Boston Judge Goes Wilding On Defense Lawyer, 'Straight Pride Parade' Counterprotesters
Shit is going down in Boston.
Last weekend, some Nazi fuckboys had their "straight pride"parade in Boston. It was an appropriately pathetic affair, where tens of men who can't get laid all came together to blame teh gays, women, and people of color for their failings in life. Far more people showed up to protest the event than actually attend it, including pro-LGBTQ rights protesters and antifa.
There were some clashes between the two groups and local police. The police then arrested and pepper sprayed a whole bunch of people, including people who were just exercising their First Amendment rights. One protester said he was arrested for calling a cop a pig -- which is a perfectly legal expression of free speech.
Boston Police Department spraying pepper spray into the crowd of protestors of the Straight Pride Parade #boston… https://t.co/RlEV144oRS— Lizzie Heintz (@Lizzie Heintz) 1567288435.0
In the end, 36 people were arrested. Their charges range from disorderly conduct and resisting arrest (charges police like to use when they can't articulate what a person actually did that was illegal) to more serious charges, like assault and battery on a police officer. Local prosecutors moved to dismiss a number of charges, which normally would be uncontroversial and summarily granted. But not today, satans!
A number of people arrested last weekend were arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Tuesday and Wednesday. In one courtroom, Judge Richard Sinnott refused to drop charges against seven protesters -- even though prosecutors had requested the dismissals. He then had the protesters' defense lawyer arrested for trying to recite the law in court. In another courtroom, Judge Thomas Horgan told three protesters to "stay out of Boston." Because we live in a fucking police state.
For her part, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins has vigorously opposed Judge Sinnot's bullshit, calling his conduct "unprecedented and outrageous" and filing an emergency petition with the Supreme Judicial Court to get the cases dismissed.
The actions of Judge Richard Sinnott are unprecedented and outrageous. https://t.co/yq5R08dC8j— DA Rachael Rollins (@DA Rachael Rollins) 1567640141.0
WTF is going on?!
Rachael Rollins is the first female District Attorney of Suffolk County, Massachusetts -- an area that includes Boston and covers over 800,000 people. She was elected in 2018, after running on a progressive platform that highlighted issues like ending mass incarceration and decriminalizing low-level offenses and poverty-connected crimes.
Of course, Rollins's refusal to throw the book at the predominantly poor people and people of color charged with low-level offenses has infuriated the Boston Police Department and at least a few judges.
There are so many disgraceful abuses of power going on that it's hard to even know where to start.
Oh, I know! Let's start with arresting lawyers for doing their jobs.
As described by Mass Live,
Susan Church, a criminal defense and immigration attorney, was representing a counter-protester in court on Wednesday when she had a disagreement with Judge Richard Sinnott. She was trying to read caselaw about a motion that prosecutors filed to drop charges against her client, Roderick Webber. Sinnott ordered her to be taken into custody.
And the lawyer who was arrested isn't just any lawyer. Church is a fucking hero who has been fighting fascism for years.
A nationally renowned lawyer, Church sued the Trump administration over its travel ban in 2017 and has represented clients affected by the family-separation crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border. She has received several awards for her work, including the Supreme Judicial Court's 2017 Pro Bono Publico Award and the National Lawyers Guild of Massachusetts' 2014 Attorney of the Year award.
Church was held for several hours before being released. Speaking after her release, Church said she had been "unlawfully, unreasonably and, honestly, outrageously arrested for simply doing my job."
Judge Sinnott was appointed by Republican Governor Charlie Baker in 2017. When Baker put Sinnott on the bench, he praised his "commitment to human rights laws."
Because irony is dead.
@SusanBChurch11 .@MassGovernor @CharlieBakerMA put Judge Richard Sinnott, the judge who seized Attorney Church, on… https://t.co/KuLvC39SAR— Matthew Cortland, esq (@Matthew Cortland, esq) 1567625104.0
Judge Sinnott just really seems like a peach.
[I]n one exchange Tuesday, Sinnott reportedly chided a prosecutor for suggesting that while the actions of Lowell man — charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest for allegedly forming a human chain with other protesters — were "not appropriate," prosecuting the 26-year-old would not do anything to make the community safer. "Not appropriate? It sounds like he picked up the wrong fork at dinner," Sinnott shot back, according to the Globe.
Rollins slammed Judge Sinnott's overreach and said she filed the emergency petition to correct the injustices done in Boston Municipal Court this week.
The power to pursue prosecution falls exclusively on the executive branch, not the judiciary. The judge overstepped his authority here, and only an action of our state's highest court can correct this injustice. My petition is a call for order to be returned to our courts, to ensure the fair administration of justice, and to restore the public's trust in the integrity of our legal system. The people of Suffolk County elected me to do exactly what I am doing.
This is part of a larger trend
Around the country, progressive prosecutors are being elected -- and the people who used to get to throw every brown or poor person in jail are FREAKING OUT. In Pennsylvania, the General Assembly passed a law curbing the authority of Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner -- because god forbid a prosecutor not want to throw ALL THE PEOPLE in prison. In Boston, Rollins has seen similar pushback from cops, judges, and the Republican governor.
Naturally, the Boston PD celebrated Judge Sinnott's abuse of power.
"We couldn't be happier at the moment with the judge that's on the bench," said Larry Calderone, the Vice President of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association. "We are here to make sure the DA prosecutes these offenders to the fullest extent of the law."
I wonder how they would feel if the judge refused to drop charges against the officers for violating the civil rights of protesters?
More Rachael Rollinses! Fewer fuckheads! And something that rhymes with both of those for a good protest call and response.
HOLY SHIT. So in an absolutely surreal update on Judge Sinnott, it turns out that he, himself, has benefitted from the use of prosecutorial discretion.
While Judge Sinnott was working for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, he SHOT A MAN. In a use of prosecutorial discretion, the charges against him were dismissed.
Wait what?!?!? The judge who refused to let Boston DA Rachel Rollins use her prosecutorial discretion to dismiss di… https://t.co/MwnFFnBF2s— David Menschel (@David Menschel) 1567779443.0
That's just ... wow. No words.
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