Whitey Bulger’s Girlfriend Got 8 Years in Prison: Guess What the New England Mafia Crime Boss Just Got

I wrote earlier today about Catherine Greig.  I hate to write another post on the same day but I realized that yesterday the New England Crime Boss Anthony L. DiNunzio was to be sentenced so I wanted to see what happened.

I found  a release by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on this matter.  The first sentence reads: “Anthony L. Dinunzio, the acting leader of the New England La Cosa Nostra (NELCN) crime family, was sentenced today . . . ”   The assistant U.S. A.G. Breuer said,  “Anthony Dinunzio and his NELCN subordinates used threats of violence to extort protection payments from business owners throughout the state, and his sentence sends a powerful message about the department’s determination to hold mafia leaders and associates to account.”

Wow!

He went on to say:  “Prosecution of Mr. Dinunzio and his fellow LCN leaders, members and associates was a true team effort, in which attorneys from the Criminal Division and this office, the Rhode Island State Police, the Providence Police and the FBI all played a critical part. As a result of their painstaking, excellent work, Mr. Dinunzio and his fellow career criminals are going to federal prison for long periods of time.  Rhode Island, and New England as a whole, is a better and safer place today as a result of their work.”

Wow!  New England is a safer place.  This guy is really going be hit with the book.

You know what it takes to be a Mafia crime boss. Just to get into the outfit you had to have made your bones by killing someone. I can see how putting him away will make us safer. I have to assume Dinunzio got basketball numbers since I don’t recall anyone saying Greig was a threat to the public well-being.

Let’s see, as I mentioned earlier, Catherine Greig who accompanied Whitey on his flight and lived with him for 17 years without getting into any criminal difficulty got 8 years in prison.  Mafia boss Dinunzio who has dedicated his life to crime had to get, well let’s see.  Here’s a Boston Globe headline: New England mob boss gets 6 years in RI shakedowns”  He got two years less than Greig.  Let’s see the Herald headline: “DiNunzio sentence sends ‘powerful message’ 

What is this ‘powerful message’ the DOJ is sending us.  We see that if one joins the Mafia, dedicates himself to a life of crime, becomes the head of a family, extorts businesses and makes New England unsafe that he’ll do six years; if one falls in love with a vicious hoodlum thought to have killed 19 or more people yet who never commits any criminal offense herself other than hiding out with him when he’s on the lam then she’ll do eight years.

I can’t quite figure what the message is.  Are the feds upset that Catherine lived with Whitey without the benefit of clergy? It’s certainly not that she associated with Whitey that she’s so severely punished because all the other criminal associates of Whitey got the equivalent of a hardy handshake considering their criminal activities.

Ah, now I know. She didn’t become a rat. Stand up to the feds and keep your mouth shut then you get hammered. It may be the way business is done by DOJ and by the judges in federal court but for one thing it’s quite clear the punishment does not fit the crime and when that happens one wonders at the arbitrariness of justice.

 

12 thoughts on “Whitey Bulger’s Girlfriend Got 8 Years in Prison: Guess What the New England Mafia Crime Boss Just Got

  1. Matt, these were two great posts on the Grieg sentencing. She was treated excessively harshly, especially for a first offender accused of non-violent crimes. The Feds were trying to force her to implicate innocent people. I know we disagree, but I believe the same thing happened to John Connolly: like Grieg he had a clean record, no prior convictions; In 2002 he was convicted of non-violent crimes; he received a harsh ten year sentence. David Boeri reports that prior to his 2008 trial in Miami, the Feds offered Connolly five years in prison if he testified against fellow agents and others. Connolly’s reply was the same: He said they were people of integrity and he had nothing negative to say against any of them. Thus, he was framed.

    1. Billy, thanks for the compliment. I really think Greig is being unfairly punished. It goes to your theory of there being a sinister compact between the prosecutors and judges on the federal side. You’ll note in Patty’s post of this day the comparison she makes with the way Congressman Tierney’s wife was treated, something you and Neal have often mentioned.
      You are correct that Connolly had no record prior to being charged. His sentence was on the harsh side – the underlying basis for the high number according to the appeals court was Judge Tauro including in the base a crime (murder)for which he was not convicted. Connolly told me he thought he could have made a deal with the prosecutors if he implicated other people higher up in the FBI. He said he couldn’t do that because no one he knew had done anything wrong.
      I tend to think the feds would never have given him a deal. They desperately wanted the “one rogue agent” theory which played well with the local media when they pinned that badge on Connolly because it had an ancient animus toward Billy Bulger and Connolly had a close relationship with him. I don’t agree he was “framed” in Boston nor do I think he got a sentence enhancement for his silence. He just got hit hard because the judge took a particular slant on the case that was not to his benefit. Florida, of course, is another story. I’ll pen something about that. As you know I have no love lost for John Connolly so when I suggest he was wrongfully convicted in Florida it’s not because of any fond feelings toward him. It’s just because as you suggest that conviction was an outrage.
      Thanks for writing.

  2. Matt,

    The Greig sentencing was an extraordinary travesty of justice and another excellent illustration of a fearful federal judge in Boston abandoning his oath and even his morality.

    Greig is not the first woman in history to be in love with a man who then became vilified by powerful elements of society. In fact, Sophocles described this very situation as “Antigone’s dilemma.” In short, it is the situation where the laws written by man conflict with the laws of human nature. For decades, Greig loved Bulger. When she fled with him after his pretextual indictment for relatively minor charges, her primary intent was clearly just to be with him. They had a relationship together for almost half a century. Certainly, her life with him in California could be construed as aiding a fugitive and that that may have caused the ubiquitous Steven Davis frustration. Her intent, however, was not to make Davis more of a victim, it was first and foremost to be with the individual she loved. Additionally, it is more likely Greig was a hindrance to Bulger’s flight than a benefit.

    Nor is this the first time that courts in civilized and less civilized countries have addressed Antigone’s dilemma. Just last year in Japan, a woman was arrested for harboring her fugitive, common law husband, for 17 years. The husband was wanted for mass murder and domestic terrorism for having poisoned several thousand commuters with ricin. She was sentenced to just 14 months in jail. It was noted her punishment was harsh relative to what Japanese law dictates. Japanese law recognizes Antigone’s Dilemma, but the judge strayed from it a bit because of the mass murder thing.

    Just last year, the Unites States government questioned and promptly released Osama Bin Laden’s wives! These women played an active role in giving him aid before, during and after he murdered over 3,000 unarmed US citizens. Ironically, Bin Laden’s wives were released because the governments of the world opposed any punishment of the wives for doing what wives are expected to do even if their husband is vilified by the entire free. Even the wife who was shot by Seal Team 6 was fixed up by American doctors and freed. (The wives were flown by the US to any destination of their choosing with no charges.)

    Another case even closer to home is that of Congressman John Tierney’s wife. She took (dirty) money from her fugitive brother to handle family affairs while he was wanted for various felonies. She received just a month in jail following a love-fest of a sentencing hearing during which she was represented by Donald Stern. During that hearing, US Attorney Freddy Wyshak vehemently argued for no jail time for his old boss’s client because “she is the wife of a sitting United States Congressman”! Judge Young pointed out that such defendants always got jail time. He explicitly rejected Wyshak’s untenable position that she should get special treatment “because she was a Congressman’s wife.” Note that Wyshak and Young made no effort to obtain her cooperation against her brother in his enormous open case. I guess they consider such cooperation against a relative unnatural in some cases, but not others.

    Massachusetts adopted a statute over one hundred years ago that protects people in Greig’s impossible position. The Mass “Accessory” statute provides an affirmative defense for certain relations who aid a fugitive. The SJC has even upheld the statute in the case of a fugitive from murder charges. Notably, the statute only applies to fugitives from felonies, not misdemeanors. Massachusetts is not the outlying liberal state in this regard. Seventeen other states offer similar statutory protections for certain people who aid fugitives. Although Greig may not have had a statutory marriage to Bulger (who actually knows?), she clearly falls within the intent and spirit of the statutes. (Bulger probably saved her another 20 years in jail by not marrying her.) In summary, Greig might not have received any jail time had she been sentenced in Superior Court just a few blocks away from that Court that gave her 8 years! (Judge Woodlock noted this Mass statute in Greig’s sentencing hearing when he was leaning towards adopting the Probation sentencing recommendation. After seeing all the media, the top brass from the US Attorney’s Office, hearing from the foul-mouthed alleged victims, he backed off and got caught up in the emotion of his own stoning.)

    Shortly after Woodlock’s embarrassing loss of composure at Greig’s hearing, Former Federal Judge Nancy Gertner wrote the following article which contained a picture of the Greig sentencing hearing.

    http://cognoscenti.wbur.org/2012/09/04/criminal-justice-media-nancy-gertner

    Another major error Woodlock made at Greig’s hearing was prosecuting from the bench, much like Stearns is doing to Bulger. Woodlock stated he was going to crush Greig with an unwarranted sentence so she would ‘start making the right choice and cooperate with the US Attorney.’ That’s just not Woodlock’s job.

    Woodlock erred further (grossly) when he said he was going to make an “examplar” of Greig. Whenever a judge says that they are straying from justice and punishing the person before them for crimes someone else might do in the future or something someone else got a lighter sentence for in the past. Either way, it’s not justice. More importantly, Woodlock knew he was sentencing someone who had been thrust into Antigone’s dilemma by circumstances beyond her control. Woodlock can sentence Greig to two hundred years, and its still not going to keep women from falling in love with men who may become fugitives. In this regard, Woodlock was dishonest even with himself.

    I am confident Judge Woodlock has realized that the woman in front of him exhibited more integrity than he did in that hearing. The bigger question is whether Woodlock will try to regain his integrity by correcting his abuses in the Greig case. Woodlock sold himself and abandoned his sworn duties to do justice. He knew exactly what justice called for, but he turned his back on it. He didn’t “middle”it, he didn’t man up and do the right thing. He merely laid out supine for the media and the USA. I felt dirty for him. Unlike Woodlock, Greig chose to maintain her dignity and take an unjust sentence over compromising herself for a lesser sentence. For people of integrity like Greig, serving 8 years with your dignity intact is far easier than serving one month knowing you have sold yourself.

    1. Patty:
      Great Comment.
      You really have a way to put things in another perspective that compliments some of my writing by bringing in other factors that just don’t occur to me. It is important to note the disparity in treatment bewteen Greig and Tierney’s wife. No one put the arm on her to cooperate. That was the last thing they wanted. I sometime wonder if they see themselves what they are doing. Judge Woodlock is sitting in the seat on the federal district court as the successor to Judge J. Arthur Garrity. Do you think there is something in that seat that infects them with an anti Southie attitude. Woodcock is a Yankee through and through so any suggestion he would ever think he has done anything wrong in his actions would appear foreign to him.
      Thanks again for the comment. Not much I can disagree with.

  3. the fbi now seems to have a saturday night live feel to whatever they are doing about the mafia. the thing is i am not laughing. this whole buisness about some people becoming informants and some people not stinks to high heaven 6 years and a woman on the run gets 8, wow what a country in the year 2012

    1. Doug:
      You hit the nail on the head. The FBI is good in some areas. It just has never been able to figure out how to deal with Mafia and other organized crime people. J. Edgar Hoover never wanted to get involved in going after them because he knew (he might have been an odd man but no one questioned his intelligence or experience) that dealing with gangsters makes one gangster-like. Look at how the prosecutors of Whitey have become a little tainted by their associations with them.
      Thanks for the comment.

  4. Matt,

    I wrote the previous comment before I realized you had a more detailed post about Greig’s sentence. Pardon the redundancy. Your post was excellent.

    1. Patty:
      No problem. I really like your perspective. Some people have asked me who you are. I tell them I don’t know or want to know. Some suggest you are a prosecutor in Suffolk, others have said you work for JW Carney, and the great debate is over your sex. To me it doesn’t matter as long as you give input like you did yesterday. Thanks for writing and maybe because of our experience as prosecutors (if you are in fact a former prosecutor) will do something to make people pause and think about what is happening to our liberties when we let the actions of the executive and judiciary go unexamined. You know as well as I do how isolated these people can become. Look at Stearns – he’s going to sit on a trial where the actions of the office he worked in are being questioned. I’m wondering why Carney is not appealing the recusal decision. I’m also wondering why no change of venue. (It must be that Whitey wants to stay in Plymouth locked up 23 hours a day but at least able to get visits from his family.) Every judge in Massachusetts believes Whitey is guilty. Woodlock sentenced Greig based on that assumption. Can a judge who already is convinced a defendant is guilty give him or her a fair trial? I suppose it can happen but it would seem that the concept of justice (especially in the federal courts where the judges have greater leeway in commenting on facts) demands that both an impartial judge and jury be required for a fair trial.

      1. Matt,

        I’ve never met or spoken to you so your readers can save their speculation in that regard. One time I met Jay Carney in a hallway for less than a minute, literally. I am an attorney and former prosecutor.
        Beyond that, I try to back up my comments with quotes, sources and research so it shouldn’t matter much who I am.

        Most of what I have written on your blog was already provided to the mainstream media in Boston over the years with complete documentary support, trial transcripts, etc. Their refusal to print or even consider the evidence was initially astonishing. When one considers the interests of the reporters and the outlets, however, it becomes clear they cannot afford to bite the hand that feeds them. Reporters like Shelley Murphy earn a substantial living for their families by blindly writing up the information the US Attorney feeds (or leaks) to them. While they may get one story from you or I, they get a career worth of copy from Wyshak and Kelly. As long as the reporters adopt the prosecutor’s slant in the story, the gravy train rolls along. Wyshak and Kelly always do an excellent job at aligning people’s interests with their own. For example, they chose Judge Stearns, a former colleague and entrenched US Attorney to hear this case.

        The Boston media has truly failed the country in this case, among others. The media is given enormous independence and protections for the very purpose of shining light on such corrupt governmental processes. In the end, however, their profit motive trumps their interest in justice.
        Perhaps the most damning evidence of the Boston media’s subservience to Wyshak and Kelly is their failure to fight Judge Stearns’s restrictive order in this case. In every other case of any importance, the media dispatches gaggles of lawyers to intervene and oppose judges’ orders that restrict access to public information. The media always wins these fights, too. Judge Stearns has joined Wyshak and Kelly in restricting documents that have already been in the public realm. Use of such documents now has essentially been criminalized.

        Where is the media outrage? The types of documents Judge Stearns is shielding are the very bread and butter of the free press! The obvious explanation for the media’s lack of concern about this unconstitutional order is that the media knows they will get everything they need directly Wyshak and Kelly!

        1. Patty:

          I agree as I indicated that it does not matter who you are since your sourcing of your material is good and your opinions appear to be based on experience in the field. I pretty much did not pay much attention to the relationship between the media and the federal prosecutors unless something unusual happened. I wondered why nothing was ever done about the leak of Billy Bulger’s grand jury testimony but the went on. I wondered about the probation indictments and didn’t give it too much thought until I heard they were indicted for RICO violations. I thought highly of Wyshak until I wondered about the probation matters and looked more closely at the Florida aspect of the case against John Connolly.

          This from one who has a greater interest in these matters than the average Joe. My blog has made me inquire more into things and think about them in greater detail. It’s not surprising many members of the public have no idea what is happening. The media and federal court have developed a relationship where one hand washes the other. I think this is clearly shown by the probation case. They have entered into an tacit understanding that the feds will help the Globe by investigating certain things the Globe is interested in and the Globe will refrain from criticizing the feds. It has come about because the media depends on tips and leaks rather than doing the coverage itself because of financial restraints.

          I was at lunch the other day with five former prosecutors who worked with me at Norfolk Superior court. Two became judges. All had done their share of murder prosecutions. We recalled when we were most active that there were three full time reporters assigned to cover our cases. Every day the Globe, the Herald and the Patriot Ledger had a reporter sitting in the courtroom. That kept us on our toes and kept the public informed as to our activities. Now no one is assigned to cover the daily events. Only when something of note arises is it covered. Over time, as the ability to send reporters into the courtroom decreased, the more the media depended on maintaining good relationships with the prosecutors to know what is happening. To keep that relationship requires them to restrain from criticizing the prosecutors.

          As far as Stearns is concerned, the prosecutors did select him over Judge Wolf. His desire to hold onto the case even in the face of a clear recusal need does cast a cloud over the case. The unnecessary praise he heaped upon the prosecution and the little jabs at the defendant in giving a three month continuance shows a certain mindset. Remember that Stearns never had to prepare a case from a defense lawyer’s point of view. He apparently thinks that once the discovery is handed out the case is ready for trial. Never having been a defense lawyer he doesn’t appreciate that there’s a lot of work that has to be done after that point.

          Again, good to hear from you.

  5. I stumbled across this website when it was referenced in comments to an article about a trial update. Matt, you really raise some good questions about fairness in this case.

    One question that haunts me is whether Catherine Greig DID give complete information and the prosecution decided that it was insufficient. What if she told them (perhaps truthfully) that they had no communication with people back home, and that she didn’t know of any money he had hidden, beyond the stash they found in the apartment? Isn’t it possible that that IS the case? If it is, then she was punished for not lying. And I’d not be surprised if the others who have been treated so gently by the Feds had to reach deep into their imaginations to get their deals. Her punishment is excessive by any measure, especially in light of the cases that you (and Patty) have cited.

    And yes, I agree with you that it is the brother (William) that they really want to see served up. I can’t imagine there is anything out there on him — hasn’t he been under a microscope by the media and law enforcement for years now? If he had so much as jaywalked he’d be in Plymouth with his brother. Do you have any theories as to why they are so hell bent on getting him? As far as I know, he is retired from public life so he would no longer be the big fish he might have been 20 years ago.

    Thanks!

    1. Pam:

      Very good point. It is possible that Catherine Greig told them the truth and they did not believe it. I have no inside information on that so you could very well be correct. That would make the situation even worse though believable. The prosecution on the federal side comes up with theories of how things happened and the cooperating person has to fill in the right information to match that theory. When Salemme was cooperating he told one of the gangsters in the can with him that he’d tell the feds something and they’d reply, “are you sure it didn’t happen another way?” He’d then agree it happened the way the prosecution wanted it to happen. I guess keeping quiet or telling the truth results in the same consequence if the prosecution thinks otherwise.
      With respect to Billy, I have to figure that every wise guy they jammed up they asked him what information he had on Billy. I’m sure some of those guys gave them something which they made up trying to get a deal but it was so incredible even the feds couldn’t go with it.
      I think the feds believe without any evidence that Billy somehow helped Whitey. In their mind he is as bad as Whitey. The feds came up with the Trinity of Evil: the father being the corrupt politician, the son being the rogue agent, and the holy terror being the gangster. You only have to read the comical description former agent Fitzpatrick gave of his meeting with Billy to see how some in the FBI have a warped view of the world and why without evidence, based solely on faith, they place Billy at the apex of the trio. They went after Connolly hoping he would give them information on Billy. That turned into a dead end.
      The animosity toward Billy in the feds is encouraged by the media. Billy had a strange view toward the media and refused to cooperate with it during the 17 years he was the president of the Senate. I never thought that was wise. Billy then wrote an autobiography which made him more enemies. He also had strong enemies among people like Alan Dershowitz the Harvard professor.
      Billy is retired and his influence is on the wane even more so because he has been called corrupt in a couple of books. Because he is a public figure he has no way to really defend himself.
      The feds are probably out of luck now because the statute of limitations has run on any possible crime they could charge against Billy except murder but any chance the feds have to continue damaging his character they will leap at.
      Thanks for commenting.

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