Jack McCoy has a habit of playing fast and loose with the rules. He also isn’t very fond of disclosure. Back when old Jack was Executive ADA his assistants often had to convince him to disclose favorable evidence to the defense. The lovely ladies weren’t soft-hearted; they were being pragmatic—and practicing safe law and following the Brady Rule (named for Brady v. Maryland), requires prosecutors to disclose materially exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession to the defense. According to the model rules of professional conduct (and a little old ruling by the Supreme Court), “a prosecutor in a criminal case is duty-bound to make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence known to the prosecutor that supports innocence or mitigates the offense.” In other words, if Jack has evidence that supports Jill’s contention of innocence, he is required by law to hand it over to her defense attorney.
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. Despite his gangster cred, Bulger spent his career ratting on fellow criminals. When he wasn’t robbing, extorting, or killing, he was feeding info on his peers to disgraced FBI agent John Connolly. In turn, Connolly, who’s now serving a 40-year sentence, tipped Bulger off about investigations and basically helped him skip town and elude capture for 16 years. Bulger’s stint as #2 on the FBI’s Most Wanted list came to end last year when he was arrested in California. He is set to stand trial for a series of pretty nasty crimes in November. Prosecutors are salivating over some damning new evidence. Investigators discovered not one but two memoirs the Irish gangster is alleged to have written about his criminal exploits and years as a fugitive. One of the memoirs is “My Life in the Irish Mafia Wars.” Ah, hubris. Seems that transcends cultures, too. —Fio