After calling the case one of massive corruption last Thursday Judge Young appeared to have reconsidered what was involved in the matter. Thankfully he did because up until the sentencing time I was expecting O’Brien to go away for five years. He got 18 months while the prosecutor asked for 70 months, almost 6 years. O’Brien’s co-defendant Taveres got 3 months and Burke got probation while the prosecutors wanted 46 months for them.
Young, although refusing to stay the sentences pending appeal which probably means the two defendants sentenced to prison will serve their time prior to the hearing of their appeals which doesn’t make much sense, looked into his heart and in a stinging rebuke to the prosecutors took into account the true nature of the matter that he was dealing with was system-wide patronage.
He recognized that O’Brien did not create the system of patronage and that it has existed for time immemorial in Massachusetts and elsewhere in America. He also must have recognized that those who were the beneficiaries of the patronage, the judges and politicians who had their friends hired were not before the court. It is clear he knew that O’Brien put no money in his pocket and took that into account.
Young came back at Prosecutor Wyshak who said O’Brien should get a greater sentence because he showed no remorse. He said: “I’m not going to punish him if he doesn’t beg for forgiveness” and “no one is going to be punished for exercising his Constitutional right” in going to trial.
After sentencing Young said that the defendants were fundamentally decent persons without moral compasses. and that “O’Brien did not invent patronage hiring in the Probation Department”
Young himself is admitting the case is about patronage yet he has said patronage is not a crime. Then he repeated himself “Patronage corrupts.”
Isn’t it strange that on the one hand we’re told the case did not involve patronage but everyone seems to recognize that is the case. What more do you need to know than to hear the judge telling us what the case was all about.
Judge Young after handing the prosecutors a stunning set back commended them for bringing the case. I guess he had to throw them some type of bone to gnaw on but his sentence told more than his words about what he thought of the prosecution.
Kudos to Judge Young for getting to the core of the matter. It took courage and compassion. Yes, it was about patronage. The defendants have already suffered greatly losing their jobs and pensions after twenty to thirty years working for the Commonwealth. That should have been the extent of the matter.
But the prosecutors took off on a vindictive crusade. It sought sentences that were extremely harsh in part because the people went to trial. Two months were wasted on this matter. Reading Young’s words about O’Brien being a leader and that massive corruption was involved I feared the worst. Whatever it was that happened to Young that he put the case into the proper perspective can only be welcome.
There really was no crime here. It will always be a case of patronage. It will always be a case where people were punished for doing what has been done in our country since its earliest days because of self-righteous prosecutors who probably got their jobs through patronage themselves..