EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

May 18, 2013

Term for Bulger girlfriend upheld

BOSTON (AP) — The longtime girlfriend of reputed gangster James “Whitey” Bulger lost her bid to reduce the eight-year prison sentence she received for helping Bulger during his 16 years as a fugitive.

A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday that it found no basis to change the sentence that Catherine Greig received after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud.

The panel included retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, fled Boston in late 1994 and remained a fugitive until he and Greig were captured together in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.

Prosecutors say Greig helped Bulger in multiple ways while he was hiding from law enforcement.

Bulger, 83, is scheduled to go on trial in June on charges that he participated in 19 murders.

Greig’s appellate attorney, Dana Curhan, had argued that the sentencing judge “effectively tripled” the appropriate sentence for Grieg. He said Judge Douglas Woodlock gave her too much time on the fugitive-harboring charge and wrongly imposed sentencing enhancements related to firearms and obstruction of justice. In court documents, Curhan also argued that five victims of Bulger’s alleged crimes should not have been allowed to testify during her sentencing hearing.

“We disagree with it, but the court has spoken and we are going to review our options,” Curhan said Friday.

Options include asking for a hearing before the full court or asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

In its written ruling, the appeals court agreed with Woodlock, who found that Greig’s conduct was not limited to mere harboring.

“He also noted that Greig provided Bulger with ‘a variety of things,’ over and above mere shelter,” Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson wrote for the court. “The judge referenced the length of the pair’s time on the run, the heinous nature of the crimes Bulger is accused of committing, Greig’s capacity to make her own choices, and the fact that a less serious sentence would promote disrespect for the law.”

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