Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Expert: Bulger Trial Not Likely This Year

A federal prosecutor made some waves Wednesday with his assertion that James “Whitey” Bulger “will try to manipulate the system” to avoid facing the music in a racketeering indictment charging him with the murders of 19 people.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly told U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler that his office has turned over reams of evidence to Bulger’s lawyers and the time has come to move the case closer to trial.Despite the prosecutor’s statements, the odds of Bulger presenting his case before a jury in 2012 are about as good as the Broncos beating the Patriots on Sunday.In fact, 2013 may be a stretch.Although the federal Speedy Trial Act technically requires the trial of a defendant in Bulger’s shoes to start within 70 days of the filing of an indictment, there are many provisions in the law that can stop the clock from ticking.In fact, complicated federal trials like Bulger’s rarely, if ever, come anywhere close to meeting that deadline. (see U.S. v. Salvatore F. DiMasi).If Bowler, for instance, determines that the need to delay the case outweighs the interests of the public and Bulger in a speedy trial, a ruling can be made to temporarily stop the clock from ticking.In the event the judge makes a finding that the failure to grant a continuance would deny either party a reasonable amount of time to effectively prepare, a deviation from the 70 day rule can also be made.To date, Bulger has only had five court dates.At the end of each one, the judge has made a finding that a departure from the speedy trial law was appropriate in order to give the defense “sufficient time to review discovery, investigate the evidence, and consider whether to file pretrial motions.”The fact that Bulger once sat atop the FBI’s most wanted list or that he is 82 years old has no bearing on such a determination.Defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr., who is no stranger to high-profile, paper intensive cases, has told the judge the materials in Bulger are “enormous” and unlike anything he has ever seen.The mountainous evidence is believed to include thousands of hours of audio and videotapes, hundreds of photos and stacks of other reports and materials.I spoke to a lawyer this summer who at the time was rumored to be in the running to represent the reputed mobster. He said the gargantuan case would essentially require him to shut down his practice and devote all his resources to Bulger.It stands to reason, therefore, that the defense would request and be granted much more time to prepare for trial.As a result, the likelihood is that Bulger won’t be facing a jury anytime soon.The parties return to court on Feb. 13 for a status conference.


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