Understanding the John Connolly case: Part II, the Death Sentence

Woman cryingJudges can often be highly willful and evil twisting laws and upending laws rather than following them in order to reach a result. It is difficult not to feel that way reading the decision upholding Connolly’s conviction. It is clear that the judges had no intent on interpreting the law and applying it fairly but held an animus toward Connolly. The decision is so wrong and against the clear intent of the statute that it is hard to believe that there was not some malicious other reason causing it. How does one not imagine the evil hand of the Department of Justice coming into play? Did the ever vengeful DOJ aided by the present misguided and cowardly leaders in the FBI work their sorcerous tricks to bring about this great miscarriage of justice?

I’ve shown in part 1 how the decision makes no sense and turns the law on its head. You may think my thought process is biased in favor of Connolly. But I remind you, I have never been a fan of his. I only believe he should never have been tried and convicted in Florida. My initial animus toward him ebbed as I recognized he only did what the FBI expected him to do. He was put in the position of handling Top Echelon informants. He handled over ten. Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi were two of them. The FBI told him that his job was to protect them so that they could stay on the street and provide the FBI with information. That is what he did.

This makes me think of what W. Mark Felt a 32 year veteran of the FBI who ran the FBI under L. Patrick Gray after J. Edgar Hoover died in May 1972 wrote. In the context of the liberal wave that swept the country after Hoover’s death when the FBI became a punching bag for much of the media he noted: “Career men in the FBI saw that neither Director Kelly. The Attorney General, nor the President came to their defense. They were hampered in the performance of their duty by an Administration policy to prosecute agents for actions taken in good faith under rules which were changed without notice.”  John Connolly found the rules had changed on him and what he did in good  faith was no longer to be allowed, at least as far as the public was concerned.

If I am unable to convince you I am not biased toward Connolly, perhaps if you read what the dissenting judges in the Connolly Appeal had to say you will understand how far out of line that decision is when it comes to the law.

“There is no case law in the entire jurisprudence of this state [Florida] , or the entire country so  far as we can discern to support today’s interpretation and application of” the statute in question,  Those aren’t my words but those of a dissenting judge Chief Justice Suarez. He went on to note that appellate counsel for the State agreed to that. He further stated: “the majority decision has established an entirely  new standard for the . . . Florida Statutes, governing the reclassification of certain crimes, not only in direct conflict with Florida Supreme Court precedent interpreting that statute, but also precedent out of every Florida district court of appeal including our own.”

When a court runs straight up against precedent and goes off and make a decision that finds no support in the laws of its state or even the country you know that something is amiss. You might as well throw the law books out the window since the courts are going to do whatever they please regardless of tradition and precedent. That will bring us to anarchy since there will be no rules to guide our conduct.

Here it is easy to see why the court wrote as it did. The judges in the majority decided that John Connolly was a bad FBI agent who had been involved in planning murders with the gangsters. They were going to do everything in their power to ensure that his sentence be a death sentence.

I know he got 40 years and he’s eligible for parole in ten or twelve years but realistically do you think he’ll get paroled when the attitude of those on the parole board who will make that decision will be the same as the judges on the appeals court? How likely will the parole board decide the matter fairly when we know how the FBI with its preference for back dooring people with its whisperings, noddings and winkings, will descend on it in hoards defaming Connolly to protect the Bureau?

Connolly who is will turn 75 tomorrow, happy birthday John, has only one hope now to see the outside of the prison walls. It is the Florida Supreme Court. I assume his lawyers will appeal this death sentence. It is unlikely that court will agree to hear his case. If the court reads what the majority of the Appeals court said about Connolly, most of it untrue, he is not someone it will want to help.

Keep in mind what I said earlier this week about Whitey Bulger’s appeal. If Hank Brennan made the same argument on behalf of a more sympathetic client he might have had a chance. But seeing that it was Whitey he had none. Here too, Connolly is painted so black that he has little to no chance of having his case heard again even though the decision turns the law on its head.

Assuming the great unlikelihood of the Supreme Court accepting his appeal  that process may take another couple of years before anything will be settled. If the Appeals decision is allowed to stand it will be one that no court will ever follow because of its transparent wrongness. But it will remain as having served its purpose of keeping Connolly in prison until he dies.

I wonder, did the judges wear black caps writing the decision?

15 thoughts on “Understanding the John Connolly case: Part II, the Death Sentence

  1. Your analysis is 100% correct. The majority invented law to uphold the conviction. A person has to be at the scene with the gun used in that crime to be convicted. The law would apply to Martorano who was at the scene with the weapon but couldn’t to Connolly. This was a political decision not a legal one. If judges won’t follow the law we have anarchy. A petition to the Federal Court for habeas corpus should be tried . There may be an honest Federal judge. It took almost seven years to get to this bogus result in the State Courts. His Speedy Trial Rights have been violated for years, along with Due Process and Double Jeopardy. The judges and prosecutors in this case should be in jail, not Connolly.

    1. NC:

      Connolly is out of luck. The decision was written cleverly to paint him so black no one will want to go out of his or her way to apply the law as it should be applied.

  2. “There is no case law in the entire jurisprudence of this state [Florida] , or the entire country so far as we can discern to support today’s interpretation and application of”

    Well there has to be a first time for everything and corrupt cops helping criminals seems like a very good way to apply this law:

    From the Decision,

    On the issue of proximity and use of the weapon carried:

    “Unlike the Federal Code, Florida’s statute does not require any “functional” or spatial nexus for the carried firearm as the dissenters assert, nor does it require any coincidence of purpose with the underlying offense. It merely requires that the defendant carry a weapon during the commission of the felony, and in this case it was proven, and the jury found, that during the acts the defendant committed during the commission of the homicide, he carried a firearm.”

    On the issue of legislative intent:

    “We must assume that the Florida Legislature chose its words carefully when
    drafting section 775.087, and it clearly chose to use very broad language to
    encompass a wide variety of factual permutations. Not only does section
    775.087(1) require reclassification when the weapon is utilized “during the
    commission of [the] felony,” it also allows the offense to be reclassified if the
    defendant “carries, displays, uses, threatens to use, or attempts to use” any weapon
    during the commission of the felony. It is clear that the ambit of section 775.087 is
    to allow harsher sentencing for defendants who in any way associate with a
    weapon while engaging in felonies. Thus, any person who carries any weapon
    while engaged in a felony is subject to harsher sentencing under section 775.087.”

    Pages 46-47
    http://www.3dca.flcourts.org/Opinions/3D09-0280.rh.pdf

    Since six judges agreed on a plausible reason for keeping Connolly in jail in his attempt to get out on technicalities unrelated to his guilt or innocence, Connolly should now focus on his actual guilt or innocence if he is innocent.

    The State may have other evidence of a sensitive nature that the testimony of Flemmi made redundant or moot, that could be introduced if Connolly were to challenge on the facts of the case.

    Whitey Bulger is living a couple of circles up (Dante’s Inferno-wise) from John Connolly these days. Bulger is the popular jailhouse celebrity among street-wise cellmates unencumbered by questions of due process, the rules of evidence or exclusionary considerations of any kind.

    Connolly meanwhile is in solitary 23/7. Has there been a morale or recruitment problem at the FBI as a result of Connolly’s conviction and incarceration? Where are his defenders among past or present agents and co-workers.

    Both Whitey Bulger and John Connolly have been informally tried by a jury of their occupational peers. It seems Whitey Bulger has been found innocent of being a rat and John Connolly has not.

    Why did John Connolly retire from the FBI abruptly in 1990 without another job lined up? Did he have anything whatsoever to do with Bulger and Flemmi after he left the FBI. He knew what kind of people they were. That’s not what he was charged but it’s highly suspicious and a form of corruption in and of itself.

    1. Kerry:

      Law is based on precedent. You can’t have a “first time for everything” when the purpose is to write the law to get a person.You seem to have missed my example of the use of the words “during” which could not possibly mean three weeks before. I know what the court wrote and as I have written on close anlysis it is specious reasoning no other court has adopted which is done just for the purpose of getting Connolly which is not what the law is about.

      The statute of limitations is not a technicality. It is an essential part of the criminal law. As for as other evidence that is really nonsense – all the evidence the state has came from the murderers who were spouting the government’s line to get a deal for themselves. Imagining there is a something unknown behind a faulty decision gives support to the suggestion the decision was wrong.

      The issue on who defended Connolly or whether he is a good guy or bad guy does not come into play. It is whether the statute of limitations should have prevented his conviction of second degree murder. The court was wrong in its decision. That is as clear as day. You, like the court, want to base the law on what you surmise a person’s character is. That’s not suppose to happen in a free society. We don’t put people in prison because we think they may be bad. We are not suppose to imprison a person with the idea in mind that they may not be properly convicted on this case but surely he committed other crimes so we will make up law to keep him in prison.

  3. Matt, your article pretty much hit the nail on the head but it is not quite all the way
    home yet! John has 15 to 30 days to get the proper paper work to the Florida Supreme
    Court let’s hope it gets to a judge that can see the injustice that has been done. There is absolutely no question in my mind of the Federal interference in this case from beginning to now, and that is why the Supremacy Clause should have been applied!!!!
    Matt , John would love to speak out on a lot of matters and his answers would astonish
    everyone! He is under somewhat of a gag order and is delt with severely if he tries. I know that all the murderers that have been set free by federal manipulation are pleased with this finding. THANKS AGAIN MATT.

    1. 251

      i can’t see him getting any relief. The Appeals judge made him look as bad as a person could be even saying he committed offenses for which he was acquitted up here in Boston. Any judge looking at the case will not want to help him out. Of course being in prison muzzles John but that is why he is being kept there. To be sure it is more than the murderers who will be happy with this decision, the FBI will breathe a big sigh of relief.

    2. a liberal is someone who walks out
      of the room when a argument turns
      into a fight
      a cosnervative is a liberal who has been
      mugged

      The Matt Connolly irregulars made quite mess
      this morning spilling their pricey green mountain
      upscale coffee onto the floor rolling in the Flying Pond aisles
      with convolsive laughter after reading this Matt Connolly
      FBI Smog Blog Post

      “Will you look at all those 3rd degree black belt
      forensic consultants” chortled Elbows Wychulis.

      “reminds me of the time Junior came over to visit
      me and my rotweiller had just returned from the
      vet having had his testicles cut off.
      Junior and me got to talking and before
      you could say ‘ Holy Jesus ‘ my dog Zeus
      had run to the picture window and started
      barking loudly at a female poodle in heat
      passing by on the sidewalk in front of
      the house.
      Junior exclaimed ‘ I don’t understand
      what the fuss is all about with Zeus.
      Even if he could get outside he would not
      be able to do anything ‘

      I replied saying ‘ Don’t you know he is
      a consultant’?

      in other news about judges
      taxpayer funded FBI agents control see

      Review
      Reviewed Work: Cloak and Gavel: FBI Wiretaps, Bugs, Informers, and the Supreme Court by Alexander Charns
      Review by: Arthur J. Sabin
      Law and History Review
      Vol. 15, No. 2 (Autumn, 1997), pp. 416-419
      Published by: American Society for Legal History
      Article DOI: 10.2307/827690
      Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/827690

      http://www.jstor.org/stable/827690?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

  4. * Nice
    … System Refresh : JC’S Conviction overturned in heady days early 2014 . Heard before three Judges in 3rd District Court Of Appeal ( these are BULLETS Ms. so diagram Connolly’s sentence for us if poetic license is too trying this a.m. 🙂 ) ELBOWS JUST GRUNTED …. HUHHHH !!!!!! … Anyhoo, it was a 2-1 favorable ; the dissenter, politico Judge Leslie Rothenberg got all Solomonic and ” heated ” in outrage. She and cohort extraordinarily and without precedent got it pushed to full ten Judge En Banc ” Review ” ; The ” Appeal ” of ” The Appeals ” constitutional rendering in favor of a US Citizen. He may not be their favorite citizen, but is this ” Process ” aught but to be snickered and scoffed at. It is RAILROADING . The various merits/demerits of Railroading John Connolly are fit for debate, as I indicated a day ago. Judge Suarez must have been one of the original Judges . May/may not read the 144 page decision ; or THE TEA LEAVES as the Justices on the Florida Supreme Court are now calling them. God Bless Your Health And Juridical Integrity Judge Suarez. And YES … That is indeed FLORIDA SWAMP MUD IN YOUR EYE FROM JUDGE LESLIE ROTHENBERG … ET AL .

  5. ” SPATIAL NEXUS FOR THE CARRYING OF A FIREARM ” … From … The ” Decision ” …. This is as artfully semantic a piece of mystagoguery as I have perhaps ever heard. Totally out of ZOUNDS ( Just have Elbows apply more cold compresses to your forehead, Ms. Freeh) as my well loved Greenfield , Massachusetts Congregationalists would THUMP OUT !!!

  6. * MYSTA”ROGUERY ” more like 🙂 ..
    ( well then, try frickin’ mineral baths Ms. Freeh ; RAP NATION suspects you of being a bit of a word salad stick in the mud by the way ; don’t make them explain as historically they have rafts of their own ” Florida problems) 🙂 ………. Ta’

    1. Lets hope the media stays on top of
      this story.

      in other news

      We’re suing the Justice Department over FBI’s secret rules for using National Security Letters on journalists

      Jul 31, 2015

      Freedom of the Press Foundation this week filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department over their unpublished rules for using National Security Letters and so-called informal “exigent letters” to conduct surveillance of journalists.

      Last year, after a backlash stemming from the surveillance of Associated Press and Fox News journalists, the Justice Department released new guidelines that supposedly barred the government from issuing subpoenas to journalists unless very high standards were met. The rules were generally a victory for the press. However, buried in the news reports about the change was the fact that the Justice Department reportedly thinks the media guidelines do not apply when issuing National Security Letters (NSLs). As the New York Times wrote at the time:

      There is no change to how the F.B.I. may obtain reporters’ calling records via “national security letters,” which are exempt from the regular guidelines. A Justice spokesman said the device is ‘subject to an extensive oversight regime.’

      What is that “extensive oversight regime”? Apparently, the Justice Department considers that secret. In a 2014 Inspector General report on the use of NSLs and exigent letters, the media guidelines are referenced (28 CFR § 50.10), but the details are redacted.

      Reading between the redactions, it seems that Attorney General approval may be required in some circumstances but not in others. But the FBI and DOJ have kept those circumstances secret, even though we know the FBI has abused its NSL authority and other methods to collect journalists’ confidential information in the past in an attempt to root out confidential sources.

      For those unfamiliar, National Security Letters are subpoena-like legal orders that the FBI can unilaterally issue to service providers without any court sign off at all. Worse, they almost always come with a gag order, preventing service providers from ever disclosing that they received one. (In 2013, a federal court ruled NSLs were an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment, but the decision is on appeal. They are still in use).

      Exigent letters are informal information demands that the FBI has used in the past to obtain information in investigations. The DOJ Inspector General determined that these exigent letters were not authorized by any law, flouted internal FBI policy, and violated Attorney General guidelines. The Inspector General had also found that the FBI used exigent letters to get call records of Washington Post and New York Times reporters.

      We filed a Freedom of Information Act request shortly after the above-referenced Inspector General report was released in late 2014. And after no meaningful response from the J

  7. There may be hope for John Connolly. Since Judge Rothenberg’s majority opinion contradicts an established line of Fl Supreme Court holdings, the Supreme Court may take up the case simply to protect their precedent (and that of all FL jurisdictions).
    Alternatively, the Supreme Court could see how condradictory it is and recommend taking it up just to correct the obvious error.
    In addition, Judge Rothenberg may have already pissed off the FL Supreme Court with other wrongheaded decisions. They may be looking to spank her.
    It should be noted that Judge Rothenberg is an openly political animal. She stepped down from the bench to run for Congress as an ultra-conservative Republican. After losing the election, she got Jeb to put her back on the bench.
    Judge Rothenburg started her career in the Miami prosecutor’s office and seems to have retired to it as well. She is widely believed to have had a “close relationship” with the Miami prosecutor who brought the case against John Connolly with Wyshak. This belief is widely accepted among the Florida bar.
    It would be interesting to know if it was Rothenberg who issued the per curiam decision against Connolly in 2009 and then sat on the matter for several years until her colleagues discovered it and overruled her 2-1.
    Whatever caused Connolly’s appeal to languish for 6 years on the Third Corcuit, there is optimism that the case has finally moved out of that court. In retrospect, there was little chance for justice there.

    1. Patty:

      I hope you are right about there being hope but I don’t see it unless, as you suggest, the Florida Supreme Court knows Rothenburg and recognizes her vile tactics.

  8. Re the post of KerryJoyce 31 July last.There is a site titled “Justice for John” I believe was started by a FBI associate of JC,s and probably also a SA assigned to OC matters but probably not in the Boston Office.The members/supporters are, Im sure,all contemporaries of JC also assigned to OC investigations. I doubt if any current SAs are supporters and the case is ancient history in their minds.I read somewhere that JC after retirement had a top job with a Boston area utility, perhaps Boston Edison.This I believe was also the retirement job for Dennis Condon, partner of the late Paul Rico, In 2004 the same job was held by a retired SA who also worked OC in Boston and was a contemporary of JC. AFAIK he is still there.Interesting that retired SAs who worked OC appear to have the inside track for a nice retirement job. (SA-special agent: OC-Organized Crime)

    1. you may want to look at the FBI Octopus Model

      see

      http://whosarat.websitetoolbox.com/post/the-fbi-octopus-6184527

      also see

      Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro
      by Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith
      Review by Jon Roland

      Danny Casolaro called it “the Octopus”. A vast, interlocking network of criminal conspiracy that reaches into every branch and agency of the U.S. government, many other national governments, and every sector of our societies.

      An investigative reporter seeking the truth, Danny told his friends he was meeting an informant to “bring back the head of the Octopus” when his body was found in a hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on August 10, 1991. Much of the evidence he had gathered was missing. The death was ruled a “suicide”, but the evidence supports murder. He never had the chance to write the book he was working on. This is an attempt to finish the book Danny started, based on his surviving notes and further investigation.

      Critics will say that this book contains much material that is unconfirmed. The authors admit this, but much of the information is of a character that does not lend itself to confirmation, unless we some day kill the Octopus and dissect its tentacles. Nevertheless, the pieces do fit together to create a coherent picture, albeit an incomplete one. Much work remains to be done to bring the full truth to light. This book can provide a foundation for further investigation.

      Casolaro’s investigation began with his inquiry into the case of Inslaw, from whom the U.S. Justice Department stole a software package called PROMIS and sold it to governments and financial institutions around the world, after modifying it to provide a back door by which they would track the movement of money and other assets everywhere.

      In investigations it is an old rule that you “follow the money”, but in this case we can track the spread of the PROMIS package to follow the people who are following the money, and in so doing, exhibit the links in the network of criminal influence around the world and back to their origins, the way a physician might use an angiogram to reveal the blood flows in a human body.

      Along the way the authors touch on virtually every kind of criminal enterprise and official corruption and abuse. They tie it all together in what is, if nothing else, the most complete and complex conspiracy theory yet developed, and one that is perhaps the best supported by available evidence. If even a part of this is true, it demands the attention of every responsible person. There is no escaping this monster. Either we kill it or it will kill us.

      Much of this material will be familiar to investigators, reformers, and conspiracy buffs. But Thomas and Keith have found some new material and put the pieces together in some new ways that make sense. Time will tell how much of it is true. But the evidence, if not all valid, certainly needs to be explained.

      If you thought all you had to worry about was the feds reading your email, or perhaps picking up the RF from your computer keyboard, consider what is said in an interview in this book with Michael Riconosciuto, the computer expert who modified the PROMIS package for the U.S. government:

      Q: There was that one interview with [William] Hamilton where he was talking about how PROMIS is some kind of system that includes chips that broadcast directly to NSA satellites.

      MR: They are not chips as such. The existing chips in the machine are tricked into doing it. I’m getting ready to go on television explaining that chapter and verse.

      Q: On national television?

      MR: German television. I will explain in hardcore, unambiguous technical terms how it’s done. Unambiguous to people who are technically competent.

      Q: When I describe these things to other people they say “That’s not possible”, particularly people who like to think of themselves as computer jocks. My thought is that ordinary people with PCs can do incredible things now, particularly with the CD ROM stuff.

      MR: If you know what you’re doing.

      Q: But the people who actually invest enormous amounts of money and resources into it, like the National Security Agency, can do things untold, I’m sure.

      MR: I’m letting the cat out of the bag where PROMIS is with the NSA. It’s in the MOSIS program. The Metal Oxide Semiconductor Implementation System.

      But there may be good guys at work, too. In the final “Chronology”, we find:

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