Last week saw one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives captured. James “Whitey” Bulger was arrested with his long time girlfriend Catherine Greig in Santa Monica, California to very little confrontation. The FBI had received a tip he was there and lured him out by sending a message that his storage shed had been broken into. When Bulger came out to inspect it, the FBI apprehended him. Bulger did not fight extradition back to Massachusetts where he faces many charges ranging from murder to racketeering. According to reports the FBI found over 30 firearms in the apartment as well as $800,000 in cash.
I'm sure everyone has heard just about all the information available on this arrest and pending cases. I'm not going to beat that horse any longer. After all, this is called Views from the Northeast, not News from the Northeast. So let me start by saying this arrest is another comedy of errors by the government. Yes, they caught a man they have been after for over 16 years. Kudos to the FBI for getting that done. Reality is they had a fugitive that was in the same place for 15 years and couldn’t find him. I’m not too sure I would be bragging about how they found a man who was sitting still for that long. I would like to draw a parallel on the same most wanted list. Osama Bin Laden. We all know why Osama was on the list but he was hiding in plain sight as well. Of all places a darn palace for 3 years. Of course there is a big difference in time frame and people but the results are the same. When hiding from America for wrong doing, the secret is not to hide.
The trial will be on the way soon and this is a very sore subject with me. I absolutely agree he should pay for whatever crimes have been committed. He should get a fair trial and due process through the legal system. What burns me is how much money will be poured into the prosecution of Bulger. With the feds involved, no doubt they will seek for the highest penalty possible. This in turn will have Bulger use whatever legal means he has and draw the process out. This week there will be a hearing based on who will pay for Bulger's legal defense. They just found $800,000 in cash, why on earth would you not let him use that? I'm sure there are guidelines and all the happy bull that goes along with him not using the money. Maybe they should make an exception in this case. What will happen at this hearing is the court will either force his family to pay, which is a raw deal for them. Or the court will give him a public defender which is a raw deal for the taxpayers. Anyway you cut this; it stinks like old moldy gym socks left in a bag for 15 years.
Now say the government goes for a death penalty conviction and gets it. This in turn automatically gets an appeal process and give Bulger the chance to sit in a special holding cell on death row for however long it takes for his appeal to be heard. Anyone have an idea how much it costs to keep an inmate on death row alive? A report out of California just recent released shows that it costs $184 million more on pursuing executions than pursuing life in prison without parole. The information on how this breaks down and other information can be found at www.deathpenalty.org. There is a plethora of information on how costly a death penalty is to us. And I say to us because all the costs flow onto the taxpayers. Bulger is 81 years old. How much longer do you think he has? Bulger made it known he has a heart condition he has been going to Mexico to get medicine for. His days are numbered. Oh, that reminds me, now he will have all his health expenses taken care of by the state. Yea, another bill for us!! I don't mean any disrespect for the victims here. They do deserve justice and closure on what has happened in their lives from Bulger. If it was me, I would like to see him go into general population. Most people have probably forgotten but he turned state’s evidence that got quite a few major organized crime figures arrested. Those people don't forget things and payback can be far worse than any court system can administer.
The capture of Bulger and the following hearings will go down in history. Bulger’s case will be called the trial of the decade, Attorneys will make a name for themselves, the judge will appear in control of everything and the prosecutors will try to further their political careers. Having a conviction of Whitey Bulger on your resume looks pretty good when running for office. Gives everyone the sense you are tough on crime. Will the outcome satisfy the family's Bulger allegedly caused pain to? That remains to be seen. I hope the families do get what they are looking for but at limited costs to us all. Having an elderly man with a heart condition get the death penalty isn't helping anyone other than the elderly man.