Judge Stearns Sinks Whitey Bulger’s Ship

Whitey’s Immunity Defense After Judge Stearns’ Flyover

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.

5 thoughts on “Judge Stearns Sinks Whitey Bulger’s Ship

  1. I misunderstood . I thought the issue would be some type of an employment contract. Your posts have alluded to quid pro quos.. As a contractor for the government, the arrangement would not have to be publicly filed, especially if it were covert by nature.

  2. I look forward to your further thoughts on Judge Stearns Order…my question is whether relying on contract law is not a slippery slope for the judge to take. Does he not presume facts that should be considered by a jury?

    1. Jean:
      In this case Stearns referred to the contract law because he had to decide whether O’Sullivan and Whitey could enter into a contract for him to give immunity because immunity is like a contract, one party making an offer and the other accepting it. It is a question of law whether the parties have the ability to enter into a contract — for instance if a party is not of legal age to enter a contract then the contract cannot be enforced against that party. I’m not worried about a slippery slope since it is a judicial function to insure the evidence that will be presented to a jury is proper for them to render a decision on.

  3. Who says the deal was made in 1978? I know there was a meeting in 1978 but I have not heard that was when an immunity deal was made. If I was Bulger, especially after this ruling, my story would involve a later meeting where an immunity deal was struck. I always thought the entire purpose of using O’Sullivan as his immunity granter was
    1. He had the power to grant immunity (A lesson learned from Flemmi’s trial).
    2. He’s dead and can’t contradict ANY story.
    The consensus may be that there was no immunity deal, especially for murder, but what happened and what can be argued are very different. Suppose Bulger can somehow prove there was a second meeting that nobody knew about. Wouldn’t that raise some eyebrows as what went down at the meeting. If it was important enough for O’Sullivan and Bulger to keep it a secret from everyone maybe something serious was agreed upon i.e immunity. I don’t know the exact timeline of the last murder and O’Sullivan leaving his job, therefore losing power to grant immunity, but I imagine Bulger can make it work. If we’re going to tell a story ,whether true or imagined, why not make it fit nicely into the puzzle?

    1. Scott:
      My post today indicates that Connolly said it happened in December 1977 — that was when O’Sullivan and Whitey met. I’m sure Whitey would do as you say and suggest that from 1977 on there was contact off and on with O’Sullivan. When I first heard Whitey’s claim I said what you just noted that it had to be a US attorney who gave the immunity and had to be one who wouldn’t contest it. O’Sullivan fit the bill.

      Here’s his problem. Judge Stearns has said whether he has immunity is an issue for him to decide (a legal issue). We know what he will decide. He will most likely find he does not believe Whitey ever met with O’Sullivan so there was no conversation between them.

      Another problem is no one is going to believe anything Whitey says. That’s why in my post today I came up with something that could very well “fit into the puzzle” considering the situation that existed back in the late ’70s.

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