Criminal law

O’Keefe jumps jurisdictions with prices towards Rollins

THE STATE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEYS are generally within the enterprise of bringing prices against alleged criminal offenders, not against every difference. But Cape and Islands DA Michael O’Keefe’s op-ed in the day before today’s Boston Globe amounted to a full-on indictment of fellow DA Rachael Rollins, who turned into elected Suffolk County’s pinnacle prosecutor final fall. O’Keefe unloads on a new class of prosecutors he dubs the “social justice district lawyer.” Though he never mentions Rollins via call, there’s no mistaking the goal of his charges.

He disparages this new breed of social justice candidate for DA who makes “grand pronouncements and, as right here in Boston, declares that complete categories of crime will no longer be prosecuted.” O’Keefe refers to a coverage pronouncement Rollins made throughout the marketing campaign, which she reaffirmed after taking office. The default role of her workplace could be no longer to prosecute a listing of 15 lower-stage offenses. Rollins has stated the fees regularly stem from problems of poverty and addiction and that pursuing charges most effectively gets people tousled inside the criminal justice machine with a file that makes it tougher to get on target and escape the rut of recidivism many offenders fall in.

Rollins has, without a doubt, been a long way less than absolute in making use of the coverage, a fact that has earned some pushback from advocates searching out the wholesale change she campaigned on.
But if Rollins has disenchanted a few with the aid of going too slowly, she’s been competitive sufficient in calling for change that O’Keefe’s broadside isn’t the primary attack on her from fellow regulation enforcement legit. Early ultimate month, Rollins got into an unpleasant dust-up with the Baker management after it launched a letter publicly 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 prices had been filed — announcing, “no longer everybody gets the gain of the Baker own family when they have interacted with the criminal justice device.” There has long been a robust bond between some of the nation’s 11 district legal professionals. They are the frontline face of the crook justice gadget, the ones who apply country law inside the hundreds of day-to-day matters that land in court docket. The DAs frequently shape a united front in speak out on proposed adjustments to crook statutes on Beacon Hill or other coverage topics.

Sometimes that consensus is damaged. Last yr, for instance, two of the 11 DAs — Middlesex DA Marian Ryan and Northwestern DA David Sullivan — did no longer sign a letter the other nine submitted that become vital to the Senate model of Beacon Hill’s massive crook justice reform regulation. But that’s a much cry from sending a right away shot across the bow of a fellow DA, as O’Keefe has performed.

The veteran Republican DA’s op-ed amounted to a complete-throated defense of the criminal justice gadget reputation quo, arguing that attacks on the device for demographic disparities in incarceration are completely misplaced. “It’s tougher in charge, as an instance, the disintegration of the family, a loss of recognize for subject and training, and the glorification in some groups of a lifestyle that celebrates disrespectful language and misogyny underneath guise of artwork,” writes O’Keefe. “I suspect that those factors are extra influential concerning who is in jail or jail than an inert criminal justice gadget.”

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