As James “Whitey” Bulger awaits trial for his part allegedly played in the murders of 19 people, the government’s day of judgment has already arrived.
Boston’s federal appeals court has upheld multi-million dollar judgments that had been awarded when the government was found liable for the deaths of three people allegedly murdered by Mr. Bulger. On Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld the awards of $1.3 million, $350,000 and $1.1 million for the families of Debra Davis, Deborah Hussey and Louis Litif, respectively.
The court agreed with the trial court that the FBI showed “wildly reckless behavior” in the use of Bulger and his associate, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, as informants and shielding them from prosecution.
Steve Davis, the brother of Debra Davis, told The Boston Globe the appeals court’s decision shows his sister mattered.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Governmental Abuse And Double Standards
This was a civil lawsuit. In other words, the plaintiffs, private citizens, brought lawsuits against the government in order to receive damages…money. It was not a criminal prosecution.
There are various extra hoops an individual must jump through in order to bring a lawsuit against a state or federal government or one of its agencies. However, these hoops are nothing compared to the hoops one must jump through in seeking justice in the criminal courts against such an entity.
For example, let’s say the good folks at Altman & Altman, LLP had a leash on me as the FBI (and associated federal prosecutors) had on Whitey. Let’s go further and assume that I performed the same misdeeds that Whitey allegedly did. Do you think that there would be any question whether, at the very least, the principals of the Altman firm would be prosecuted? At the very least, I would suggest that the word “criminal conspiracy” would be part of that prosecution.
But not when the “bad guy” includes the “good guys”.
“But, Sam, isn’t the government doing its best? Why should prosecutors offices and law enforcement be prosecuted for errors that are inevitable?”
Because, again in my opinion, such bad acts are not only not inevitable, but sometimes willful.
We have seen various instances of crooked police officers charged with crimes. Do you really think that the fact that police officers lie is something that only we few Boston criminal lawyers know about? I have had cases wherein there is no question that officers lied. Fortunately, I gained acquittals in those cases. However, my clients in those cases faced incarceration. Were those officers prosecuted?
What do you think?
Many are the cases when it seems clear that governmental witnesses are less than truthful, both on and off the witness stand. Does this mean that prosecutors simply pull the plug in the prosecution? Sorry…not in this reality.
Our laws recognize such theories as malfeasance as actionable occurrences.
However, they are rarely acted upon unless the actions are so outrageous and undeniable that being willfully blind to them is political suicide.
By the way, “willful blindness” is another legal theory which the government often uses in its prosecutions…
…against regular citizens.
“So, what is the point, Sam? Are you changing the title to your blog to the “Boston Kick The Crap Out Of Law Enforcement Blog“?
No. It is but a reminder that when you enter the criminal justice system because the finger of accusation is about to be or is already pointed at you, do not be naive.
Many people do not take it seriously until it is too late. Too often, these people are soon called inmates and felons. Simply strolling through the hallways of justice, bright-eyed, bushytailed and convinced that all that nice, fair law enforcer wants is the truth is to ignore reality.
They don’t teach you that in school. They don’t teach you that a political rallies. They don’t admit such nastiness in political debates.
But I will tell you here.
Get an experienced criminal defense attorney! A good one!
All “presumptions of innocence aside”, as you enter those halls, you are in the wrong, the government is in the right and the complainant got to the police first. That translates to him or her being right too.
To read the article upon this blog was based, please go to http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/01/21/court-upholds-lawsuits-by-families-of-alleged-bulger-victims/