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Terrible Realities: Why Both the Left and Right Oppose Coakley’s Prosecutorial Overreach

Rather than try to encapsulate this new article, or even quote from it, I implore you to read this shocking op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal: Martha Coakley’s Convictions – The role played by the U.S. Senate candidate in a notorious sex case raises questions about her judgment.” Yes, the author Dorothy Rabinowitz is a conservative, but the case she presents is compelling and heart-breaking. (See also: Red State blog’s “Martha Coakley: Terrible Prosecutor.”)

jeralynmerrittThe case described by Rabinowitz helps to explain to me why liberal blogger Jeralyn Merritt, a Denver defense attorney, has been such a passionate opponent of Coakley’s candidacy. (H/t Andy.) After all, Merritt’s blog is called “TalkLEFT,” and she supported Obama for president. But Merritt has intimate knowledge of how Martha Coakley handled prosecutorial cases, and is vehemently opposed to her. But it was the case described by Dorothy Rabinowitz, and more, that compelled Merritt to oppose Coakley for senator.

Merritt’s three recently expressed reservations, listed below, center on Coakley’s pivots around “hot potato” issues based entirely on Coakley’s whatever-it-takes political motives. Coakley also comes across as the nightmare image of a prosecutor, hellbent on winning a case no matter what tricks, including the manipulation of children, are required in order for her to win her case.

Even if you don’t remember her, you’ve doubtless seen Denver attorney Jeralyn Merritt on television as an expert commentator. Merritt also notes that Martha Coakley prosecuted the infamous Louise Woodward case, the nanny accused of murdering the child in her care via “shaken baby” syndrome. (By the way, that link takes you to a blog run by a New York Law School professor also profoundly opposed to Coakley’s candidacy.) At any rate, here are some of Jeralyn Merritt’s current concerns. Keep in mind as you read this list that her blog is named TalkLEFT:

(1) In “Another Reason Martha Coakley Should Not Be Senator,” Merritt writes:

I've never thought Martha Coakley would make a good U.S. Senator. I'm even more convinced now that she has signed her name to a brief restricting death penalty appeals, while claiming to be against the death penalty. … Read the details.

[...]

Martha Coakley hasn't changed a bit since she prosecuted nanny Louise Woodward. Or was involved in the Fells Acre case. She's no Ted Kennedy, that's for sure. I wouldn't vote for her for dogcatcher.

(2) In “Martha Coakley’s Bait and Switch on Abortion, Merritt writes:

Can't say I didn't warn you about Martha Coakley. The latest: a Bait and switch. During her campaign to replace Sen. Ted Kennedy, she said she wouldn't support a bill with restrictions on abortion.

Today, she announced her support for the health care bill with its restrictions on abortion funding.

[...]

Martha Coakley is not someone we need in the U.S. Senate. She certainly is no Ted Kennedy. (More here.)In my opinion, she's as unprincipled now as she was during the prosecution of nanny Louise Woodward.

(3) In the January 14th post, “Martha Coakley: Too Big a Risk for Senator,” Merritt — rather passionately — writes:

At Politico, Radley Balko summarizes Martha Coakley's prosecutorial over-reaching during her career and the threat she poses to those who care about criminal justice reform.

As a member of the Senate, not only would Coakley be creating new federal criminal laws; given her record as a prosecutor, there’s a good chance she’d serve on committees with oversight over the Justice Department and the judiciary. She’d also be casting votes to confirm or deny federal judicial appointments. Advocates for criminal justice reform should be wary. Coakley may share Kennedy’s opposition to the death penalty, but her record as a prosecutor leaves plenty of doubt about her commitment to justice.

I hope if you live in Massachussetts, you don't vote for Martha Coakley.

I’ve heard enough. This election is not any longer, for me, a referendum on Obamacare. This election is about electing the better of the two candidates. And Scott Brown is definitely the better of the two.

By the way, I was curious about Brown’s background, and found a good biography of his life at Wikipedia.

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  • TeakWoodKite

    It is of note that the next person to hold the office got a stiff sentence in the case. It smells of neglect, as jbjd has described in a professional capasity.

  • Nellie

    Conversely she does NOT speedily prosecute those who deserve it, if it will impede her forward Political Progress.  Please do not read this if eating or drinking. The details are truly nauseating.
     
    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2010/01/06/some_saw_coakley_as_lax_on_05_rape_case/  
     
     

  • Nellie

    Conversely she does NOT speedily prosecute those who deserve it, if it will impede her forward Political Progress.

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2010/01/06/some_saw_coakley_as_lax_on_05_rape_case/

    Please do not read this if eating or drinking. The details are truly nauseating.
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  • Nellie

    Bronwyn,

    “Coakley is the epitome of the kind of prosecutor who will do anything to win, no matter what she does to destroy the lives of those she’s chosen to prosecute.”

    BINGO!!

    It is true Coakley expends her time prosecuting and trying every trick to hold the indigent, disabled and those with few resources in jail. Conversely, she backs down on anyone who actually DESERVES jail, when it onflicts with her Political Progess forward.

    Here is a graphic case of a Somerville policeman who was convicted of “raping” his 27 month old neice with a curling iron. Not only did he use a curling iron, it was HOT when this deranged act was done. Yet Coackely stated he was “stressed” poor baby. Her husband is/was also a policeman.

    Here are the details of that poor baby hideously damaged by a trusted relative:

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    <![endif]–>http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2010/01/06/some_saw_coakley_as_lax_on_05_rape_case/

  • Docelder

    This Brown guy seems real. Coakley seems oversold.

  • getfitnow

    I don’t have to listen to Ann Coulter or any other pundit to know who the right candidate is. :-D

  • getfitnow

    Did  see the latest negative ad they launched–then pulled–connecting Brown with Wall St and, wait—9/11.

  • getfitnow

    AMEN!!

  • Nellie

    Today at 1:30PM. WBUR (NPR Station In MA) announced that 0 is flying in to help Coakley on Sunday.

    That pretty well guarantees that Coakley will most likely lose. WHY?

    1. There is a Suffolk University Poll released today that Shows Brown +4 points. The race is now that close.

    2. For those not familiar with greater Boston, 0 appearance guarantess angering the most people possible in Eastern MA. The two main routes from the North into Boston will be closed (RT 93 S over the Tobin Bridge, and RT 95 S). Routes 24 North into Boston and RT 128 into Boston will be impassable. The Mass pike leads directly into Boston from West to East, guaranteeing massive traffic Jams.

    Therefore, people in the greater Boston Environs will have to suffer major traffic jams to travel North, or Sourh to Cape Cod and Points West. People coming from western points, North or South Shore areas will have to travel to Routes 495 and 290 near Worcester to try and avoid the worst traffic jams, and will add anywhere between 1-2 hours to their travel time.

    So by “helping” Coackley 0 screws up the holiday weekend travel for both residents of MA and surrounding states, as well as those who had any plans in the greater Boston Area. There may be some truth that 0 actually is trying to blame Coackley if she loses and is doing his best to anger people under the guise of “help”.

  • buzzlatte

    I understood it to be that a single issue voter would be one that votes for a woman just because they, too, are a woman.

    The problem with that is blindness to the merits of the two candidates.  It’s the same thing the blacks did.  They voted on skin color rather than experience.  Women voting for Coakley based only on gender are just as blind.

    Brown may not be ideal, but Coakley has become another symbol of Democratic overreach and big government and that, in turn, is an unpopular message to the masses.

  • PA Caucasian

    Boston Globe November 23, 2009:

    “Still, at the time of Geoghan’s probation, Cardinal Bernard Law, then the archbishop of Boston, and other church officials were holding thousands of pages of records documenting Geoghan’s decades of sexual abuse and the ineffective treatment he had received at psychiatric facilities. The records were released to the public in 2002 after legal action taken by the Globe for a series by the paper’s Spotlight Team showing that the archdiocese had concealed Geoghan’s abuses, as well as those of many other priests.

    In 1999, when Coakley indicted Geoghan in the case involving the boy at the swimming pool, there was far more public suspicion about priests and sexual abuse – and about Geoghan – than there was when she lost her case against Manning. By then, Garabedian had filed lawsuits on behalf of more than 50 of Geoghan’s victims. And in 1998, Law had successfully moved to defrock Geoghan in a highly publicized punitive procedure approved by Pope John Paul II.”

    1995 – Coakley cuts the deal
    1999 – indicts Geoghan for a molestation charge at a public swimming pool. Bernard Law may have been able to remove Geoghan from parochial activities, but the Cardinal had no control over what Geoghan did for recreation.

  • arabella trefoil

    Well stated.

  • arabella trefoil

    I agree.

  • arabella trefoil

    Robocalls? I hate those things. If Obama really wants to help Coakley he shouldn’t do robocalls.

  • arabella trefoil

    creeper, I could not agree with you more.

  • arabella trefoil

    Did you vote for Obama? Do you support his healthcare plan?

  • arabella trefoil

    No use of jet fuel is necessary. Obama should walk on water to get to Haiti.

  • Tuppence 411

    Coakley won the conviction against Geoghan only because he molested again after she cut the deal with him.

     Your above statement of fact is so false and inaccurate.  Where did you get that information?  Thankfully by the 90′s even Cardinal Law knew enough to keep Geoghan away from parishes and children.  Hence the criticism, if she had gotten her hands on his medical records from the archdiocses she would have known they had sent him off for treatment many times.  Get it?

    His later conviction came as more and more families came forward, reporting past abuse.

    AFAIC, I am really not informed enough to comment on parish life or the state of the church in PA, so I wouldn’t have an opinion to post.

  • cat

    Coakley won the conviction against Geoghan only because he molested again after she cut the deal with him. 

    BINGO

  • Anonymous

    Maybe he could fly over Haiti, just to let them know that he cares.

  • PA Caucasian

    Coakley won the conviction against Geoghan only because he molested again after she cut the deal with him.

    Were the victims turned down because of lack of evidence – or because the word came down from on high (referring to the Kennedys, close friends of Cardinal Law,) to deep six any police complaints that came across the precinct desk. I recall testimony of officers, just regular cops, who were told to lay off the pedo priest cases, obviously the word had filtered down from their superiors.

    I realize you’re upset about the controversy surrounding your preferred candidate. It isn’t just myself who is pointing out inconsistencies about Coakley’s prosecutorial conduct. Jeralyn Merritt is based out of Colorado, do you think she shouldn’t speak out about these irregularities because she’s in Denver, not Boston?

    AFAIC you’re free to voice any opinion at all in reference to Pennsylvania politicos even though you’re in Massachusetts. I honor your right as an American citizen to do so.

  • Docelder

    I can see that movie being made. Obama could be played by Denzel. Not sure why I think he would be a fit… maybe that Manchurian movie. I wonder what director would be willing to play the role of Goebbels? Or rather which ones would actually refuse the chance to is the better question maybe.  8-)

  • oowawa

    The situation is dire . . .
    The Hour is late . . .
    But:

  • Tuppence 411

    Martha Coakley won a sucessful conviction against Geoghan afterwards. He died in prison strangled by an inmate.

    As far as the  American Thinker piece… do you know who the former priest Paul Shanley even is?  Have you ever spoken to any of his victims?  It very much criticizes Coakley over the Shanley case.

    Have you ever spoken to any victims or any of their families in any counties here in MA who went to their DA’s for years, even decades, only to be turned away because there wasn’t enough evidence or they couldn’t get a prosecution.

    In hindsight, people can say she could have done more, faster, a better job – convienently over looking the fact she was the only DA doing anything for a very long time.

    But you wouldn’t know any of this,  because I am in MA  and  you are in PA. 

  • JustMe

    I expect Bill is doing double shift helping Coakley and spearheading his Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation that are frantically working on the Haiti relief and rescue efforts.   
     
    Hey Miss. S. Obama is not the only one with a “BlackBerry” 
    Shape up lady get into the groove.

  • JustMe

    I expect Bill is doing double shift helping Coakley and spearheading
    Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation are frantically working on the Haiti relief and rescue efforts.  

    Hey Miss S Obama is not the only one with a “BlackBerry”
    Shape up lady get in the groove.

  • Docelder

    I guess when he said it was the people’s seat… that made him a tea bagger. Schumer with his condescending “chattering class” comments and now this. Who died and left him boss anyway?

  • Docelder

    Well here comes the “hopenchange”. Obama is going to campaign for Coakley. Which is fitting since if she wins he will vote for her by proxy as well.

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9D8BJU04&show_article=1

  • Hmmm

    It is perfectly reasonable not to vote for Coakley as a way to send a message to Washington that the health care bill is a sellout to insurance and pharmaceutical corporations, and a monstrous one at that.  Arguing that improvements will come, that it is similar to social security is bogus from the start.  Social Security was a government run program right from the beginning, not private enterprise.  Any future improvements the Democrats and the MSM try and spin as coming down the road will be fought tooth and nail by the insurance and pharmaceutical giants. So stay home and let Brown win and hope against hope that someone gets the message.
     Corporatist Democrats – and all Republicans – are obviously going to spin this in what ever way they imagine gives them an advantage or cover.  That includes Obama and of course, Rham, and alas, most of the Democrats in DC.
     But think, if people constantly acquiesce, if it’s always the reasonable people (70% in favor of public option) that have to compromise, if they never put their foot down, well of course they are going to be shafted perpetually.  It’s terrible to give Brown this victory, even if only for a couple of years.  It’s fraught with danger, but what else to do?

  • Hmmm

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    It is perfectly reasonable not to vote for Coakley as a way to send a message to Washington that the health care bill is a sellout to insurance and pharmaceutical corporations, and a monstrous one at that.  Arguing that improvements will come, that it is similar to social security is bogus from the start.  Social Security was a government run program right from the beginning, not private enterprise.  Any future improvements the Democrats and the MSM try and spin as coming down the road will be fought tooth and nail by the insurance and pharmaceutical giants. So stay home and let Brown win and hope against hope that someone gets the message.

     Corporatist Democrats – and all Republicans – are obviously going to spin this in what ever way they imagine gives them an advantage or cover.  That includes Obama and of course, Rham, and alas, most of the Democrats in DC.

     But think, if people constantly acquiesce, if it’s always the reasonable people (70% in favor of public option) that have to compromise, if they never put their foot down, well of course they are going to be shafted perpetually.  It’s terrible to give Brown this victory, even if only for a couple of years.  It’s fraught with danger, but what else to do?

  • Docelder

    That is what I am saying as well. Nothing that has happened with this administration in the first year has been done above board or with good intention. I fear not enough people will wake up in time. I am not sure where that puts us as a nation, or where that puts families that are going to have to eventually abandon bailing water aboard the Titanic and just get onto their little dinghy and make plans to survive the coming ice bath.

  • Obamastolemycountry

    after 50 years, Brown should be entitled to a new seat.  With the extra campaign contributions maybe he can buy one!  Massachusetts folks should also be entitled to replace an old dusty seat and America, too, is entitled to a new seat as well!  LOL!

    My 15 year old, politically inclined son, heard it referred to as Ted Kennedy’s seat the other day and he said why do they call it his seat?  I said because he sat in it for 50 years.  My son said gross!  It’s time to throw that one out and buy a new seat then!  LOL!

  • Tuppence 411

    Well Rush Limbaugh endorsed Brown the other day.  So that makes them even. I bet you at this point both canidates regret the nationalization of this race.  Martha lost her strongest asset- her integrity- after going to that lobby fundraiser in DC.  And Brown- can’t believe I am sticking up for him-  has every lunatic right wing group in the country tripping over themselves endorsing him whether he wants it or not. 

    It’s crazy here- television and radios ads are not even back to back,  there is like 4 or 6 in a row.  And all these groups on both sides are running their own commericals.  It is now impossible to figure out what is coming from either campaign and what is special interest groups.  It’s a major circus.

  • PA Caucasian

    Rather than prosecute, Coakley agreed to grant Geoghan a year of probation in a closed-door proceeding that received no media attention at all. Because of the deal, Geoghan faced no formal charges and no criminal record.

    The American Thinker piece was critical for Coakley missing an opportunity to press the Arhcidocese for its volumes of documentation compiled against Geoghan.

    Coakley’s 1995 decision is widely criticized by activists, who note that even if a criminal prosecution fails or results in a conviction on lesser charges, it puts parents on notice in ways that may prevent future assaults. 

    The article then goes into her prosecution’s reliance on junk science and questionable testimony to convict Amirault. I disagree with your assessment of this piece, that it somehow criticizes Coakley for aggressively prosecuting pedophile priests.

  • jbjd

    “…I certainly don’t view her as the enemy”

    Well, I do, for reasons I have expressed previously on this blog.

  • Texas Playwright

    Revolution is hard work.  May the American electorate holler long and loud with voice and vote to restore our represntative form of government. I’m not liking this creeping, accelerating fascism much.

  • Texas Playwright

    Revolution ain’t pretty.  I’m praying the American electorate will holler long and loud with voice and vote to reinstate our democratic Republic.  May take some time.  Who blinks first?

  • I’m a Linda too

    Oh man, the Dem’s just can’t help themselves. Now Schumer plays in the gutter.

    Feeling the pressure, he now has just called Scott Brown a Far Right Wing Tea Bagger in an email. So, anyone they fear politically is a Far Right Winger Tea Bagger, huh?

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/01/14/schumer-pulls-tea-bagger-card-gop-candidate-brown/

  • Docelder

    I think Brown can win, but I have doubts he will be declared the winner after the counts are done. We are all probably worrying about something that will never be allowed to happen to begin with. Sorry for hijacking the thread. I can’t help it. I think we are in serious trouble here.

  • Docelder

    Then maybe I took that bold typeface smart woman not cutting the nose off to spite the face part too literally then. My apologies.  :) I do have the sense that we are losing the republic here. Maybe it’s just me.

  • Yttik

    Well, those of you who want a Brown win should be celebrating. Rumor has it President Obama has finally decided to make some robo calls and endorse Coakley. That should just about finish her off. I believe the words he used were something about how they were of one mind and she would be his voice.

    I’m telling you, there’s something to that theory that the Dems did not want a Coakley win.

  • PA Caucasian

    So why don’t you present this exculpatory material to the current D.A. so the true perp can be prosecuted?
    If it’s your opinion that he was framed by familiy members who did do it, do you know who those family members are?

    and how can you live with yourself knowing that an innocent man is doing jail time for a heinous crime when the guilty party is free?

    Wouldn’t your time be better spent helping Officer Winfield instead of coming here to post pure unadulterated B.S.?

    The least you could do is refer his case to the Innocence Project.