Judge Richard Stearns, the judge in the trial of reputed Boston mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulgers, has rejected the Irish gangster’s claims that he has “lifetime immunity” for his crimes, the Boston Globe reports.
In what appears to be a common-sense ruling from Judge Stearns, he declared that informants who are granted immunity are only immune to charges for crimes committed BEFORE they agree to co-operate. Bulger was known to have been informing on all of his criminal buddies since 1974. Bulger is on trial regarding his role in 19 murders.
Bulger’s defense attorneys claim that while their client was co-operating with Jeremiah O’Sullivan head of the New England Organized Crime Strike Force, an oral agreement was put in place granting Bulger full immunity. The alleged mobster’s lawyers are saying they will provide more details about the immunity agreement when the trial begins.
In a 20 page document, released today, Stearns says:
The court concludes that any grant of prospective immunity to commit murder was without authorization and is hence unenforceable under any circumstances, an immunity agreement cannot as a matter of public policy license future criminal conduct.
A license to kill is even further beyond the pale and one unknown even in the earliest formulations of the common law… The government argues, correctly, that the authority to grant immunity from prosecution – and therefore the court’s deference to the decision to issue such grants – does not extend to crimes committed in futuro…
Whitey Bulger ruled Boston’s underworld for five decades with his infamous Winter Hill Gang. In 1994, Bulger, after learning he was about to be arrested, fled with his girlfriend Catherine Greig. After an exhaustive search, Bulger was found in Santa Monica, California in June 2011. It’s believed he became an FBI informant in the 1970s to aid him in his war against the New England Italian mafia.
Here’s the document in full: