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Friday, July 27, 2007

Justice Perverted

To all those who advocate the unbridled power of the federal government as the only way to stamp out threats across the globe, a cautionary tale:


BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- A federal judge Thursday ordered the
government to pay more than $101 million in the case of four men who spent
decades in prison for a 1965 murder they didn't commit after the FBI
withheld evidence of their innocence.

The FBI encouraged perjury, helped frame the four men and withheld for more than three decades information that could have cleared them, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner said in issuing her ruling Thursday.

She called the government's argument that the FBI had no duty to get
involved in the state case "absurd."

Peter Limone, Joseph Salvati and the families of the two other
men who died in prison had sued the federal government for malicious
prosecution.

They argued that Boston FBI agents knew mob hitman Joseph
"the Animal" Barboza lied when he named the men as killers in the 1965 death
of Edward Deegan. They said Barboza was protecting a fellow FBI informant,
Vincent "Jimmy" Flemmi, who was involved. The four men convicted on
Barboza's lies were treated as "acceptable collateral damage" because the
FBI's priority at the time was taking down the Mafia, their attorneys
said.

"No lost liberty is dispensable. We have fought wars over
this principle. We are still fighting these wars," Gertner told the packed
courtroom.
And, apparently, getting the same results: bupkiss. The Mafia is still with us, and these guys sacrificed 30 years of their lives. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't sell thirty years of my life for $100 million dollars.

And how many more like them are still languishing in our prisons today?

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