DeLeo flexes muscle on court reform
House votes 152-0 to keep probation in judiciary, away from governor
Speaker Robert DeLeo showed off some serious political muscle today when the House voted 152-0 to reform the courts and retain the embattled Probation Department within the judicial branch rather than under the governor’s office.
The bill now moves on to the Senate where Senate President Therese Murray has indicated she favors keeping the Probation Department where it is. The overwhelming support in the House is a major blow to Gov. Deval Patrick, who wanted to merge probation with parole in the executive branch, and a victory for Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, who sided with DeLeo.The Probation Department became the center of controversy last year after numerous reports and an investigation by an independent counsel showed legislators, including DeLeo, were able to secure jobs for friends, family, and supporters at the Probation Department in exchange for increased power and bigger budgets for Probation Commissioner John J. O’Brien.
“Not only does this bill create a civilian administrator to oversee the business aspects of the Trial Court, but it also adds needed transparency to the hiring and promotion practices at the Department of Probation,” DeLeo said in a statement after the vote. “By passing this reorganization bill, the House has committed to bring a more transparent, efficient system of justice to the people of Massachusetts.”