Alan Dershowitz’s Lament:

bulgerReaders of Thursday’s Wall Street Journal saw that it gave up one-third of its op-ed page to Alan Dershowitz’s complaint. The headline to his column is: “A Nightmare of False Accusation That Could Happen to You.” If it did happen to any of us you can be sure we’d not be given the space accorded to Dershowitz to spell out his lament.

He tells us he woke up on the day before New Year’s Eve to find it was asserted in a legal filing by two lawyers that he had sex with an underage female 15 years ago. He notes the girl is referred to as Jane Doe #3 but he does mention she is 31-years-ol. She has been publicly identified in many papers as accusing not only Dershowitz but also Prince Andrew. Prince Andrew has also denied her charges. It seems however that she kept a diary and excerpts from it as far as her involvement with the prince have been published.

Dershowitz’s complaint is he can’t file a denial in a law suit because he is not a party to the suit; that the lawyers who filed the charges don’t have to prove them in court and they will just remain as allegations; and that he can’t sue the lawyers for defamation because the charges were part of a court filing. Then he goes on to complain the filing was leaked to the media which he never complained about before when other obscure allegations were leaked.

He tells us how he went public making denials and counteraccusations, the latter he doesn’t spell out, and finds he is now being sued for defamation by the lawyers. This latter event may give him the chance to litigate the matter in court and flesh out the circumstances behind the allegation.

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Trying To Find The Truth

justice weepsStephanie Clifford wrote about Derrick Hamilton who had his 1991 murder conviction overturned by a Brooklyn Court last week. Hamilton had been released from prison on parole after serving 20 years. In prison he said he kept his sanity by delving into the law and becoming a jail house lawyer.

Here’s what Ms Clifford wrote about why he went to prison: “Hamilton was just out of prison for manslaughter in 1991 when he was charged with shooting a man, Nathaniel Cash, in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Jewel Smith, Mr. Cash’s girlfriend, claimed she was the lone eyewitness to the shooting, but her version of what happened was inconsistent. She told the first detective who interviewed her that she had not seen the shooting. But according to Mr.[New York Police Detective] Scarcella, who interviewed her later, Ms. Smith said she had seen the murder and implicated Mr. Hamilton. In a post-trial hearing, Ms. Smith said she had been pressured by Mr. Scarcella to name Mr. Hamilton as the killer, according to a defense filing. The Conviction Review Unit [of the Brooklyn DA’s office] revisited the crime scene and interviewed Ms. Smith in North Carolina, and found she was “unreliable, incredible and for the most part untruthful,” a prosecutor, Mark Hale, said in court. “They had to depend upon her credibility to convict Mr. Hamilton,” and as a result, “his due process rights were violated.”

It is difficult to get a real understanding of the case without more facts. Certainly at trial there was more evidence than Ms. Smith testifying that Hamilton did it. We have no idea what the relationship with Hamilton and the decedent Cash was prior to the killing; nor do we know anything about the circumstances immediately prior to it. I assume  the jury that convicted Hamilton knew that Ms. Smith had made a prior inconsistent statement and that Ms. Smith had been properly cross-examined. More than twenty years after the event the DA finds she is “unreliable, incredible and for the most part untruthful” which the jury didn’t at the time. One has to wonder why the same DA’s office also didn’t at the time she testified.

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The N.E. Patriot’s Aaron Hernandez Aided By Massachusetts Judiciary:

AAron smilingIn the movie “West Side Story” there’s a song that the Puerto Rican girls sing whose words go: “I like to be in America, Okay by me in America, Everything free in America.” I found myself thinking a lot of criminals are humming that song after reading the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s (SJC)  opinion relative to the grand jury’s attempt to subpoena Aaron’s cell phone that he had handed over to his attorney. The only thing different is that rather than saying America they are saying Massachusetts.

In a decision handed down by the SJC Monday which you can read here the SJC said if a criminal turns over evidence of his crime to his lawyer which is on a cell phone the government can in all reality never get its hands on it to use against him. The cell phone is an exception to other pieces of evidence such as a supply of cocaine, the bloody clothing that resulted from a recent murder, or the money bags from the local bank. It is because the SJC likens a cell phone to a file cabinet and notes that within the cell phone are documents.

Let’s go back to basics. There’s three ways for the government to get evidence of a crime: by seizing it pursuant to a search warrant, by seizing it without a warrant when it is in plain view and is obviously contraband or evidence of a crime, or by subpoena. After this decision all those ways have disappeared if the attorney has the defendant’s cell phone.

Here the grand jury issued a subpoena for the cell phone telling Aaron’s lawyer to turn it over. The court noted if it issued the subpoena on Aaron he need not respond to it because he could not be forced to incriminate himself.

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O’Brien’s & Co. First Step Back:

(1) Lady JustinceThe prosecution of John O’Brien and his co-defendants Elizabeth Tavares and William H. Burke seems to have taken a new turn. The Court of Appeals is having a little trouble with it and well it should. It seems it doesn’t want O’Brien and Tavares to have to do their sentences prior to their appeal being heard. So it stayed their sentences until then. That’s good news for the O’Brien team but even better news is that one of the best if not the best criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts, Martin G. Weinberg, has joined their team.

Their prosecution was one of the strangest in the annals of American criminal law. It could only have happened in a U.S. Attorney’s office that lost its way a long time ago. That was shown by the Caswell Motel and Aaron Swartz case among others.

You might remember that John O’Brien engaged in the age-old game of patronage. O’Brien was the Massachusetts commissioner of probation. He got his job after working in the probation department for many years, having his work recognized, and being picked for the position by a judge who knew O’Brien, happened to like him, and thought he would do a good job. Some would suggest O’Brien’s hire was a patronage hire; others would point to the job he did and say the judge made a good hire patronage or not.

Under O’Brien the probation department operated quite well if you measure it by the happenings in the real world. As I understand probation, its job is to help people who have gotten themselves involved in criminal activities to change their ways. I’d suggest one way, and probably the best way, to judge this is to look at the crime statistics in the state. While O’Brien was in charge of the probation office each year the crime rate fell. It was down significantly by the time he was removed from his position.

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Patriots Win Over Ravens: Move on to Championship Game

(3) indian head nickel“There’s too much money involved for it to be fixed,” seemed to be the mantra of the mob that follows the National Football League (NFL) but isn’t that precisely the reason why the games would be fixed.

Doesn’t it make sense that the teams that draw the highest viewing audiences compete for the gold. Just like in professional wrestling, those wrestlers most attractive to the audience will always win. So it is in the NFL as the viewing audience increases, the television networks get richer and they feed their riches back to the owners. Name me one billionaire who isn’t interested in gathering in more billions. Name me one team owner who doesn’t want to see the value of his franchise increase.

The largest audience ever to watch a Super Bowl was last year at a reported 112.2 million viewers.  The game was allegedly watched in over 53 million of the 115 million homes in America.  I’m not sure how they do the counting, probably in the same manner as the rating agencies that gave the big banks Triple A ratings just before their collapse, they pull the figures out of thin air. The only ones checking on them are those rating agencies.

But it doesn’t matter whether they are accurate as long as people believe them. Last year’s numbers had to have raised a lot of eyebrows. Anyone who spent much time watching the Seattle Seahawks dismantling of the Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos 43 to 8 had to be pretty brain-dead. It would have been more interesting watching your fingernails grow .

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On The Waterfront: Gangster Lies

2015 01 02_1102Joey, Joey Doyle!…Hey, I got one of your birds. I recognize him by the band. He flew into my coop. You want him?” were the opening lines shouted out by Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) in the 1954 movie On The Waterfront. After Joey is tossed to his death from the rooftop of the five-story walk-up tenement house Terry says: “I thought they was gonna talk to him…I thought they was gonna talk to him and get him to dummy up…I figured the worst they was gonna do was lean on him a little bit…Wow! He wasn’t a bad kid, that Joey.

A federal witness Kevin Weeks the former right hand man of Whitey Bulger would tell us how 28 years later on May 27, 1982, he was on the waterfront in Boston. He said that prior to that day he knew that Whitey was looking for Brian Halloran who was cooperating with the FBI. He thought “we were just going to brace him, read him the riot act, but let him go.” Weeks would go on to say that he was “new to the game.”

Unlike Terry Malloy who was duped into calling Joey up to the roof, Weeks tells us he was a full participant in Halloran’s murder. He said he was with Whitey when John Hurley from Charlestown popped in to the Broadway Appliance and Furniture store on West Broadway and mentioned he had seen Halloran at the Pier restaurant down at the waterfront.

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A Case Crying Out For Justice

2015 01 02_1099_edited-1Frank Salemme testified against John Connolly in his criminal trial back in 2002. In preparation for that trial the prosecution team gave him the book “Black Mass” to read. Salemme’s testimony was of vital importance to the prosecution since it allowed the prosecution to show evidence that the RICO indictment of John Connolly was brought within the statute of limitations. Had there not been evidence from Salemme and Weeks that in late December 1994 that Connolly tipped them off to impending indictments, then Connolly could not have been charged with offenses going back to the early 1980s.

As it turned out the Boston jury acquitted Connolly of all the charges where the evidence came from the gangsters where there was no other corroboration. Salemme and Weeks both saying Connolly tipped them off about the upcoming indictments gave the jury something to hold on to. Although upon closer examination it would seem Connolly had nothing to do with any tip off.

Flemmi said he had his own source who was State cop Richard Schneiderhan. Flemmi told Salemme on January 5 his source told him the indictment was coming down on the 10th. It’s said Schneiderhan had a relative working in the US attorney’s office who would have known about the indictment date but not about the date for the complaint warrants.

Had Connolly been the source he would have known from his FBI contacts if he had them as the prosecutors alleged that the warrants had issued on the 5th. Had Connolly been the source Whitey would not have been coming back to Boston from New Orleans on the 5th. Had Connolly been the source Flemmi would have not been arrested on the 5th.

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Hernandez,Tsarnaev & Dershowitz

AndrewWe are on the cusp of the Hernandez and Tsarnaev trials; we will have to wait a bit for the trial which Dershowitz has said he will bring about. I noted earlier Dershowitz has been accused of having sex with an underage girl which he denies. He said he will sue to clear his name suggesting the girl wrongly added him into the mix with Prince Albert, or is it Prince Andrew, who were the friends of a guy named Epstein a registered sex offender who served time for doing what the others are alleged to have done.

I guess it’s Andrew since Albert is a cigar. I do get mixed up trying keep the royalty straight. It is reported 54-year-old Andrew is flying home from skiing at the Swiss resort of Verbier (don’t these people work? ) to explain to his mother (another one on the dole) who is also the Queen of England, etc., that the woman, who has been identified as Virginia Roberts, is fibbing. Too bad Prince Andrew, aka the Duke of York, can’t deny meeting Virginia; a photograph of them together in London in 2001 where he has his arm around her waist is all over the Internet.

Since Dershowitz has denied meeting Virginia I don’t expect such a photograph of him to surface. That’s good for him. It’s also good for us since there are too many beauty and the beast photographs floating around. But  the Dershowitz case is down the line.

The Tsarnaev trial starting today is like the Whitey Bulger trial a foregone conclusion. I’d guess it will be a lot less interesting than Whitey’s since it will lack the mob figures. The evidence against him seems overwhelming and if the issue was only who-did-it then the trial could end in a week. However, the Government wants to parade before the jury all the victims of the crime to overwhelm the jury with their suffering and grief just to ensure its victory.

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The Worm Turns: Schadenfreude for Many

alanThe British press is agog with the story of British Prince Andrew  who has been accused by a woman of having sex with her when she was underage as shown by the stories here and here. Buckingham Palace has said the claims of the woman are untrue as you would expect.

It seems there is a rich guy in Florida named Jeffrey Epstein who has served 13 months of an 18-month sentence time for  soliciting paid sex with a minor to which he pleaded guilty. According to the Guardian ‘prosecutors said they had identified 40 young women who may have been illegally procured by Epstein. Dozens of his alleged victims are reported to have settled with Epstein out of court.’ He is now a registered sex offender.

Prince Andrew apparently has been a friend of Epstein who is being sued in civil court by some women who allege to have been violated by Epstein while under the age of consent. The initial suit is six years old and apparently would be dragged on forever because Epstein who is alleged to be a billionaire has the financial ability to do that. How Prince Andrew was dragged into the case was through a motion by the complainants seeking to add two other women as victims. It was one of these women who said she was kept as a sex slave by Epstein who accused the prince.

The motion reads that Epstein ran a: “sexual abuse ring”, loaning out underage women to “prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders”. 

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Happy New Year: Best Bets

trigger-warningHappy New Year to you all. This year we return to the traditional New Year’s Day that had football games the mattered. The bowl system is pretty silly with teams that have been able to do no better than break even given a chance to play in the post season. Money rules.

I watched two bowl games: Duke v Arizona State and Boston College v Penn State. The States won but the games were close and had some meaning for me since my son was on the Duke team and I’ve followed BC over the years.

That’s all history now and for those  who want the inside track on the games on New Year’s Day I’ve gone to two highly skilled prognosticators to seek their opinions. They’re usually not willing to let others than their customers in on their advice but because of a long-term relationship they agreed to let me post them here.

Tom from Brighton has kept much of his counsel to himself lately becoming a man of few words. He would only give me a one word answer: Alabama, in response to my question who would be NCAA football champion. No matter how much I pressed him to tell why he believed that no words came out of his mouth. That’s the best I can give you from him but it is bad news for Ohio State on New Year’s Day.

Sam from Rock Hill Enterprises was my other source. Sam’s one of those guys who looks at the talent on the field. If a team has an up and coming criminal on the roster Sam overlooks that and concentrates on the man’s talent. He often reminds everyone of how good Miami used to be when it was also called the U of F – University of Felons.

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