On Soup Bowl Sunday, February 7, 2016 I sent off the following letter to Federal Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV,
Dear Judge Saylor,
I write on behalf of Catherine Greig. Her predicament reminds me of what Mae West once said: “Ladies who play with fire must remember that smoke gets in their eyes.” True though that is, I’d suggest Inmate Greig never thought that the consequences of doing it would have her ending up like the Maid of Orleans losing her freedom and dying at the hands of the state.
I suggest in the annals of American jurisprudence no woman has ever been punished as severely by the federal judicial system as Inmate Greig considering that she committed no violent act, had no prior criminal record, was not involved in drugs or a large monetary fraud.
She has been caught up in what I call the Whitey Saga. You are familiar with it. It has been highlighted in the media for years. Judge Woodlock, your fellow justice, succumbed to it. He did something quite extraordinary due to it aside from his draconian sentence. He found, according to the First Circuit Court of Appeals that the family members of the victims of Whitey “suffered at the hands of Bulger rather than Greig.” Despite that he let them speak at her sentencing. He did so because of what he perceived was the media interest. The appeals court noted he thought it was the “right thing” to do and that it was important, . . . for. . . the community, . . . “ The result was Inmate Greig was forced to sit and suffer excoriation and being called “a dirty bitch” for the crimes of someone else to sate the media’s desire.
Whitey Bulger, a man who few outside the small criminal community knew existed before his flight in December 1994 has been elevated in the media to a man “who terrorized Boston for twenty-five years.” He really was an evil and brutal guy but truly he left little footprints and in no way affected Boston. I suggest you keep him in perspective and not as a media in its hysteria has created him. I ask you to consider this case away from the madness that surrounds it. Away from the zealous importuning of the prosecutors who have forgotten former Attorney General Eric Holder’s admonition to them that “[y]our job is to do justice. Your job is in every case, every decision that you make, to do the right thing.”
Hardly can it be said “the right thing” is being done when all the associates of Whitey Bulger who committed the murders and other violent acts they attributed to him are free while his girlfriend who committed no violent acts, and whose influence on Whitey stopped his violence, is still in prison. And now the prosecutors seek more prison time.
I need not go into all the depravities of Whitey or even the worse ones committed by his associates that they put on him. A couple will suffice. For example, take John Martorano who got $50,000 from John Callahan to murder Roger Wheeler a legitimate business man. He shot him in the head in Tulsa. He then shot Callahan in the head at Fort Lauderdale. He kept all the money. When caught he said Whitey made him do it. He admitted to 18 other murders mostly of unarmed men he shot in the head and most which he did before he knew Whitey. He got $20,000 from the federal government after doing 12 years. Or take Stephen Flemmi who probably murdered as many as Martorano but also murdered two women with whom he had a relationship. He too is not in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.
Martorano made six figures telling of his sordid life; Flemmi was allowed to keep millions of dollars of property. The list of murderers, all lifelong criminals, who are beneficiaries of the federal government in the Whitey Bulger Saga who served little or no time and are walking the street is astonishing: Kevin Weeks, Frank Salemme, Pat Nee, and Howie Winter to name but a few.
Whitey, as you know, will die in prison. He cannot be punished any more than has been done. His FBI handler, John Connolly, although found not responsible by a Boston jury for the death of John Callahan was retried in Florida by the same prosecutors and found guilty. He likely will die in prison. We are now down to Catherine Greig. The prosecutors want you to put her in the same situation as John Connolly, two people with no prior criminal records dying in prison while those who led lives of crimes and murdered many people are out and about.
A few things I want to emphasize about her.
First, when she left with Whitey to be with him during his flight from justice no one knew Whitey was accused of any murders. Those accusations came three or more years later. Whitey was only fleeing from charges involving gaming, extortion and money laundering. If at some time she learned of those murder charges, there is no proof she believed that the man she was in love with was that vile. Unfairly and against all notions of American justice, the courts assume without a scintilla of evidence she believed Whitey murdered some people.
Second, she is unique aside from the sentence received. In your vast experience have you ever seen the girlfriends or wives of Mafia leaders, drug dealers, Madoff-like people, murderers or even terrorists treated like her? Was the wife or sisters of Tamerlan Tsarnaev dragged into to testify? Do you recall any woman in a relationship with a criminal who was called before a grand jury and asked about who may have associated with or helped that criminal? It is hard to close one’s eyes to this stark difference in treatment Inmate Greig is suffering.
Finally, and most importantly, what is purpose behind this extraordinary event? We are not dealing with a life or death situation or matters of national interest. The prosecutor avers it wants to learn who may have helped her during the flight and perhaps whether Whitey had other assets. I suggest the latter is doubtful. The huge amount of cash he had hidden in the walls of his apartment would seem to be all that was left sixteen years after he stopped his criminal activity.
If Inmate Greig testified in the grand jury that some helped her no prosecutions will come from it. The statute of limitations has run on just about all such activities and will expire on the few left in June. Even if some who did help her denied doing it before a grand jury their testimony is also beyond the statutory limit.
There have been leaks from the Boston grand jury before connected with the Whitey saga. These were designed to embarrass people. One naturally wonders since no prosecutions can come from the information whether the prosecutors seek to use her testimony not to prosecute but to embarrass others by leaking it to the media or others. This is hardly a proper use of a grand jury. How can you be sure you are not being drafted into their plan sub silentio?
I suggest that continuing to demand her testimony serves no purpose. It is no longer justice. It is a flagellation. It surpasses anything we have seen in the history of our justice system. It should not be abetted by additional punishment.
Keep in mind, this woman has been sentenced to greater terms than the local federal judges have recently sentenced high ranking life-long criminal members of the Mafia. More years than Keven Weeks who murdered five people. She aided and abetted a man now serving a life sentence. Both she and he have been punished severely for their crimes, she even more than him. She has been in prison almost five years. She has no evidence of criminal activity that can lead to prosecutions.
I respectfully request that you to look at the whole picture. Do not be swayed by the media madness and prosecutor’s strange vindictiveness that encapsulates this case. Try not to listen to the baying of the mob. Do not become entrapped in the Whitey Saga. Act judiciously and boldly as your position demands.
I would ask you to refraining from adding on time to this woman who will be in prison until near age seventy as it is who except for nonviolent crimes committed while Whitey’s companion committed no others.