Why Do Federal Prosecutors Do What They Do? Jerome Asks.

Jerome through another media asked me a couple of questions that I had been considering myself off and on. He’s following the El Chapo trial and wrote how Judge Brian Cogan on several occasions has to remind the jury to stay awake. He has also had a few sidebars asking the prosecutors to speed up their presentation. The prosecutors agree but then go on without doing so. He asked: “Is this a standard tactic of prosecutors in federal trials?” He wanted to know why prosecutors ask “too many questions” and are “too detailed.” 

He also asked about the wrongful death suit because of Bulger’s death but I’ll get to that on another post.

Asking me to explain why federal prosecutors act like they do is a tough question. Perhaps the simple answer is they are scared of losing. I’m not sure of it but maybe that affects their standing in the office; or maybe it affects their image of themselves; or their pay. I say that because they have a tendency to load up on the charges against a defendant.

I was listening to the argument before the Supreme Court the other day on the issue of dual sovereignty: that is whether a person can be tried based upon the same facts in two sovereigns. An example of that is the case of retired FBI Agent John Connolly who was acquitted in Boston federal court of the murder of John Callahan but then tried in Florida on the same evidence where he was convicted. One of the justices noted that under the federal criminal code there are more than four thousand crimes that can be charged and over hundred of thousands of regulatory offense. So it is easy for the federal prosecutors to pile charge upon charge because so many actions have been criminalized.

In Guzman’s case there are 17 charges including operation of a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiring to murder rivals, firearms violations and money laundering. The prosecutors have the burden when bringing these charges to prove every element of the crime. Some crimes have many elements. So the more charges that are brought the more they need witnesses or documents to substantiate those charges.

I’d guess that in the Guzman case the prosecutors have a script they have developed and are following it. The script would lay out the proof necessary for each element of the charges. It would then then set out the evidence that is needed to proved each one.

They prosecutors fear speeding up because they don’t want to miss something in their step-by-step outline. They may also not want to rely on one witness to prove and element but will use three, four or even more. Where this becomes tedious and sleep-inducing is when they deal with financial matters.

We saw that happening in the Whitey trial. After talking gangsters, guns, violence, and murder the prosecutors then went on to prove the money laundering charges. You could sense the let down among the jurors. Dealing with figures is boring; the attention of everyone wanders. I wonder why this is the routine in federal prosecutions.

Speaking of piling charge upon charge, do you recall how many counts the Boston federal prosecutors threw at Senator Brian Joyce after the joint task force of the Boston Globe and Boston Federal Prosecutors (BGFPJTF) finished their investigation? The result was presented to a grand jury. Joyce was charged with 113 counts including racketeering, extortion, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. He was a state senator that may have taken a few gifts, was involved in no violence, but he was charged as if he was a combination of Ma Barker, Teflon Don, and Pretty Boy Flyod.

Why? Did the BG part of the BGFPJTF demand that. Were they running the show? We do know much that was done by the FP part of the joint task force during the Ortez era was demanded by the BG part.

The Guzman case is an example of federal overcharging. Will the prosecutors consider it a victory if they convict him of money laundering and nothing else? Would the prosecutors be happy in the Whitey case if he was only guilty of firearm charges? I suggest not. If that is so why charge so many crimes and complicate the case?

I suppose a reason aside from being afraid of losing is that they believe the more evil things they can bring before the jury the better their chances are to get a conviction on the major crime. We saw in the Whitey case how they liked to have all the gangsters testify and tell of their past crimes hoping the jury would simply conclude, “if he hung around with those guys he must as bad as they are.”  

Another reason may be that if they convict the defendant of one thing he can be sentenced not only based on that charge but upon the other more serious allegations in the complaint. John Connolly was acquitted of the major charges but convicted of the minor ones. In determining his sentence the probation office included the others in its computations.

To answer Jerome’s question the reason the prosecutors go so slow is they are mechanically going through each step of the proof for each of the allegations in the indictment. Much of the stuff is boring so the matter drags and the jurors fight to stay awake. Despite the judge urging them to move on they are handcuffed to the horse they rode in on.

On the state side where I prosecuted I got rid of the surplusage charges. It made the case more clean cut. If a guy robbed a bank with a gun and fled in his car and was involved in a police chase I’d just charge the robbery. I’d never be happy nor do I believe justice would be done if the jury found the defendant guilty of operating to endanger and acquitted him of armed robbery.

 

 

6 thoughts on “Why Do Federal Prosecutors Do What They Do? Jerome Asks.

  1. Matt.

    I lived in Colombia during the ‘70’s whenit all began.
    El Chapo is written for an easily weakened marketfor entertainment.
    All no better than the Southie guy,totally psychiatric ,psychomatic,social killing,evil machine who come out of the earth.
    Even our friend,Clint Eastwood illustrated the effect.

  2. Matt
    Excellent post. Thanks for addressing my questions. I was contemplating your other post regarding Wyshak and the aggression against Whitey Bulger and his beau Catherine Greig. I know the “easy” answer is his connection to Billy Bulger (being his brother). BUT why would Whyshak have a what seems to an outsider, a personal vendetta against Billy Bulger and then transfer it to Whitey Bulger? Is it because Bulger “got away” for 16 years? Would have been interesting to see how things played out had Bulger been captured along with Flemmi when the indictments came down. Would Bulger have copped a plea and perhaps testified to get a lesser sentence?

    Funny, Flemmi was exposed an informant and testified to avoid death penalty. An informant willing to testify makes logical sense. But if Bulger were NOT an informant it would make logical sense that he would not testify no? I am over simplifying as its pure speculation.

    Part of why the El Chapo trial is “boring” and lacks punch IMHO is because there is no personal backstory to a lot of the murders. The Bulger trial was more interesting also due to the informant angle. Of course we will never know if El Chapo was in cahoots with folks in law enforcement to set up rivals but I am guessing he was…..

  3. I spit on the Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Boston . . .it is a den of iniquity and has been for decades.
    The Jihadi Javert Wyshak and the character assassinating Sterns Gang (Sterns, Durham, Wyshak, many of their colleagues and successors, even some judges and clerks, especially the clerk who issued the civil decision while John Connolly’s jury was out deliberating in Miami: the clerk’s headline making decision “FBI liable for murders) . . .so yes, after twenty plus years of research and writing four books addressing the matter (five addressing judicial corruption, too) I conclude Federal Prosecutors are Persecutors, Sadists, who abuse their Federal Power. who wrongfully charge innocent people and overcharge others in order to inflict maximum mental, physical stress on the indicted and their families and to persecute, bankrupt and destroy good people.
    Read my books: I’ve listed them before: From Trial Court, The Fix, Character Assassins I, Character Assassins Ii and Three Billboards Outside Boston, Prosecute the Persecutors who Abuse Federal Prosecutorial Power

  4. I also spit on the aiders and abettors of the corrupt fed prosecutors in the media and academia. Shallow ideologues. C.S. Lewis denounced their types.

    VERITAS

    THE TRUTH WILL OUT

    TIME TO END T HE TYRANNY …. GET THE MUSKETS OFF THE WALLS, LOCKED AND LOADED, THE CANNON PRIMED, GATHER AT THE CONCORDS AND LEXINGTONS, THE GREENS, COMMONS, AND BUNKER HILLS OF AMERICA AND OUST THE FEDERAL FOE . . .COME ALLL YE SAVIN HILL BILLIES AND HILL BILLIES THROUGHOUT THE AMERICAS . . .BEGIN FIRING ONLY AT THE EXPRESSED ORDER FROM THE NEW LEADER OF THE CONMACMAN . . .ANABELLE LEE . . .WHO WILL ISSUE THE ORDER THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE … THE SECRET WORD . . .”FIRE” …OR ITS EQUIVALENT . . . YOU’LL KNOW IT WHEN YOU HEAR IT . . . .AND CONTINUE NOW AND THEN TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM ON THE RELATIVELY BLOODLESS BATTLEFIELDS OF FEARLESS EXPRESSIONISM UNTIL EVERY FEDERAL USURPER IS IN CHAINS OR ASHES . . .

    READ MY NEXT FOUR STORYLETTES, NOVELETTES PLANNED FOR 2019, THE YEAR OF UPHEAVAL: (1) SPIRITUAL GLUE, NON-FICTION, TO BE PUBLISHED ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE AND ELSEWHERE FREELY AS ALL REVOLUTIONARY PAMPLETS, STORIES AND NOVELS ARE FREELY DISTRIBUTED BY HAND, MAIL, AND VIA INTERNET. (2) JACK, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BILL, NON-FICTION (3) HUM: THE STORY OF THE SAVIN HILL BILLIES OVERTHROW OF THE CORRUPT FED PROSECUTORS, JUDGES, CLERKS AND CORRUPT MEDIA-ACADEMIA TYPES; AND (4) HUM: THE WAR OF THE WORLD’S WORDS (which is also the title of a chapter in my second novel Mac the Dog, published by Xlibris). The fourth 2019 novelette takes place when Political Correctness is so pervasive people are afraid to utter any words less they offend and are therefore subject to FED PERSECUTION and/or LYING TO THE FED charges, so folks just HUM> once again Savin Hill Billies rise and REBELS rise throughout America to take back the country via Open Conflict, Counting Coup and Continuing to Fight for Freedom on the Relatively Bloodless Battlefields of Fearless Expressionism.

    Those are my plans . . .saner than anything MSFREEH has ever posted about the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracies . .

    1. Wa-llahi! Raise the red, and, black, banners! Into the streets, comrades! Let’s have ourselves a yellow vest movement over here. It’s time for the sea of bayonets. Why not?

      All praise to Bill. All power to the dialectic!

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