The acronym POOF stands for People Out Of Favor. POOF turns an everyday law-abiding citizen into a major criminal and subjects that person to the most serious of penalties for a minor infraction of the law.
POOF usually happens to one who has led a crime free existence who commits some action that would normally be overlooked, or, if not overlooked, it would be treated as an ethical breach or minor civil offense.
Often the person may have been one who had some bit of power or influence which has been diminished. The person’s actions are blown out of proportion by the mainstream media. Then POOF, the person is treated worse than a Mafia gangster. She suddenly faces serious criminal or other life destroying penalties.
Today evidence begins in a criminal trial of a person who was POOFED.
I don’t suppose many of you have heard of Alan Solomont. What about Don Beyer? John Roos? Each man is an United States Ambassador appointed by President Obama. Solomont went to Spain; Beyer to Switzerland; and Roos to Japan.
Prior to becoming ambassadors, each man was an Obama bundler. They held fund raisers for President Obama in 2008: Alan Solomont bundled up $230,000. Don Beyer is on the bundler list for$179,192. John Roos chipped in a mere $41,600 in 2008.
I’ve got no problems with Solomont, Beyer, Roos or any other person getting an ambassador’s job. They spent much time working hard and running events to bring in money so that Obama could be elected. They may have done this in the hope of getting an ambassador’s position or some other job if Obama was elected. It’s traditional in America that people who work for a president or contribute money to him may get some special consideration in return.
The Patriot Ledger on April Fools Day reported that “The trial of the former state probation commissioner charged with conspiring to organize a political fundraiser in exchange for getting his wife a job at the state Lottery is scheduled to begin Tuesday.”
I don’t know exactly what charges O’Brien faces in the state because I can’t find his indictment online. The only way I’d find out what the indictment alleges is the same way I’d have done it in the 19th Century. I’d have to go to the court and read it. Under the leadership of our Massachusetts judges over the past 100 years we find the criminal justice system operating like it did in the days before the automobile was invented.
If we examined the jobs Governor Patrick handed out you’ll find a lot of them were to people who were helpful in getting him elected and contributed money to him. I’d suggest that applies to any elected official in the state. Over the years many judicial appointments have been made to people who have been supporters or raised money for a governor. I have a difficult time distinguishing O’Brien’s actions from those of Solomont, Beyer, Roos or the many people who got good jobs from Patrick except for one thing.
O’Brien was POOFED. O’Brien’s fell afoul of the the Globe’s Spotlight Team’s pursuit of a
Grammy Pulitzer Prize. We’ve seen the routine before. The Globe investigates something with its Spotlight Team, then keeps drumming the news on the front page demanding action. The public officials, the courts, and the prosecutors respond like Chicken Little thinking the sky is falling. No punishment is too great for such a person.
Former Massachuestts State Treasurer Timothy Cahill who O’Brien rasied money for was POOFED. He ran for governor and lost. Had he won he would never have been charged with the crime of using the Lottery money to promote himself.
Catherine Greig was POOFED. There was never any evidence that she knew Whitey was accused of murder. Even if that had been shown, there is none that shows believed it. She had no criminal record.
When she pleaded guilty to helping Whitey avoid being caught, Judge Woodlock gaily sat back while the family of people victimized by Whitey victimized her in court by shouting vile epithets at her. Then adding frosting to the cake he tripled the recommendation of the probation department by sentencing her to eight years in prison.
She received two more years than Kevin Weeks who bragged about his criminal life and how he brutalize people. He was involved in murdering and burying the bodies of 5 people. She received more time than people like Mafia leaders who dedicated their lives to crime.
Former FBI Agent John Connolly likewise got POOFED. He never fired a gun at a person or caused any person an injury. He retired from the FBI with honor. His crime was allegedly telling some gangsters something they knew as well as they knew their name, that John Callahan could jam them up. The gangsters murdered Callahan then when caught said Connolly made them do it. He was acquitted of any involvement in the murder Boston.
He was again tried in Florida. He was wrongfully convicted. The statute of limitations on the crime had expired. He has been sentenced to death . When you are over 70 and you get 40 years you know it’s a death sentence.