It is with interest that I read of the “scandal” that now seems to involve the Massachusetts State Police. As best I can tell some lawyer represents one, two or more troopers and he seems intent on suing one, two or upwards of dozens of people in federal court because of what happened. But for the life of me I don’t understand what he is looking to accomplish. To be frank, I don’t see that anything particularly wrong has been done.
As best I understand it a woman age 30 who is the daughter of a sitting judge was involved in a crash. A trooper arrived on the scene to investigate. He quickly came to the conclusion she was operating her vehicle in an impaired manner and was obviously under the influence of some drugs, alcohol or both. He found a heroin kit in the car and saw she had an outstanding warrant for a heroin charge. When he brought her to the station she had upwards of three times the amount of alcohol in her system than is acceptable.
During the investigation the trooper interacted with her. She failed the sobriety tests he gave her. She also made some salacious and gross statements which reflected badly on her.
She was arrested and charged with the driving offense. The salacious statements she made while intoxicated may have had some evidentiary value in the sense that someone in a sober state would never have made them. The trooper included those statements in his report. Maybe he thought he had no choice for if the case went to trial and he had to testify to the circumstances surrounding her arrest he needed to include them. But if he left them out of his report a good defense lawyer would note their absence and suggest it was a recent fabrication. But this case seemed so iron clad in reality the statements added nothing to proving the charges.
The report was filed with the paperwork and criminal complaints issued, If the report became public, the woman’s statements reflected so badly on her that she would be disgraced. Ironically, because of actions taken by the trooper’s superiors the matter became a cause célèbre giving her widespread infamy.
Someone when reading the report decided that the salacious statements were not necessary to include in the report. I suppose the reasons was the embarrassment that would come to the woman’s father, the judge, and the woman herself when sober. The judge denies any involvement in the matter. Like any parent whose child gets trapped in using drugs he suffers on a daily basis hoping against hope she would somehow escape from the grip of the drugs.
That person who read the report contacted the trooper’s boss who ordered the trooper to clean up his report and to submit another one without the salacious statements. That was done over the trooper’s objection. The redacted report was substituted for the original with the permission of the court, and the woman eventually pleaded guilty to the charges.
The lawyer representing the trooper and others filed a complaint in the federal court. He made sure a Boston Globe reporter received a copy of it and perhaps briefed her. She gave it much of the publicity with little concern for the judge’s daughter. At last report the governor, attorney general, the ethics committee and all the king’s men are investigating this.
The bottom line is at worst someone wanted to save the judge embarrassment. Is that a crime? I suggest not. The case was not affected in any way by the redacted report. No money exchanged hands. The woman received the sentence she would have received had the report not been changed.
Would this report have been redacted if it were not a judge’s daughter. Probably not. But any judge who handled the case would know that she was a judge’s daughter and acted accordingly.
What is the trooper looking to accomplish? How was he hurt? If he received a bad report take it out of his file and be done with it.
I am at a loss to understand the harm or the big ado about this. Are we not to take into consideration how things affect other people? Is there not to be any compassion for people in difficulty? Aren’t we supposed to help people addicted to drugs and not step on them?
Maybe its me and I’m missing the point. I do know however if i was in the position to see that report regardless of who the woman’s father was I would have done my best to have it sealed. I’d not have asked the trooper or any of his superiors to change it.
Why destroy a woman’s reputation by putting in a report things she said not necessary to prove the case while on the edge of sanity? The offense of driving under the influence has penalties attached to it that are imposed by a judge. Nothing justifies imposing other sanctions on a person such as holding her up to ridicule.