It was an offer the Feds couldn’t refuse: million-dollar judgments for the families of murdered mob victims.
Upholding a lower court’s ruling, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the federal government to compensate the victims of James “Whitey” Bulger and his associate Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi. The First Circuit held that the FBI had shown “negligence of a wildly reckless flavor” in protecting them from criminal protection because they were federal informants.
The awards, totaling close to $3 million dollars, were split between the families of Debra Davis, Deborah Hussey and Louis Litif. Davis and Hussey were allegedly romantically-involved with Flemmi and strangled by Bulger, according to The Boston Globe. Litif, a bookmaker, was allegedly slain because he offered to cooperate against Bulger.
Despite the ruling in favor of monetary compensation for their losses, some of the family members say it isn’t enough.
“Yea, we got the money, but look at what we paid,” said Steve Davis, the brother of Debra Davis. “In some ways, I feel like this is nothing more than a receipt on a debt that the government will never really be able to repay to us.”
The First Circuit also vacated sanctions against the government, stating that such punishment is only necessary if the government’s intent was to harass the families, according to The Globe.
Besides holding the government accountable for the deaths of the mob victims, prosecutors hope to hold James “Whitey” Bulger personally accountable for his crimes in his upcoming criminal trial. A hearing has been set for early February.
- Litif v. United States (First Circuit Court of Appeals)
- The Government Will Pay for Whitey Bulger’s Victims (The Atlantic Wire)
- First Cir. Denies Rehearing in Stieg Larrson Trilogy-Worthy Case (FindLaw’s First Circuit blog)
- ‘The Departed’: Mobster Whitey Bulger Arrested by FBI (FindLaw’s Blotter)