Pondering the American System of Justice: The Question of the Day

Woman cryingI suppose I could start off with the case of Retired FBI Agent John Connolly. He has been in prison for fifteen years and will probably die there. He never shot anyone. He was alleged to be a bad FBI agent but very little was shown that was the case. He was instrumental in bringing down the Boston Mafia but it was the Mafia leaders who ended up being cheered as heroes and awarded 25 million dollars by the federal court in Boston which seems to have some type of affinity for those gangsters – sort of like a Soprano-idolization that so many Americans have as witnessed by the popularity of that show. Somehow, the federal judges got it in their minds Connolly was bad and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not change it so they leaped at all sorts of lame conclusions to show that and each one commented on how wise were the other judges who agreed with him. None seem to have delved deeply into the matter (I know they tell us they are very busy) to understand the great injustice perpetrated against him.

What compounded this was the Florida murder trial where he was acquitted of first degree murder and conspiracy to murder but convicted of murder with a gun. Has anyone really analyzed the opinion of the Florida Appeals Court which upheld his conviction suggesting that at any time you possess a gun during the planning of a crime you can be convicted of having the gun at the crime scene even if you make an affirmative decision not to use a gun in any manner in relation to the crime. Say on Monday you go rabbit hunting with your best buddy Felix with your new AK 47s and while mowing down a couple of rabbits Felix asks you to strangle his ex Ramona Bells. He tells you she will be coming home  from her job at the car hop about 10:00 pm Wednesday night. You wait in the bushes outside her house and Ramona comes up the walkway and you strangle her. In Florida you could be charged with murder by gun. Makes sense? Of course not, but that is pretty much what happened to John Connolly. If someone said the fix was in then you’d be hard pressed not to believe it.

So while Connolly spends the rest of his life doing time for a crime he did not commit unless you think Ramona was murdered by a gun the federal justice machinery spins on as we’ve seen with the indictment of retired FBI Agent Robert Fitzpatrick which had no other merit than to satiate the lustful revenge of a prosecutor. Unfortunately, when prosecutors start to take things personally and prosecute for personal reasons then the system has been turned on its head and that is what seemed to have happened in the Fitzpatrick case.

I did not intend to write about any of the above. What brought me to the typewriter (is that still a proper name for what I am using?) was my thoughts about Ralph Di Masi who was just indicted for a 25-year-old murder as I wondered what is the evidence against him. My thoughts then slipped over to the greatest abomination in the history of American justice.

To appreciate this you have to imagine that a young woman named  Marylou has been missing six months and another young woman named Stella has been missing for a couple of months. Both left work at the Boston Hot Hip Company at night and have not been seen since. You are sitting in your prosecutor’s seat wondering about the upcoming Christmas Party and a lawyer Marty Perez comes in to your office. He represents Guy Hoodlum who you have charged with a stack of crimes for which you expect he can easily get up to 20 years.

Marty says hypothetically suppose his client Guy can tell you where Marylou and Stella’s bodies can be found and further suppose he admits to murdering them as well as telling you about three other murders he did; he want to know what kind of deal you will give Guy. What do you say?

7 thoughts on “Pondering the American System of Justice: The Question of the Day

  1. Promise 5-10 and tell him he should thank his lucky stars.

    Off-topic–

    Rufus T. Firefly: Gentlemen,…I suggest that we give him ten years in Leavenworth, or eleven years in Twelveworth.
    Chicolini: I’ll tell you what I’ll do: I’ll take five and ten in Woolworth.”

  2. Matt:

    What happened to John Connolly in Miami was the greatest travesty of justice I know.

    John was acquitted in a federal court in Boston of leaking information that led to anyone’s death, then Fed Prosecutor Wyshak re-tried him in a Miami court on the same charge, using the same witnesses disbelieved by the Boston jury and adding a witness a federal judge branded a liar. The Feds tried John twice, using the guise of a state prosecution, to avoid double jeopardy. I’d written before: Did Wyshak remain on the Fed Payroll, keep seniority, his Fed benefits, etc, etc? Of course, he did. The Feds tried John twice, a gross violation of double jeopardy.
    The Murder by Gun charge was added at the end of trial. A three judge panel, by a 2-1 decision threw it out. The full appeals court reversed, on a split decision. Its reasoning was horrific. The case law said you had to have the gun at the scene, at the time the the crime was committed, to be convicted of murder by gun. John was in Boston, 1500 miles away, on vacation, down the Cape. The appeals court twisted the statute and the case law, and pretended John was not acquitted of conspiracy, and speculated that as an FBI agent when John was in contact (conspiring) with Martorano and Flemmi in Boston, he must have had his gun on. It was pathetic. The Murder by Gun statute did not say that if during the course of conspiracy you wear a gun, you’re guilty of murder of gun; and even if it had, John was acquitted of conspiracy. Pathetic. Remember, too, that Martorano, who killed Callahan, never met John Connolly. Flemmi who for seven years had said John Connolly was a “good cop” “an honest cop”, all of a sudden remembered John said 25 years earlier, “If Callahan talks, we’ll all be in trouble.” The problem with that quote is John Connolly had never met Callahan, and had nothing to fear from him talking. The whole Miami case was a travesty.
    Finally, no evidence – – – no evidence had been presented at the Miami trial about John Connolly wearing a gun, anywhere, at any time.

    The analogy, as best I can describe it, is this: Imagine an undercover cop is falsely accused of being involved with drug dealers; he’s acquitted of dealing and acquitted of conspiracy to deal; he’s acquitted of murder and conspiracy to murder; but one of the drug dealers twenty-five years ago has shot and killed someone during a drug deal; the cop is then convicted of “murder by gun” because back then he sometimes wore a gun on duty. To make the analogy worse, imagine the cop has previously been acquitted of the same charge in a federal court in Boston, and the same team of federal prosecutors retry him on the same charge once again using the same serial killers offered lavish deals and whom the Boston jury totally disbelieved, but the Feds put on the stand an additional serial killer who’s changed his story, who a judge described as a liar, and who’s been spared the death penalty and offered leniency in exchange for his story. Imagine those things and you get a flavor of the travesty perpetrated by Fred the Fed and the Florida judiciary.

  3. Matt:
    Interesting. The guy wants a plea for his twenty year bit in return for revealing the location of the bodies. I can’t see how he gets out of multiple murder charges. Are you thinking about Weeks?

  4. Matt:

    Did Connolly get “gun enhancement” to his charges, or, did he get a 924C? That’s a separate charge. A 924C used to be good for an extra five years. I think it might have been upped to ten.

  5. Matt and Bill C.
    Your remarks are basically right on point. To recap: John was found guilty of 4 of the 14 predicate acts in his Boston RICO trial. None of those charges involved any acts of violence. Because Judge Tauro felt that he was a rouge cop [FBI Agent] and he deserved additional time above and beyond the normal sentence of 2 to 2 ½ years. The court failed to take into account that the USA’s Office, under Jerry O’Sullivan, and the DOJ in Washington, agreed to protect Whitey and Flemmi from prosecution, not including murder. They, collectively protected the two [Whitey and Flemmi] not John Connolly. You should ask the question, how could John Connolly as an FBI agent prevent the USA or the DOJ from prosecuting either person; he couldn’t! But to protect themselves from civil lawsuits, the sealed any and all documents verifying the deal that they agreed to regarding Whitey and Flemmi. To this day, it remains under seal. Now, let us jump to the Florida case. During the period of John’s guilty verdict in Boston, Fred, Fast Freddy, Wyshak, contacted John Connolly and asked presented him with an option that would have got him out of prison; that was give him [Wyshak] names of Agents and others who took money from Whitey-Flemmi-and others. John told him what he could do with that request. Fred Wyshak said that he would travel to Florida and seek First Degree Murder and First Degree Conspiracy charges against him for the murder of John Callahan. Because of the State of Florida was a separate sovereignty, the matter of double jeopardy did not play into the equation. He convinced the Florida authorities and two charges were brought against John in an indictment. As the trial progressed, the state attorney Michael Lee von Zamft and Wyshak felt that the trial was not going their way. So, at the conclusion of the trial; specifically, after both sides rested, they asked the nitwit judge, Stanford Blake, to allow the jury to hear and third charge, and un-indicted charge of 2nd degree murder with a firearm. The problem is that this charge specifically states that for John or anyone else to be found guilty of this charge, John would have had to be in Florida, possess the actual, repeat, actual murder weapon to be convicted of this charge. Well, John Martorano testified that he NEVER MET CONNOLLY, NEVER SPOKE TO CONNOLLY, AND CONNOLLY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MURDER OF CALLAHAN. Martorano also testified that he had the gun used in the killing and he shot Callahan three times in the back of his head; end of subject. Now, to add insult to injury, the judge said that John Connolly was legally correct in his analysis of the statute and his lawyers should file a motion for Arrest of Judgement. But, he failed to remind John’s attorneys that there was a ten day window to file the motion. Of course, we know the rest of the story. Now, on to the appellate court in Miami Florida. Judges Leslie Ann Rothenberg, Frank Shepherd and Richard Suarez heard the case on appeal. In lest than 30 days, Judge Rothenberg found for the state and issued a Per Curium Affirmance [PCA] which required no written opinion. Once again, we had to file an “En Banc” hearing request with the 3rd DCA to review the matter that they originally heard, the first time around. The delays went on for some time and we had to file a Writ of Mandamus -which asked the Supreme court to order the re-hearing of the original hearing. This time, the two of the judges, found in favor of John and ordered his release. But, Leslie Rothenberg, wrote a scathing dissenting opinion, which caused the two judges who ruled in John’s favor to allow the state to fil any appeal challenging their decision. The state filed and the case went to the ENTIRE APPELLATE COURT. It is felt that dear Leslie must of brow-beat her fellow colleagues into seeing her analysis of the facts to be correct and chastised her fellow judges on the original panel. The court came back with a 5 – 4 decision. It should be pointed out that judges in Florida are elected and she must of reminded the uninformed judges that if they find for John, their careers may be in jeopardy—just my opinion. The next bit of information that I have to mention is that Michael Lee von Zamft and Leslie Rothenberg . . . Appeals have been filed and I will keep you posted if interested. Have a safe and happy new year.

    1. R.W.

      Good comment. I had to edit it a bit and I hope you don’t mind at the end since as you will see in my post later I’m not sure that is relevant to the issue and it best not to bring it up.

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