Category: Archive

Court rules Boston cop trial unfair

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Conley, who is now 36, was convicted in June 1998 of lying to a grand jury about what he saw during the early morning hours of January 25, 1995 when a black police officer, Michael Cox, was severely beaten by fellow officers who mistook him for a fleeing murder suspect.
During his trial, Conley claimed that he did not see Cox moments before the beating because he was focused on one of the fleeing murder suspects, whom he captured after a long foot chase.
Jurors absolved Conley of having seen or participated in the beating, but it found that he had lied when he said he had not seen Cox at the scene of the attack.
Three months later, in September 1998, Conley was sentenced to 34 months in federal prison for perjury, but his case has been in the court system since then pending various appeals.
Conley’s supporters have long claimed that the popular Irish-American cop from South Boston was scapegoated by federal prosecutors who were frustrated with the ‘blue wall of silence’ that surrounded the case for two years.
One of dozens of cops who converged on the scene of the beating, Conley is the only person ever criminally charged in the case.
In December 1998, three officers, two black and one white, were found liable for the beating and abandonment of Cox, but they were never criminally charged.
In its 2-1 decision last week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals panel overturned Conley’s conviction while agreeing with a lower court ruling that prosecutors had violated Conley’s right to due process by withholding information that patrolman Richard Walker, a key witness against Conley, had told authorities that hypnosis might help him to “truly recall” the events surrounding the beating.
At his home in Norwood, south of Boston, Conley said that he was relieved and cautiously optimistic that his pursuit of justice may soon be over.
“The roller-coaster ride continues, but I hope that it’s finally coming to an end,” he said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office now has several options: re-try Conley, appeal the decision to a full panel of the appeals court, or drop the case.
Robert S. Bennett of Washington, DC, Conley’s pro-bono attorney, said that the prosecution of Conley has gone on far too long.
“Ken Conley is finally getting the justice he deserves,” Bennet said.
“I hope and pray that the U.S. Attorney and the Department of Justice will end this and let Kenny get on with his life.”

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