by Kathryn Dixon © 2001

On March 5, 2001, the veteran Northern District senior Judge, D. Lowell Jensen, recused himself from the case of Maria Teresa Macias (Estate of Macias v. Idhe, C96-3658).  Attorney Richard Seltzer, representing the Macias estate, wrote an "informal letter" to Judge Jensen, citing an overwhelming impression that Jensen is biased against the claims of the Macias estate. The letter request did not explicitly mention sexism or racism, according to Seltzer, who is coy about the contents of his letter. On February 8, 2001, Seltzer wrote Jensen requesting that he disqualify himself from the Macias case for three reasons Seltzer has vaguely revealed: 1) the judge's prosecutorial background, 2) his evaluation of the evidence in granting a summary judgment to Sonoma County, which was overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and 3) an allegedly prejudicial remark at a status conference in the Macias case.  Selzter declines to make the letter public.  Seltzer said, "I wrote him in a letter form instead of making a formal motion because, frankly, I did not want to embarrass him."  Subsequently, Jensen issued his order recusing himself, and denied his own prejudice and wrote he "does not believe the circumstances cited by counsel create an appearance of bias."  Jensen did state regarding Selzter's claim that Jensen made a remark suggesting bias at an off-the-record status conference, that this circumstance creates a troublesome situation."  Jensen wrote:

If at some time in the course of proceeding in this case, for whatever reason, it should become necessary to specifically determine what was said at a status conference and when this happened, it is obvious that this Court could not conduct an evidentiary hearing on the matter.  Assignment to another Court would permit this case to proceed untroubled by the accusation of counsel."

By stepping away from the Macias case, Jensen apparently will avoid any further inquiry into his allegedly biased off-the-record remark against Macias.

Jensen did not file Seltzer's letter.  Jensen did not seal the letter.  Thus, the letter which outlined Jensen's alleged bias has not been made public.  There is no legal precedent for allowing attorneys to send informal letters to judges to obtain court orders, and then for judges to make court orders in response to such formal letters, without filing the letter which prompted the order.  The public, per Jensen's conduct, must engage in a guessing game about what happened in a public court proceeding.

Now Jensen openly operates a secret type of court.  The alleged prejudicial remark Jensen made was off-the-record, and now the letter is off-the-record.  The public has a right to know the contents of this letter. Other plaintiffs and defendants facing Jensen in court have the right to know the allegations against him.

The critical Macias Case.

The Macias case alleges that the Sonoma County Sheriff's department failed to protect her from her husband Avelino who murdered her 1996, then committed suicide.  The Macias estate seeks $15 million in damages against the Sheriff's Department  for having failed to provide her with equal protection when she tried to have Avelino arrested for stalking. During the last three months of her life, Macias' diary and public records indicate she called deputies at least fourteen times, and obtained a restraining order against Avelino which was subsequently misplaced by Deputies.

Judge Jensen granted a summary judgment motion in favor of  Sonoma County, thereby disposing of Macia's equal protection case.  In July 2000, the 9th Court of Appeals reversed Jensen's ruling, and remanded the case back to Jensen's trial court.  The Ninth Circuit held  the crux of Macias' lawsuit was not, as Jensen perceived, Sonoma County's alleged failure to prevent Macias' murder.  Instead, the court ruled the issue is whether the county's conduct deprived her of equal protection under the 14th Amendment.  (See Estate of Macias v. Ihde, 219 F.3d 1018 (2000).  In effect, the Ninth Circuit's ruling will allow evidence at trial in the Macias case to demonstrate the Sonoma Sheriff worked to enforce restraining orders regarding certain individuals, and did not work to enforce such orders regarding persons in Macia's classification, i.e. women and minorities. 

The Macias case, if successful, will reveal and possibly curtail the discriminatory enforcement of court orders by District Attorneys who look the other way when the victims are women, children and minorities, and allow  males to violate such orders with impunity and de facto "good old boy" immunity.

Judge Susan Illston has taken over the Macias case, now that Jensen has recused himself.  Illston, the former law partner of Joe Crotchet, was appointed by President Clinton in 1994.  

Jensen's background.

Jensen started his career in the Army Signal Corps, the predecessor of the National Security Administration, and then joined the Alameda District Attorney's office. Jensen worked on the Army's prosecutions of Black men who "deserted" after the Port Chicago explosion of 1944.  As deputy District Attorneys, Jensen and his close colleague Edwin Meese III, jump-started their careers prosecuting members of the Free Speech movement in the early Sixties and prosecuting Vietnam protesters in the late Sixties.  In 1969, Jensen became District Attorney of Alameda County.  In 1976 Jensen gained fame by prosecuting three armed men who carjacked a Chowchilla school bus and kidnapped 26 school children.  The kidnappers buried the children inside a moving van in a quarry in Livermore Valley.  The bus driver pried the roof of the bus open to let the children escape. Jensen headed the investigation and prosecution of the kidnappers.  The children underwent hypnosis as part of a process to enable them to remember the identities of their captors. Jensen went on to gain further fame by prosecuting SLA members Russell Little and Joe Remiro for the assassination of Oakland Schools Superintendent Marcus Foster in November 6, 1973. Jensen also prosecuted Black Panther Huey Newton numerous times. 

In 1981, Lowell Jensen was appointed by President Reagan to the position of Chief of the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice.  Edwin Meese was appointed Attorney General by President Reagan. Jensen and Meese worked together running the U.S. Justice Department in the early 80's just as they ran Alameda County's District Attorney's office in the late 60's and 70's.  In 1986, Reagan appointed Jensen to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. During his tenure as Chief of the Criminal Division, Jensen became embroiled in Reagan administration corruption involving the October Surprise, the theft of INSLAW,  providing a warning to Ollie North's group to protect them during the Iran Contra scandal, and the filing of a false CIA affidavit in the Edwin Wilson trial. (Click article below for details.)  In April 2001, the trial of Sara Jane Olsen (Soliah), former SLA member, commences.  She is charged with planting bombs in an L.A. police car as part of a conspiracy to commit murder.  The SLA trial and issues may come back to haunt D. Lowell Jensen who played a pivotal role in exercising his prosecutorial discretion regarding which members of the SLA would face criminal prosecutions, and whether the roles of Vacaville prison's experimental programs on SLA leader DeFreeze  and of the government's agent provocateurs turned into SLA "zealots" would be revealed.

compiled by Kathryn Dixon © 2000

On May 26, 2000, The Recorder in San Francisco published an article entitled Hard to Say Anything Bad About Judge Jensen.  The article reveals a virtual Who's Who of the Alameda County Mafia clan.  The gist of this propaganda is that those who have fealty to D. Lowell Jensen and his long-time associate Edwin Meese III look forward to rich and blessed lives for generations.  Conversely, those who call Jensen a "crook" look forward to his covert hateful attacks, and he (Jensen) still earnestly believes, his critics will not look forward to such rich and blessed lives.

First, NewsMakingNews, re-publishes the Recorder's laudatory article for educational purposes.  Following this article is another article, a series of reports by various authors, assembled by NewsMakingNews entitled Hard to Say Anything Good About Judge Jensen.

HARD TO SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT JUDGE JENSEN By Scott Graham, Recorder Staff Writer © 2000

It's difficult writing up a dinner tribute to U.S. District Judge D. Lowell Jensen.

Jensen, who headed up the Alameda County district attorney's office for 11 years and also worked as a deputy U.S. attorney general, is so beloved in the East Bay bar and maintains such a squeaky-clean image that any tribute will be long on rosy and short on roast.

Such was the case at the Alameda County bar Foundations' dinner May 18 in Oakland, where few sentences were completed without the words "integrity," "Leadership" and "hard work" being thrown in.  Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Lois Haight summed up the mood by describing Jensen as "a man who embodies the very best of the profession."

Perhaps sensing the surfeit of praise, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Burr evoked the most powerful moment of the evening without dispensing a single compliment.

Rather, he simply asked the federal judges on hand who'd worked for Jensen in their formative years to stand.  Judges Saundra Brown Armstrong and Martin Jenkins--each of whom worked under Jensen in Oakland and Washington, D.C.--got up.  Then Burr asked all the state court of appeal justices who'd worked for Jensen in their formative years to stand.  Up popped Justices Carol Corrigan, Joanne Parrelli and William McGuiness.  Then Burr invited up all the superior court judges who'd been mentored by Jensen, along with anyone who'd served as his law clerk.  By the time Burr was finished some two-thirds of the 200-plus people in attendance were on their feet.

"This is why Alameda County is the Nile of the [Bay Area] courts." whispered one diner.

Crosby, Heafy, Roach & May partner Howard Janssen, another former prosecutor under Jensen, told the audience he'd tried but failed to come up with some dirt.  "Everyone suggested to me I should make up a couple of stories," he said.

In his brief talk, Jensen scoffed at the kind words. "Storytellers are historians, and historians are inevitably revisionists.  And they've done well on revisions," he said.

As for his 14 years as a judge, he said "It's a good job.  Interesting."

Editor-in-Chief Scott Graham's e-mail address is

compiled by Kathryn Dixon © 2000

Click to October Surprise corruption. 
Click to INSLAW corruption.  
Click to false CIA affidavit in Edwin Wilson trial. 
Click to "heads-up" to protect Ollie North during Iran Contra.


D. Lowell Jensen ordered the U.S. Attorney in New York to alert Hashemi's lawyer so that he avoided eminent arrest for arms smuggling.  Cyrus Hashemi was allegedly a witness to two meetings in Madrid between William Casey and Iranian representatives when the October Surprise was arranged. 

1. The background of the Madrid Meetings which made Cyrus Hashemi an important witness:

Source: In Trick or Treason, author Robert Parry reports what Jamshid Hashemi told him about his brother Cyrus Hashemi's' meeting in Madrid regarding the October Surprise:

"But the Hasehmi brothers' dual sets of U.S. contacts--one the Carter administration and the other the Republicans--began to cross in march 1980.  while staying at Washington's stately Mayflower Hotel, Jamshid said he was surprised by an unannounced visitor at this room:  Roy Furmark knocked on the door.  With Furmark, Jamshid claimed, was a tall, hunched man who spoke with a slurred New York accent.  he was introduced as William Casey.  By March 1980, Casey was director of Ronald Reagan's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

"Casey wanted to discuss political matters,"  Jamshid told us over the clicking of luncheon plates.  "I cut him short.  I said, `I don't know who you are.'  I called Cyrus and told him there was this gentleman here.  Cyrus talked to Mr. Casey." 

Jamshid said he thought little about the Mayflower encounter until the summer.  But in July, Cyrus confided to him that the relationship had taken another turn.  "Cyrus asked me to bring Ayatollah Mechi Karrubi out of Iran for a meeting in Spain," Jamshid said.  The brothers had known Karrubi , a hard-line revolutionary mullah, and his brother, Hassan, in pre-revolutionary Iran, Jamshid said.  To bring Mehdi Karrubi out, Jamshid said he arranged for the radical mullah to travel to Madrid.  The Spanish capital was a favorite for the Iranians because no visas were required.

"The meeting took place at a hotel--the Ritz Hotel--at the end of July, "Jamshid said, claiming matter of factly that on the American side were William Casey and an active-duty CIA officer, Donald Gregg.  On the Iranian side, Karrubi came dressed in a turban and cloak, the traditional attire of an Islamic mullah.  Jamshid and Cyrus attended to help with interpreting.  But Jamshid expressed surprise that Casey was there.

"I remember saying, `What the hell are you doing with Republicans?'" Jamshid told Ross and me.  "My brother said the chance of Republicans getting to power was good and it as important to work with both sides."

Jamshid was sketchy about the dialogue at the meeting.  He claims the session began at about 11:00 and ended by late afternoon, with time out for sandwiches brought into the room for lunch.  But Jamshid said that when Casey put his cards on the table, his desire was clear.

"The proposal was to hold the hostages until after the election, and then the Reagan administration would feel favorably towards Iran and release the FMS [foreign military sales] funds and the frozen assets and return to Iran what had already been purchased."

The already purchased supplies referred to $150 million in military hardware and spare parts bought by the shah from the United States but held back when Khomeini took power and the hostages were seized.  Casey's offer also included F-14 spare parts, which were crucial to the maintenance of Iran's high-tech air force, Jamshid said.

As I scribbled in my notebook, which was perched at the edge of the dining table, Jamshid continued his story.  He spoke deliberately, sometimes with hesitation.  Occasionally he stopped in the midst of a detail to take a bit of food or answer the chirping of his cellular phone.  Then he resumed the tale. 

After the July meeting with Casey, Jamshid said, Karrubi returned to Tehran, where he consulted with Khomeini and the ayatollah's senior advisers.  Two to three weeks later, Karrubi called and asked Jamshid for a second meeting. New arrangements were made, and that meeting, too, was held in Madrid at the Ritz.  Casey and Gregg again represented the American side, and Karrubi was back for the Iranians.  Jamshid said that throughout the two rounds, "Casey was running things,"  but Gregg "was giving information that Casey didn't know or even we didn't know about, really inside-government information, like where the spare parts were."

At this second round, Karubbi again came dressed in full battle gear as an Iranian mullah.  He "confirmed" Kohmeini's agreement to release the hostages only after Reagan won power, Jamshid said, "Karrubi expressed acceptance of the proposal by Mr. Casey," Jamshid told us. "the hostages would be released after Carter's defeat." 

As we finished with a light fruit dessert and delicious coffee at the Grosvenor House, I pressed Jamshid on one question in particular:  Why was he talking now about events that he alleged happened a decade earlier?  He answered that he was speaking from a sense of family responsibility over his younger brother's death.  Jamshid rejected the medial finding of acute leukemia.  "Cyrus passed a physical only a week before he died," Jamshid said, "the doctors found nothing wrong."  Jamshid suspected his brother had been murdered.
Jamshid said he hadn't told his story earlier because he felt it would destroy his business. Now, he said, he had made enough money to support himself and his family.  Jamshid added that he also recognized that Cyrus's double-dealing would not make his late brother look good.  But he wanted to know the truth about his brother's death.  Talking about the October Surprise, he felt, was the only way to discover what really happened."  [NewsMakingNews Note: Cyrus Hashemi died on July 21, 1986.]

2. D. Lowell Jensen's role in protecting Cyrus Hashemi.


In his book, Trick or Treason, Robert Parry does not answer this question.  However, Parry  explains the business dealings of John Shaheen, William Casey's long-time friend, business associate, and fellow OSS officer, whose failing business, the Come-By-Chance refinery in Newfoundland was bailed out by Cyrus Hashemi.  Parry also looks at Cyrus Hashemi's being protected from criminal charges by the United States government during the Reagan administration.

On pages 259-260 of Trick of Treason, Parry says:

"There was a nagging question that undercut suspicions that Cyrus Hashemi had secretly aided Shaheen and Casey on any hostage initiative:  If Cyrus had been the double-agent that his brother Jamshid alleged, wouldn't Cyrus have revealed the October Surprise secret when he came under FBI investigation again in the early 1980s?  We could find no direct evidence that Cyrus blackmailed Casey over October Surprise--a point against believing in the conspiracy.  But Cyrus did succeed in avoiding prosecution for arms smuggling.  Indeed, the Iranian financier seemed to benefit from a string of actions under the Reagan administration.

In February 1981, the new Justice Department ordered the wiretaps yanked from Cyrus Hashemi's office.  At the time, some FBI agents complained that Cyrus was scouting the U.S. market for missile that could be used by the Iranian air force.  At least a few wanted to listen in.  But the field office was ordered to terminate its electronic surveillance.  Though losing the wiretaps, the FBI vowed to "vigorously pursue prosecution in view of the wealth of information obtained that subject and others have been and are in conspiracy to sell military armaments to Iran which are obtained from United States suppliers."

But obstacles soon appeared.  A New York FBI proposal for a search warrant to seize documents from Hashemi's office got lost in a blizzard of technical objections.  In April 1981, the Justice Department questioned the value of the case, doubting that a conviction would lead to jail time. "A fine will give Hashemi an aura of respectability," one cable argued implausibly.

According to a January 29, 1982, internal FBI memo, a review of the evidence by senior professional staff at the Justice Department "determined that there is a strong case for prosecution against Cyrus Hashemi."  But Reagan's first Attorney General William French Smith, withheld approval, and the grand jury was postponed "because of national security considerations," an FBI memo said.  The heavily censored document did not spell out what those "national security considerations" were.

But even two years later, as the wheels of justice turned slowly toward formally charging Cyrus Hashemi and others, the gears would jam again.  On May 16, 1984, the FBI field agents complained that their hope of nabbing Cyrus when he returned to the United States was blocked by another Justice Department intervention.  Cyrus had been scheduled to fly from London to New York on that day.  He would be arrested on May 17.  Those plans, however, went awry when the Justice Department insisted on alerting the target of the long probe.

"For information FBIHQ, Cyrus Hashemi cancelled his Concorde flight reservations to New York on May 16, 1984, at last minute,"  the New York FBI office reported. "Hashemi's now obviously aware of prosecution plans due to exposure when DOJ deputy attorney general Lowell Jensen ordered USA, SDNY [U.S. attorney, southern district of New York] to discuss evidence and prosecution because he made such a commitment to Hashemi's attorney, former Attorney General Elliot Richardson, who obviously had Cyrus Hashemi notified."

The FBI agents noted sarcastically that other targets of the probe, "will also receive the above DOJ-sponsored courtesy...Obviously the arrest will not be announced if they do not occur which in final analysis is not likely. This case began on July 18, 1980 and because of above, results of positive nature do not appear forthcoming despite the mammoth investigative effort put forth thus far."

But the headaches for the "mammoth investigative effort" were not over.  Only a few days before the long-overdue indictments were scheduled, the FBI's terrorism section discovered that two wiretap recordings had disappeared.  The loss of the tapes weakened the case and prevented the indictment of Hashemi's lawyer, Stanley Pottinger, a former Justice Department official during the Nixon and Ford administrations who collaborated with Cyrus on his Iran activities.  But Cyrus Hashemi was finally indicted on July 16, 1984, a full four years after the case commenced.

The indictment also charged another brother, Reza, and several associations with conspiracy to ship military equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. arms export control laws.  The illegally shipped items include night vision equipment, military field communication wire, military rafts, outboard engines, radar electronics, and spare parts for aircraft.  Jamshid Hashemi was later added to the indictment.  Several of Cyrus's subordinates, including brother Reza, pled guilty and received brief jail terms.  but Cyrus and Jamshid, alerted to the pending legal action and safely out of the country, escaped prosecution.

To clear up his legal problems, Cyrus stressed his past assistance to the CIA on Iran and again offered his services to the U.S. government.  According to records uncovered by the Iran-contra investigations, Cyrus did convey, through Shaheen to Casey, an offer to help spring the U.S. hostages in Lebanon.  Cyrus proposed bartering his influence with Tehran in exchange for dropping the charges against him.  Subsequently, Cyrus did work with Shaheen and Furmark in early 1985 on the Lebanon hostage crisis.  Another participant in those early Iran-contra schemes was Iranian emissary Hassan Karrubi, the brother of radical clerk Mehdi Karrubi.

Cyrus eventually avoided prosecution by acting as an undercover agent in the sting operation that netted 17 alleged arms dealers from Europe, the United States, and Israel in April 1986--the so-called "Merchants of death" case.  it was the same sting which angered Israel's conservative leaders, and, according to Ari Ben-Menashe, led to his efforts to leak the Iran arms story to the American press.  At least in that way, the October Surprise mystery had blended with the Iran-Contra Affair."

[To read Trick or Treason, the October Surprise Mystery by Robert Parry, 1993 Sheridan Square Press, New York, order at: ]

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Source:  Executive Summary (Excerpt) by Inslaw, Inc. CEO, Bill Hamilton

In piecing together the puzzle of the Government's theft of the proprietary version of PROMIS from INSLAW, we have noted the role of the Government's PROMIS Project Manger in sending Rafi Eitan to INSLAW under false pretenses and the alleged role of a senior White House National Security official in giving the proprietary version of PROMIS to Rafi Eitan. The missing piece to the puzzle appears to be the piece that links the actions of the Justice Department's PROMIS Project Manager with the alleged actions of the senior White House National Security official. Based on the available evidence, the missing piece appears to be D. Lowell Jensen, who was Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the time of the theft. Jensen pre-approved virtually every decision taken by the Government's PROMIS Project Manager under INSLAW's contract, according to the latter's sworn testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. Jensen engineered INSLAW's problems with the Justice Department through specified top Criminal Division aides in order to give the PROMIS business to unidentified "friends," according to Justice Department officials whose statements and backgrounds INSLAW summarized in its July 11, 1993 rebuttal. At the time of the 1983 theft, Jensen in the Criminal Division and Edwin Meese at the White House were planning to award a massive sweetheart contract to unidentified "friends" for the installation of PROMIS in every litigation office of the Justice Department, according to statements made in June 1983 by a Justice Department whistleblower to the staff of a Senator on the Judiciary Committee. The award was allegedly to take place once Meese left the White House to become Attorney General. Jensen and Meese had been close friends since the 1960's when they served together in the Alameda County, California, District Attorney's Office. INSLAW has repeatedly given the Justice Department the names of senior Criminal Division officials under Jensen who either allegedly helped him implement the malfeasance against INSLAW or who allegedly witnessed it. On more than one occasion, INSLAW summarized for the Justice Department the circumstantial evidence that is at least partially corroborative of these allegations. Based on warnings from confidential informants in the Justice Department, INSLAW has repeatedly emphasized to the Justice Department the absolute necessity of placing these officials under oath before interrogating them, as well as the importance of a public statement by the Attorney General guaranteeing no reprisals. More than five years have elapsed since INSLAW began furnishing this information to the Justice Department. Not one of these Criminal Division officials has, it appears, ever been interrogated under oath regarding the INSLAW affair. And no Attorney General has seen fit to issue a public statement to Justice Department employees making it clear that the Attorney General wishes employees who have information about the INSLAW affair to come forward, and giving Justice Department employees the public assurance that reprisals will not be tolerated. One of the senior Criminal Division officials who allegedly knows the whole story of Jensen's malfeasance against INSLAW is Mark Richard, the career Deputy Assistant Attorney General who has responsibility for intelligence and national security matters. In May 1988, the Chief Investigator of the Senate Judiciary Committee told INSLAW that a trusted source, who was in a position to observe Jensen's malfeasance, had identified Mark Richard as someone who not only knew the whole story but who was also "pretty upset" about it.

One of the organizational units that reports to Mark Richard is the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). OSI's publicly-declared mission is to locate and deport Nazi war criminals. The Nazi war criminal program is, however, a front for the Justice Department's own covert intelligence service, according to disclosures recently made to INSLAW by several senior Justice Department career officials."

Additional sources:  See

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Source: Did the U.S. Put Away Notorious Arms Trader Ed Wilson with False Testimony? EVEN SPOOKS HAVE RIGHTS  By Ken Silverstein (c) 1999 The Nation, October 4, 1999

"D. Lowell Jensen, now a federal judge in Oakland; and Stanley Sporkin, a federal judge in Washington knew before or immediately after the Houston trial that the CIA's affidavit was false. As recorded in notes obtained under the FOIA these men discussed the CIA's relationship to Wilson extensively, but failed to share their information with Wilson's defense. And in hearings last March before US District Court Judge Lynn Hughes, the Justice Department's Arlene Reidy, who is helping coordinate the government's response to Wilson's motion, acknowledged, we have a lot of documents already that I think show that there was a clear problem with the affidavits accuracy and that the individuals involved were well aware of that problem."

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Source: Barron's March 21, 1988 Beneath Contempt.  Did the Justice Department Deliberately Bankrupt INSLAW by Maggie Mahar.

"And from 1959 until 1967, Ed Meese served with Jensen, as an Alameda deputy district attorney.

When Ronald Reagan became President, Ed Meese recommended that his former colleague, Jensen, be appointed assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division. In 1983, when Rudolph Giuliani resigned as associate Attorney General--the No. 3 spot in the department-- Jensen ascended to that post.

So in early 1984, when Edwin Meese became Attorney General, his old Alameda County compatriot was already in place. And Jensen was not alone. A network, nicknamed the Alameda County Mafia, already was ensconced in Justice. No fewer than six former Alameda County law-enforcement officials held positions ranging from deputy assistant attorney in the tax division, to commissioner of naturalization and immigration. The former Oakland deputy police chief had snagged a spot as director of the National Institute of Justice.

Under Meese, Jensen rose to No. 2, and developed a reputation as a buffer between Ed Meese and his critics. The 58-year-old Democrat was described as "soft-spoken" "apolitical" and a "gentleman of the old standard" in a 1986 "New York Times" tribute, which added, "Colleagues say that Mr. Jensen, better than anyone else at the Justice Department, knows how to duck."

The Justice Department's diplomat had to duck when congressional investigators looking into the Iran-Contra affair reportedly found a Justice Department memo dated March 20, 1986, saying that Deputy Assistant Attorney General D. Lowell Jensen was giving a "heads-up" to the National Security Council, warning that Miami federal prosecutors were on Ollie North's trail.

Source: Barron's March 21, 1988 Beneath Contempt.  Did the Justice Department Deliberately Bankrupt INSLAW by Maggie Mahar. See:

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Case Study: Appeals Court Reinstates Macias Lawsuit
© 2000
From the July 27-August 2, 2000 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.
 © Metro Publishing Inc.

SUPPORTERS of a $15 million lawsuit against the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department by the family of a woman slain on the streets of El Verano in a domestic violence dispute are claiming victory after a federal court last week reinstated the case. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on July 20 sent the landmark wrongful-death lawsuit back to the U.S. District Court. The family of Teresa Macias now can resume its claim that the Sheriff's Department failed to provide equal protection to the woman after she tried to have her husband, Avelino, arrested for stalking.

For more than a year, Macias had repeatedly sought help from the Sheriff's Department to protect her from Avelino, who she alleged had abused her and her three children. Her diary and public records indicate that Macias called deputies at least 14 times in the last three months of her life, having obtained a restraining order that was subsequently misplaced by deputies.

In 1996, Avelino shot and killed his estranged wife, wounded his mother-in-law, and then committed suicide.

Macias' murder sparked the ire of women's rights groups and prompted a state probe of the way in which the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department and District Attorney's Office handled domestic violence cases. The agencies eventually announced numerous reforms in their practices and policies.

"This victory is of national significance," says Rick Selzer, attorney for the Macias family. "It notifies law enforcement all across the country that they must take their responsibility for victims of violence against women very seriously."

Victims' rights advocate Marie De Santis of Santa Rosa agrees: "This decision now establishes a woman's constitutional right to hold law enforcement agencies legally accountable for their failure to respond to domestic violence complaints. That's huge--that wasn't true before this ruling."

Federal District Judge Lowell Jensen last year tossed out the lawsuit, saying that citizens do not have a constitutional right to expect law enforcement to prevent their murder. The 9th Circuit Court ruled that Jensen erred when he dismissed the case. The new ruling states, "There is a constitutional right . . . to have police services administered in a nondiscriminatory manner--a right that is violated when a state actor denies such protection to disfavored persons."

THE LAWSUIT claims that the Sheriff's Department discriminated against Macias and denied her equal protection under the law by failing to take reports, ignoring evidence, discouraging her from calling again, and other actions.

The Sheriff's Department never arrested Avelino, even though it had a written policy to do so in these types of cases. The lawsuit further states that the Sheriff's Department's indifference to Macias' plight emboldened Avelino in his escalating pattern of stalking, threats, and intimidation, placing Macias and her children at greater risk.

The lawsuit maintains that the Sheriff's Department's disregard for Macias' endangerment reflected a departmental policy and custom of discrimination against women, against victims of domestic violence, and against Latinos. The suit alleges that this denial of Macias' 14th amendment right to equal protection under the law led directly to her murder.

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