JP gang member had long list of people he wanted dead, but the hitman he tried to hire was a federal informant

A federal judge yesterday sentenced Boylston Street gang member Jaime Rivera, 20, to nine years in federal prison for a murder-to-hire plot and for distribution of cocaine, the US Attorney's office reports.

Rivera pleaded guilty last fall, acknowledging that he offered to pay somebody $2,500 to murder a rival for the guy's role in a brawl on July 4, 2015 that left Rivera with a gunshot wound to the arm - and another Boylston Street member with multiple stab wounds. Unfortunately for him, it turned out the guy he offered the money to was a wire-wearing federal informant.

According to a federal sentencing memorandum in the case, the guy Rivera wanted dead was busy stabbing Rivera's Boylston Street pal, Frandys Ortiz - who separately got 8 years for his part in the drug dealing - so Rivera shot him, after which one of the rival's associates shot Rivera.

Rivera, who also boasted of shooting somebody's eye out, took his prospective hitman for a ride around the city nine days after the fight to firm up arrangements for the hit:

On July 13, 2015, the defendant drove around Boston with the CW [cooperating witness] pointing out various housing projects where he wanted people killed, including Academy Homes, D Street Projects, St. Joseph’s Housing Development and H-Block. At one point in the conversation, Rivera cautions the CW that he does not want any “leg shots.”

RIVERA: But I need you to hit these niggas up though bro. I don’t need any leg shots bro … if you gonna do leg shots don’t even do it nig-

Although Rivera pleaded guilty, his lawyer and federal prosecutors disagreed on their recommendations to Judge Rya Zobel on how long Rivera should serve.

Assistant US Attorney Rachel Hermani argued for at least 14 years:

Jaime Rivera is associated with the Boylston Street gang. He has no employment history, and it appears that the defendant has earned his livelihood selling drugs and firearms. He has not identified any mental health issues or substance abuse issues which would in any way explain or mitigate his conduct.

But Rivera's lawyer, Stylianus Sinnis, argued for leniency and no more than five years.

Rivera, he said, was still a teen when he committed the crimes, and teen minds are still not fully formed, he argued.

Mr. Rivera was 18 when he committed the instant drug offense and 19 when he committed the murder-for-hire. Quite simply, he lacked the maturity and judgment of an adult.

As important, Rivera had been seriously screwed up by his father, who introduced him to marijuana and who spent years denigrating the teen, telling him he would never amount to anything, as well as beating his mother.

Sinnis continued that the one time Rivera got away from his father - when his mother scraped together $5,000 to send him to a boarding school in Utah - he did very well, racking up a 3.5 GPA. He included a letter from his mother:

The first time my son tried marijuana, it was because his father offered it to him. His father discouraged him from going to school. He constantly told Jaime that he could not amount to anything because of his race; that because he is dark skinned, he would end up either dead or in jail.

Also, the attorney continued, the idea to kill the rival came from Ortiz, who began talking to the informant about it just two days after his stabbing and Rivera's shooting. Rivera, he wrote, did not talk to the informant about a possible hit until a week later.

Wine bar with music stage to open near North Station in July

The Boston Licensing Board yesterday approved a liquor license for City Winery, which is building a restaurant where patrons can eat and sip wine as they listen to and watch live entertainment in the new apartment and hotel complex going up at 80 Beverly St.

City Winery, which already has outlets in New York, Chicago, Nashville and Atlanta, expects to open in June, its local attorney, Karen Simao, told the board. The chain bought a liquor license from a shuttered place at 94 Mass. Ave. in the Back Bay.

The wine bar will actually have two dining rooms - a 300-seat area that will require reservations for watching the night's performer and a 280-seat room where anybody can show up to eat, just not to see the show.

That the place is opening near North Station marks another step in the area's move away from bars and restaurants catering mainly to Bruins and Celtics fans. At a hearing Wednesday, the board heard plans to turn the sports-oriented North Star on Friend Street into a calmer, more "professional" establishment aimed at all the well off people pouring into the apartments being built around North Station.

Close shave in Roslindale Square: Fire erupts in barbershop basement

Washington Street scene. Photo by Diamond Kartel.

Around 6 p.m., at the Roslindale Barber Shop, 4256 Washington St. in Roslindale Square (next to where El Chavo used to be). BFD quickly doused the flames, but Washington Street was shut to traffic and T buses. An ISD electrical inspector was requested to check out the wiring.

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 18:00

Judge allows suits against state ban on recording private conversations to continue

In decisions issued last week and today, a federal judge allowed lawsuits questioning the constitutionality of a Massachusetts ban on recording "private" discussions to go forward - but said the state has a legitimate stake in protecting the privacy rights of its citizens.

US District Court Judge Patti Saris is hearing two separate but similar cases at the Moakley Courthouse, both against Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, which pit the First Amendment against privacy provisions of a state law.

In one case, which also names Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, two Boston civil-rights activists are suing to be allowed to record Boston police officers on the job.

In the other case, rightwing provocateur James O'Keefe claims he wants to do undercover recording of scummy landlords stuffing colleges students into unsafe apartments - and to investigate alleged wrongdoing among unspecified "public officials."

Federal judges have upheld the public's right to video public employees at work in public spaces, but at issue in the two case is recording not just what they do but what they say, because of a state law that prohibits such "wiretapping." O'Keefe's case also adds the issue of private citizens.

In a ruling today on O'Keefe's suit, Saris rejected a request by Conley to simply toss the suit, saying O'Keefe presented enough of a valid case that his First Amendment rights were being harmed to warrant court consideration. But she rejected O'Keefe's request to let him and his workers being surreptitious recording while the suit progresses because of privacy issues:

The Court holds that Project Veritas survives the standing challenge with respect to its claim that the state prohibition of the secret recording of private individuals violates the First Amendment. However, the Court holds that Section 99's ban on the secret recording of conversations by private individuals does not violate the First Amendment because the statute is narrowly tailored to promote the significant governmental interest of protecting the conversational privacy of Massachusetts residents.

Sarris wrote that even in public, people sometimes have a right to at least some minimal privacy:

Individuals have conversations they intend to be private, in public spaces, where they may be overheard, all the time –- they meet at restaurants and coffee shops, talk with co-workers on the walk to lunch, gossip with friends on the subway, and talk too loudly at holiday parties or in restaurant booths. These types of conversations are ones where one might expect to be overheard, but not recorded and broadcast. There is a significant privacy difference between overhearing a conversation in an area with no reasonable expectation of privacy and recording and replaying that conversation for all to hear.