The Absurdity of the Case Against John Connolly: Updated

Florida Justice[Note: Sometimes being the head waiter, clerk of the work and bottle washer causes one to mess up. Yesterday my post on this subject was truncated by more than half due to some error on my part. I took it down and reproduce it in full today.]

John Connolly was convicted of a crime he did not commit, murder with a gun. He remains in jail because his lawyers didn’t know the law. The Government said he had a gun because FBI agents are required to carry guns even though he was 1500 miles away from the scene of the murder on Cape Cod. Do FBI agents carry guns while at the beach? No proof was ever shown at the trial that he carried a gun at the time of the murder.

Add to that the law in Florida charging murder with a gun means the person who does the killing has to have the gun and use it to commit the murder. The Connolly case standard would allow a person to be convicted of a murder because she had a gun in her possession at the time of the murder even though not used in the murder. For instance, a woman could strangle another but if she had a gun in her house or her pocketbook she could be charged with the crime of murder with a gun. Or, in the alternative, if Connolly did everything the state alleged but he was not an FBI agent but just a run of the mill hoodlum, there would be nothing to suggest he had a gun, so he could not have been convicted. That is unless the court wants to assume all gangsters carry guns at all times.

justice criesLegally his conviction makes no sense but Connolly languishes in jail as Justice cries.

There are other legal problems with the case as I’ve pointed out previously. Connolly was tried in Boston for the same crime and was acquitted prior to the time he was tried in Florida by the same team who tried him in Boston a clear violation of Double Jeopardy; the Department of Justice worked to ensure his conviction in Florida when it should have done what it does for every other federal law enforcement officer which is to assert the Supremacy Clause to stop a state prosecution of a federal officer acting pursuant to his powers.

But I don’t write today about those aspects each one of which screams out about the injustice of his situation, I write about the factual absurdity that is involved in the case that lead to his conviction. The idea is that John Connolly when he was an FBI agent felt that unless John Callahan was murdered he would be in some type of jeopardy. Therefore he told Whitey Bulger that Callahan would not stand up under FBI pressure so he had to be murdered.

Such a scenario might make sense in the august and ethereal halls of justice that are far removed from the nitty-gritty of the street; but for anyone who has ever had any interaction with a gangster or even a wannabee gangster, it was crystal clear to all the gangsters involved in Winter Hill that John Callahan was a liability.

Callahan had been president of the company owned by Roger Wheeler, World Jai Alai in Florida. He lost his job because he was hanging around with gangsters. Callahan decided to buy the company from Wheeler but the sale ran into difficulties. Callahan then turned to his friend John Martorano and asked him to murder Wheeler. Martorano, along with Joe McDonald, another low life, flew out of Florida to Oklahoma and did the job.

No one, not even the federals, have suggested John Connolly knew anything about this although they say Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi gave Martorano, who murdered people without a second thought, the OK to do this as if he needed this. (Martorano said he told them they’d get 10,000 a week protecting World Jai Alai from the Mafia even though there was not threat against it by the Mafia.)

What is alleged is that Connolly knew the FBI out of Tulsa was investigating Wheeler’s murder; that he did nothing to help it; that he learned Brian Halloran was telling the FBI that Whitey, Stevie and Martorano were involved in it; that he told Whitey Halloran was ratting him out, and that Whitey murdered Halloran. Again we have to assume that Whitey had no other way of learning this even though Halloran was out on bail on a first degree murder charge and it seemed to be common knowledge Halloran was cooperating, so much so that even Callahan wouldn’t talk to him.

After Halloran was murdered by Whitey the Wheeler case was still steaming along. Investigators from Oklahoma and Connecticut visited Boston speaking with federal people wanting to know more about Whitey and Stevie. FBI agents lurked around Whitey’s South Boston hangouts.

Now the case against Connolly is that unless Connolly told these gangsters that Callahan was a weak link he never would have been murdered. Pick up John Martorano’s book and read why he murdered many of the people he did; you’ll find out he did it because he felt they were going to give evidence against him or his friends. To accept Callahan was murdered because of Connolly, you have to believe that Martorano was unaware that Callahan who hired him to murder Wheeler could implicate him in the murder. Also, that both Bulger and Flemmi who survived on the streets by knowing what was going on were not aware of this unless Connolly told them.

Everything about this case, to be blunt, stinks. A 23 year FBI man may die in prison even though he should never have been incarcerated. A man who never fired a gun at anyone languishes in prison while several men who are either admitted murderers or have been implicated in murders but are protected by the federals walk the streets.


6 thoughts on “The Absurdity of the Case Against John Connolly: Updated

  1. If Connolly can’t get relief, or, even heard, in the Florida Appeals Court, is there any way he can get into Federal Court over the issue? There’s got to be a way to get around the Florida Court. The Harry Aleman case seems, at first glance, to be the exact opposite of Connolly’s double jeopardy predicament; it was a state decision that was reversed by the Fed Appeals Court, but, perhaps, there’s still something there that might be useful. I hope I’m not on a bootless venture to fit a square peg into a round hole.

    1. Khalid:

      As best I can tell relief would be available in the federal courts because he has exhausted his state remedies. I think the guy had been represented by a bunch of lawyers who aren’t as helpful (aggressive? intelligent?)as they should be. I’ve done a little reading on double jeopardy and I suggest this is clearly a case where a person was tried twice for the same crime. I say that because the Supreme Court disintinguished one case by saying that the prosecution team was different; here it was the same as in the federal court.

      I believe a mandamus action lies, the same type used by the Guantanamo prisoners, whereby Connolly is wrongfully incarcerated. When a state decides to imprison a man who should not have been convicted (here because of the statute of limitations and the absurd finding he committed murder with a gun) and imprisoned then there is recourse in the federal courts. I have no idea how they operate in Florida but it would seem that is the right course to pursue.

      I had information the lawyers did not want to press the Florida appeals court because it could rule against him; that’s seemed absurd since it was very happy not to rule at all.

      Good points.

      1. In a Fed conspiracy beef, a gun anywhere in the case can be put on all the members of the conspiracy, even if, they knew nothing of the weapon. It depends on the prosecutor. He can charge all participants with 924c, use of a firearm to further the conspiracy, or, just give everyone an enhancement to their sentences. A 924c is good for 5-10 yrs. depending on the prior criminal record. The enhancement usually means an extra 18 months added to the sentence. Does Florida law mirror the fed statute?

        1. Khallid:

          As I understand the Florida law the murder with the gun means the person who did the murder has to have the gun. I don’t think it applies to others in the crime but I could be wrong since I haven’t researched it and am relying on what others have told me. Connolly was charged with first degree murder and conspiracy and he was acquitted of those charges.

  2. Merry Christmas. Excellent post. The law was never applied to Connolly He was given a political show trial. It was an act of revenge by the malicious failures in the DOJ whose main target was the brother of WB. The Constitution was completely ignored. Where is the Civil Liberties crowd on this blatant violation of law? Professor Torture wrote that Connolly was just a cop and he should be forced to testify against Bill Bulger. When he had no information to give he was framed. All office holders, Federal and State, who acted under the color of law and wrongfully imprisoned Connolly should be held accountable. All office holders in Florida who fail to remedy this farce should forfeit their positions. When a judge in open Court announces that the Statute has expired he has no authority to sentence the defendant on that charge, yet he did. Who committed the crime, who broke the Law?

    1. NC:

      Merry Christmas back. Thanks. Can’t agree more with you as to who the real target of all this was. As you know the ACLU has its standards which doesn’t include going against the Tiny Professor (Howie refers to him as the Midget Professor) with animus in his heart.

      The problem is the Florida Appeals court will not make a decision. Who ever heard of a guy going to prison for 40 years without getting an appeal. I know the Appeals Court rejected his appeal without a decision but that is the same thing as not getting an appeal. I’m told Florida is a busy place as if that justifies keeping innocent people in prison. I’m glad I don’t go down there in the winter; the law seems to be quite arbitrary as shown by the FSU quarterback case.

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