How defendant’s rights are slowly being eroded

As I sit just blocks away from where notorious Boston mobster “Whitey” Bulger was captured in Santa Monica after a decades-long manhunt, I wonder how a former FBI informant could have turned into one of their most wanted men.

The Federal Government has now brought the “hammer of God” down on Bulger, charging him with 48 counts after having a $10 million reward out for him. Honestly, the man is 81, does that really seem necessary?

But in the case of Bulger and another high profile case, that of Conrad Black, the Feds have taken a unique approach:

In order to prevent a defendant from retaining a defense team of his choice, federal prosecutors will first freeze his assets, even though a jury has yet to find them to have been illegally obtained. They then bring prosecutions of almost unimaginable complexity, assuring that the financially hobbled defendant’s diminished legal team (or, as is often the case, his court-appointed lawyer) will be too overwhelmed to mount an adequate defense.

This is to disarm suspects and keep them from being able to hire a proper lawyer or legal team.

In Bulger’s case: “the feds neutralized the appointed lawyer’s skill by pouring more than 360,000 pages of disorganized documents onto him.”

This raises severe questions. Do the Feds have the authority to seize the assets of a suspect if the assets aren’t even proven to be illegal?

The lines of “innocent” and “guilty” are becoming increasingly blurred.

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