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Category Archives: Justice System
Don’t ever get on the bad side of a certain type federal prosecutor. If you do and the prosecutor has unlimited powers like Kim Jong-un you will spend the rest of your life in prison. Even your family may be dragged in after you, or, if not imprisoned, impoverished.
Fortunately most federal prosecutors don’t have the power to pursue people endlessly to satisfy what borders on an irrational compulsion to destroy. Usually there are restraints upon them. Sometimes it is the media that will point out how it was never intended that for crimes not punishable by death that people do life in prison on the installment plan. Other times with the change-over in local U.S. Attorneys the newly installed leader will calm the waters and turn the prosecutor’s attention to other subjects.
At this point in time, a man who has been wrongfully convicted lingers in a Florida prison. To be frank, no one seems to care. That’s Florida justice for you. It may be the Sunshine State but there’s little sunshine for those caught up in its criminal system.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a cheerleader for this person. Some want to light candles to him, not me. To be truthful I have mixed feelings toward him none of which are complementary.
It’s a relatively easy story to understand how he ended up in his nether world of being still locked up. He was an FBI agent who worked in the FBI’s Top Echelon Informant (TEI) program. His job was to find criminals highly connected with top gangsters and wine and dine them so that they would give him information the FBI could use against the big bad guys.
The Boston Herald over the last week or so has made much ado about the unsolved homicide cases in the City of Boston. A headline on July 28 read: “Boston lags behind U.S. in solving murders.”
The first few lines read: “The Boston Police Department is carrying a grim ledger of 336 unsolved murder cases from the past 10 years — a period that saw the city consistently lagging behind the national average for cracking slay cases despite repeated changes in strategies and leadership, a Herald review found. The stunning total of unsolved cases encompasses 2004 to 2013, . . . killed 628 people across the dozen neighborhoods patrolled by Boston cops” (my emphasis)
The article then went on to show the homicides occurred at a much greater rate in black neighborhoods: “Black men were slain at 10 times the rate of white men” and “More than two-thirds of the city’s murders were committed in Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester” which are predominately black areas.
It is amazing how they all march to the same tune. Did you ever notice that once the Boston Globe decides a position then all the employees dutifully follow along especially those on the editorial staff. This was again shown on Thursday when I happened to read an article by Yvonne Abraham.
You know the background to all this. The Globe did a Spotlight Report on the practices of the Massachusetts probation department. It demanded they be investigated. The state judges duly followed the demand. After a biased investigation the Probation Commission O’Brien was canned.
The Globe demanded that O’Brien be indicted. He was by the attorney general. He won that case. And by the US attorney, who was the Globe’s “Bostonian of the Year”.
I’ve been intrigued by the lack of input by women on some issues I’d have thought would pique their interest. I think I’ve figured out why this has happened. I recognize that since I was around during the great revolution I expected more of women; I expected to see some sparks from them. I remember the days when the attitude toward anything though inimicable to a woman was “this too shall not stand.” Those were the times when a man who dared refer to a female as a girl was putting his life in great peril.
Two matters of recent interest had me thinking that women would be interested in them. One is the story about Patricia Campatelli who is clearly being deprived of her job because she is cut from a different jib than other women; the other is the story of young college women who are shut out of the criminal justice system by the unwillingness of the state to mandate that their complaints to college officials about being sexually assaulted be passed on to law enforcement authorities.
The Massachusetts highest court is the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). Understand that justices on that court have an ethereal existence which sometimes affects the way they decide cases. Their interaction with the rest of us is quite limited and they spend most of their time talking to each other reinforcing the righteousness of their ideas. Two recent decisions that it pronounced makes one wonder where the judges hearts are. These decisions suggest to me that they need to spend a little time finding out how the rest of us live.
Judges should decide things with the understanding of the effect their decisions have on the lives of us individual blokes who go about our way rubbing shoulders with others like ourselves. What we need, which these SJC justices seem not to grasp, was spelled out by Judge Elijah Adlow, the long serving judge who handled the first session of the Boston Municipal Court where he encountered the smell, spell and swell of everyday city life. He summed up his philosophy in a few words: “the whole point of culture [is] to give everyone peace, quiet and the right to enjoy life.” He made his decisions based on that ideal.
Earlier today I wrote about how the judge in the federal court, Judge F. Dennis Saylor,IV, seem to be dismayed because defense counsel John Amibile and others are putting up a real fight on behalf of their clients. He noted he was unhappy. Apparently defense counsel must perform in such a way so that they do not do anything that would upset the judge. The client is supposed to be satisfied with everyone playing nicey-nicey and end up going off to prison happy that the judge did not have to referee what Judge Saylor found to be offensive and what he called a prize fight.
It must be that in the great majority of the criminal cases in the federal court in Boston the defendants are represented by those like the federal defenders who buy into the idea that a criminal trial is some type of preliminary exhibition match. Blows are thrown but most are pulled because the parties know they will be soon be matched up again in the same pit before the same referees. If that is the case, then one has to wonder about the effectiveness of their representation.
Last Friday several newspapers wrote about the case involving the head of the Massachusetts probation department and two of his top aides who are in federal court facing penalties in excess of twenty years. The prosecutors indicted them not because they hired unqualified persons but because they did not hire those who the prosecutors believe are the most qualified. Instead, they hired those recommended by judges, legislators and others, practicing the time-honored tradition of patronage.
The three defendants in the case are middle age or over. None had a criminal record prior to the time on March 23, 2012, when as dangerous felons they “were led into their arraignments in Worcester federal court Friday handcuffed and shackled.” Over a year later in April 2013 the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston increased the charges and penalties O’Brien and his co-defendants were facing when it became clear they would not plead guilty. This is a common tactic in that office. It likes to frighten people into facing enormous amounts of time in prison unless they plead guilty or in some cases if they cooperate with the government.
According to news reports last week the Boston Bar Association (BBA) has come out against the federal death penalty. The BBA has had a long history of over 40 years of opposition to the death penalty in Massachusetts but the recent report was the first time it addressed the federal death penalty. One may inquire what prompted this new study of an old topic. In addition, one might ask why if it had never done so in its 250 year history it has suddenly decided to include in its report the federal death penalty.
Paul T. Dacier, elected to be president of the BBA in September, 2013, had ordered this review of the organization’s stance on the death penalty upon taking office. He included in it a request to determine whether the BBA should speak out against federal capital punishment. Dacier, the in-house counsel for EMC, made his request within five months of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Dacier’s view is that “without equivocation, the death penalty has no place in the fair administration of justice and makes no sense on a practical level. Regardless of how heinous the crime, we stand strong against the death penalty in federal and state cases.”
Edward Snowden turned 30 last year. He dropped out of high school in his second year and never graduated. Somewhat later he acquired a GED degree. He did not graduate from college. He took some college courses yet he never seemed to have the sticktoitiveness to complete anything. I suppose he was bright because his computer skills were such that he was hired by the CIA to do computer security work and eventually stole our country’s secrets using those skills.
His inability to stick to things followed him as he seemed to jump from job to job. He worked in Switzerland for the CIA, left that and went to Japan working for an NSA contractor; then in January 2013 we find him in Hawaii. At this time he reaches out trying to peddle intelligence community information.