New Judge Will Preside Over Bulger Trial

"Whitey" Bulger, age 82.
Boston.com reports that a new judge has been named to preside over the trial of gangster/federal informant James J. “Whitey” Bulger.

Denise J. Casper, a federal judge in Boston since December 2010, is "a relatively young judge in her mid-40s [and] is the first black woman to sit as a federal judge in Massachusetts," the article reported.

Her inexperience is an asset in this case, due to the history Bulger has with the Justice Department, including the judge who had initially been chosen for the trial.

A federal appeals court ordered Judge Richard G. Stearns to step aside because of his ties to the US Justice Department, which go back to the days when Bulger was robbing, killing and tattling.

"Stearns was a top prosecutor in the US attorney’s office in the 1980s, when, Bulger claims, another prosecutor promised the crime boss immunity for his alleged crimes, including murder."

Bulger defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. declined to comment about the decision.

Bulger went on a 16-year run from law enforcement in 1994.

The ruling to switch judges "was a major victory for Bulger and raised questions whether his trial would have to be delayed," Boston.com reported.

Bulger, who is 83 and once ruled Boston’s underworld, is charged in a racketeering indictment that includes participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s. The wily gangster was finally caught and arrested in June 2011 in California.

The trial is set to begin June 6.

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