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August 12, 2013

Whitey Bulger Found Guilty of Murder; Eric Holder Issues Administrative Order to Get Around Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing

Two stories, neither of which I'm sure will generate that much commentary, so maybe better to put them in one post.

James "Whitey" Bulger is of course the Boston mafia kingpin brother of William Bulger, who for a long time was capo of Boston's other Mafia, the Democratic state senate.

On June 19, 2003, he testified to a House of Representatives committee about an incident in which, while still President of the Massachusetts State Senate, he "went to an arranged location in 1995 to take a call from his fugitive brother, apparently to avoid electronic eavesdropping. He said that accepting the call from the gangster without bothering to inform the FBI was 'in no way inconsistent with my devotion to my own responsibilities, my public responsibilities.'"

During the hearing, when asked what he thought James (Whitey) did for a living, William Bulger said:

I had the feeling that he was in the business of gaming and... whatever. It was vague to me but I didn't think, for a long while he had some jobs but ultimately it was clear that he was not being, you know, he wasn't doing what I'd like him to do.

What's my brother's occupation? Oh... you know, "Whatever." Gaming or something. Maybe some Legitimate Construction Businesses that have a lot of employees and a lot of state contracts but don't seem to actually do much work.

Just mentioning what the media won't.

"It's "a complete victory for the government," said CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin.

In one of the racketeering counts, Bulger was accused of involvement in killing 19 people, including two women.

The jury found Bulger played a role in 11 murders, and that the government failed to prove he was involved in seven other murders. The jury made no finding in one murder.

[Mid-post update - Andy]: Jeff Jacoby wrote a must-read column on the government's complicity in Bulger's crimes. (Globe link now safe to click again. Thanks, John Henry.)

The corruption of the federal government was a key element in Bulger’s trial, as it was in so much of his sadistic career. Officials charged with defending the public from gangsters like Bulger used their considerable influence to defend the gangster instead.

In a matter I don't know that I have an opinion on, Eric Holder has decided to get around the mandatory-minimum law -- which prescribes mandatory lengthy prison sentences for those charged with certain drug crimes -- to not charge low level offenders with such crimes, thus avoiding the law's trigger for a mandatory sentence.

Although I think this fits into the general pattern of Eric Holder's (and Barack Obama's) lawless reign, I don't know if this itself is actually lawless -- I think he might actually legitimately have this power, and I don't necessarily think this represents some kind of betrayal of the Constitution or the like.

If you read the piece you'll see lots of talk of Social Justice and We Can't Stop Crime By Punishing It and such. Odd sentiments from an alleged Top Cop.

“We must face the reality that, as it stands, our system is, in too many ways, broken,” Holder said. “And with an outsized, unnecessarily large prison population, we need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, to deter and to rehabilitate — not merely to warehouse and to forget.”

With all due lack of respect, prison is in fact a place to "warehouse and forget." One type of dungeon cell was an oubilette, a place of forgetting. We are in fact separating the lawless and violent from the rest of society so that the rest of us may live in peace.

We don't wish to have to remember violence, rape, and murder on a daily basis.

Rehabilitation is a joke and always has been, a nice idea pushed by Victorian reformers and then American progressives which itself has always been intended as a way of forgetting what evil actually lurks in the hearts of men.

“A vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities,” Holder said Monday. (Excerpts of his ­prepared remarks were provided Sunday to The Washington Post.) He added that “many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate these problems rather than alleviate them.”

Criminality "traps" criminals in prison? Why my stars and garters, I just never.

It is clear that “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason,” Holder said. “We cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation,” he added later in the speech.

Take that, plunging-violent-crime-rates-since-1990.

As far as long drug sentences for low-level offenders, though: I don't really need to see a man in jail for ten years (or whatever) for smuggling 20 pounds of pot.

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posted by Ace at 03:45 PM

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