We celebrate Valentine’s Day in February here in the Commonwealth. So, surely that cannot explain what allegedly passed for wisdom on the part of 49-year-old Gloucester fisherman, John Cusick, (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) in his behavior this summer when dealing with a certain federal fishing monitor.
According to United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the Major Crimes Unit in Boston is prosecuting the Defendant on charges of assault and sexual harassment for allegedly hugging and putting his tongue in the ear of an unidentified monitor aboard the Sea Farmer II in July.
The indictment was apparently just handed down. It alleges that the Defendant harassed and assaulted the federal monitor who collects data from commercial fishing vessels while the vessel is engaged in fishing activities,
Fishing monitors are apparently placed on commercial boats by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to be sure that fishermen do not exceed their federally mandated quotas, which have been the subject of protest for years.
The allegations against the Defendant have sparked some controversy. Tina Jackson, president of the American Alliance of Fishermen and their Communities, claims that “NOAA is pulling out all the stops to discredit fishermen because they’re in a lot of trouble…NOAA is under a microscope right now for their actions on enforcement and policy.” She further claims that the fishermen will be lobbying Congress next week to urge them to investigate NOAA.
In a separate case, another gentleman has been indicted for two counts of assault of two monitors..
We have discussed many ways that “justice” is perverted in today’s criminal justice system. Over my man years of experience as a lawyer practicing criminal law, I have seen various cases that the perversion has a political bent. I saw it as a prosecutor in New York and I have seen it as a defense attorney here in Boston. It is perhaps the worst bastardization that the system can suffer.
Aside from how it makes such cases more costly to all concerned, it puts less substantial things, like liberty, at even greater risk than usual to the defendant(s) involved.
In the instant case, I know very little about the political issues involved. Further, I have not been personally involved in the case and so do not have any “inside information” as to either of the cases discussed. I will point out the obvious, however. The allegations against the Defendant are quite odd no matter how you cut it.
Was the Defendant finding a rather…novel….way of protesting? Something akin to the 1960’s, “Make love not war”? Or is it the authorities coming up with a rather far-fetched set of allegations to give their muck-raking more flavor?
I cannot answer that question. I can tell you one thing, however..
If you find yourself suddenly being investigated or charged with crimes which somehow draws attention from political activists…be careful. It is easy to try to play to one side or the other…particularly if they offer to do nice things like testify on your behalf about why your accusers are bad people or pay for part of your defense.
Be very careful.
You know how I am always telling you how police officers are allowed to lie to you to get you to give them the statement they want to hear? Well, other, more politically minded individuals also have the ability to lie. Sometimes, as far as they are concerned, whatever happens to you as a person pales in importance to what “good” can be done for the “cause”.
Get your own experienced counsel. An attorney who is not interested in the “good” for anybody…but you.
Because, in the end, if you are sold down the river…it is not likely to comfort you what “good” the cause got. You are more likely to be concerned with the destruction done to your own life.
There is another lesson here, by the way. One so basic and obvious that it pretty much goes without saying. This would be if you are trying to make a political point or exercise your First Amendment Right to protest…do it with your words. Suddenly hugging, licking or groping the object of your ire seldom works.
That is, unless you really wanted to be charged with crimes all along.
If you want to talk to me about a case, feel free to call me at 617-493-3000.
To view the original story, please go to : http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1319031&srvc=rss