Catherine Greig asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to effectively shorten her 8-year prison sentence for harboring James “Whitey” Bulger, arguing that a judge should not have allowed relatives of the gangster’s alleged victims to speak at her sentencing hearing.
In an appeal filed with the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, her appellate lawyer, Dana A. Curhan, also said that because Greig’s illegal conduct was limited to harboring Bulger, her sentencing guidelines should have been lower.
Curhan is asking the appeals court to order a new sentencing hearing for Greig. He wrote in his filing that she should receive a maximum sentence of two years and nine months.
Curhan also said relatives of Bulger’s alleged victims should be barred from testifying at a new hearing, because they are not victims of Greig’s crimes.
He noted that US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock allowed the relatives to testify at her June hearing, even though they had no legal right to speak at her sentencing.
“There then followed a number of remarks that [can] best be described as inflammatory,” Curhan wrote. “Steve Davis referred to Greig as” an expletive.
Davis, whose sister Debra was allegedly strangled by Bulger in 1981, stood by those remarks in an interview on Wednesday.
“She’s lucky that’s all that was going through my mind” at sentencing, he said.
Davis, 55, of Milton, said that rather than appeal, Greig should “shut her mouth. She got an easy sentence.”
Tom Donahue, 38, of Dorchester, rejected the notion that he and other relatives of Bulger’s alleged victims were not harmed by Greig.
“Absolutely we’re victims of her crimes,” said Donahue, whose father was allegedly gunned down by Bulger in 1982.
Donahue scoffed at Greig’s attempt to silence family members at a new sentencing hearing, should one be granted.
“Not a chance in hell,” he said. “The crap would really hit the fan if the [court] ever did that.”
A spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office in Boston declined to comment on Greig’s request for a new sentencing hearing, but said prosecutors will file a response with the appeals court.
Greig, 61, is currently serving her sentence at a low-security prison in Minnesota and scheduled for release in June 2018, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
She and Bulger were apprehended in Santa Monica, Calif., in June 2011. Bulger, 83, is slated to go to trial in June on a sweeping federal indictment that alleges he participated in 19 murders. He is being held without bail.
On Wednesday, Donahue offered advice for Greig.
“Keep your mouth shut and do your time. Get out of jail and get on with your life,” he said. “She’s caused enough harm and enough trouble.”Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.