Friday, July 27, 2007

Can't Happen Here, Eh?

NYTimes (07.27.07):
"In what appears to be the largest sum ever awarded in such a case, a judge on Thursday ordered the federal government to pay $101.8 million for framing four men for a murder they did not commit."

U.S. Must Pay $101.8 Million for Role in False Convictions

"The men were exonerated after the discovery of F.B.I. memorandums, which were not turned over during trial, that indicated the government’s primary witness, a mob hit man named Joseph Barboza who was known as the Animal, had lied when he said the four men had killed a low-level mobster, Edward Deegan."

"Mr. Barboza was protecting the real killer, and F.B.I. officials went along, the memorandums suggested, because Mr. Barboza helped them solve other cases and because the killer, Vincent Flemmi, was an F.B.I. informant. By the time the four men were exonerated, Mr. Flemmi had died while serving time in an unrelated case."

"At the time of Mr. Deegan’s murder, the F.B.I. under J. Edgar Hoover was zealously committed to crippling the mafia, and, the judge said, the four men were treated as 'acceptable collateral damage.'"

The FBI used the "Didn't Hafta" defense. Boston Globe (07.27.07):

"During the civil trial before Gertner, Justice Department lawyers argued that the FBI had no duty to share internal documents with state prosecutors and insisted the state was responsible for the prosecution of the four men."

US ordered to pay $101.7m in false murder convictions

As in the FBI knew these guys were innocent all along, but did nothing because they didn't feel they had to.



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