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Federal Appeals Court Lets FBI off the Hook after It Lied to U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney

published August 14, 2013

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Federal Appeals Court Lets FBI off the Hook after It Lied to U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney
Cormac J. Carney was born in 1959 in Detroit, MI. He was raised in Long Beach, CA, where he attended St. Anthony High School. Carney graduated with a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and he earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

He was an excellent wide receiver on the UCLA Bruins football team. While playing for the Bruins, Carney was the team leader in receiving. He also graduated with a 3.51 grade point average in psychology. Since he was an outstanding athlete on the football field, Carney was named to the GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American football team as well as the All-Pacific-10 Conference teams in 1981 and 1982. He was the Bruins' all-time leading receiver with over one hundred receptions for nearly two thousand yards. Carney helped the Bruins achieve a 26-7-2 record. The team was ranked as high as fifth in the national polls. In 1983, Carney helped UCLA defeat Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

After law school, Carney worked in private practice for two law firms in Los Angeles, CA. He was appointed by then Governor Gray Davis to a seat on the California Superior Court in Orange County.

President George W. Bush nominated Carney to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on January 7, 2003. On April 7, 2003, the U.S. Senate confirmed him and he received his commission two days later. At the district court, Carney has handled complex criminal and civil issues, which includes civil rights, business finance, securities, trademarks, copyrights, patents, white collar crime and drug conspiracies.

He was inducted into the College Sports Information Director's of America Academic All-American Hall of Fame in 2005. Carney and his wife Mary have two children, Michelle and Colin.

According to All Gov editorial, "Federal Appeals Court Lets FBI off the Hook after It Lied to a Judge," the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was spying on the Muslim community in Southern California. The FBI lied to U.S. District Judge Carney about the existence of documents related to a case concerning that surveillance. Was the FBI sanctioned for its conduct?

The AP article noted that the ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with Carney, who demanded the government in 2011 to pay court fees for those bringing a lawsuit on behalf of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. These Muslim organizations and organizations of mosques has functioned in the Golden State since 1995.

The AP column stated that the civil liberties case before the District Court claimed that U.S. authorities unlawfully spied on mosques in 2006 and 2007. The FBI was charged for sending an undercover spy into numerous Orange County mosques as part of Operation Flex. The authorities probably collected information on hundreds of individuals. The FBI acknowledged that it used an informant, but they asked that the case be thrown out due to national security reasons.

The AP editorial pointed out that attorneys who represent the mosques asked to see surveillance records on behalf of the plaintiffs. The FBI told Carney they had delivered all the information within the scope of the plaintiffs' original Freedom of Information Act claim. The authorities lied to the judge. Outraged over the deception, Carney sanctioned the FBI. He claimed, "The Government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the Court."

However, the AP article reported that the Ninth Court of Appeals asserted that wasn't true. They reversed Carney's ruling. The FBI had originally released eight heavily redacted documents of information due to the lawsuit brought against them. The FBI told Carney that's all of the documents that had. They eventually released another one hundred pages of heavily redacted documents, which displayed Carney privately in camera. In response to the dishonesty, the judge stated in his 2011 judgment, "The court must impose monetary sanctions to deter the government from deceiving the court again."

The AP column acknowledged that the tree-judge appellate panel disagreed with Carney. The appellate panel cited what is called safe harbor provision of the law, and they reversed Carney's decision on procedural grounds, claiming what counted was the fact that the judge eventually received the documents. In August 2012, a frustrated judge Carney threw out the spying suit against the FBI. He concluded, "Odysseus opted to pass by the monster and risk a few of his individual sailors, rather than hazard the loss of his entire ship to the sucking whirlpool."