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Category Archives: Justice System
Here’s what I don’t get. How any right thinking can person believe justice is served by having John Connolly rot in prison? To bring that about the Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys had to literally make deals with evil.
Connolly joined the FBI in 1968. He got in through a hook. No, it wasn’t through Billy Bulger’s help as some media mavens would have you believe. Billy was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives at the time who had little pull in Washington, DC at the time and none with the FBI. It was through a friend of his father, John W. McCormack, who happened to be Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. McCormack picked up the phone and J. Edgar Hoover knowing on what side his bread was buttered opened the door for Connolly.
It was probably through the same connection that he returned to the Boston office of the FBI in 1973. McCormack had retired by that time but you can rest assured he still maintained his relationship with the next speaker, Carl Albert, his long time right hand man. Connolly stayed with the FBI in Boston until he retired in late 1990.
Connolly was part of the FBI’s ill considered Top Echelon Informant (TEI) program that had been started by J. Edgar Hoover the long-term, 48 year, director of the FBI. Hoover instituted the program in the early 1960s but doubled down on it after LBJ put the kibosh on the FBI’s black bag operations where it broke into buildings and planted electronic listening devices. The FBI had come under a waterfall of criticism for its failure to deal with the Mafia and Hoover, despite his reluctance, knew that he had to start producing.
“Mean bastards,” is what I answered a person who asked me why the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI want John Connolly to die in prison. That’s my explanation for what is going on. They have no reason other than they are vindictive people who have the power to work behind the scenes to continue the unwarranted imprisonment of him.
It’s not that John Connolly knows anything that could hurt them; even if he did, few, if any, would believe him since he has lost all credibility in the public eye after the incessant hammering he has taken in the media and books by malicious people using him as a foil for hurting others. A tragic part of John Connolly’s plight is that he has yet to fully grasp after all these years in prison that he was betrayed by the FBI. He knows he did the job that he was supposed to have done; he knows the FBI knows that is what he did; because of his brain washing by that Bureau he cannot understand that it is because he did the job that the FBI had to turn on him and try to destroy him.
He is incapable of understanding the abhorrence with which he is held by the top echelon bureaucrats in the FBI and DOJ. He remains in prison because these officials sub silento can control his fate – work behind the scenes to keep him there. They are still smarting over having had their corrupt operation exposed. As long as they breathe the only way they can placate their hurt feelings is to inflict continuing punishment on Connolly.
You know Frank Salemme was one of the big hit men during the gang wars of the 1960s in Boston according to both him and his buddy Stevie Flemmi. Both men were indicted for blowing up an attorney’s automobile. They fled the area. Flemmi was caught in New York City by FBI Agent John Connolly, returned to Boston, incarcerated in Walpole prison for 16 years, and finally released in the late 1980s. He eventually became the leader of the New England Mafia. Not a nice guy by any definition of that word.
He testified against Agent Connolly at his trial in 2002. He blamed Connolly for him having been shot at a Pancake House in Saugus. He testified Flemmi told him the gangsters were paying money to Connolly; he testified that he gave Flemmi money to give to Connolly; and he said he got information from Flemmi which Flemmi said came from Connolly. Pretty good information that Connolly is corrupt to any juror who is paying attention.
He said he met Connolly at the Prudential Center in 1994. It was the first time he’d seen him since he arrested him. Connolly who was then working for Boston Edison invited him up to his office. He went there a day or two later. Connolly told him about a book he was writing. He also said Connolly told him the indictments were not yet out but that he would notify Stevie Flemmi when they were coming down. Not only is he corrupt, a juror would think but he is certainly reckless telling the head of the Mafia something like that.
The Boston Globe has advised us that the Boston federal prosecutors have brought Catherine Greig back to Rhode Island from the Midwest because the federal prosecutors want to question her about the assets of James “Whitey” Bulger. I know the newspapers are not supposed to be mouthpieces for the government but given the very close relationship between that newspaper and the Boston federal prosecutors what is written has the ring of truth.
What I found disheartening in reading that newspaper report is the failure of the reporter to question what the federal prosecutors were doing. Perhaps she is too close to them to do so. It becomes doubly so when another reporter uses the first’s story to add his two bits. He too because of his closeness leaves out the heart of the story.
This is why reporters and prosecutors should not have such symbiotic relationships. They cannot see when their sources are acting in violation of the Constitution. They report as if what they are doing is fine and proper. If these reporters are telling the truth then we are seeing a huge abuse of our Constitution by the prosecutors. It should be decried. It is not a matter to be taken lightly when those who are supposed to be guarding our liberty are intent on stomping upon it.
That there is no one to scream out and point to this abuse is something that those who created this country could not anticipate. They could never imagine a situation where the media and prosecutors acted in concert to undermine our liberty. It is in cases like this where people who are out of favor like Catherine Greig whose rights are being walked over that our system expected our media to rise up and shout stop.
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.
As unusual as it seems, there may be an occasion like we see now where a prosecutor is in his sixties, he has done nothing but prosecute all his life and knows no other pursuit, has friends in the Department of Justice some who have been there almost 50 years who support him, who has been a source and friendly with the local media keeping them on his side providing them with inside information, his media friends end up with secret grand jury minutes, and his boss seems to either lack control or be oblivious to his crusade.
In other words at times there arises a prosecutor who has no restraints on him. He can pursue his quest no matter where it takes him or no matter how many lives it shatters. He does this with the full power of the federal government behind him. The judges, cowed, concur in his actions.
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.
He ended up cuddling up to two of the worst criminals; there were others equally bad, but he brought these two particularly vile ones, Stephen Flemmi and Whitey Bulger, into the FBI’s program. For fifteen years as an FBI agent he worked them taking information from them and protecting them from others in law enforcement. He was doing the job the FBI wanted him to do. From my point of view what he was doing was wrong even though sanctioned by the FBI.
Here’s what happened. It’s an easy story to follow. John Martorano a vicious evil man who had murdered over a dozen people before he fled Boston to hide out in Florida from federal charges had a friend John Callahan. Callahan wanted to take over a business in Florida called World Jai Alai. Callahan believed if he killed the owner Roger Wheeler that Wheeler’s widow would want out of the business and sell it to him.
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.
Then it put a little bit of a hit on the Boston Police: “Of the city’s 628 victims, 410 were black males and 38 were white males. But police solved only 38 percent of the murders of black males compared to 79 percent for the slayings of white men.” Overall, it noted that “police arrested, charged or formally identified suspects in 47 percent of the homicides.”
As an aside a close friend of mine was a Boston police detective in homicide for many years. I’d talk to him off and on about his work. For him the race of the victim never made a difference, he was driven to solve all the case he had handed to him. I had that in mind reading the article and wondered if we were getting the straight scoop. For sure all the statistics may be right but are they telling the correct picture?
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”.
O’Brien went to trial in early May and was convicted in late July. His offense was hiring people recommended by legislators and judges. This has often been called patronage but the US attorney turned it into some type of mail fraud offense. (Be careful what you put in the U.S. mail.) After listening to a multitude of witnesses in a case stretching out for months, the jurors figured something more than patronage was involve so they convicted O’Brien.
Marty Walsh, the mayor of Boston, steps into the fray and doesn’t take the Globe’s line. He suggests O’Brien was wrongly convicted. He says all he engaged in was patronage which was a time honored tradition in the United States and on Beacon Hill.
The Globe obviously took affront to his statement. It needed to strike back. Abraham was given the job of taking the first hit at him. Expect others.
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 great revolution I refer to was the silent and perhaps greatest revolution in American history that took place in the latter half of the 20th Century. It was that of American woman demanding her rights. This changed the face of the country and brought about enormous changes in the status of women. I can give anecdotal evidence by noting that in my law school class the percentage of women was about 2% while now they make up more than 50%. But a better picture is gained from the actual statistics and other observations.
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.
Enjoying life sometimes amounts to no more than sitting on the back steps of a three-decker having a beer and a thick slice of pan-fried spam sitting between two pieces of classic white Wonder bread. It is being able to go to bed and get a good night sleep without being bothered by the blaring radio from outside. It is the ability to park your car on the street and expect it will be there in the morning. It is the need not to be burdened by those under the influence of some behavior altering substance or being able to walk home from the nearest T stop without being hassled. It is knowing your kids are safe when they go outside and that when they go to school they’ll have an environment in which to learn. It means being able to ride on public transportation without being bothered by perverts.