John Connolly Week: (9 of 10) – The Florida Case

The federal prosecutors and investigators after losing in Boston changed their hats, as I noted, so that they now looked like state prosecutors. The case went forward in Florida even though Connolly had already been cleared of any involvement in the Callahan murder. The issue of double jeopardy was never raised. It should have been. The Florida case was no more than the federal prosecutors retrying Connolly for same crime. A good lawyer should have been able to pierce the veil that this was a separate sovereign trying him.

Connolly by now is destitute. He is only going to get the lawyer the state assigns to him. In Boston he was well represented as shown by the results achieved by his skillful lawyer Tracey Miner. This was despite being limited in what she could do with respect to Connolly’s defense. I have no idea of her communications with Connolly nor should I because of the lawyer-client privilege. But throughout the trial I felt her hands were tied by Connolly who, as I mentioned, was of the belief that the FBI had done nothing wrong which prevented her from a full-out attack on it. He held to that belief in his Florida trial unable to see how the FBI abandoned him.

I have no idea why the double jeopardy defense was not raised. Did his lawyer err? Shouldn’t this have been his first line of attack?

Along with that Connolly had another defense. It is based on the federal preemption doctrine that a state cannot try a federal agent for acts done while he is acting as a federal agent. I’ve pointed out that Connolly was acting in accordance with his job’s requirement at all times in his interactions with Whitey and Flemmi. The FBI failed to step up and defend him on this; also, the party that should have had his interests at heart, the Department of Justice, which would normally have raised this issue was bent on prosecuting him.

I have no idea how much input Connolly had into not having these defenses raised. I see no reason why he did not pursue them. As to the latter defense to do that it would require him recognizing that his present peril is mainly caused by the FBI taking a Dixie on him. Now that he is looking at never walking out of that place especially with law-and-order Jeff Sessions in control of Justice perhaps he better recognize that if he is to be set free he must take on the FBI.

I’m sure that it is not be too late. I do not believe the passage of time destroys those defenses. I say that because they are constitutional rights. What Connolly needs is a willingness to understand why he is in prison, still, longer than any other person by far involved in this sordid episode, and seek out some young smart lawyers willing to assist him.

The issues are fascinating. He just has to get the right lawyers both bold and brilliant and there is the chance for his freedom. It won’t come  from the Florida courts. It has to be way of a habeas in a federal court.

What he must not do is give up. He must also accept that there were forces in the background working against him. The ordeal won’t be easy yet those sinister forces may be seeing their influence diminishing. He obviously has no chance of help from the president; Howie Carr his mortal enemy is a close friend of Trump and would stop that.

The Florida trial was a repeat of the Boston trial with the addition of one of the worst people to ever walk the surface of the earth Steven Flemmi, Whitey’s former partner was now on the federal team’s boat. Flemmi as you know murdered many. Why he is so distinguished as to be the worst of the worst, why his nickname is Benji Ditchman (from the words benjo ditch – he dwelt in sewage in open ditches) is he murdered two young women: his girlfriend of 7 years in her mid-twenties who tried to escape him and his step-daughter who became a drug addict having been sexually molested by him from the time she was as a young girl. Like the coward he is he said Whitey made him do it.

The Florida jury acquitted Connolly of first degree murder and conspiracy to murder. It convicted him of second degree murder with a gun. He lost on appeal, he won on appeal, and he lost on appeal in one of the most outrageous decisions ever written in the annals of criminal law.

19 thoughts on “John Connolly Week: (9 of 10) – The Florida Case

  1. Matt
    Why do you suppose Connolly never went on the attack against the FBI? Why go to trial and not defend yourself against the FBI? Did the prosecution ever off Connolly a plea deal? Excellent article series. Its very difficult to defeat the government globally even when you are “right” and “innocent”. Probably damn nearly impossible.

    1. Jerome:

      For one thing Connolly in the first trial really did not think he would be convicted although it was clear to me he wold be. Why he never attacked the FBI was because being an FBI agent meant a great deal to him so he could neve bring himself to understand that it was undermining him. Connolly said he was offered a plea if he could give them someone else but he had nothing to give. Even with that, Connolly never thought he did anything criminal because having been an FBI agent to him was like being above the law.

      Only way to get justice when you are in Connolly’s case is to get enough people interested in examining it but that’s very hard to do especially when most are busy in their own lives and Connolly is not portrayed as a sympathetic figure.

  2. Matt
    Have you considered writing an article or series of articles on Anthoy Shea the bank robber out of Charlestown? The Southie/Boston/Somerville/Charlestown connections among criminals is quite fascinating.

          1. Honest Abe
            I would agree with you. I am surprised there is no book written about these infamous Charlestown gangsters.

  3. Indeed , ” The Devil Wyshak , ” in accord with your own stated nostrum for exterminating sewer rats , can be said to have disappeared right down the old sewer drain and re-appeared , job executed . James Bulger , the one who was called a rat , and the only one never taking a deal , or the stand , and ratting , being the cat on the sun warmed rock .

    1. The gambit is simple. If you a bad guy, create one. There has been no lack of underhanded reasoning on the opposing side. Sometimes in life one does what is necessary and the path of idealistic purity gets eschewed. You play the cards you are dealt. Who else but Wyshak is available?

  4. Don’t really get the Wyshak gambit . He is demonstrably sane . He is not the Attorney General of these United States . Like any good officer , he took the Order Of March as it came down from on top. ; took the Disposition Of Forces as it came down the chain of command , arrayed his artillery , and blasted away . To focus on him , singly , as the great boo bear is easily done and a salve to perplexity , but it just does not cut the Muster ( sic ) .

  5. The judiciary has shown itself impervious to justice in this matter. The double jeopardy argument is weak because the charges in Massachusetts and Florida can be seen rationally as not overlapping. The Federal exemption for acts committed as an FBI agent has more promise. Still the courts have not been positive towards Connolly.

    If the goal is to get get a harmless old man out of prison and within reach of a family that cares for him, then an appeal to the Florida governor for clemency by way of pardon or sentence commutation might be more fruitful. Asking for mercy, as opposed to demanding justice, requires a different tact. A villain is needed. A narrative must be created.

    Demonize Wyshak. Throw the kitchen sink at him. Accuse him of being mentally unstable and as obsessive as Javier. Insinuate Racism. Make him the baddest Freddy since Krueger in the Friday The 13th movie series.

    Fight fire with fire. When fighting with a sewer rat you lose if you are too prissy to go down into the sewer.

    A governor is empowered to redress failures and corruption within an unrepenting judicial system. At this point of time it may be wiser to put your faith and hopes in a man rather than in a blatantly hostile institutions. Dramatize the malicious prosecution by the devil Wyshak and seek relief from it.

    Aside. The crack about President Trump and Howie Carr is mean-spirited and irrelevant. The President has no role in this matter. Should it hit the federal courts rabid pussymarchers would howl about interference with the judicial process if Trump made any attempt to influence a decision. If Carr has any juice in the White House it will be squeezed out for personal gain. Carr’s ego and ambition would block Connolly from his radar screen. Hillary lost in November – get over it.

  6. Very good article. If one got to federal Court he might luck out and get an honest judge. No honest judge would sustain this conviction. SCAPEGOAT of the DEEP STATE

  7. Matt, a excellent article and as I said in the past I also believe that trial definitely should
    never been permitted to be held. It is definitely a case of double jeopardy. John’s attorneys did try to prevent this but remember federal prosecutor and others controlled or influenced every discision from that time till now. The deck with out any doubt was restacked , rehearsed and more, by federal prosecutor in the state trial against John. This was just another federal trial run completely by WYSHAK in a state building which
    made it illegal. Into the trial John found out that the public attorney appointed to John
    had practically no experience in a trial of this nature. It was guaranteed to John that he was well qualified. Also found out was that the assistant public defender ( who John was having trouble getting hold of )was being treated for some kind of cancer . John definitely was not well represented by state lawyers,which made whyshak’s job much easier. In regards to what BILL C wrote, ( great explanation) while all this was going on waiting for a descision phone calls were made to several prominent attorneys. They all said ” there is no way John will be not be ACQUITTED HE WALKS ). Needless to say, it went the other way ( Ala judge Rottenberg I mean Rothenberg ). She is now CHIEF Judge OF 3rd APPELLATE COURT. John does have something pending in appellate court. How do you think that is going to work out? To DAN C your suggestion the other day was well taken and appreciated, as we speak John is trying something similar. John still does have a good following who everyday are trying to get John’s release. Obviously we have not achieved that. A good friend of mine who is a attorney said to me ” regardless of anything , ” if the federal government wants you in prison your going there and if they want you to stay in prison your staying there” . Let’s hope that’s not true.

    1. Nobody ” Takes On ” the FBI . John is alive , at least . That is the only take on the FBI that really pertains in John’s case .

      1. As they say in Chinatown , there is a World of difference between Takeout and being Taken Out .

  8. If all of these facts are as clear as stated in all these posts and comments, why is there a problem? Why is he still in jail? How can something as cut and dried as this be happening? I guess my only question should be; What is not being told here?

  9. True: The first appeal panel affirmed conviction without a written opinion. The second panel overturned conviction (2-1.) The full appeals court reinstated conviction (6-4). A 5-5 decision would have set John free. The majority’s decision was irrational.

    The dissent in the 6-4 decision was written by the Chief Judge of Appellate Court. He wrote that there was no precedent in Florida nor in any other place in America (federal or state) supporting the majority’s contorted interpretation of the law.
    Remember, (1) to be convicted of murder by gun, precedent in Florida required that you have possession of the weapon at the scene of crime; (2) the statute of limitations had run on the murder by gun count; (3) an Enhancement Statute extended the SOL for certain crimes provided you had “possession” of the weapon or “the weapon was within arm’s reach” during the commission of the crime. John was on Martha’s Vineyard when Callahan was killed in Florida. No precedent anywhere supported the majority’s decision.

    A second dissenting judge wrote that the majority’s decision would support convicting someone of murder in absurd scenarios. He spelled out five scenarios. Here’s a scenario where the majority would convict: Joe said to Ben over dinner while holding a steak knife, “Ben, if Bob talks we’ll all be in trouble.” Three years later Ben stabbed Bob with a stiletto. Joe is convicted of murder by stiletto because he held the steak knife.
    But you say, “Joe never held the stiletto!”
    John Connolly never held the murder weapon, never was in arm’s reach of the weapon, never met Martorano, never pointed a gun at Callahan, was 1,500 miles away on Martha’s Vineyard when Callahan was killed by Martorano, and furthermore John Connolly was acquitted of conspiracy.
    Yes, the most corrupt, contorted, criminal conviction in history.
    Neither the murder-by-gun count nor the Enhancement Statute could be applied to John. But a corrupt Florida judiciary twisted reason beyond belief.

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