To say Judge Richard Stearns had made up his mind on the issues of immunity before he received the memoranda of counsel would be an understatement. The parties submitted their memoranda on Friday and on Monday the decision was issued. That has to be some record for the federal court. The strange thing about all this is that Stearns is acting as if he knows the motion to recuse had already been decided in his favor even though the First Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to come down with a decision.
One of the reasons for him to recuse himself was he was in a leadership position in the US Attorney’s office during the time it was investigating Whitey Bulger and he worked with and was friendly with people who knew about the investigation and the matters surrounding Bulger’s immunity claim. That for him to decide the issue would indicate he was not impartial. None of that seemed to matter. Stearns is still the judge on the case and he has to move it along and that is what he did.
Judging from the order he issued today, he has done one of those federal saturated bombings of Whitey’s immunity defense totally blasting the issue for all practical purposes. He’s made the issue of immunity disappear as quickly as the sink hole in Florida made that poor guy vanish. Judge Stearns says O’Sullivan could not give Whitey immunity for future murders. He said an immunity agreement is like a contract.
Now I have to go back to my law school days to remember my contract law. In a contract, both parties must have the power and right to execute a contract. I can analogize Judge Stearns’s ruling to a situation where I enter into a contract with my cousin Roger wherein I agree to sell Judge Stearns’s house to him for Fifty Grand and Roger pays me the money. If Roger goes into the land court and try to get Judge Stearns evicted from his house I don’t he’ll succeed too well.
That’s what Judge Stearns is saying about O’Sullivan. He had no power to make a contract with Whitey granting him immunity for future crimes, or as the judge put it, “a license to kill” no more than I can sell the judge’s house. Whitey trying to enforce a contract that O’Sullivan made will have the same luck as my cousin Roger.
The O’Sullivan agreement with Whitey if it existed at all occurred as best I can see in 1978. That means if Judge Stearns is right that Whitey cannot even suggest he had immunity for the last eight of his murders. Those are Roger Wheeler, Debra Davis, Michael Donohue, Brian Halloran, John Callahan, Arthur “Bucky” Barrett, John McIntyre and Deborah Hussey. Those are the cases where the evidence against him is strongest.
If there was any hope Whitey had it is all but gone. I’ll write more about the decision tomorrow because I disagree with some of it, not that it matters. I need the time to get my thoughts together. I hope I can do it as fast as Judge Stearns did.