Monday, April 20, 2015

The Otter Defense

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

We're entering our fourth week in the rogue cops trial, and so far the poster boy has been Jeffrey Walker.

He's the dirty cop who got caught red-handed in an FBI sting operation walking out of a drug dealer's house with $15,000 and five pounds of marijuana. The drunk who showed up loaded at work and got so bombed at his favorite bar every night that he passed out while drooling on himself. The office screw-up who dozed off during stake-outs, bailed on a raid because he needed a hit of Milk of Magnesia; the bumbler who forgot where he left his gun.

Meanwhile, over at the defense table sits Tommy Licardello. If the prosecution's story line is to believed, Liciardello was the dark criminal mastermind who knew how to placate the department brass with headline-grabbing busts while he and his gang were beating and ripping off drug dealers. An amoral, ruthless bandit with a badge so slick he supposedly knew how to hide the booty from the feds, elude sting operations and FBI accountants.

The jury seems to have gotten their fill of Jeffrey Walker. When the marshalls led him away in handcuffs last week after three days on the witness stand, every juror I saw was looking the other way. Meanwhile, the jury has only seen and will probably never hear from Tommy Licardello. All the jury knows about Liciardello, the pale guy at the defense table being held in solitary confinement, is a bunch of allegations from some drug dealers. As for the rest of the defendants, as far as the testimony goes, it's hard to tell Michael Spicer from John Speiser. They're just a bunch of anonymous RICO conspirators.

The feds, already guilty of sloppy detective work in the rogue cops case, can also be faulted for bad story-telling.

The sloppiness of the feds in this case has been ampty demonstrated.

On the eve of trial, the government had to drop a couple of counts from a 26-count indictment because one of their sleazeball witnesses got busted again, and because the feds didn't do their homework in checking out another sleazeball's story.

Mistakes were made, an FBI agent admited on the stand. The defense has already made hay out of their plans to call several of the rogue cops's supervisors to the stand, witnesses that the feds never even bothered talking to.

We didn't interview one lieutenant, an FBI agent testified, because we didn't think he would tell the truth. Or as the defense suggested, maybe it was because it was only your version of the truth that you wanted to hear.

There are plenty of other lingering problems with the prosecution's case. If Tommy Licardello and the boys stole $500,000 from the drug dealers, as the feds have alleged, what did they do with the money? If the defense is to be believed, there's no paper trail on the alleged booty, or undercover video of cops getting caught red-handed. Just the word of Walker and a bunch of drug dealers all singing in the federal choir.

The feds say that Tommy and the narcs stole a drug dealer's safe with $80,000 in it. But Jeffrey Walker, the prosecution's star witness, says there was only $30,000 in the safe. Who does the jury believe?

If the jury believes Walker is credible, they have to swallow his story that he's the rare thief who's so lazy he never gets around to counting the money he stole. Can anybody buy that?

If Tommy and the narcs are the criminals the feds say they are, why didn't they take the bait in an FBI string operation the way Jeffrey Walker did? Instead, the feds rolled the cameras and came up empty; the cops didn't take a dollar of planted dirty money. What does the jury do about that?

If the feds were so convinced the six defendants were such corrupt officers, why didn't they keep running sting operations until they caught them red-handed like they did with Walker? The federal investigation of the six defendants had already gone on for eight years. Why didn't they keep it going until they finished the job?

The government seems to be relying on a traditional strategy of saving up their tirade against Tommy Liciardello until the closing argument. But by then, will it be too late? Instead of a starring role for Tommy Licardello, the jury will be left to ponder for far too long how pathetic Jeffrey Walker is.

All the prosecution has besides Walker is a bunch of whiny drug dealers who say they were taken advantage of. The defense claims they have a bunch of superior officers who will testify that those busts were legit and that the defendants were hero cops. It helps their case when there's no booty to show off on surveillance videos, or paper trails leading to secret accounts where the loot was stashed.

With the sleaziness of the prosecution witnesses and all the holes in the case, can Tommy and the boys shoot their way out? While behaving like cowboys on the street and frat boys in the cop shop?

"Sir Rat A Lot" and "Sir Snitch A Lot" were a couple of the nicknames that Liciardello dropped on Walker in sophomoric text messages displayed in court. With the defendants behaving like frat boys, should the defense reprise Otter's closing argument from Animal House?

To parphrase Otter, the issue isn't whether we broke a few rules or took a few liberties with the drug dealers we arrested. We did, the defense can say with a knowing wink. But you can't hold a whole police department responsible for the behavior of a few sick perverted individuals, can you? For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole criminal justice system? And the entire war on drugs?

And if you do, isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you bad mouth the United States of America!

If the defendants march out of the courtroom humming the Star-Spangled Banner and passing themselves off as soldiers in the war on drugs, will it work? It may when the other alternative is buying what Jeffrey Walker and a bunch of drug dealers are peddling.

As one defense lawyer described the prosecution's case, it's one dirty cop and 19 bags of trash.

The dirty cop has already admitted that he's planted drugs on people so many times that he can't count. That he's used to coming into court and lying over and over again to a judge and a jury to send innocents to jail. So why would anyone believe him this time?

He's a fall-down drunk who claims he's changed his ways while meditating in his cell since his bust in the FBI sting operation. But as the defense has pointed out, Walker's also been talking about writing a book about his exploits during his 45 interviews with the FBI.

The same FBI that never bothered to interview Walker's superior officers who were often present at the scene of many of the so-called "episodes" of bad behavior in the case.

Either way the jury chooses to go, they may have to do it while holding their noses.

25 comments:

  1. GREAT article Ralph!

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  2. Tommy Liciardello is worst that anyone can understand. He makes all law enforcement look bad and broke every law known to man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ummmm...ok.
      Seeing your civil suit go down the drain are ya????

      Delete
  3. Starting the fourth week and everybody whose been in court gets it the Jury will not convict these officers with the witnesses they paraded up there its a friggin Joke. And when its over who ever decided to go ahead with this trial and evidence and witnesses they came up with will be having his own hearing from his superiors if this trial does.nt
    take a turn in the prosecutions favor whivh i cannot see happening. Just my opinion!

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  4. Sad to say that these officers will be convicted. I worked in courtrooms as clerk and bailiff, the language of court and courtrooms are not what you hear often but what is known. In this case what is known is that these ex police officers committed crimes. Also, when this particular Judge gives the Jury its instructions before deliberations begin, knowing Him as well as I and some others do, the Jury will understand that all they(the jury) need to prove is one element of this charges or crimes had been committed. They do not have to find any or all of these police officers guilty of all the counts given. As far as the First Joint Civil Action suit filed in this case(82 claims), a Non Guilty or Guilty verdict do not take away anything in your Civil matters. Again, this is the same Judge that will hold a hearing for the Civil part of this matter. That being said, The City of Phila. are the bigger defendants at that point in time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you the same poster posing as the person who works in media last week?? Yup! You are still an idiot not making any sense. Please give up.

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    2. I would say YES

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    3. He' s a doctor a lawyer and a candle stickmaker. Oh yeah and a 302

      Delete
  5. I am curious as to how it is "known" that these officers committed crimes. Obviously, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. If what has been reported here and on other media outlets is at all true, the government's case is clearly suspect and falling well short of that burden. The investigation was shoddy at best, I mean an officer was indicted for a crime when he was on vacation in an other state. Really? I think the real crimes are being perpetrated against the officers.

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    1. I agree anonymous 10:57,
      10:40 stated "in this case what is known is that these ex police officers committed crimes" that seems to be so far the what is UN known, where is the evidence of these officers committing any crime? Every time the Feds tried to set these officers up to catch them committing a crime....No crime was committed. What is known is that so far every drug dealer including the Ex police officer Walker have gotten on the stand and been caught in lies. Im still looking for some evidence of the officers committing crimes besides someone saying they did....and in each person saying these officers committed crimes, they are the only ones that can attest to their story...then Officer Walker takes the stand and contradicts it.
      So if you could en lighten us on how it is "known" .....??

      Delete
  6. Yo 3 of the ex narcs tried to cut deals like 4 mos ago and fed boys said no. But you didnt know that right?
    now you a say this is a lie right. Okay.
    That cant mention it in trial but all these dirty narcs arent even cool with each other right now. Did you hear that now the defense lawyers are behind the scenes arguing? Bet you didnt. So what courtroom have you been sitting in?

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    Replies
    1. Yo....purple unicorns eat jello off of rainbows while in a submarine. That sentence is just as true as yours. You are entertaining though, so please keep it up for those purposes.

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  7. YO: 11:20 and this is why parents tell their kids not to do drugs. What have you been smoking this morning ( or afternoon but you probably just woke up) to come up with that statement? right?

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  8. Thank you!!! Great article.

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    Replies
    1. Did not like George's article on Friday. Ralph's is just plain and simple common sense.

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  9. Its why they say not proven in fed court...not "innocent".

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  10. I think people are missing one thing Walker said but Ralph stated here. Walker admits he planted drugs on more than just drug dealers. He planted drugs on innocent people he just randomly stopped for a traffic violation (for instance) and then testified against them in court. How many people are in jail and never had a criminal background because of this douche??? The government is so hellbent on jailing Tommy because of a pissing contest they are going to let this scumbag get a lighter sentence? Are you kidding me. Funny how none of the others are accused of doing anything against anyone but drug dealers. Walker is the worst of the worst here. How come out of over 5000 cases they were only able to find 19 drug dealers to get on the stand and cry foul? Especially if this was their m/o. Dealers are all looking for a payday in civil court.

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    Replies
    1. I would think Walker's plea deal is null and void. He signed the plea deal stating he was never hospitalized for mental illness. He got on the witness stand last week and said he was not a harm to himself. Defense showed documents that he shows up at a hospital with suicidal thoughts.

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  11. Satins Step ChildApril 21, 2015 at 4:36 PM

    He said I saw she said I was violated. They caught me with drugs but they went about it the wrong way were they yours answer ya whats the problem then they bitch slap me hung me up side down but they went about it the wrong way there thiefs they bought pizza with my money
    Ur lucky it was.nt me i would.ve rob ya shot your asses and left u for dead
    And it would.ve went down as a gang related homecide oh well anyway NOT GUILTY SEE YA WHEN I SEE YA YOU SMACKED ASSES. LOl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you clear as day satin step child. But just remember this, your not the only mutha f"er capable of that level of violence! And next time you pillow talk dont show that stupid b*tc& ya comments cause she talks too friggin much��

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    2. No you don.t get it except for the violent part. What im saying is these rat drug dealing pieces of shit need to take responsibility for there choices and stop blaming others my brutha ahhh ight got it know.

      Delete
    3. Well i got it. And your not as bad person i was taken you to be meaning (not an A hole). Thanks for clearing things up bro cause what we dont need is violence in our city or F' in dope dealers i agree.

      Delete
  12. They tried to cut a deal? You are a certifiable 302 comittment.

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  13. It took the Feds 8 years to investigate this? Imagine if their considerable resources were being used to investigate real crime and get predators off our streets. They should be ashamed of this poor work, particularly when all of the drug dealers that this squad of officers worked so hard to stop putting poison out to our children.

    ReplyDelete

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