Federal Judges Playing With Lives: Why Do They Hide From the Public?

woodcock_laurameyersKim Davis the clerk of Rowan County in the Commonwealth of Kentucky is free. I wrote about this the other day and said she never should have gone to jail in the first place.

It is reported that in an email from an Attorney Dan J. Canon who represented the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued Davis on behalf of several gay couples said the organization achieved what it set out to do. “The goal was to get Ms. Davis to issue licenses, and to stop imposing her religious beliefs on the citizens she was elected to serve.  That goal has been achieved, for now.” 

It is reported the judge who put her in jail said: he would release her because he was satisfied that her office was “fulfilling its obligation to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.””

As you know Kim Davis was put in jail last Thursday. On Friday, the clerks in her office began to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning at 8:00 a.m. that morning. Why then did Davis have to spend Labor Day weekend in jail? The goal of having that clerk’s office issue license was met on Friday morning. The judge rather than releasing her decided he’d have her spend four more days in jail.

“Five days in prison,” you think, “big deal.” Believe me it is. The indignities one suffers in one day having lost one’s freedom and being subject to the whims of prison guards is enough to scar one for a lifetime. Add to that Ms Davis had no idea how long she would be kept there since there was no reason for her to be there in the first place.

That was all up to the federal judge. There was no check on his ill-advised judgment. There was no one who moved expeditiously to right this wrong. She did not have to go to jail at all. The judge could easily have ordered others, as he apparently did, to issue the licenses. Why then did he jail her? Why was he so intent on making her a martyr? Why did he deprive her of her liberty when he enjoyed his over the Labor Day weekend?

This is a clear case of judicial arrogance not justice. The idea behind being a judge is to do no unnecessary harm, that is to be judicious, wise, sensible and prudent. That seems to have been lost on this judge and our judiciary in general which is more and more isolated from the people. It hides in fort like buildings, as we see in Boston, where the overall feeling when one is inside is of being in a tomb-like prison, a place in a Kafka novel where all  the events happen behind hidden walls. The elevators only stop at odd floors; there are no buttons with even numbers on them.  A young man in his early twenties riding down on the elevator with me a week or so ago said: “this is the worst place in the world to have to come to. I hate being here. It is so oppressive.”

The federal district and appeals courts are so far removed from the public that they refuse to allow any of their proceedings to be recorded or televised. Why are they hiding what they are doing? Did we get a little look at the injustices that go on behind those walls when we saw the unnecessary imprisonment of Ms Davis?

Of course we need not look at Ms Davis’s plight to see how cruel our federal judges can be. We have the case of Catherine Greig right here in Boston. In Greig’s case one has to look hard to find any semblance of judiciousness or justice.

She was the woman who went off with Whitey on his 16 year flight. Her crime was being in love with the bum. She kept him company while he hid out. (John Martorano who murdered 20 people had a girl who did the same thing for him and she was not prosecuted.)

Greig had no other criminal record. There was no evidence she knew anything about Whitey’s murders, He he fled long before Martorano and Weeks turned rat on him and told us about them. She was punished by Judge Douglas Woodlock, another former assistant U.S. attorney who was appointed a judge by Ronald Reagan. He sent her to 8 years in prison. That was more time than Mafia leaders were receiving at the time.

Not only that, he let victims of Bulger’s crimes castigate her in the open courtroom as if she had something to do with his actions. The sentence imposed by the guidelines should have been about two years. The reason she received such a high sentence was that the prosecutors were trying to squeeze her into testifying.

The question came up at the time whether the federal judges in Boston were merely tools of the prosecutors. Were they helping them in their cases having forgotten they were no longer prosecutors? Some asked whether it was wise it to have so many judges who were former federal prosecutors. Listening to the answers it was hard not to think that was the reason they hid in their secret caves out of view of the public.





  1. Matt,
    Thanks for responding.

    Don’t forget about “Red.”
    He never cooperated.

    • Rather:

      Red’s problem was he did the time then came out and dimed out all his friends in a book. True he did not cooperate with the federals but his book may have helped them tie up some loose ends. So he really does not fit into Catherine Greig’s shoes.

  2. Matt,
    I have no opinion on Kim Davis and the PC battle in Kentucky, but I find it unusual that you are so opposed to her spending a few nights in jail, and why. It is a tool that is used. Haven’t you ever heard of local cops intentionally going after people with warrants on Fridays,, so they have to spend the whole weekend in jail before they get to see a judge. They love using that trick on long weekends. Another one is alternating the air conditioner and the heat to mess with people.
    These are local cops, not feds. ( I imagine it is worse with them)
    They cracked Flemmi, Martorano, and Weeks,….but not Cathy Grieg.
    She seems to have more intestinal fortitude and honor than those three combined.

    • Rather:

      I know how local cops operate. Some think their job is also to punish people. They become badge bullies. I spent time telling the young assistant district attorneys to remember that we are not cops and our job is to do our best to think we are part of what they do. We were one step removed from them and did our best not to get caught up in their shenanigans. Judges are suppose to be further removed than we are. They are in another branch of government. They should act with more restraint.

      As far as Catherine Greig is concerned; the people of South Boston should put a statue of her up down on Castle Island. I think of all the people from Southie she was the only one who did not cooperate.

  3. Bin Laden kills 3500 innocents. Whitey kills ten, mostly other criminals. Mrs. Bin Laden is captured on the Zero Dark Thirty raid where UBL is killed. The Feds don’t even arrest her let alone charge her. Mrs Anguillo, Mrs Gotti, Mrs. Salemme Mrs. Gambino and Mrs. Winter are never charged. Grieg should never have been charged or sentenced. 2. Tauro was totally dishonest in his sentence of Connolly. Every citizen has a right to petition the government including judges. If Wolf chose to conduct a hearing on an anonymous letter that was his decision. No one forced him to do so. No one falsely testified under oath. If Justice was Obstructed it was done by an idiot jurist. Connolly was convicted on trivial charges and his sentence never should have exceeded a few months. Term limits are required for all judges, politicians and D.C. bureaucrats. Every judge in America, including the entire Supreme Court,who fails to remedy the violations of Connolly’s Constitutional Speedy Trial Rights should forfeit their position. Seven years without a final decision and no action from any Federal judge?

    • NC:

      1. You make a good point. Except for Connolly’s sister-in-law and Whitey’s girlfriend none of the women who have ever been involved with all these hoodlums has ever been punished. You have to think that there is a particular malicious streak in the person behind these prosecutions that show he is not acting as one enforcing the laws but as one on a vengeful crusade to destroy people. I can see him very well fitting into the uniform of those running concentration camps.

      2. Disagree about Tauro, he was harsh in his sentence but other than that did a good job. Remember, the letter is not a petition of the government. It was sent over the signature of Boston Police officers for the purpose of helping out one of the worst persons who ever lived, Benji Ditchman, with the intent to impugn the integrity of some good cops. Flemmi did falsely testify under oath, unlike what you assert. When Wolf received a letter that had the semblance of truth to it indicating the prosecution of Flemmi was based on wrongfully obtained evidence (gypsy wires) he was duty bound to look into it. When you talk about being forced, I think you should go one step back and say no one forced Connolly to send the letter which was really wrong as was his other action in denying his involvement with Flemmi’s lawyers.
      Unfortunately for Connolly no one has been to federal court seeking assistance on the obvious miscarriage of justice in Florida. You cannot blame federal judges for not acting on something that is not before them. True, Connolly is wrongfully incarcerated in Florida but I suggest within a few days he will have a final decision that will continue his incarceration if the top court in Florida lets the decision of the appeals court stand.

  4. I agree with you on Catherine Greig. The prison sentence was much too harsh. Two years is about right, I think. She’s also a standup gal and — I think–the only member of Whitey’s circle who didn’t become a rat, no?

    Otherwise, I’m in the five-days-in-jail-is-no-big-deal camp. That’s chump change for a woman who claims to be breaking the law in the name of God. I think Judge Bunning let her go after seeing that Huckabee and Cruz were racing to the scene. (Bunning, by the way, is a Republican appointee and the son of Jim Bunning, a former major league pitcher and two-time Republican senator from Kentucky.) Davis can prove me wrong by ordering her deputies to stop issuing marriage licenses and returning to the slammer. We’ll soon see just how motivated she is …