Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly implied that Dobyns has been solely represented by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund in this case and implied attorney James Reed works for LELD. Reed works for, and has represented Dobyns through, the Baird, Williams & Greer of Phoenix Law Firm. Dobyns has been represented by both LELD and Baird, Williams and Greer of Phoenix throughout his case. Further, I incorrectly paraphrased and attributed an assumption to Reed regarding a quote from the Arizona Republic. That attribution has been retracted.
Last month whistleblower and retired ATF Agent Jay Dobyns won a long court battle against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms after the agency retaliated against him for warning about corruption in management and failed to address death threats against his family. Some background on the case:
Dobyns, who infiltrated the dangerous and deadly Hells Angels gang as an undercover agent years ago, brought a lawsuit against the Bureau after supervisors ignored death threats to his family, which included plans to murder him either with a bullet or by injecting him with the AIDS virus, kidnapping and torturing his then 15-year-old daughter and kidnapping his wife in order to videotape a gang rape of her. Contracts were solicited between the Hells Angels, the Aryan Brotherhood and the MS-13 gang to carry out these threats, which were laid out in prison letters and confirmed through FBI and ATF interviews of confidential informants inside numerous detention centers. In 2008, his Tucson home was burned to the ground. When the fire was started, his wife and children were inside. Luckily, they escaped. Instead of investigating, ATF supervisors accused Dobyns of being the arsonist.
In his opinion, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Francis Allegra described ATF officials as demonstrating misfeasance in the case "rooted in the sorry failure of some ATF officials." Dobyns was awarded $173,000, an insufficient amount considering his family has been nearly bankrupted as a result of ATF's behavior, not to mention the emotional stress incurred throughout the process.
Now unsatisfied with a loss in court and berating by a federal judge, ATF and the Department of Justice are appealing the ruling.
"The battle continues. DOJ and ATF appealed the judge's decision on my lawsuit. It will now be heard before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. When? Not sure. How long? Maybe years," Dobyns wrote on CleanupATF.org last week, "I will never give in and I am excited to now have a panel of judges examine what ATF and DOJ have done. ATF and DOJ want more scrutiny on their conduct? Let's go. I wrongly believed that they would not want any more exposure on what dirty and corrupt organizations they are running but it appears that they have not yet felt enough pain. They will. I promise."
Dobyns has been represented by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and Baird, Williams & Greer of Phoenix Law Firm throughout this process. His attorney James Reed, who works for Baird, Williams & Greer of Phoenix, questioned the government's use of taxpayer dollars for the appeal in an interview with the Arizona Republic.
"It really doesn't seem like a good use for the taxpayers' money, but one of the problems with the Department of Justice is the amount of accountability there is for decision making," Reed said.
The decision to appeal no doubt is the continuation of retaliation from the Bureau against Dobyns, proving that nothing has changed since Acting ATF Director B. Todd Jones promised to cleanup the agency.
You can read more about the background of Dobyns' case against the government here.