WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

FBI AGENT JOHN CONNOLLY'S MURDER CONVICTION REVERSED!

The 3rd DCA just reversed and DISCHARGED!!!!  the conviction against former FBI agent John Connolly. Connolly was the FBI agent who was corrupted by Whitey Bulger.
In a case that reads like a crime novel, Connolly was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and first degree murder in 2005 for the 1982 hit on John Callahan, who was involved with Miami Jai alai. Co-defendants (who were not tried at the time) included Whitey Bulger, Steve "The Rifleman" Flemmi, and John Martorano.  


To make a very long story short, Connolly was acquitted of conspiracy,  and the jury found him guilty of the lesser of second degree murder with a firearm. The inclusion of the firearm made all the difference in the world because it re-classified the felony to a life felony. In 1982, second degree murder without a firearm had a four year statute of limitations.


Martorano was the triggerman. Connolly never carried the gun used to kill the deceased. Indeed, at the time of the murder, Connolly was in Boston. The state argued that the jury instruction for second degree murder with a firearm as a lesser was justified because at the time of the murder Connolly was carrying his service revolver in Boston.


Judge Blake (the trial judge) did not set aside the verdict. He did sentence Connolly to forty years.


But the 3rd DCA reversed Judge Suarez holding, au contraire mon ami, the state's theory regarding the firearm  was as sturdy as a raft from Mariel,  Cuba.
The opinion is here.

"The language, “with a firearm” is singular,
and refers to the manner in which John Callahan was killed: it is clearly a reference to the only firearm used to murder Callahan. It is pure sophistry to argue that the general reference to section 775.087 in Count 1 of the indictment put Connolly on notice that his service weapon—an uncharged firearm unrelated to the murder, located in an entirely different state at the time of the offense—could later be the basis for reclassifying a time-barred conviction of a lesser included offense to a non-time-barred life felony, for committing the offense “with a firearm."
Without the firearm reclassification, the conviction for second degree murder is time barred. Thus the 3rd DCA DISCHARGED Connolly.  Sophistry indeed. "See ya."


Judge Rothenberg dissented.


A BIG BIG win for Manny Alvarez of the PDs office. Manny continually wins big appeals for the PDS office. He has shown again why he is one of the best appellate attorneys in this state.  Also a big win for Bruce Fleisher and Manny Cassabielle, who represented Connolly at trial and followed Rumpole's advice and objected and preserved the record.
Von Zamft led the prosecution team at trial.


Connolly may have a fed conviction that he owes time on, so we're not sure he is going to be released. But it is still an big big win for the defense.


For more on Connolly, Flemmi, and Bulger, read "Whitey Bulger, America's Most Wanted Gangster", by Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelly Murphy.


See you in court. Remember, when in doubt, object.



33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Manny casabielle was lead counsel from beginning to end. You should correct your front page post

Anonymous said...

Manny kicked the shumie out of the state and vin zamft. To put it another way- shumie time for the state.

Anonymous said...

It's a variation on the old PD scam speedy trial by a mile- "Statue of limitations joa any day"

rarely works but when it does...case over!

Anonymous said...

I knew Von Zamft had fucked up the case.

Anonymous said...

Are they not holding that guy on other charges in other jurisdictions so, it doesn't matter????

Anonymous said...

Leslie Rothenberg would not let her own mother go.

Anonymous said...

An amazing job by incredible lawyers. I hope many of you learn your lesson abut preserving error. Don't ever forget to renew all of your motions and objections, and force the court to rule on that renewal. File your motion for new trial and motion for judgment not withstanding. Good judges don't care. Insecure ones, who think they can afford the opposition the "failure to preserve error" argument, will piss and moan and complain that you are wasting their time, or deny you access to the record. Just keep talking to the court reporter, even if the judge has left and make your record.

In a recent case, we just won an appeal (in a civil case) by preserving our motion for directed verdict and renewing it after trial. The judge indicated she was going to grant it, but she died over that weekend. Fortunately, with the transcript typed and the a clear record, the succeeding judge, after a lengthy thought process (2 1/2 years) agreed and the appellate court affirmed his ruling. Back to trial we go.

As we learned in the movie "Galaxy Quest", never surrender, never give up.

Anonymous said...

Judge Blake should have detected the sophistry and JO-shumied the state back at the trial.

And Judge Suarez should have written "Dis is bullsheeeeet" in Romanian as the lastsentence of the opinion.

Anonymous said...

Dateline special tonight at 10pm. I will update you as to any additional broadcasts.

Anonymous said...

Rump, after all of 2 losses that the Heat have suffered in the 2014 playoffs, you've predicted their demise, only to be proven a fool each and every time. Why so quiet? I noticed that your poll for how many games the Heat will lose the Eastern Conf. Finals in isn't even active. For someone who openly holds themselves in such high regard, you've proven yourself to be very small in defeat. Much like the spineless Pacers who you most recently placed your trust in. GO HEAT!

Anonymous said...

I'm new - what's "shumie"?

MC Waste Services, Inc said...

now that Von Zamf is retired the eleventh circuit is now a safer place...dont let the door hit you in the ...

Rumpole said...

The difference between you and me is that I have a life and could care less about basketball, whereas you will pretend to love the heat with all your heart and soul right up until they lose and then like the front running Miami fan you are, you will forget the heat as you have the Marlins, Panthers, and Dolphins.

Meanwhile, the series isn't over until the fat lady sings and As I understand it the Heat haven't won anything yet.

Anonymous said...

"What's shumie?"

Some joke that never was funny, and somehow manages to be the single most posted thing on this blog's comment section.

Rump banned sex talk, which at least was cheaply titillating. No idea why he lets the shumie stuff through.

Shumie said...

Hey!

Anonymous said...

"couldn't" care less please, not "could."

Anonymous said...

Alvarez should be PD. He's a real lawyer. All kudos to him!!

Anonymous said...

Rump, for someone who "couldn't" care less about basketball, you sure do care to talk a lot of shit about the Heat and its fan base. While I admittedly don't care about the Panthers unless they're deep into a playoff run, I've been a Dolphins follower for nearly 40 years, and a Heat and Marlins fan since the inception. That's a lot more sorrow than ecstasy, but that's irrelevant. Who made you the authority on what makes a good fan and what makes a bad one? Who made you the authority on 90% of the crap you call yourself an expert on? People enjoy the fact that they have a great home team to watch, and all you can do is put them down? You're a grump Rump! Get over it.

You're obviously full of yourself, but one of the most amusing things about your blog is how you let something you claim to not care about make you look like such a little punk. The Heat and its fan base aren't the idiots and losers Rumpy. You are.

Heat in 6, in a home blow out in front of all of us front-runners. Then on to yet another title. We'll enjoy the ride, and you enjoy whatever it is that you enjoy Rump. Just stop posting after ever loss, only to disappear after ever single one of our wins.

Anonymous said...


Last Thursday night, our office hosted a fantastic recognition event for the pro bono attorneys who have provided legal representation to over hundred clients in the last couple of years. The keynote speaker was Florida Supreme Court Justice Fred Lewis, who offered his gratitude to all of those attorneys who have stepped up to help with the program.

Public Defender Carlos Martinez started the evening off by talking about how the Ensuring Equal Justice Initiative started and where the program stands now. He expressed his thanks for everyone who participated in the pro bono program and discussed why we have shifted the emphasis for the program to our County Court Domestic Division.

I had the privilege of handing our plaques to those attorneys in attendance who have taken a case in the last couple of years.

We were also very fortunate to recruit a few more attorneys for the program in the County Court Domestic Division so we can continue to provide attorneys for those clients who are left standing alone when we get discharged from a case.

Much of the success of the program can be attributed to the contributions of the FACDL members and for that, I thank you. If you haven’t had the opportunity to take a case, but would like to be assigned one in the next couple of months, please contact me and I will place your name on the list.

My thanks,
Robert Coppel
Senior Supervising Attorney
Pro Bono Coordinator
Law Offices of Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez

Rumpole said...

Seems like sour grapes considering the heat just got their ass kicked last night. The seams are opening up. Cracks In their character exposed. A few rough times and they will fold like the cheap suits you wear.

Rumpole said...

BTW. Good character there by Lebaby taking the last shot. NOT. Folded. No character.

Anonymous said...

The play wasn't called for him. Rump you are such a stoof. Ass kicked? With lebron barely playing they had a chance to win at the end. Meanwhile George got a fine the other day for bitching.

Anonymous said...

Weak stuff Rump. Hope you bring it stronger in your closing arguments. First I need to get a life for being a basketball fan, yet you're the one obsessing over a team in a sport that you don't care for.

No sour grapes here. Given everything that took place last night - and over the last three years - I'm fairly confident that tomorrow night will be a blowout in the Heat's favor. Seams opening? Lack of character? Funny, all I've seen is a team that continually proves its naysayers wrong in the face of adversity, has been to the Finals three consecutive years, and has ended as king of the mountain the last two.

Those results are in no small part due to Lebron's unselfish play... Somehow passing up a contested shot for an open 3 to one of your best shooters shows lack of character. Stick to what you know Rumpy. For the most part I'm a fan of yours, but you're being exposed as a fool on this one.

Rumpole said...

If I'm obsessed with it then how come I didn't post anything that the heat got their ass kicked until you picked a fight with me? Last night while you were moaning over your team that could care less about you. I was at a screening of a new indi film. But that 'a the difference between culture and someone who has a life and a dupe who salivates over grown men who could not care about them in return in the least.

Fake The Q said...

Rumpole, close your eyes, breath deeply, become the HEAT and feel the HEAT enveloping you towards the national championship.

Anonymous said...

Manny Alvarez, or any other lawyer in that office, would be a better elected Public Defender than Carlos.

Anonymous said...

Rest assured that I don't expect anything in return for my rooting interest. Not sure why you'd think that. And since when are being a sports fan and being cultured mutually exclusive? You seem to be a football fan... Does that make you an uncultured dupe? How do you know that I'm not an independent movie buff? I follow sports as entertainment... Something that civilized cultures have been doing for centuries. But surely you knew that.

I've been to many an indie screening in my days, but one thing I'd never do is publicly brag about it as if that somehow makes me better than someone. Weak Rump. Not your finest hour.

Anonymous said...

A bizarre case. Check out the 3d DCA docket. The case was PCA affirmed in March, 2011. Then a motion for re-hearing. Then a very long series of letters from people, including Connolly, to just about every judge on the 3d. Then a petition for mandamus to the Fla Supremes. Then a decision on the re-hearing three years after the original PCA. If the State's position is "sophistry," then why did 3 judges overlook it and rubber stamp the verdict? There is a back story here that is probably just as interesting as the facts of the case.

Rumpole said...

I just mention what I was doing to show that I am not obsessed with the heat, which was your original contention. If I was going to brag I'd mention who I saw the film with and where we screened it. Which I won't.

The last time basketball really caught my fancy, Dean Smith was running the four corners. Since then, it's all a two minute game in 4th quarter. Nothing else matters. Waste of time.

Meanwhile... the heat
L O S T.
And there's not much you can do about that.

Anonymous said...

Rump, now that Connelly is clear, will you turn your attention to the Bevalaqua hit? Everyone knows Tony sanctioned it and the guy in the can had nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Talk about NO HEART - Did you see the Pacers??

The HEAT may not win it all, but making it to four Finals is quite a feat.
Even if Rumpole does not love them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rump,

The Heat won and there is nothing you can do about that.

Anonymous said...

Rumpie bae why all this animosity for the Heat? Is it the Heat that you dislike intensely, the Fans, or Lebron?