Summer trial set for Winter Hill leader. James “Whitey” Bulger, the wily gangster who spent more than 16 years on the run and topped the FBI’s Most Wanted List, is expected to finally stand trial this summer for more than a dozen murders and an assortment of crimes. Federal judge Denise Casper will preside. In the meantime, defense lawyers have been busy filing a slew of motions, including one asking for the charges to be dismissed altogether. Bulger’s attorneys argue that he cannot be tried federally for any crimes committed before 1986 because of a deal the gangster had with the FBI. In exchange for cooperating with the FBI, Bulger says he was given immunity from federal prosecution for crimes he may have committed—including murder—while serving as a confidential informant. Conveniently, Jeremiah O’Sullivan, the prosecutor who allegedly made this devil’s bargain with Bulger is now deceased. No evidence of any immunity deal seems to exist. John Connolly, the disgraced FBI agent whose friendship with Boston’s one man crime wave cost him his badge and earned him a 40-year prison sentence, is looking forward to Bulger’s upcoming trial. He is hoping evidence will emerge that will exonerate him. Connolly was found guilty of giving Bulger and his gang information to help them murder a suspected police informant. We covered the Bulger/Connolly story in True Stories of Law & Order, while Whitey was still on the lam. Martin Scorcese’s film “The Departed” was largely inspired by the Winter Hill gangster and his [...]
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Bulger’s Blarney May Help Convict Him What are the two greatest lessons in life? Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut. At least that’s what Robert DeNiro’s character tells a young Henry Hill in Goodfellas. Whitey Bulger apparently never saw that movie. Yes, I know, different mob, different city, different flavor. The Goodfellas were Italian; the Winter Hill Gang, Irish. Still the code of silence transcends cultural differences.
The term “squeeze” gets tossed around a lot in cop shows. But what exactly does it mean? Say Detective Briscoe approaches a drug dealer who he just knows has information valuable to his case. The scene will usually play out like this: Briscoe asks a question, and the dealer plays dumb, so Briscoe comes up with an excuse to frisk the dealer. He finds a bag of cocaine and says something to his partner like, “What do you know? Our friend here was just about to powder his nose.” The cuffs come out. The dealer gets the message and spills his guts. It’s called the squeeze, and it’s illegal. According to procedure, the detectives are supposed to arrest the person on the spot and bring him to a DA, who will work out a plea-for-information deal. Only the DA’s office has the authority to put the squeeze on. © True Stories of Law & Order
It was a sad scene at the offices of TrueStoriesLawOrder.com Monday night. (Ok, we don’t have an actual office, but we do have a couple of laptops.) Sure, reruns will be aired indefinitely, but unless TNT picks up Law & Order, we’ll never get to see what becomes of everyone. As avid fans of the show, though, we have some ideas. Staying true to our penchant for melding truth with fiction, we’ve come up with the following predictions: Detective Lupo: Hooks up with a 40-something ‘blog writer who has three friends and a shoe fetish. (We’ll let you know if they get married after Sex and the City II comes out.) Detective Bernard: Conquers his hatred/fear of dogs through intensive therapy and volunteers at North Shore Animal League. Jack McCoy: Decides not to seek reelection at the age of 90; opens a bar on Murray Street with Ben Stone. Connie Rubirosa: Becomes a professor of ethics, law, and women’s rights at NYU; moonlights as a Latin supermodel. Michael Cutter: Burns out next week, quits, and joins the NY Mets in ’11 as their star cleanup hitter.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Law & Order, TV Guide Magazine is releasing this special collector’s issue featuring a cast retrospective, exclusive photos and interviews, show excerpts, and an article penned by Dwyer and Fio recounting some of the most memorable “ripped from the headlines” episodes. The issue is due to hit news stands September 28th. It’s also available on TV Guide Magazine’s website.
On an early episode of L&O: SVU, a rape suspect escaped justice because he was apprehended too late to be prosecuted. The episode, which dealt with the statute of limitation on rape, was recently re-aired on cable. Fortunately, the law has changed since the show originally debuted. In June 2006, New York lifted its five-year statute of limitation on first-degree rape, criminal sexual act, aggravated sexual abuse, and sexual conduct against a child. District attorneys can now prosecute any of these crimes indefinitely.
The fate of former FBI agent John Connolly grows dimmer by the day. Connolly, whose case we covered in True Stories of Law & Order, recently was slammed with a 40-year prison term for helping his buddy, Whitey Bulger, kill John B. Callahan—a criminal colleague of theirs who, Bulger decided one day, knew too much. The murder took place in Florida during the early 1980s. John Connolly Takes Another Hit for his Fair-Weather Friend At the time of the murder, Florida had a four-year statute of limitation on second-degree murder, the offense for which Connolly was convicted; the statue doesn’t exist anymore. Connolly argued, however, that the state could only bring charges against the actual killer (in this case, hitman John Mortorano) after the statute of limitations. Since Connolly’s involvement was secondary, he claimed, he was protected under the statute. The Miami judge disagreed. Unless he wins on appeal, Connolly will begin serving his sentence—but only after finishing his ten-year federal sentence for racketeering. Meanwhile, Whitey Bulger is out there, somewhere, enjoying retirement—or dead.
Law & Order is one of the most successful shows in television history. Millions of people watch the hour-long crime drama every week. Viewers identify with TV programs that are true to life, and no crime show does a better job of it than Law & Order. The writers and producers have remained loyal to the original formula—thirty minutes investigating, thirty minutes prosecuting—and they haven’t allowed it to be dragged down by the personal dramas and subplots that have ruined so many other good TV shows. When it comes down to it, Law & Order is largely about legal and investigative procedure. Who would have thought procedure could be so dramatic? The show’s creators have remained faithful to another item: the marketing slogan “Ripped from the Headlines.” Each Law & Order story revolves around a single theme—a legal loophole, outrageous judgment, creative prosecution tactic, or sometimes just a perp we love to hate. For sixteen years, the show’s writers have found much of this material from the incredible facts of real-life crimes. That’s where this book comes in. After scrutinizing numerous episodes of Law & Order that suspiciously resemble true crimes, we’ve chosen the twenty-five we felt were most compelling and varied in terms of theme. Here you’ll learn the details of famous stories—such as the Subway Vigilante (Bernie Goetz) and the Unicorn Killer (Ira Einhorn)—and true-crime stories with which you might not be familiar, like that of Joyce Gilchrist, a forensic chemist who doctored evidence for the prosecution, and [...]
True Stories of Law & Order series authors Kevin Dwyer and Juré Fiorillo weigh in on crime, justice, and their favorite television show.