June 2, 2016, West Barnstable MA.
In a letter published in the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Gants’ response to Speaker’s request a misstep on November 19, 2015 and in this blog, I wrote:
To the editor:
When The Boston Globe Spotlight team published a series of articles revealing, to no one’s surprise, that there was political patronage hiring in the Probation Department, the Supreme Judicial Court hired attorney Paul F. Ware Jr. and armed him with subpoena power to conduct an investigation.
When the Spotlight team published another series suggesting the premise that the percentage of acquittals in bench trials of OUI cases was too high, the SJC, to its eternal shame, accepted the premise at least as a hypothesis and hired an attorney to investigate.
When House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo complained to Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants about the illegal leaking to The Globe of his sealed deposition in the Ware investigation, Gants, rather than conduct an investigation, informed the speaker that he would refer the matter to the U.S. attorney, the attorney general and the Ethics Commission.
I don’t know which is worse: that the chief justice would intentionally and gratuitously insult the speaker, who has a great deal to say about the court budget, or that he actually believes or thinks the speaker would believe that any of those three worthies would conduct an actual investigation that must start at the doors of The Boston Globe.
Brian R. Merrick
The writer is a retired District Court judge.
Well, guess what? According to the Commonwealth Magazine Daily Download the SJC investigation is completed. Chief Justice Gants wrote to Speaker DeLeo on May 31 and explained the results of their exhaustive investigation. It seems that the US Justice Department, the Massachusetts Attorney General, the State Ethics Commission and independent counsel Ware all replied to the SJC, saying that they had asked their people with access to the deposition and they all said “Nope, we didn’t leak the deposition to the Globe.”
“After considering the responses, the justices have concluded that there would be no likely benefit from any further inquiry, so at this point we deem the matter closed,” Gants wrote to DeLeo.
No one was questioned under oath, no Grand Jury was empaneled and no phone or other records were subpoenaed. And, as I predicted, no one asked the Globe, even nicely, never mind with a subpoena.
Certainly, as I noted earlier, no independent counsel was appointed by the SJC. Why? What’s the difference here? In the earlier cases it was the Globe demanding investigation. In this case it was the Globe in possession of the stolen deposition. Shame on the SJC.