O’Keefe jumps jurisdictions with charges against Rollins
The state’s district attorneys are generally in the business of bringing charges against alleged criminal offenders, not against each other.
But Cape and Islands DA Michael O’Keefe’s op-ed in yesterday’s Boston Globe amounted to a full-on indictment of fellow DA Rachael Rollins, who was elected Suffolk County’s top prosecutor last fall.
O’Keefe unloads on a new category of prosecutor he dubs the “social justice district attorney.” Though he never mentions Rollins by name, there is no mistaking the target of his charges.
He disparages this new breed of social justice candidate for DA who makes “grand pronouncements and, as here in Boston, proclaims that entire categories of crime will no longer be prosecuted.”
Rollins has actually been far less than absolute in applying the policy, a fact that has earned some pushback from advocates looking for the wholesale change she campaigned on.
But if Rollins has disappointed some by going too slowly, she’s been aggressive enough in calling for change that O’Keefe’s broadside isn’t the first attack on her from a fellow law enforcement official.
Early last month, Rollins got into a nasty dust-up with the Baker administration after it released publicly a letter to her from Public Safety Secretary Thomas Turco criticizing the do-not-prosecute policy. Rollins hit back hard in defending her policy. She even invoked the case involving allegations that Gov. Charlie Baker’s son groped a fellow passenger on an airline flight — an incident for which no charges have been filed — saying, “not everyone gets the benefit of the Baker family when they have interacted with the criminal justice system.”
There has long been a strong bond among the state’s 11 district attorneys. They are the frontline face of the criminal justice system, the ones who apply state law in the hundreds of day-to-day matters that land in court, and the DAs often form a united front in speaking out on proposed changes to criminal statutes on Beacon Hill or on other policy matters.
Sometimes that consensus is broken. Last year, for example, two of the 11 DAs — Middlesex DA Marian Ryan and Northwestern DA David Sullivan — did not sign a letter the other nine submitted that was critical of the Senate version of Beacon Hill’s big criminal justice reform legislation.
But that’s a far cry from sending a direct shot across the bow of a fellow DA, as O’Keefe has done.
The veteran Republican DA’s op-ed amounted to a full-throated defense of the criminal justice system status quo, arguing that attacks on the system for demographic disparities in incarceration are entirely misplaced.
O’Keefe is apparently unmoved by the calls to dial back several decades of heightened criminal justice sanctions, which have come not just from conservatives’ favorite punching bag, George Soros, whom he singles out for opprobrium, but from Republican governors and the right-leaning Koch brothers as well.
Rollins has repeatedly pointed out that her views were made clear on the campaign trail, and that voters spoke clearly as well. She has yet to respond to O’Keefe, but it’s safe to assume she views Barnstable County more as a getaway for beach and barbeque than a place from which to take direction on running the Suffolk DA’s office.
A Globe editorial backs Gov. Charlie Baker’s bill to revamp the process for civilly committing sex offenders.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has received over 1,500 public comments on a waterways license needed to allow the city of Boston to work within tidelands.The license is needed to reconstruct the 3,400-foot bridge demolished in 2015. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh plans to rebuild the bridge and open a drug rehabilitation program on Long Island. Many Quincy residents are in opposition, citing traffic issues. (Patriot Ledger)
The 13 Asian-American and Latino residents who sued Lowell over the distribution of municipal votes have reached a settlement with the city that will be filed in federal court Wednesday morning. (Lowell Sun)
City officials will announce today a major private fundraising campaign to support the Boston Public Library. (Boston Globe)
The New York Times surveys the moves across several states, including Massachusetts, to allow people to designate a non-binary gender identity on official forms such as a driver’s license.
Congresswoman Katherine Clark presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Patricia Warner for her daring work spying during World War II when she was stationed in Spain as a secretary who fed information to the allies. (WBUR)
Congressman Seth Moulton, a presidential candidate and Marine combat veteran, says that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and he wants to enhance the nation’s mental health treatment. (Salem News)
Democratic candidates for president, led by military veterans Pete Buttigieg and Moulton, are training their fire on President Trump’s military service record — more specifically the lack of it, which they say came about via a bogus medical deferment he used to avoid serving in Vietnam. (Washington Post)
Howie Carr, who plays a right-wing troglodyte on radio and in his Boston Herald column, often seems to view politics more as cheap entertainment than a venue for serious deliberation of important issues, and today’s offering does nothing to undermine that idea. (Boston Herald)
Jim Lyons, the chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party, recruits potential GOP candidates with an email asking the recipient whether he or she is ready to “challenge the radical left Democrats” in the state. (CommonWealth)
A new poll indicates 65 percent of Massachusetts residents oppose lowering the voting age for congressional and presidential elections. (MassLive)
Amazon is building a distribution center that should employ around 1,500 people in North Andover. (Eagle-Tribune)
Sandwich selectmen are sending a letter of nonopposition to the state and proceed with the drafting of a host community agreement with Brockton-based In Good Health Inc., which is looking to open a retail dispensary at 449 Route 130. (Cape Cod Times)
According to a new report from the Pioneer Institute, UMass president Marty Meehan and the university’s board of trustees are to blame for fiscal problems at the UMass Boston campus, not former chancellor Keith Motley, who the report says was made into a scapegoat for the higher-ups’ failings. (WCVB)
A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Mount Ida College filed by three former students, who claimed the school’s sudden closure was handled illegally. (MassLive) Robert Hildreth, the philanthropist who bankrolled the suit, says he’s not giving up the fight. (Boston Globe)
All five of the embattled Skyline nursing homes in Massachusetts have closed, according to court receiver Paul Valentine of KCP Advisory Group. (Standard Times)
Manchester historian Kitty Weaver found an 1868 treaty between the United States and the Navajo Nation in her attic and on Wednesday she will give the handwritten document to the Navajo tribe. (Gloucester Daily Times)
A man died early Wednesday when he was struck by a commuter rail train outside the Hanson station. (Brockton Enterprise)
The Pilgrim nuclear plant is due to stop generating electricity on Friday, part of a nationwide turn away from nuclear power. (Boston Globe) . The Cape Cod Times has more about the simulations being conducted this week in preparation.
The board of directors of Wynn Resorts paid fines totaling $35.5 million to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, paving the way for a grand opening on June 23. The board said it objected to a $500,000 fine assessed on President and CEO Matt Maddox, but decided to pay it on his behalf rather than delay the opening. (CommonWealth)
CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTSSuffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins says she and officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement are making nice, but the lawsuit she and others are pursuing against ICE is continuing as she attempts to clarify the agency’s ability to make arrests inside courthouses. (CommonWealth)
Carlos Rivera, a 47-year-old Lawrence man, was held without bail after being accused of bringing 13-year-old Chloe Ricard to Lawrence General Hospital where she was pronounced dead. (Eagle-Tribune)