Coakley Summary?

[Note: Friends of Justice is a personal blog. I speak only for myself.]

Dear Friend of Justice,

I was contacted by a reader who’d like a short summary (with references) of Martha Coakley’s probelmatic career as a prosecutor and as Attorney General. He is looking for something neutral in tone that could be presented to the unconverted.

I don’t have the time to pull something together, as I’m leaving very early in the morning for a ten-day trip to Minnesota.

Do any of you have anything that fits the bill? Might someone be interested in taking a crack at pulling something together?

I think such a summary should include discussion of:

1. The Louise Woodward case. I am not an expert on this one. The Judge (Hillaire Zobel) reduced the verdict, sentenced Woodward to time served, and let her go home.

2. The Ray and Shirley Souza case. One of the classic witch hunt cases. Very problematic. Coakley was the prosecutor. See Mark Pendergrast’s account.

3. The Amirault case. Her involvement began after she was elected DA of Middlesex County. To refresh your memory, go to my Amirault Chronology and search for Coakley.

4. Her decision to prosecute Paul Shanley based soley on the recovered “repressed” memory testimony of a disturbed individual who had received a huge financial settlement from the Catholic Church. This is tricky, because the press has convinced most people that Shanley was guilty. But he is not.

5. Her recent signing on Massachusetts onto an amicus before the US Supreme Court supporting absolute immunity for prosecutors.

I’m sure I’m leaving out some important stuff. Anyway, if you have something or would like to put together something, email me at I will have email access next week during normal business hours.

-Bob Chatelle