Governor’s Council nixes Patrick pick again

Murray reluctant to delay 5-3 vote


GOV. DEVAL PATRICK’S PICK for a Southern Berkshire District Court judgeship was rejected by the Governor’s Council for a second time on Wednesday after some councilors first attempted to postpone the vote.

Attorney Michael McCarthy was turned down by the council in December on a 3 to 3 vote when Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray was out of state and unable to break the tie. Patrick resubmitted his nomination to the council in January, hoping he’d win approval on a reconstituted council with four of its eight members serving their first terms. Instead, the council voted 5-3 against appointing McCarthy.

McCarthy’s nomination came under attack last year after councilors accused him of saying he would “hint” to inexperienced prosecutors faltering during trial.

“Even if he said it, he apologized for it. He made a mistake,” Councilor Robert Jubinville said. “We can find a reason to submarine McCarthy. But it seems to me, we have voted on candidates, in the short time I have been here, on candidates that didn’t have near the experience of Michael McCarthy. To make it worse, you have a whole community that wants this guy.”

Councilor Michael Albano, a Springfield Democrat who actively advocated on McCarthy’s behalf, argued the vote should be delayed to give councilors time to travel to speak with people in the community.

Murray said Wednesday he was hesitant to postpone the vote because he feared it would set a precedent.

“I find it extremely unfortunate that we are in this situation, for lots of reasons,” Murray said before the vote. “Nonetheless I am concerned if this precedent is established, this will be a regular part of doing business here.”

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Later Wednesday, the council is scheduled to interview for the second time another judicial candidate, District Court Judge Shannon Frison, whose vote was delayed in December at the Patrick administration’s request, Albano pointed out.

Councilors Jubinville, Albano and Oliver Cipollini voted in McCarthy’s favor. Councilors Jennie Caissie, Eileen Duff, Christopher Iannella, Terrence Kennedy, and Marilyn Devaney voted against him.