this as a Democrat.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You can say it as mayor McCheese if you want.. It's not going to matter one damm bit at this point.

        as a democrat YOU are part of the problem.

        Anyone who has voted D or R in the last 30 years or so.. This is your fault. 100%. You all fucked up. And kept fucking up monumentally while telling yourselves it was the OTHER side fucking up worse.

        It's all bullshit. You're all guilty as fuck of putting our country where it is now.

        And yet... next voting season.. YOU'LL FUCKING DO IT AGAIN! and elect more of

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        The 'IRS targeting conservatives' story is a bit inaccurate. The IRS wasn't targeting conservative groups specifically, it was targeting anti-taxation groups - there's an obvious motive there. It just happens that most anti-taxation groups have conservative affiliation.

        The IRS wasn't trying to shut them down, it was just being stricter in ensuring compliance with the very vague restrictions on the political activities permitted to 501(c) organisations. It's a very fuzzy area of the law, and one that is very

      • Remove Obama and you get Joe Biden as President.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      not trying to troll, but this is exactly the type of stuff that is a waste of tax money, over zealous prosecution on petty NON-crimes. I think it is time that the prosecutors start having the same happen to them, rack up a bunch of charges and threaten them to plea guilty or go to prison for the next 30-50 years, and imprison the politicians who put the laws in place and left said laws so wide open.

  • Telling (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @02:39AM (#44020255)

    ... a postcard threat received by Philip Heymann was cited by Ortiz's office as evidence of why such secrecy was necessary.

    When prosecutors are more worried about covering their own asses than seeing that justice is done, you know things have gotten seriously f*ed up.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    More lies:
    "When asked by Maine Senator Susan Collins if Edward Snowden's claim that he could he could tap into virtually any American's phone call or e-mails. True or false?" Alexander said, "False. I know of no way to do that. "

    The system is knowns as DCSNet, it lets them tap any phone in the country remotely:

    He's just a fucking liar. He knows how the systems work, he's trying to mislead the Senate and Congress. With the FBI data sharing, he gained access to DCSNet just a

    • Note the weasel words: "I know no way of..."

      So allegedly if the govt. ever wanted to prosecute him for lying to Congress, he'd have that to fall back on. Seems very very very very far fetched. Very.

      The govt and it's agents should stop pulling plays from old playbooks like "stonewalling " and "legal weasel words" and just let us have this much needed national conversation in full light of all the facts.

      This is partly an "old man problem", or the effect of having old men in positions of power.

      Old men are
      1) in

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @03:27AM (#44020407) Journal

    Curiously, the elder Heymann featured prominently in a recently-upheld DOJ motion to keep the names of key people involved in the Aaron Swartz case secret

    I don't think it's really very curious, considering the entire internet hates them........

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @03:36AM (#44020431) Journal

    If your job title is "Prosecutor", it's not a huge secret that(whatever lip service is paid to due process and rule of law and other such highflown nonsense) your job performance is being judged based on how much prosecution you can dish out. People who end up advancing up the ladder in that particular industry should, quite naturally, turn out to be very effective indeed at at least being seen prosecuting, if not actually doing a lot of it.

    The trouble is, of course, that this creates an incentive to take cases that provide maximum visible product per unit work, and to do whatever is necessary to get results. Nobody wants to hear your whiny excuses about how you only handled one case this year because the target was heavily lawyered up and quite savvy(even if many of society's most dangerous malefactors are exactly these things, and would be far more deserving of prosecutorial attention) and 'acquittal' = 'you are a loser', even if justice was done.

    It's an unfortunate misalignment of incentives.

    • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @08:19AM (#44021123)

      The worst role in law is public defence. Your job is to make your boss's boss look bad - so he'll deliberately overwork you to the point you can't give more than an hour to each case, and if by some miracle you manage to get too many non-guilty verdicts you just get fired or 'promoted sideways' to a position you can't do so much damage in.

      The effective role of the public defender isn't to help the clients, it's to convince them to accept a plea bargin and save the state all the expense of having to go to trial.

  • by Anonymous Coward


  • most writers like to have something called "a point". they put at the front of the "story" so people will "know what the fuck you are talking about".

    then inside the story, you explain your point and give further detail.

  • If they are not doing anything wrong then they should mot have anything to hide. All interpersonal interactions of all government functionaries with public citizens should be recorded and filed electronically by the media audio/vidieo and metadata to be made available immeadiately following the conclusion of the inquiry/investigation. Make them responsible for their (in)actions. Any extensions beyond a sunset date must be individually approved and summary reports published on how many extensions were approv
  • Without taking a stand on either case, I have to say that digging back through 23 years of Ortiz's career to find some vague evidence of misconduct is pretty much the definition of muckraking. Honestly, if you have to look this hard to find some dirt on a U.S. attorney, she's remarkably clean for someone in her career.

    The author is clearly going for a hatchet-job rather than honest investigative journalism, and as such, their motives are not to be trusted.

  • I wrote up a plain text summary, from the /. submission, and personalized it a bit so, if you want to copy / paste and sign it and email it to your reps, senators and Obama you can grab it from here: []

    Find your reps and links to their contact info with your zip code here: []

    If you're too apathetic to think it can make any difference no need to reply. Thanks much!

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford