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Archive for February 13th, 2011

Court of Appeals Takes FBI Off the Hook in Murders Involving Mobster Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Court of Appeals has taken the FBI off the hook — at least for now in a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

The Boston Globe reported that U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston last week overturned an $8.5 million court award two years ago to the families of two men who were murdered by FBI informant James “Whitey’’ Bulger, a notorious Boston mobster who has been on the lam for years and is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.  A judge two years ago concluded that the FBI was to blame for the murders for failing to properly handle its informant.

The Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled in favor of the Justice Department, which represented the FBI, saying the statute of limitations elapsed, and therefore, the families had waited too long to file the lawsuits after the murders of Michael Donahue and Edward “Brian’’ Halloran.

“The murders robbed both the Donahue and Halloran families of loved ones, and their losses were exacerbated by years of government evasion,’’ the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit wrote in a 55-page decision granting the government’s motion to dismiss the suits, the Globe reported. “But statutes of limitation are designed to operate mechanically. They aspire to bring a sense of finality to events that occurred in the distant past and to afford defendants the comfort of knowing that stale claims cannot be pursued.’’

Lawyers said they planned to appeal, according to the Globe.

Donahue’s widow, Patricia,  told the Globe she was shocked and disappointed by the ruling.

“We won in court and then the government who is responsible for my husband’s death wins the case,’’  Donahue  told the Globe.  “I am just so disappointed in the system. . . . We were treated like criminals, and we were the victims.’’

The Globe reported that “Michael Donahue, 32, a Dorchester truck driver and innocent bystander, was giving Halloran, 41, a Bulger associate, a ride home from a bar on Boston’s waterfront on May 11, 1982, when Bulger and an unidentified accomplice opened fire on the pair, killing both.”

Steve Flemmi/dateline nbc

U.S. District Court Judge Reginald C. Lindsay found the FBI was negligent in its handling of Bulger and his sidekick Stephen Flemmi. In March 2009, another judge held a trial on damages and awarded $6.4 million to Donahue’s wife and sons and $2 million to Halloran’s widow, the Globe reported.

To read more click here.

READ RULING

Ex-New Orleans U.S. Atty. John Volz Who Prosecuted Governor and Crime Boss Dies at Age 74


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former New Orleans U. S Attorney John Volz, who prosecuted such notables  as crime boss Carlos Marcello, former Gov. Edwin Edwards and former New Orleans District Attorney Harry Connick, died in Tulsa Saturday morning after a lengthy illness, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. The Carter appointee was 74.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, who worked for Mr. Volz in the U.S. Attorney’s office, said Mr. Volz was an honorable man who loved his family and friends.

“As U.S. attorney there was only one trail he followed – the trail of evidence,” U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, who worked for Volz in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, told the Picayune. “He was a fearless advocate for the community. And he was fearless when it came to public corruption cases.”

Mr. Volz, a New Orleans native, held the job from 1978 to 1990, the paper reported. In recent years, he worked as an administrative law judge in Tulsa, until his retirement in December, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

Washington Post Editorial Praises Justice. Dept. IG Glenn Fine

Glenn Fine/doj photo

By The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — THE JOB of inspector general is often a thankless one, requiring the ability to make unflinching and crucial assessments that are not always well received by colleagues.

The Justice Department employed one of the best for the past decade in the person of Glenn A. Fine, who recently stepped down.

Mr. Fine was instrumental in unearthing problems and identifying solutions in the mammoth agency since joining the IG’s office in the mid-1990s. He took over the reins in 2000 and led investigations into all facets of the department’s operations.

He documented the FBI’s early abuse of national security letters – powerful tools issued without judicial review and used to obtain information from individuals and corporations alike. He later produced an authoritative review lauding FBI leaders for significant improvements. This latter report was credible in part because Mr. Fine did not pull punches in his original criticism.

To read more click here.

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