Boston’s District Attorney, Daniel F. Conley , is unhappy. So, apparently are some of his underlings. Nasty Ol’ Judge Raymond G. Dougan Jr., first justice of Boston Municipal Court, is too liberal for the prosecutor. Now, once again politicalizing the judicial branch, the prosecutors are trying to get the judge removed from, if not the bench altogether, at least all criminal cases.
After all, Judge Dugan does not make rulings that prosecutors like…unlike the overwhelming majority of judges who regularly, and sometimes creatively, make findings that defense attorneys do not like.
Now, DA Conley has filed a 72-page report documenting what he called the judge’s “prodefendant bias”. He even commanded one of his assistants to do the dirty work in presenting a motion to Judge Dougan to request that he remove himself from one Boston drug case and all criminal cases.
The judge declined the invitation.
Two Boston defense lawyers stood up and asked to go on record opposing Conley’s motion. One of them called Conley’s motion an “utter travesty” that made him sick.
“Although some of these incidents are well in the past,” Conley wrote, “the entire historical record reveals a disregard for the proper role and authority of a judge . . . a disregard for the authority of the Legislature, a disregard for the authority and duty of the district attorney, a disregard for the constitutional separation of powers, and a disregard for Judge Dougan’s obligation to administer the laws and adjudicate cases in an impartial manner.”
One of the arguments touted by the Suffolk County DA is that Judge Dougan’s decisions are appealed by prosecutors more often than any other Boston Municipal Court judge. To most practitioners at the Boston Municipal Court, this most likely means merely that prosecutors are more unhappy with Judge Dougan’s rulings than those of other judges.
Does this reflect poorly on Judge Dougan or the many other judges who seem to be strongly balanced in favor of the prosecution?
Conley also wrote that Judge Dougan would not appear to be fair and impartial to the “average person on the street”
The funny thing is… neither would the actions of many political prosecutors, who’s sworn job it is to “do Justice”.
Defense lawyers have called Conley’s efforts an attack on the independence of the judiciary.
It would not be the first time.
The independence of the judiciary is something of great import in this country. It is meant to keep judges free to rule their conscience, in accordance with the law, free from political fallout.
Not so long ago, pressure was brought against Judge Maria Lopez which eventually got her to leave the Massachusetts bench and take a new seat in TV Land.
It was said that she was too liberal too.
I have spent a great deal of time in this blog explaining to you the pressures on judges to find in certain ways. After all, should they show any leniency to any criminal defendant and he “goes out and kills someone”, said court will be attacked by the press and prosecutors. So, too, if a judge steps out of line and regularly does not do the Commonwealth’s bidding…the result is an attack and pressure to step down.
I sadly suspect that most judges bow down to this pressure and such threats. That’s a shame…they are supposed to be in control. They are supposed to be fair and impartial.
Perhaps what we need are more judges like Judge Dougan, who, at the very least, equalize the playing field just a bit.
I can only wonder what would happen if a Massachusetts defense attorney brought forth a motion requesting a judge step down from criminal cases because they find in favor of the prosecution too much.
I mean…after said attorney was released after being held in contempt of court.
The message could not be clearer. If you find yourself facing criminal charges, you cannot simply assume that the court and the prosecution will be fair and unbiased toward you…only seeking to do Justice. After all, careers are at stake…theirs!
Get an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise and represent you!
If you would like to consult me, please free to call me at 617-492-3000 to arrange a free initial consultation..
To view the article upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/04/20/suffolk_da_files_report_alleging_jurists_bias/?page=full