Dookhan sentencing debate
Prosecutors are seeking a five- to seven-year prison sentence for former state chemist Annie Dookhan if she pleads guilty to falsifying evidence. The sentence is far longer than the one to three years recommended under sentencing guidelines and the one year proposed by Dookhan’s attorney.
“Given the motives for the defendant’s actions were selfish and shallow, coupled with the egregious damage she created for those reasons, significant incarceration is warranted,” the attorney general’s office said in its sentencing memorandum.
Dookhan is charged with eight counts of tampering with evidence, one count of perjury, one count of falsely claiming a master’s degree in chemistry, and 17 counts of obstruction of justice. Prosecutors say Dookhan falsified evidence to improve her productivity and burnish her reputation and also to cover up her own mistakes. A hearing involving a possible change in plea is scheduled for today.
WBUR reports that 1,100 cases have been dismissed or not prosecuted because of tainted evidence linked to Dookhan. The radio station also reports that 51 people who were released from prison because of tainted evidence are now back in jail on new charges, including a Brockton man charged with murder.
Boston attorney John Cunha, who formerly served as president of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, tells the Globe he thinks Dookhan is being scapegoated. “What’s happening to the supervisors who didn’t seem to make any inquiries when she was handling twice, three times as many cases as anybody else?” he asks.
State courts administrator Harry Spence tells lawmakers about his plans to consolidate some courts and build new ones in other locations, including Lowell, the Sun reports.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley hosted 60 legislators for breakfast yesterday as part of an effort to reestablish the Catholic church’s rapport with Beacon Hill lawmakers, reports the Globe.
The Berkshire Eagle supports legislation that would label foods that are made of genetically modified organisms.
The State Ethics Commission contemplates what to do about Sen. Dan Wolfe and conflicts of interests more broadly.
Standard & Poor’s raises the credit rating of Lawrence, a city with a state fiscal overseer, one notch to the third highest level, the Eagle-Tribune reports.Worcester also gets a boost, the Telegram & Gazette reports.
The Lifebridge homeless shelter in Salem decides not to accept walk-ins during the winter months because staff found it chaotic to have so many people crowd in during cold weather, the Salem News reports.
Weymouth health officials have lifted a ban on nighttime outdoor activities that had been in place since a woman died of the mosquito-borne EEE virus.
Scot Lehigh was there this week to take in the self-pitying whining of Boston city councilors who were unhappy about having to hold a hearing to weigh the pros and cons of the arbitration award to Boston police patrol officers.
Ten communities are seeking mitigation agreements from the developer of the proposed slots parlor in Raynham.
Penn National wants to calculate mitigation payments a year after its proposed slots parlor in Plainville would open.
Steve Wynn tells state gambling investigators his casino operations in Macau, China should be off-limits, prompting state gaming commissioner Gail Cameron to tell Wynn, “You really have some disdain for investigations and law enforcement.” Wynn’s Macau casino has been at the center of both US criminal investigations, and a rancorous lawsuit between Wynn and a former partner; the SEC decided this summer not to pursue any sanctions over the facility.
Republicans are fretting over the damage done by the Tea Party zealots within their camp who brought the government to its knees. Tea party lawmakers believe they’ll get what they want in January. Meanwhile, tourists in Boston have a few choice words for Congress. Paul Krugman, on the likelihood of another Washington meltdown: “You may say that Republicans would be crazy to provoke another confrontation. But they were crazy to provoke this one, so why assume that they’ve learned their lesson?”
Boston mayoral candidates John Connolly and Marty Walsh make their case to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, but developer John Fish is still undecided, WBUR reports.
Both candidates want to significantly remake the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Globe reports. The paper also runs out this predictable qualifier to all mayoral race matters: It’s tough for pols to compete with a pennant race
At a debate on diversity with Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, challenger Tim Phelan says 98.8 percent of the teachers in the city’s schools are white, the Item reports.
Connecticut buys a women’s professional tennis tournament for $618,000, Governing reports.
A new study finds that Jews are twice as likely to make a charitable bequest in their wills as non-Jews.
The growth of charter schools is choking the finances of public school systems and hurting their credit ratings, Governing reports.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association is spearheading a drive to put an initiative petition on next year’s ballot that would limit the number of patients a nurse has at any one time.
Obamacare has already cut the number of uninsured in Oregon by 10 percent, the Oregonian reports.
On-time performance of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority still lags, the Telegram & Gazette reports.
Shirley Leung takes stock of a transportation-funding idea every pol seems to support: Getting private businesses to pay for transit stuff. Meanwhile, MetroWest also ponders new investments in transportation.
A state-funded study says subsidies for solar power will cost the typical Massachusetts residential ratepayer between $1 and $1.50 a month over the next three decades, CommonWealth reports.
Greater Boston examines the changing scene in New England’s energy mix, with natural gas increasing its share of power generation while coal and nuclear begin to wane.MEDIA
Dead too Young. Fox reports that Rep. Bill Young of Florida is dead when he’s actually alive, Talking Points Memo reports.