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Rep. Maffei asks federal government for answers in the Renz case

Syracuse-area Congressman Dan Maffei says he is waiting for a response to letters he wrote to three federal agencies, calling for an investigation into Syracuse federal probation department policies, that allowed accused killer David Renz to allegedly disable his electronic ankle monitor. Rep. Maffei says the case illustrates a lack of oversight in certain federal agencies.

According to Maffei, one of the problems is that there are too many agencies that have oversight over the federal courts system and the Syracuse probation office. Maffei sent a letter last week asking the Justice Department to investigate the Syracuse Probation Office for it's apparent failure to monitor Renz. He also sent letters to the administrative office for the United States Courts, and the Judicial Conference of the United States, which also oversees the Federal court system. He says you can see how this case could have fallen through the cracks, because of the lack of someone like an inspector general, common in other federal agencies.

"Even the IRS has an inspector general. Someone who is a watchdog, Well there is no inspector general here. So that's the most frustrating thing here, you've got to fire somebody, but you've got to figure out who to fire, said Maffei.

Renz is accused of stabbing to death 47-year old Lori Bresnahan of Liverpool, and sexually assaulting a 10-year old girl after the two were abducted in the parking lot of the Great Northern Mall in March.  An electronic ankle bracelet was supposed to have kept track of him, after his January arrest on  federal child pornography charges. But federal officials say he had disabled the bracelet the evening of the crime, and the Syracuse probation office reportedly ignored a total of 46 alerts that the bracelet had been tampered with. Along with an investigation, Maffei wold like U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review current federal procedures and make sure there are rules and regulations across the board to deal with these electronic monitoring systems.


Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.