Amy Bishop was convicted of three murders. She will spend the rest of her life in prison. I don’t think there are many people who believe that is not a fair sentence. John Salvi convicted of the killings at the abortion clinics in Brookline likewise received life without parole. Marianne Kosilek convicted of killing her wife and Dirk Greineder the Wellesley physician likewise convicted of killing his wife are looking at the same fate. There are all those youth caught up in the violence of the drug wars who are involved in one murder who will die in jail. I could go on and on about this.
Then we have John Martorano, Kevin Weeks, Frank Salemme all involved in at least a half a dozen murders. The most anyone of them did was 12 years for the murders. Steven Flemmi, Whitey’s partner, is supposed to spend the rest of his life in prison but according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locater he is not in bureau of prisons custody. There are many others who have committed murders who deserve to spend the rest of their lives in prison but do very little time.
The common denominator in the disparity in punishment is the system we have called dual sovereignty. You always get a better deal if you go to the feds and get the state off your back. Remember Tommy Sperrazza who murdered 18 year old Karen Spinney and Susan Webster in Quincy (he also murdered other people). He was convicted of first degree murder in Norfolk County. He was sent to Walpole for life without parole. If he stayed on the state side he’d still be in prison. He went to the feds and provided them with some information which resulted in no convictions. He got released in 2005 according to the BOP site.
I understand that in doing investigations you must have an idea where you are going. That’s why we have the terms “a person of interest” or “suspect”. But the feds seem to do things backwards. Rather than letting the evidence lead them to a conclusion; they form the conclusion and dig up the evidence to justify it. The feds decide upon a suspect and then force the result. By threats of imprisonment and promises of freedom to one person the feds will have that person provide them what they want to hear against another person.
Frank Salemme when in prison waiting to testify against John Connolly told a fellow inmate that when he was being debriefed he could figure out what the prosecutors wanted when he was asked a question a second time so he answered accordingly. He said the prosecutors put words in his mouth so he had to testify to what they wanted if he wasn’t going to spend the rest of his life in prison.
If a person tells the feds what they think they know, he gets on the fed gravy train. If he, or she in the case of wives or girlfriends, doesn’t the punishment is severe. The person who tells the story is then brought before a jury to repeat it. It takes a very alert jury to catch on to the shell game.
Here’s an example. The feds (FBI and AUSA O’Sullivan) decided wrongly that Trooper John Naimovich was corrupt. Francis McIntrye was one of Naimovich’s informants who he had a close relationship over the years. McIntyre was a local bookie. The feds did a wiretap on him (something very unusual doing a small time bookie) and caught him taking bets and giving out lines. They arrested him and had him cold.
They asked him what he knew about Naimovich being corrupt. He said he knew nothing. The next day he was brought before AUSA O’Sullivan and told he’d go to jail for a ton if years and lose his house, car and everything else if he didn’t tell the truth about Naimovich. A day or two later he came back and told them “the truth” which he pretty much made up to save himself but that was what they wanted to hear. Naimovich was eventually acquitted (but not before suffering with the idea he was falsely accused and faced 20 years in prison) by an astute federal jury who saw through the scam.
It always struck me as odd that the amateur who goes into a bank and robs it by himself when arrested by the feds has nothing to give so he gets hit pretty hard. But the professional in a gang who robs banks who will give up the members of his gang gets off easy. And the guy who gives the others up is usually the one with the longest record who knows the system and quickly drops a dime.
The goal of all young criminals should be to make sure to involve others with them or know some notorious criminals. Once arrested they can call up their local FBI agent (we have hundreds in the Boston area) and get themselves enrolled in their informant corps. Remember what Mark Rossetti’s the Mafia Capo was recently told by his FBI handler, “My job is to keep you anonymous and keep you safe.” What criminal could ask for anything more.