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Defense Motion to Sequester Jury in Whitey Bulger Trial

Defense Motion to Sequester Jury in Whitey Bulger Trial

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Published by wgbhnews
Defense Motion to Sequester Jury in Whitey Bulger Trial
Defense Motion to Sequester Jury in Whitey Bulger Trial

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Published by: wgbhnews on Jul 29, 2013
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTDISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS ______________________________)UNITED STATES ))V. ) Crim. No. 99-10371-DJC) JAMES J. BULGER ) _______________________________)
 The defendant, James J. Bulger, moves that the Court,pursuant to Local Rule 83.2B, order the sequestration of jurorsduring deliberations in this case.Pursuant to Rule 83.2B, the court is tasked with the“management and sequestration of jurors” during a “widelypublicized or sensational criminal . . . case.” This local ruleis designed to ensure a fair trial for defendants in thisprecise circumstance; the rule becomes a nullity if not appliedto a case as widely publicized and sensationalized as UnitedStates v. James J. Bulger.Since jury selection began on June 3, 2013, there has beenan unprecedented level of media coverage for a case in thisdistrict. Although jurors have not been sequestered throughoutthe trial, jury deliberation is the most crucial time for jurorsto remain free fromany outside influence. In order to ensurethat deliberations are not tainted by the opinion of anyone
Case 1:99-cr-10371-DJC Document 1230 Filed 07/28/13 Page 1 of 6
outside of the jury, the defense urges the Court to sequester jurors during their deliberations. The First Circuit has indicated that the decision whetherto sequester the jury lies within the sound discretion of thedistrict court.” United States v. Porcaro, 648 F.2d 753, 755(1st. Cir. 1981). The court must take “strong measures to ensurethat the balance is never weighed against the accused.” Sheppardv. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333, 362 (1966). Sequestration is one othe tools that a court may utilize when publicity regarding thetrial is particularly virulent. Id. at 354. There is acompelling justification for sequestration when publicity isproximate in time with the trial, focuses on the accused, and issensational in nature. United States v. Kelly, 722 F.2d 873, 879(1st Cir. 1983). Sequestration is not necessary, however, insituations where articles are merely recounts of testimony andcontain no prejudicial characterizations of the defendant.Porcaro, 648 F.2d at 757. The publicity at issue in this case falls within therequirements set forth in Kelly in that extensive publicity hasoccurred throughout the course of the trial and has generated ahigh level of public interest. Further, the nature of thepublicity in this case is distinguishable fromPorcaro in thatthe articles published about the defendant have extended far2
Case 1:99-cr-10371-DJC Document 1230 Filed 07/28/13 Page 2 of 6
beyond mere recounting of testimony and have characterized thedefendant in an extremely prejudicial manner.
 The following statements have appeared in the body of articles fromthe Boston Globe since trial began on June 3,2013: “He [James Bulger] just wants to keep us out of thecourtroombecause he doesn’t like us or the book we wrote abouthim. Classic Whitey. Sublimely vindictive,” 6/7/13; “I believeWhitey Bulger is a deeply cynical and vicious criminal who mademillions by killing and intimidating people,” 6/7/13; “I believethat Whitey Bulger insisted on the loyalty of others but wasloyal to no one but himself,” 6/7/13; “It would also divestWhitey of the sneaking suspicion that he is special. Becausehes not. Hes a thug with a good vocabulary,” 7/16/13; “AndWhitey gets to sit there, pompous and self-important, swearingat witnesses who dare to tell the truth and swear under oaththat he was a rat, an informer, a killer of women,” 7/16/13;“Same thing when they were burying Debbie. Stevie dug the hole. You mean, Wyshak said, Whitey kills people and lets everybodyelse do the work? Whitey’s lawyers objected. But it was prettypointless. Everybody knew the answer,” 7/20/13; “Listening toWhitey’s defense is sickening enough,” 7/23/13; “I have an ideafor a new game show. The Biggest Scumbag. The idea is prettysimple. Each week, Whitey and Stevie go on camera and talk aboutsome especially vile and vicious thing they did in the 1623
Case 1:99-cr-10371-DJC Document 1230 Filed 07/28/13 Page 3 of 6

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