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Fla. court voids ex-FBI agent's murder conviction
Boston Herald ^ | 5/28/14 | AP/Bos Herald

Posted on 05/28/2014 9:05:03 AM PDT by raccoonradio

MIAMI — A Florida appeals court has overturned the murder conviction for a former FBI agent linked to mobster Whitey Bulger.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that former agent John Connolly was improperly convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the 1982 slaying of a gambling executive. A hit man testified that he killed World Jai-Alai President John Callahan after ex-agent Connolly tipped Bulger and others that the executive would implicate them in another death.

In the court's new ruling, a panel of judges determined in a 2-1 vote that Connolly's second-degree murder conviction was barred by the statute of limitations. His attorneys argued that prosecutors improperly used a firearms allegation to enhance the charge.

Connolly has long denied a role in Callahan's slaying.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: johnconnolly; whiteybulger; zipconnolly

1 posted on 05/28/2014 9:05:03 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio; Andonius_99; Andy'smom; Antique Gal; Big Guy and Rusty 99; bitt; Barset; ...

Howie Carr list ping


2 posted on 05/28/2014 9:06:19 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

can we get more than press releases these days? this story has no details... lazy journalism...


3 posted on 05/28/2014 9:08:41 AM PDT by latina4dubya (when i have money i buy books... if i have anything left, i buy 6-inch heels and a bottle of wine...)
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To: latina4dubya

yes, Herald just had this AP story. Boston crime reporter Michele McPhee’s tweet, also pretty generic: “A Florida murder conviction for John Connolly - Whitey Bulger’s FBI handler - is overturned. Connolly was serving 40 years.” More details to follow I hope. Really breaking news


4 posted on 05/28/2014 9:11:08 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: latina4dubya

Bos Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/2014/05/28/fla-court-voids-fbi-agent-murder-conviction/lRnGRkjknPbYpXmSzLPSbM/story.html

>>In the court’s new ruling, a panel of judges determined that Connolly’s second-degree murder conviction was barred by the statute of limitations applicable at the time. His attorneys argued that prosecutors improperly used a firearms allegation to enhance the charge to one potentially punishable by life in prison — for which the statute of limitations would not apply.

‘‘Connolly’s conviction for second-degree murder with a firearm should not have been reclassified to a life felony in order to circumvent the statute of limitation,’’ wrote Chief Judge Frank A. Shepherd and Judge Richard J. Suarez in the majority opinion. ‘‘Without the fundamentally erroneous reclassification, the first-degree felony of second-degree murder was time-barred.’’

Judge Leslie B. Rothenberg dissented.

Connolly has long denied a role in Callahan’s slaying. Trial testimony showed he was 1,500 miles away in Massachusetts when Callahan was killed by Bulger’s hit man John Martorano, who made a deal with prosecutors in return for his testimony in Connolly’s case and others. The only evidence that Connolly might have had a firearm when Callahan was killed is the standard FBI practice that agents are armed while on duty.

The court said Connolly should be freed from prison based on the erroneous conviction, but it issued a stay so prosecutors could appeal further. A spokesman for Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.


5 posted on 05/28/2014 9:12:44 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio
Seems to me all these defense claims should have been made during the trial.  If they weren't, something stinks about the defense, not the law.

Further, the comment in here that the convicted FBI Agent has long claimed his innocense..., my how rare it is to have a person deny charges.  /s

Why bother to hold trials these days.  When 2 of 3 can overrule 12 of 12, it makes a trial a farce.

I generally agree in the concept of appeals courts, but something stinks to high heavens about this ruling.  Evidently at least one judge at the appeals level felt the same way.


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6 posted on 05/28/2014 9:15:31 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: raccoonradio

Ibid:
>>The court said Connolly should be freed from prison based on the erroneous conviction, but it issued a stay so prosecutors could appeal further.


7 posted on 05/28/2014 9:15:38 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio; All
Having trouble picking up Boston Herald Radio on my comp but a tweet from them says Howie was just on saying "John Connolly wasn't just a wannabe gangster, he WAS a gangster"


8 posted on 05/28/2014 9:28:56 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio; All

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/05/28/florida-court-vacates-murder-conviction-corrupt-fbi-agent-john-connolly-handler-whitey-bulger/AtpgTnEpQWtHaD5YnHt99H/story.html

>>Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal said it was sending the case back to a lower court to “discharge Connolly therefrom.” But it also said, “Connolly’s discharge shall be stayed until and any all post-appeal motions are final.”
>>The technical decision issued by the court turned on the fact that Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder with a firearm.

The four-year statute of limitations on that crime had run out, but a lower court, after Connolly was convicted, “reclassified” the crime to a “life felony,” a crime for which the statute of limitations had not run out. The court sentenced him to 40 years in prison.

“Connolly argues that, as neither the indictment nor the jury verdict support the reclassification, the reclassification was fundamentally erroneous. We agree,” the court said in its ruling.


9 posted on 05/28/2014 9:35:38 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: DoughtyOne

In all fairness, the 12 of 12 were the triers of fact. The appeals court was about the law or in their opinion, the misapplication of it.


10 posted on 05/28/2014 9:36:49 AM PDT by Starwolf
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To: Starwolf

However, don’t you believe those issues had been raised at the trial court level?

You know as well as I do these issues were raised there. They were stricken down there for some reason.

One of the appeals court judges saw right through this.

What it boils down to is one judge making the swing decision here. In a three person setting like this, it should have to be unanimous. I don’t think this was justice. I hope it is appealed.


11 posted on 05/28/2014 9:41:42 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: DoughtyOne

“Seems to me all these defense claims should have been made during the trial. If they weren’t, something stinks about the defense, not the law.”

I don’t know if they were brought up in the trial or not. If they weren’t, then that itself might be grounds for an appeal based on incompetent representation for the defendant.

“Why bother to hold trials these days. When 2 of 3 can overrule 12 of 12, it makes a trial a farce.”

Nobody has overruled the jury here. The panel ruled that the indictment was invalid, and it should never have gone to trial. They made no judgement as to the jury’s ruling.


12 posted on 05/28/2014 10:18:15 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: DoughtyOne
Why bother to hold trials these days. When 2 of 3 can overrule 12 of 12, it makes a trial a farce.

Because we know that persecutors and police have never ever lied or ginned up or left out evidence, RIGHT?

13 posted on 05/28/2014 10:41:47 AM PDT by Mastador1 (I'll take a bad dog over a good politician any day!)
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To: Boogieman

Yes it MIGHT be grounds. One appeals judge wasn’t convinced of it. This decision came down to one swing vote.

So essentially weeks or months worth of trail, the jury deliberating, the judge doing his best, the district attorney doing his best... it all rests in the hands of one liberal judge at any given time.

I doubt an FBI agent had the worst attorney in town. He probably had one of the best.
Your arguments are reasoned. They don’t satisfy me.

Attornies do screw up, so it’s concievable to me they may have made this mistake. Now, let’s say I concede on that. What does that tell you?

Does it tell you they were incompetant, or does it tell you they knew they were going to lose based on the evidence, and they wanted to get their guy sprung?

As possible as anything else we’re discussing here, they did it on purpose and two appealate judges fell right into it.

Yes, someone has over-ruled a jury here. This man is now deemed innocent. What did the jury deem him?

It’s over. They can’t even try him again, based on the judge’s opinion the statute time had run out.

I appreciate you advocating for your position, and I think you do it reasonably. It is still very unsettling that a guy can do what this guy was found guilty of, and he’s going to be set scott free based on the real likelihood that not your or my arguments hold sway here, but rather a liberal judge entered into the mix.


14 posted on 05/28/2014 2:44:34 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: Mastador1

Okay, then if you want to go by that theory, there should be no police, no judges, and no juries.

This case did not rest on lies, ginned up or left out evidence. If you are aware of some, just let us know.

I’m sure the judge would like to know even at this late date.


15 posted on 05/28/2014 2:46:13 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: DoughtyOne
Golly gee, and I thought I could get away with concealing the evidence! Your position that a jury should never be overturned on appeal is, well appalling and rather contrary to the law. I don't have proof one way or the other, as I doubt you do either. But it is a clear, demonstrated and historical fact that some prosecutors and police do in fact lie and withhold evidence and facts. And a your rather simplistic and exaggerated response to my statement is, well.........simplistic.
16 posted on 05/28/2014 4:19:10 PM PDT by Mastador1 (I'll take a bad dog over a good politician any day!)
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To: DoughtyOne

“Yes it MIGHT be grounds. One appeals judge wasn’t convinced of it.”

Which I think is less noteworthy than the fact that two judges were convinced of it.

“So essentially weeks or months worth of trail, the jury deliberating, the judge doing his best, the district attorney doing his best... it all rests in the hands of one liberal judge at any given time.”

No, not really. The judges didn’t overturn the decision based on any of the facts that were at question during the trial. They just ruled that the case should never have made it to trial in the first place, because the District Attorney, far from “doing his best”, used legal trickery to try to skirt the statute of limitations.

“Does it tell you they were incompetant, or does it tell you they knew they were going to lose based on the evidence, and they wanted to get their guy sprung?

As possible as anything else we’re discussing here, they did it on purpose and two appealate judges fell right into it.”

I really don’t see much point in trying to guess what the attorneys were thinking. A good attorney would try to get their client freed by any means possible. However, to say that the judges “fell for” some trickery by the attorneys is just absurd. The defense attorneys had no power to force the DA to overcharge their client and put the case at jeopardy. That was the DA’s decision.

“Yes, someone has over-ruled a jury here. This man is now deemed innocent. What did the jury deem him?”

No, nobody overruled a jury. They simply negated the trial, and those are two completely different things. Yes, the jury found him guilty, but apparently what they found him guilty of was not a prosecutable crime under the law, since the statue of limitations had expired.

“It’s over. They can’t even try him again, based on the judge’s opinion the statute time had run out.”

Good. If the statute is up, they shouldn’t have charged him in the first place.

“It is still very unsettling that a guy can do what this guy was found guilty of, and he’s going to be set scott free based on the real likelihood that not your or my arguments hold sway here, but rather a liberal judge entered into the mix.”

Well, guilty people go free every single day in this country, and I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s the price we pay to live in a land with careful jurisprudence. If you make it easier to prosecute the guilty, then you also make it a lot easier to persecute the innocent, and governments have already proven they can’t be trusted not to abuse that power.


17 posted on 05/28/2014 4:23:59 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: DoughtyOne

“This case did not rest on lies, ginned up or left out evidence.”

Oh come on. The excuse they used to upgrade the charges was that the man used a firearm during commission of a felony.

This is a man who was not at the scene of the felony that was committed, and they had no witness stating that he was there, with or without a firearm, or that he was even carrying a firearm at the time the crime was committed. They simply used the fact that he was an active FBI agent, and carried a sidearm as part of his job, to assume that he must have been carrying a firearm at the time.

If you can’t see the chicanery in that line of reasoning, and how it violates the spirit of the felony upgrade statutes, then I don’t know what to tell you.


18 posted on 05/28/2014 4:27:58 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman

I apologize for taking so long to return.

Yes it MIGHT be grounds. One appeals judge wasn’t convinced of it.

Which I think is less noteworthy than the fact that two judges were convinced of it.

And this might be a great retort, IF this same appeal had not been rejected years ago.  For some reason, another panel of judges found this to be a flawed appeal.

There's a concept here that goes unaddressed.  It's the one that most people accept that Leftist judges are legislating from the bench.  However, when it comes to letting criminals loose, all of a sudden there is a crowd here who thinks it's always based on rock solid legal grounds.

Do we have problem Leftist judges wreaking havoc on our nation or not?  I have submitted from the start, this is a case that has already been decided.  I touched on the first court trial.  I now touch on the rejection of the former appeal on the same grounds.

I submit there must be some aspect of this we are not hearing, or the first appeals court appearance would have freed this guy, and this panel would have been unanimous.

So essentially weeks or months worth of trail, the jury deliberating, the judge doing his best, the district attorney doing his best... it all rests in the hands of one liberal judge at any given time.

No, not really. The judges didn’t overturn the decision based on any of the facts that were at question during the trial. They just ruled that the case should never have made it to trial in the first place, because the District Attorney, far from “doing his best”, used legal trickery to try to skirt the statute of limitations.

Which was all evident during the first appeal.  So this is not as readily acceptable as the defense claimed it to be.

Does it tell you they were incompetent, or does it tell you they knew they were going to lose based on the evidence, and they wanted to get their guy sprung?

As possible as anything else we’re discussing here, they did it on purpose and two appellate judges fell right into it.

I really don’t see much point in trying to guess what the attorneys were thinking. 

Except you don't mind at all trying to guess here what the prosecuting attorneys were thinking, do you.  It's just the defense attorneys you are unwilling to ascribe ulterior motives.

A good attorney would try to get their client freed by any means possible. However, to say that the judges “fell for” some trickery by the attorneys is just absurd. The defense attorneys had no power to force the DA to overcharge their client and put the case at jeopardy. That was the DA’s decision.

And here you talk of the absurdity of my argument based on the fact the defense attorneys couldn't force the prosecutors to do something wrong, and yet a former appeals court found that the prosecuting attorneys did nothing wrong.  Curious.

Yes, someone has over-ruled a jury here. This man is now deemed innocent. What did the jury deem him?

No, nobody overruled a jury. They simply negated the trial, and those are two completely different things. Yes, the jury found him guilty, but apparently what they found him guilty of was not a prosecutable crime under the law, since the statue of limitations had expired.

They simply negated a trial.  And this means to you that the jury verdict was not nullified.  LOL.  You can prance around this all you like.  The conclusion is the same.  If the appeal is as clear cut as you accept it to be, then you have to believe that the firearm possession in the trial was something his attorneys failed to address, or the original judge, the prosecuting attorneys, and the first appellate court judges were all wrong ignorant of the law or worse.  I'm not buying it.

It’s over. They can’t even try him again, based on the judge’s opinion the statute time had run out.

Good. If the statute is up, they shouldn’t have charged him in the first place.

Yes, it would be great, if the fist judge, the prosecuting attorneys, and the appellate court judges were all ignorant of the law or worse.  That's an interesting opinion to adopt.  I'm not buying it.

It is still very unsettling that a guy can do what this guy was found guilty of, and he’s going to be set scott free based on the real likelihood that not your or my arguments hold sway here, but rather a liberal judge entered into the mix.

Well, guilty people go free every single day in this country, and I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s the price we pay to live in a land with careful jurisprudence. If you make it easier to prosecute the guilty, then you also make it a lot easier to persecute the innocent, and governments have already proven they can’t be trusted not to abuse that power.

Which is so much horse stuff as it relates to this case.  Charges were brought by the local district attorney.  This guy was convicted by a jury.  A trial judge found the process to be fair.  The possession of the gun charge was deemed reasoned based on the evidence at the time.  The first appeals court agreed.  Now one swing judge, perhaps a Carter, Clinton, or Obama appointee is deemed to be the deliverer of truth justice and the American way.  LOL- - -

This case did not rest on lies, ginned up or left out evidence.

Oh come on. The excuse they used to upgrade the charges was that the man used a firearm during commission of a felony.

And as addressed earlier, there were a number of people along the way who agreed, including one panel of appellate court judges.

This is a man who was not at the scene of the felony that was committed, and they had no witness stating that he was there, with or without a firearm, or that he was even carrying a firearm at the time the crime was committed. They simply used the fact that he was an active FBI agent, and carried a sidearm as part of his job, to assume that he must have been carrying a firearm at the time.

And of course you accept that these same facts were not present prior to this recent ruling.  There's something going on here, that we are not aware of.  Otherwise this guy would have been freed during the first appeal.  If it was as simple as you make it out to be, this guy would have been freed years ago.  You would have us believe that everyone in this case was either corrupted, or ignorant all along the way, except the one swing judge on this appeals court panel.  I am very suspect of that line of reasoning.

If you can’t see the chicanery in that line of reasoning, and how it violates the spirit of the felony upgrade statutes, then I don’t know what to tell you.

The district attorney's office, the first judge, the first jury, the first appeals court panel, each agreed with me.  I appreciate your efforts to cast me as using flawed logic.  I'm sure all the other people along the way do also.

At this point, it still makes a lot more sense to think one liberal judge appointment is what this latest ruling all boils down to.




19 posted on 05/30/2014 11:38:00 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: Mastador1

This case had already passed muster with the D.A.’s office, the trial judge, and one appeals court panel.

Simplistic?

LOL


20 posted on 05/30/2014 11:42:25 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: Mastador1

This was my first comment on this thread. It addressed my support for an appeals court process. I don’t want to see it abused.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3160958/posts?page=6#6


21 posted on 05/30/2014 11:44:45 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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