First Circuit Upholds $101 Million Verdict in Wrongful Convinction Case

A three-judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion written by Judge Bruce Selya, upheld a lower court landmark verdict of $101.7 million for four men framed by the FBI in a gangland slaying.

The judges said that the 2007 damage judgment to the families of Peter J. Limone, Joseph Salvati, Louis Greco, and Henry Tameleo, believed to be the largest of its kind nationally, was considerably higher than any of the three appellate judges would have ordered and was “at the outer edge of the universe of permissible awards.’’

Yet, the court stated: “But when we take into account the severe emotional trauma inflicted upon the scapegoats we cannot say with any firm conviction that those awards are grossly disproportionate to the injuries sustained.’’

Limone, now 75, of Medford, spent more than 33 years in prison as a result of his wrongful conviction in the 1965 murder. Salvati, now 76, of the North End, was in prison for more than 29 years. The other two men, Greco and Tameleo, died in prison after decades of imprisonment.

Writing for the court, Judge Selya wrote that the FBI “stooped too low’’ to try to stamp out organized crime and that “the large damage awards mark the last word of a sad chapter in the annals of federal law enforcement.’’

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