“Brandeis made his famous statement that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants” in a 1913 Harper’s Weekly article, entitled “What Publicity Can Do” according to an article I read.
Justice Brandeis was referring to the need that actions by government agencies be done in a transparent manner. He knew that the deals behind doors or the hiding of information which seems to be occurring by leaps and bounds as each new president comes along was destructive to democracy.
Justice Brandeis noted:” If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.”
Anyone who read my book Don’t Embarrass The Family or who has been a frequent visitor to my blog knows I have been urging the FBI to become more transparent in its dealings. Read Judge Mark Wolf’s opinion in the matters surrounding Whitey’s case to see the difficulty that he has had in dealing with the FBI. Think of its reluctance to discuss the Mark Rossetti matter; or its refusal to explain how one of its agents killed Ibrahim Todashev; or its obstinate silence in the events surrounding the April 15, 2013, Marathon Bombing and you see what Justice Brandeis hoped we would never experience in this country.
It bad enough when a federal agency does it but what about when a state judiciary, its lawyers and law enforcement jointly do it. That’s what we see happening in the Sunshine State.
I read a complaint that retired FBI Agent John Connolly was securing the help of students at the University of Miami Law School called the Innocence Clinic in his appeal of his conviction for 2nd degree murder in a Miami court. I was heartened to read this because if anyone is in prison who is innocent of the charges it is John Connolly.
You’ve all heard that the gangsters say they paid John Connolly lots of money when he was an FBI agent. Have you heard that he was charged with receiving a diamond ring from these gangsters and the charge was not believed by a jury? Have you heard he was never convicted of receiving any money from a gangster? Do you understand why John Connolly is doing 40 years in Florida after having wrapped up a 12 year federal sentence?
The reason is the Florida courts are too busy to care and are hiding behind being busy to avoid dispensing justice. You see John Connolly was convicted of 2nd degree murder by gun. The victim was John Callahan a Boston wise guy who was murdered in Florida by John Martorano. Callahan was murdered because he hired Martorano to murder a man named Roger Wheeler in Oklahoma. The FBI started to close in on Callahan so Martorano decided to murder him, as he had bragged about doing in the past whenever he believed a person would done be a witnesses against him or his friends.
In the make-believe world of federal prosecutors, we are to believe that Martorano, the one man at risk, would not have done this except that John Connolly had to tell Whitey Bulger to tell Martorano that Callahan may not stand up if questioned by the FBI, something that we are supposed to believe Martorano did not know deep down in his dirty soul.
Going along with the pretense, Connolly was convicted even though to be convicted of that crime you must have the gun that causes the murder. Connolly was on Cape Cod at the time of the Miami murder so he either had a very long reach or the conviction was in error. It was the latter as the trial judge admitted but he upheld it because Connolly’s lawyer filed a motion to vacate the conviction too late. It’s sort of like being convicted of murdering Drac Cula, going off to prison, and then having Drac Cula show up alive and the judge saying you didn’t file the appeal on time therefore you have to stay in prison.
There are other legal issues that relate to Connolly’s incarceration but unfortunately in Florida the appeals courts are too busy to decide them and they just turn them down without giving a reason. Justice Brandeis would find that very troubling that a person could be confined for so many years without an appeals court telling us whether the trial court acting in such an unusual manner was correct. It’s an unusual form of justice where a lawyer’s mistake can put a person in prison for 40 years