There is no statute of limitations on federal murder charges, this is true. But maybe there should be? The recent activity in the three decade old case of Jimmy Hoffa sure suggests a reconsideration of how we (the government, our taxes) handle things.
Let me tell you a little about Jimmy Hoffa. Jimmy Hoffa was the egotistical leader of the Teamsters Union from 1957 to 1971. Most people agree that he was connected to the Mafia during all or some of this time (he spent four years in jail for fraud and jury tampering from ’64-’68). In 1975, Hoffa was trying to regain power within the union when he disappeared from a Michigan restaurant. His corpse, dead or alive, was never found; in 1983 he was declared legally dead.
One of the most well known theories (or myths) about the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body was that it was buried in the concrete of Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands (section 107, to be specific, in the East Rutherford, New Jersey facility). However, thanks to the nerds on The Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters”, we know this isn’t true. Using a ground penetrating radar, the “Mythbuster” dudes determined that there are no bodies buried in the cement of that structure, let alone the body of one James Riddle Hoffa.
On a side note, how kooky is it that Hoffa’s middle name is Riddle. I mean, this whole thing with the disappearance is such a riddle, you know?
Anyway, Jimmy Hoffa has resurfaced (metaphorically) in then news lately. On May 17th, the FBI began digging for Jimmy Hoffa on a place called the Hidden Dreams Farm (again, what’s with all these coincidental names?). It took 40 agents away from what otherwise could have been a productive day of catching living criminals to begin the indiscriminate dig of the Milford Township, Michigan property. The investigation team includes forensic experts all the way from the FBI’s Washington laboratory and a team of scientists that includes anthropologists, archaeologists, engineers and architects who will accompany local police and cadaver dogs for the next two to three weeks.
The following day, the Detroit Free Press reported that the Hoffa search was initiated by information supplied from a 75 year old, Kentucky prisoner named Donovan Wells. Wells, apparently, was trying to shorten a 2004 conviction for marijuana trafficking by giving up the dirt on Jimmy Hoffa. At first glance, this whole scenario seemed pretty ridiculous, but on May 20, the Free Press juiced up the story by reporting that Wells had been ignored in 1976, when he first attempted to tell the FBI the location of Hoffa’s body. Hmm, interesting.
But not that interesting. I mean, what is this ongoing fascination with Jimmy Hoffa? What is there to gain by finding the 30 year old bones of a former crook? Why do we care?
The allure of the Mafia is strong is in this country, and that’s the only reason I can think of. With “The Sopranos” still going strong, I guess there is a public outcry for information concerning Jimmy Hoffa; closure, if you will. And I guess the federal government is not immune to this sentiment. However, when you really think about it, the whole thing is fairly ridiculous.
The hours and hours of man power being spent on this “investigation” is startling (not to mention the tax payer money that is essentially funding it). At a certain point, you would think that the FBI would have just said, “Oh well, somebody got away with that one.” I guess the machismo of the federal bureau of investigation is on a permanent level of red awareness when it comes to being wrong about something. In other words, perhaps foolish pride is the only real crime being committed here. Maybe they’ll find Jimmy Hoffa’s bones in that Michigan dirt, maybe they won’t. Either way, nothing will change; nothing will have been accomplished. At least, if they find Mr. Hoffa, our FBI agents can get back to doing some real work like, I don’t know, catching terrorists or something.