Sinning in the workplace

Judge Thomas Estes asked the Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday to penalize him for having extramarital sex with a court employee but not to take his job away permanently.

David Hoose, who represented Estes before the SJC, said his client is not the first person — even the first judge, male or female — to have an affair with a coworker. He said most of those judges faced censure but not the loss of their job.

“He has not sinned so severely as it should cost him his career,” Hoose said. “He is not only a good judge, he is a superlative judge, he is an exemplary judge.”

Howard Neff, representing the Judicial Conduct Commission, which is asking that the judge be suspended without pay indefinitely, said Estes fractured public trust by having an eight-month affair with Tammy Cagle. “No amount of good behavior can negate the impact of his conduct on the public perception of the judiciary,” Neff said. “He can never command moral authority of the respect necessary to be a judge in Massachusetts.”

Justice Frank M. Graziano said the court once removed a sitting clerk magistrate for lacking decorum and being “tardy” with decisions. Graziano said it would be difficult to treat Estes more leniently given his transgressions. “The judge sits at the top of the pyramid in the courthouse,” Graziano said.

Of course, former president Bill Clinton sat at the top of the nation’s political pyramid when he engaged in similar behavior with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern, in the late 1990s. Clinton didn’t lose his job.

The Judicial Conduct Commission, in its filing with the court, did not accuse Estes of sexual harassment, but Cagle is suing Estes in federal court alleging just that.

Both Estes and Cagle acknowledge the sexual relationship started at a retreat in November 2016 in Marlboro. After drinking at a bar with other coworkers, the two returned to their rooms but then Cagle called the judge and asked him to fix the TV in her room. Cagle, in her lawsuit, said she was dressed in a T-shirt and sweatpants when Estes came to her room and fixed the TV before pressuring her to perform oral sex. She said the same pattern repeated itself many times over the coming months, with the judge insisting her job could be in jeopardy if word ever got out.

Cagle’s attorney on Tuesday likened Estes to Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by many women of sexual harassment..

Estes, by contrast, characterized Cagle as the aggressor in the relationship. Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, quoting a filing by Estes’ lawyer, said Cagle ensnared his client. “She lured him to her room on the pretext that she needed help with her TV. To his great regret, Judge Estes went to her room, where he found Ms. Cagle lying on her bed, clad only in panties and a tee shirt. The television was on.”

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

A Herald editorial decries what it calls the state’s affinity for taxes and fees and says state-income-tax-free Florida is looking more and more appealing.

Bryon Hefner pleads not guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault in a case that led to the resignation of his husband, Stan Rosenberg, as state Senate president. (Boston Globe) Hefner’s attorney said her client is looking forward to trial and cross-examining his accusers, who can no longer remain anonymous. (State House News)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Jim Vrabel has compiled an impressive digital database of Boston history stretching from 15,000 BC to the present, but needs to find an institutional home for it. (Boston Globe)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

A federal judge ruled that President Trump’s decision to eliminate the DACA program was “arbitrary and capricious,” but gave the administration 90 days to explain its action. (WBUR)

Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, advised bankers on the best way to undermine the agency. (New York Times)

After President Trump suggested earlier in the day yesterday that he wouldn’t blame his nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary for withdrawing because of controversy around his past conduct, the White House later said it’s backing Ronny Jackson all the way and says his record is “impeccable.” (New York Times)

A Globe editorial says a “red-flag” gun law like the one pending in the Massachusetts Legislature might have prevented the recent killing of four people at a Tennessee restaurant.

ELECTIONS

Republican Helen Brady, a 30-year employee of the Boston Symphony, announced she intends to run against Suzanne Bump for state auditor. (MassLive)

State Sen. Barbara L’Italien unloaded on several of her Democratic rivals for the Third Congressional District seat, denouncing Dan Koh as a blow-in puppet of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Lori Trahan as a functionary of former congressman and current UMass president Marty Meehan’s political machine. (Boston Herald)

Two incumbents were defeated in yesterday’s town election in Milton, one planning board member and one member of the park commission. (Patriot Ledger)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A union leader at a Fall River plant that makes lighting products asks President Trump to step in and stave off the impending layoff of 160 workers as their work is moved to a Philips Lighting plant in Mexico. (Boston Herald)

Amazon plans to start delivering packages to the trunks of some parked cars. (Time)

EDUCATION

Students and parents vented their outrage at the planned closure of Mt. Ida College to members of the state Board of Higher Education. (Boston Globe)

The Supreme Judicial Court, in a unanimous ruling, dismissed an appeal that sought to establish a constitutional basis for expanding charter schools, declaring that its “education clause provides a right for all the Commonwealth’s children to receive an adequate education, not a right to attend charter schools.” (Boston Herald)

A professor at Framingham State University and her husband gave $2.4 million to the school to fund two full scholarships a year for students. (Metrowest Daily News)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The state could yank its approval next month of Quincy College nursing programs as the school’s graduates continue to show the lowest pass rate on licensure tests of any program in the state. (Patriot Ledger)

Massachusetts dentists have reversed their long position and are now supporting legislation that would allow a new category of mid-level practitioners, whose training falls between that of dentists and dental hygienists. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

At an event on transit-oriented development, state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack made a number of interesting comments, including the observation that more money is not the answer to the problems facing regional transit authorities and New Bedford and Fall River will not be required to pony up money for South Coast Rail. (CommonWealth)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A former Ashland woman who moved recently to Maine was brutally killed in her home there and her 15-year-old son and two of his friends are charged with the crime. (Boston Globe)

Attorney General Maura Healey is vowing to institute reforms aimed at preventing the sort of misconduct that rocked the state drug lab in Amherst. (Boston Globe)

Thomas Gagen, a former Globe editorial page writer, penned an op-ed giving Cambridge police the benefit of the doubt for the way they forcibly subdued a man who was standing naked on a median strip of Massachusetts Avenue. Many onlookers were shocked at the way the officers slugged the man.

MEDIA

Boston Magazine picked Linda Pizzuti Henry, the managing director of the Boston Globe, as the most influential person in Boston. Her husband, John Henry, who owns the Globe and gave her the job, didn’t make the top 100.

Peter Lucas, a columnist for the Lowell Sun and now its sister publication the Boston Herald, bashed the Washington press corps for delving deeply into Donald Trump’s pre-president personal life but failing to pick up on the secret negotiations of his administration with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.