LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – The dramatic ruling in the Boston wrongful convicton case that accused the FBI of framing four men for a 1965 murder, all of whom served decades in jail and two died there, was widely reported.
Judge Nancy Gertner held that the men were all convicted based on the perjured testimony of Joseph “The Animal” Barboza, an FBI informant, reports the WSJ Law Blog.
The FBI, “all the way the way up to the FBI director ─ knew that Barboza would perjure himself,” Gertner ruled. “They knew this because Barboza, a killer many times over, had told them so.” Here’s the full text of the incredible 223-page ruling, which awarded more than $101 million to the surviving murder defendants, Peter Limone and Joseph Salvati, and the families of the other two men.
The WSJ Law Blog interviewed Juliane Balliro, a partner in the Boston office of Wolf Block and one of the lead trial lawyers in the case. Balliro has an unusual connection to the case: her father, Joseph Balliro, defended Henry Tameleo in the Deegan murder trial. She represented Limone and the family of Tameleo, who died in prison.
Were you surprised by the size of the damages?
I wasn’t. It came out to about $1 million a year for each year the men were incarcerated. You can’t request an amount, but we surveyed cases and $1 million per-year is the standard.
Did you feel like you somehow vindicated your father?
All of the lawyers who have worked on this case tried time and time again to get these men out of prison. My father was with Mr. Tameleo a day before his death. It was nice for my father to see that that a wrong was made right.
How much time did you put into this case?
I came into the case in 2001. It went up to the appeals court twice before we went to trial. At times, it was all I worked on. There were over 40,000 documents.
Did Wolf Block have the case on a contingency fee?
Yes. These people never could have afforded this case if we didn’t take it on a contingency fee.
Was it a typical one-third fee?
No, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the maximum you can charge is 25 percent.
How did your clients react when the judgment was announced?
The cathartic impact of the decision was sort of surprising to them. They were all hugging each other. The families got close during the proceeding. Mr. Salvati and Mr. Limone were hugging. The wives and kids were crying. Grown men were sobbing outside the courtroom.
Have agents approached any of the plaintiffs to option their stories?
DreamWorks is actually doing a movie about Joe Salvati and Victor Garo (Salvati’s attorney).