Ten Reasons I Won’t Vote for Martha Coakley

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

While at the Middlesex DA’s office:

  • She prosecuted (using questionable tactics) two grandparents, Ray and Shirley Souza, falsely accused of abusing their grandchildren. Evidence in the case is now known to be unreliable, but Coakley stands by the conviction.
  • She overcharged Louise Woodward, a nanny accused of murdering a child in her care. The medical evidence was weak and highly flawed, but conviction is easy when a child has died. Coakley secured the conviction, but the judge changed the verdict to manslaughter and sentenced Woodward to time served. Coakley’s main expert has since recanted his testimony, but Coakley still touts the case as a major victory.
  • After the parole board unanimously recommended commutation of his sentence, Coakley orchestrated a disinformation campaign and successfully lobbied a weak governor (Jane Swift) to keep Gerald Amirault in prison until the parole board was able to release him two years later without executive interference.
  • She obstructed the release of innocent men subsequently freed on DNA evidence.

As Massachusetts Attorney General

  • She signed an amicus brief supporting the execution of a Georgia man with an IQ of 60.
  • She advocated for total immunity for prosecutors who framed two innocent African Americans in Iowa for a murder they did not commit.
  • She argued (albeit ineptly) in the US Supreme Court in support of a law that unconstitutionally infringed the Sixth Amendment rights of defendants.
  • She helped draft an anti-obscenity law that was invalidated by a federal judge that stated that it “without question” violated the First Amendment.
  • She tried to deny compensation to Bernard Baran — an innocent victim of homophobic hysteria — and eventually forced him to accept less than was his due. Coakley is still fighting Baran — who was exonerated by the Appeals Court and eventually compensated by the state as a wrongfully convicted person — opposing his reasonable request to have his record expunged.

Finally and Perhaps Most Importantly

  • Voters, unfortunately, have little concern about injustice. They believe it can’t happen to them or to those they care about — until it does. But as Governor, Coakley could and probably would elevate to the bench men and women insensitive to the problem of prosecutorial misconduct. Governor Patrick has made some fine appointments, including appointments to the Supreme Judicial Court. If we give her the chance, Governor Coakley could very well undo his good work.

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