Whitey Bulger Trial Judge, Richard Stearns, Refuses To Step Down

Dec 8, 2004
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Judge Richard Stearns refused to recuse himself Tuesday from the trial of Whitey Bulger (pictured), an alleged mobster accused of participating in 19 murders, despite the defense's charge that Stearns would be biased.

A federal judge on Tuesday refused to recuse himself from the trial of mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, flatly rejecting a challenge to his impartiality by Bulger's lawyers. The defense argued in a motion filed last month that Bulger – who is awaiting trial for his alleged role in 19 murders – should not be prosecuted because he was promised immunity by a representative of the federal government for past or future crimes while he was a top-echelon FBI informant.

Bulger's lawyers asked Judge Richard Stearns to step down from the case because he was a top federal prosecutor in the 1980s, when Bulger allegedly was committing crimes with impunity while also acting as an informant.

The defense said Stearns would try to shield his former colleagues and could not be impartial. The defense also said it may call Stearns as a witness as part of a motion to dismiss the charges based on Bulger's claim that he was granted immunity.

In a written order, Stearns said he had no doubt about his ability to remain impartial, noting that as an assistant U.S. attorney, he was never involved in the prosecution of a case in which Bulger was a subject or target. Stearns also blasted the defense for questioning his impartiality.

"It would be institutionally irresponsible for me, or for that matter, any other judge, to enter a recusal in a case where a party has chosen to make untrue accusations in the possible hope of subverting that process, or at the very least, forcing a delay of a trial by injecting a diversionary issue into the proceedings," Stearns wrote.

Stearns also wrote that "no reasonable person" could doubt his impartiality. Bulger's lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., zeroed in on that assertion when asked about Stearns' ruling following a pre-trial hearing in Bulger's case Tuesday.

Carney noted that Stearns headed the criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office during part of the 1980s, at a time when Bulger was allegedly committing crimes but not being prosecuted for them.

"Reasonable members of the general public will be free to express their own views" on that, Carney said.

Stearns said in his ruling that it would be pointless for Bulger's lawyers to call him as a witness on Bulger's immunity claim.

"Because at no time during my service as an AUSA did I participate in or have any knowledge of any case or investigation in which defendant was a subject or target, I have nothing of a relevant or material nature to offer with regard to this case or any claim of immunity," Stearns wrote.

Bulger, the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang, fled Boston in 1994 after receiving a warning through his former FBI handler that he was about to be indicted.

Now 82, Bulger was apprehended last year in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run. Former Boston FBI Agent John Connolly Jr. was convicted of racketeering in 2002 for tipping off a Bulger associate about the impending indictment.

During a pretrial hearing in U.S. District Court Tuesday, Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler said she will unseal some documents in the case in response to motions by Bulger's lawyer to lift a protective order.

Bowler said she will give prosecutors two weeks to indicate which of the hundreds of thousands of pre-trial discovery documents in the case should remain sealed.

After that, she will give Bulger's defense team a chance to object. Then, she'll review the documents herself and decide which should remain sealed and which Bulger's defense team can share with outside lawyers, pre-trial focus groups or other third parties.

Carney said the protective order now in place prohibits him from sharing the documents with anyone other than lawyers in his firm or witnesses. He said the order has hindered his ability to discuss trial strategy or get outside feedback on the case.
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Whenever I take my chick into Logan she will point out places where Whitey buried a body... killed someone... etc... well that and the Lingerie store that has "private showings" in the back room...
 

Bluestreak

This space intentionally left blank.
Sep 27, 2007
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Ya think... time will tell. Someone will dig a foundation on the South or North Shore and something or rather someone will pop up...
I'm guessing most of the bodies were disposed of in the marshes, or off in deep waters.
 
Dec 8, 2004
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***Follow Up***

James 'Whitey' Bulger Trial: Massachusetts Mobster's Lawyer To Argue For Delay In Serial Murder Case

Lawyers for mobster James "Whitey" Bulger were headed to court Thursday to argue that his trial should be delayed until next November.


Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is accused of playing a role in 19 murders. After spending 16 years on the run as one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives, Bulger, now 83, was captured last year in Santa Monica, Calif.

His trial is scheduled to begin in March, but his lawyers say they need more time to prepare. They were scheduled to make arguments Thursday to U.S. District Court Judge Richard Stearns, who has twice rejected a defense request that he recuse himself from Bulger's trial.

Bulger's lawyers say Stearns should not preside at the trial because he was a federal prosecutor during a time in which Bulger claims he was given immunity for crimes he committed while he was also an FBI informant on the Mafia, his gang's main rival.

Bulger's lead attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., has said Bulger plans to testify about his claim that Jeremiah O'Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor who led the New England Organized Crime Strike Force, gave him immunity. O'Sullivan, who died in 2009, denied protecting Bulger from prosecution for violent crimes during his testimony to Congress in 2002.

In a written response denying Carney's motion for the second time, Stearns said there is no connection between his former position as chief of the criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office and the organized crime strike force.

Prosecutors are opposed to the request to move the trial date to next November. In a written response filed in court Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly said the defense has an "obvious strategy of delaying the trial at all costs."

Kelly called Bulger's immunity claim "absurd" and said his decision to flee Massachusetts is "entirely inconsistent" with someone who believed he had immunity.

"Obviously, James Bulger never once thought he had legal immunity for his crimes and that is why he remained a fugitive for so long," Kelly wrote.
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Lord Zero

Viciously Silly
Aug 25, 2008
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#7
The defense argued in a motion filed last month that Bulger – who is awaiting trial for his alleged role in 19 murders – should not be prosecuted because he was promised immunity by a representative of the federal government for past or future crimes while he was a top-echelon FBI informant.
An FBI agent (John Connolly) that was convicted of committing multiple felonies stemming from his association with your client. Even if the agent was squeaky clean, he would've been after offering immunity for future murders, which is against the law.
 
Dec 8, 2004
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James 'Whitey' Bulger Trial: Gangster's Attorney Will Claim Immunity As Defense




BAWFERSTON -- Reputed gangster James "Whitey" Bulger will ask his new trial judge to overturn a previous judge's ruling barring him from using his claim of immunity as a defense, Bulger's lawyers said Tuesday.

Bulger's claim that he received immunity for past and future crimes from a former federal prosecutor is a "very important issue," Bulger attorney Hank Brennan said during a court hearing.

Brennan said prosecutors have mischaracterized Bulger's immunity claim as a "license to kill." He said Bulger will testify during his trial that he received immunity for his crimes even though he was not an

FBI informant, as authorities and Bulger's own associates have claimed for years.

Bulger, now 83, is the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang. He fled Boston in late 1994 after being tipped off by his former FBI handler that he was about to be indicted.

He was one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives until he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011. He is accusing of playing a role in 19 killings.

U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns, who was previously assigned to preside at Bulger's trial, was removed from the case earlier this month when the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Stearns' presence could create the appearance of bias because the judge was a federal prosecutor in Boston during the time when Bulger claims he received immunity from another federal prosecutor.

Stearns had ruled that Bulger could not use his claim that prosecutor Jeremiah O'Sullivan gave him immunity for crimes he committed in the future. Stearns said he wanted more information before deciding whether Bulger could present evidence on his claim that he received immunity for past crimes.

Judge Denise Casper, who was randomly assigned to take over the case, said she would give the defense until next week to file written arguments on the immunity claim.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly called Bulger's claim a "so-called immunity agreement," and said prosecutors "don't think it exists."

"In fact, why have a trial if he has immunity?" Kelly said sarcastically.

Casper said testimony in Bulger's trial is expected to begin on June 10, as scheduled. Jury selection is scheduled to begin June 6.

Kelly said prosecutors plan to call about 50 witnesses and expect the trial to go through the summer. Bulger attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said he expects the trial to stretch into mid-September.

Casper said she planned a daily trial schedule of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., but said she would hold one longer day of testimony on Wednesdays.

Carney asked if the longer day could be on Fridays, citing the long travel from the Plymouth jail where Bulger is being held to the courthouse in Boston, a trip that could take 1 1/2 to 2 hours each way. He also cited Bulger's placement in solitary confinement for nearly two years.

"Given his age and given the fact that this type of confinement would affect any individual, I'm just concerned that if there is to be a long day, it is on Friday so that he would be able to recover over the weekend," Carney said.

Kelly questioned how stressful it could be to sit in a courtroom and said some jurors may want to spend summer weekends on Cape Cod and won't want to have a long court day on Fridays.
Casper said she will decide later.

In court documents filed Monday, Bulger's lawyers asked Casper to order prosecutors to turn over the name of an informant who they say could help them discredit an important witness against Bulger.

The defense says the informant could help them challenge the truthfulness of Kevin Weeks, a longtime Bulger associate who is expected to be a key prosecution witness.

Bulger's lawyers say the informant could contradict Weeks' past testimony about the proceeds from a $14.3 million winning lottery ticket he, Bulger and two other men shared in 1991. A former FBI agent has said two informants said the lottery ticket was a money-laundering scheme.
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It is cute when driving my chick to Logan... down route one and she's telling me... oh behind that sign Whitey buried three bodies... or over there he burned out a car with 3 guys in it etc...
 
Dec 8, 2004
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#11
Whitey Bulger's Defense Bills Cost Taxpayers More Than $3 Million
BOSTON (AP) — Documents filed in federal court show the costs of defending Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger (BUHL'-jur) have topped more than $3 million.

Documents submitted Friday show Bulger's defense lawyers have charged the government a little more than $2.7 million for their work. When the costs of experts, paralegal services and transcripts are added in, the total reaches slightly over $3 million.

The costs were included in a report to U.S. District Judge Denise Casper, who presided at Bulger's racketeering trial.

The 84-year-old Bulger spent 16 years on the run before being captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif. He was convicted in August of playing a role in 11 murders while he led a violent gang. He's serving a life sentence in federal prison. He's appealing, so the legal costs are expected to go even higher.
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