2016 Weinberg in the News

Fed court: Carmen Ortiz ‘overstepped’ in probation case

By O'Ryan Johnson | Boston Herald | December 20, 2016

CONVICTIONS TOSSED: A federal appeals court overturned the convictions of William Burke, ElizabethTavares and former state Probation Commissioner John O’Brien, and said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz,above, overstepped her bounds. …

Weinberg said the decision shows, “It’s up to the state to set the limits on ethics issues, on hiring practices.The hammer of federal prosecution ought to be reserved for federal interests.” Read more

Appeals court overturns convictions in Probation Department scandal

By Milton Valencia GLOBE STAFF | 

In a direct rebuke to federal prosecutors, a United States appeals court in Boston on Monday threw out the 2014 convictions of three former Probation Department officials who were accused of rigging their department’s hiring system for their own political gain — saying that while their actions may be judged distasteful, they were not a federal crime. …

“Today’s opinion provides protection for state public officials from an overextension of federal criminal law,”Weinberg said. “What McDonnell [case] did is basically elevate the criteria for federal criminalization ofstate political conduct, it elevated the threshold requirements, and this case did the same.” Read more

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announces resignation

By Milton Valencia GLOBE STAFF | 

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, who oversaw cases against the Marathon bomber and gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, announced Wednesday that she will step down next month after seven years as the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts. …

Martin Weinberg, a Boston-based attorney who battled Ortiz in several high-profile cases, including theprobation case, represented Swartz. Weinberg said he has disagreed with many of Ortiz’s decisions, but said her overall tenure should be recognized for her sound judgment.

“In many of these less media-driven and less high-profile cases, she’s made the right calls,” he said, noting times that Ortiz chose not to prosecute cases. Read more

Ortiz Successor Faces Uphill Climb In Mass. Corruption Cases

By Law360, Boston | 

… Martin Weinberg, an attorney for O'Brien co-defendant Elizabeth Tavares, said the O'Brien decision will send a signal, like McDonnell before it.

“I think the overall takeaway from the synergy of these two cases, McDonnell and Tavares, is that when prosecutors construct a theory that goes outside the very core of federal statutes, courts are going to scrutinize whether or not the evidence matches the purposes of the federal criminal law,” Weinberg said. Read more

US prosecutors considering appeal of Probation ruling

By Milton Valencia GLOBE STAFF | 

… “I think it’s routine that the Department of Justice would want to review any decision of the profound importance to the construction of federal criminal law as this one, so I’m not surprised,” Weinberg said, adding that “I’m very optimistic that [the case] would withstand” any further review. Read more

 

Lobbyist McDonough could face new, stringent probation conditions

By Milton J. Valencia GLOBE STAFF | 

Richard McDonough, the lobbyist convicted of public corruption, succeeded in getting out of prison early after completing a drug-rehabilitation program — but he could face some tougher new probation conditions he did not expect. …

After a hearing in November, Wolf questioned whether Bureau of Prisons officials followed proper protocol in confirming McDonough’s history of alcohol abuse. Prison officials responded that they would not alter their decision to release McDonough early, however. McDonough’s lawyer, Martin Weinberg, said all proper procedures had been followed for McDonough to gain acceptance to the rehabilitation program. Read more

Federal judge questions DiMasi codefendant’s upcoming release

By Milton J. Valencia GLOBE STAFF | 

A federal judge questioned Wednesday whether an accomplice of convicted House speaker Salvatore F.DiMasi’s falsely claimed to prison officials that he had a drug addiction so he could be released from   to a year earlier than scheduled. …

Martin Weinberg, an attorney who represented McDonough in the appeal of his conviction, said McDonough legitimately took part in a “national program that helps people rehabilitate.” Read more

Teamsters’ appeal could define line for union advocacy

By Milton J. Valencia GLOBE STAFF | 

A federal appeals court on Tuesday questioned whether the alleged union strong-arm tactics that have been the basis for recent federal prosecutions and investigations — including one tied to City Hall — constitute the crime of extortion or whether they fall within the historically protected rights of unions to organize and protest. 

… “It provides the first opportunity to address the difficult dynamic between protections given by the Supreme Court, and the scope of [federal extortion laws],” said Martin Weinberg, a Boston lawyer who has followed the local union cases. “This is an important case in part because it has the potential to set a precedent that affects other cases.” Read more

Court queries legal teams in appeal
of probation case

By Shelley Murphy GLOBE STAFF | 

…Tavares’s attorney, Martin G. Weinberg, argued Monday that the judge who presided over the trial committed reversible error by allowing jurors to ask an unprecedented number of questions of witnesses. The jury submitted 281 questions to US District Judge William G. Young during 35 days of testimony and Young allowed 180 of those questions to be asked of witnesses.

Weinberg said jurors became “an inquisitorial body,” which assisted the prosecution with its questions and “disrupted the delicate dynamic of a criminal trial.” Read more

Supreme Court’s corruption
decision could affect Mass. cases

By Shelley Murphy GLOBE STAFF | 

A Supreme Court ruling that has made it more difficult to prosecute public officials for corruption could affect a wide range of cases in Massachusetts …

The McDonnell decision “warned against federal involvement ‘in setting standards’ of ‘good government for local and state officials,’ ” attorneys Martin G. Weinberg and Kimberly Homan, who represent Tavares, wrote in a July 12 brief to the US First Circuit Court of Appeals. “The government’s prosecution of the defendants in this case crossed that line.” Read more

Lawyers of convicted probation
officials allege juror misconduct

By Milton J. Valencia | Boston Globe Staff | January 22, 2016

"Alleged juror wrongdoing in the 2014 federal trial involving corruption in the state probation department was disclosed in depth for the first time this week, as part of the appeals of the three state probation executives who were convicted of racketeering and mail fraud for running the department like a criminal enterprise."

…" 'Permitting juror questioning risks both turning jurors into advocates, compromising their neutrality, and encouraging premature evaluation of the evidence. Those dangers were realized in this case,' Martin Weinberg and Kimberly Homan, attorneys for Tavares, argued in the appeal.

'The number and types of the questions posed by jurors, who enthusiastically embraced the court’s invitation to question witnesses, show a jury that had lost sight of its required role as a neutral factfinder and became an investigative/inquisitorial body, fatally tainting the fairness of this trial.' " Read more

 

DAs: Locked phones hamper local cases

Waiting for a bite of the Apple

By Antonio Planas | Boston Herald | March 4, 2016

Defense Attorney Martin Weinberg said he and other local lawyers also are monitoring the Apple case. “The real risk is not a single, dramatic terrorist case,” Weinberg said. “Once one court allows it, the government will predictably go back to the case. The precedent will be applied in ordinary criminal law cases to the detriment of people’s expectations of privacy.” Read more

 

Attorneys predict top Massachusetts legal news of 2016

By Kris Olson | Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly| January 7, 2016

Weinberg's prediction: "The historic efforts to begin to reverse the excesses of the War on Crime and War on Drugs of the 1980s as a matter of both federal and state law with a greater focus on the dismantling of the minimum mandatory sentence structure, the substitution of treatment for incarceration for minor drug offenses, …" Read more