The Collapse of A Judicial System: I Give You Massachusetts

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This isn’t about the federals. It’s about my disgust with the general system in Massachusetts for punishing criminals. We have a beautiful young woman named Amy E.Lord who is no longer with us because of that system. The fine media coverage of her murder exemplifies the horrors our the Massachusetts justice system.

There is this creature who was arrested for assaulting two women and may be involved in the murder of Amy Lord. His name is Edwin Alemany. He is 28 years old. He was arrested for assaulting two other women around the time that Amy Lord was kidnapped, forced to visit five ATM’s and finally stabbed several times and dumped in park in the Hyde Park section of Boston.

I don’t know whether Alemany did that. I do know him being out on the street able to assault two other women shouts out at me that the prosecutors and judges are failing in their responsibilities. The police have done their job to protect and serve the public by arresting people like Alemany but those who are charged with following up on the police conduct have failed miserably.

A news source reported: “Alemany has a lengthy criminal record, and has been arrested 17 times by Boston police dating back to when he was 14 years old. His first arrest was armed for breaking and entering and destruction of personal property at a Roslindale home in 1999.”

In 2003  he was charged with assault with attempt to murder when he stabbed a man. The Globe reported, “He has been in and out of jail, largely on charges such as assault and battery and receiving stolen property.”

It was reported “Alemany was also arrested twice in 2010. In the first incident, Alemany was charged with stealing a motor vehicle, having a burglarious instrument, destruction of property and negligent operation of a vehicle. In the second incident, he was charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, motor vehicle larceny, having a burglarious instrument and driving while license suspended.” 

For the 2010 offenses he received 2 years in the House of Corrections. He was released in 2012.

When I was prosecuting I started a career criminal program. It dealt with guys exactly like Alemany. There are two things he exemplifies. That some people will always be committing crimes and society deserves protection from them; and that the constant resentencing to the house of corrections (or even worse putting a person who has served a prior jail sentence on probation) is a waste of time for it serves no purpose.

My program consisted of finding the criminals like Alemany and enrolling people in it. The idea behind it was that they had spent enough time in undergraduate education taught in the house of corrections and it was time to promote them to the graduate program of prison. I convinced the DA, Bill Delahunt, to let me use some of the better younger ADAs who were looking to hone their trial skills before juries to bring them in to the program to go after these folks.

To understand how it works you have to know that many of the crimes that Alemany was charged with have prison sentences with them. Possession of burglar tools, A&B dangerous weapons, and malicious destruction of property can get one 10 years in prison.  Without having studied Alemany’s record closely, I assume he could also have been charged under MA General Laws, Ch 269, sec 10G, which provides mandatory sentences for people previously convicted of violent crimes up to 15 or 20 years in state’s prison.   Also, if he is sentenced to prison rather than the house of corrections he can be deemed a habitual criminal under the Massachusetts law and locked up for much longer periods.

You also have to know that criminals like him don’t mind the Houses of Corrections because they’ve been there more than in their homes but are in deathly fear of going to a prison. I had a defendant once who pleaded with a judge to sentence him to six consecutive terms of 2 years in the House rather than an 8 to 10 at Walpole prison.

When I was getting people like Alemany off the street for the protection of people like Amy Lord the superior court judges would often complain that the type of cases I was bringing in front of them were not worthy of their consideration. They looked at the crimes and not the criminals. They just didn’t get it, and I see they still don’t.

It’s time someone stop playing games and look at how we handle criminals who demonstrate their behavior cannot change. We’ve had enough horrible tragedies in Boston without having more that could be prevented. I’ve been out of the job for a long time but I see that the inability to tell who the real criminals are and the failure to properly punish them has come back in vogue. Why have a criminal justice system if you can’t keep people like Alemany in prison and keep young women like Amy Lord safe?

19 thoughts on “The Collapse of A Judicial System: I Give You Massachusetts

  1. One of my nieces is in her late teens and has doctor’s appointments @ the Tufts Medical Center downtown. She works all day and these appointments are usually in the early evening and I always insist on going w/ her. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t do this, that I’m baby-ing her, and maybe she should be going by herself. After reading about AMY LORD, the young girl from Southie killed this week, I have no doubt that I’m doing the right thing. My heart breaks for this poor girl and the LORD family ….

    1. Gus, my heart breaks too for Amy Lord and other victims of druggies, narcotic addicts and violent criminals. When will we end this plague that druggies wreak on our communities?

      1. Some of it will end when the Feds/Cops start putting them away and stop paying and supporting drugged out criminal informants to do their work for them.

      2. William,

        I have been loath to reply to your brave insistence that we pay attention to the abyss of drugs and violence what with visions of guns placed into the mouths and nether regions of quaking tough guys; so, I’ve given myself the benefit of the doubt that perhaps I shouldn’t voluntarily venture up the stairs to any of the function rooms in my mind, if you know what I mean.

        But I have to admit you are right, and my guess is we have all loved someone who slid over the edge. If I might put out one thought, and that’s about all I can handle for my first step, I have an avid interest in the source of the prescription drugs – narcotics, most importantly – that find their way into the mouths of young and old. Beyond physicians’ prescriptions, is it possible that many have found their way out of unregulated compounding pharmacies’ loading stations along with contaminated solutions which were supposed to have eased chronic pain?

        It’s an armchair detective’s guess and nothing more. In reading the papers, I was informed that NECC imported large vats of pharmaceuticals from China and stored them in a careless manner. These were then packaged into individual doses and sold for large profits. When I read the list of drugs they produced, there were more pain medications than I could have imagined.

        I believe 44 people died, 678 people became ill with fungal infections, and last but not least, 400 lawsuits have been filed. If Wikipedia is correct, in December (2012) US District Judge Dennis Saylor ruled that Massachusetts lawsuits could be consolidated and move forward. My detective’s nose is bookish and naive; but you can bet I will be looking for and following the trial.

        I could be way off base about the jump to where the prescription drugs are coming from, so don’t listen to me as anyone more than a caring individual.

    2. Gus:

      You’re right it is very hard striking the balance between being too overly protective and letting a loved one go off on her own. There’s always the thought that you now if something ever happened by your forebearance you’d be heavily burdened by it for the rest of your life. Your caution is wise especially for people in their teens desiring to strike out on thier own yet a little green when it comes to predators. Better safe than sorry and your inconvenience may never be appreciated but you’ll get your reward in the peace of mind you’ll have knowing she went through this episode safely. When she gets into her early fifties if she’s still doing it you can back off. 🙂

      Yes, the Amy Lord killing is something that never should have happened. If we can’t keep predators like the person who stabbed her to death off the streets then we are failing as a society. I’ve been going to court early in the morning and a little before six have driven through Southie into Andrew Square from Colombia Road. Rather than going up Dorchester Street I’ve gone over Dorchester Avenue to A Street. I had noticed all the young women and men who were out early and I thought to myself isn’t it nice to see these people out and about walking to wherever in this safe environment. Now I’m sre I’ll see little of that because Amy’s murder. I agree with you that it is inconceivable to try to put oneself in the shoes of her family and friends.

      I see in the paper this morning there was an attack in 2012 that went uninvestigated. There seems to be less and less attention tor responsibiity among our officials. Of course, that all goes back to the people who forget what a society should be about and to those in power who use their power not to benefit the people but themselves. I appreciate you taking the time to get beyond your usual cares to come here and join discussion.

  2. Maybe do you think that we have started by being a little less political in the Probation Department?.

    Do you think Father Flanagan would hold to his no such thing as a bad boy philosophy in this day and age?

    1. Hopalong:

      Father Flanigan was right – little boys are not bad – but as they age some become rotten.

      As for the probation department, everyone knew it was politcal but at one time that was not a crime.

  3. Matt,

    When I was Amy Lord’s age, I was being regularly punched, kicked and thrown around by a campus police officer of an exclusive college. After a few years, I got away under threats of death. I was brought to a lawyer who asked to see me alone; and, surprise, he attacked me sexually while his wife was in the house; he had a home office in a tony town.

    And when one of our wealthy police forces called to see if the cop should work full-time in their town, I told them everything.
    I was a RAT.

    I gave them details of what he did to me.

    I also gave other lawyers details of what their colleague did to me.
    I told.
    I was a RAT.

    I never thought of myself as a RAT until this trial; and frankly, this whole RAT business has reminded me of my West Roxbury childhood where I made the mistake of having three out of four grandparents who made the mistake of being protestants. So in a place where your two choices were Holy Name or Saint Theresa’s, I was what happened to those who didn’t go to confession and take communion.

    I’ve raised children to be RATS.
    I’ve worked with children to be RATS.

    We’ll see. But in my experience, it makes it harder for those maniacs to stay around.

    1. Firefly:

      You’ve had some bad experiences But I don’t think you can claim that you were a rat. You were a victim. Victims can’t be rats. There is a difference you know. The cops and lawyers who suggest you were wrong in setting forth the evils inflicted on you are more akin to rats, the cowardly type who feared greatly that you would cause them to have to do something they did not want to do. Don’t get confused in this, standing up for your rights or to protect who you are does not make you a rat; the concept of rat involves a betrayal of a friendship or an ally when you both are in things together, for good or evil. If something is inflicted on you, you can’t be a rat.

      I understand your West Rxbury childhood. I did not live in that upscale neighborhood but even back in mine it was hard for the kids to be different. We talked parishes = St. William’s was mine – protestant kids were rarities – but I can understand how they would have felt excluded not that I though about it back then Funny you mention it because I can remember the three girls in our neighborhood who weren’t Catholic. One was Beverly Carlson ( haven’t thought of her in 50 years) and the other was one I had a very intense talk with coming from a football game and the last was named Arlene who I went out with for a while until her ex-boyfriend who ended up marrying her came back on the scene.

      I think you raised your children not to be victims and that is good. I don’t think they are rats.

      1. Matt, (1) Lenient judges are also responsible for the plague of drug addiction: Why was the killer of Amy Lord robbing ATMs? To get his drug money; no progress will be made in crime/overdose reductions until we get serious about going after narcotic trafficking and judges get responsible for the havoc they indirectly unleash on our communities by releasing these career druggies/felons; (2)most of our neighbors were Catholic, but I recall a lot of Protestants in our grammar school and neighborhood (Northern Irish, Irish, Scots, English, Dutch, Swedes etc. French & German could be either Protestant or Catholic) Orthodox Christians(Greek (e.g. Harry the Barber was Greek, Harry Soranos (sp?), Serbs etc., A Serb and a Croatian family lived on Romsey Street) some Jews (The Murphys and Cuddys were half-Jewish) and some Asians (owned businesses, taught, musicians). Even our uncle Bobby Rogers was married to Helen, a Protestant, around 1960: that was the break-through in our family after Billy married Irene, a beautiful Italian girl around 1956. Within100 years of our four grandparents coming over from Ireland we’re now related to Everyone!

      2. Hi Matt,

        It’s not so much I was excluded, but that I was included in a culture which meant that getting the sh*t kicked out of me for the protestant thing was a protected activity. I also went to school and played til the streetlights came on. These were my friends.

        I’ve appreciated Ernie’s writing about the motivation of Wyshak and Dershowitz – the possibility of their experiences of getting beat up or embarrassed by some Irish kids – as to the why of the targeting of Billy Bulger. Serious or not, those comments reminded me of what it was like back then.

        We were into the extreme sport of education in those days. It was strict. It was rigorous. And by God, they were going to make us into a literate crowd no matter the class size; it was always over thirty, occasionally forty. Everyone played an instrument, the crash and din out the windows of my corner alone of at least fifty kids was fantastic: fife, flute, trombone, piano, violin, and always, always a Foley on the trumpet out the front window.

        We really did talk about rats: dirty rats, not being a rat, you’re a rat. In my clumsy effort to explain that in becoming a RAT I was breaking free of some of that old school stuff, I was focusing on the hostile mindsets in place long before we actors in hand-me-downs ever graced the stage. It was truly just fine to occasionally hate each other for things we had no control over. Age-old hatreds were as palpable as our love for the Kennedys.

        We were so proud, so very proud. It was probably very annoying.

        1. Firefly:

          Nice comment – brings back memories – come in when the street lights go on – how I dreaded that – how I could have played forever in those games – why did the lights conspire to come on every night at the height of our excitement – we forget the magic of youth and how each moment is filled – the unique feelings uncapturable again – in Southie my classes were like what you mention crowded with kids – went to Savin Hill they were extremely small – everyone went to Catholic school – I was in the public system – it was all within a safe environment which we seemed to have surrendered – I don’t remember talk about rats – among us it was understood we were all in things together – they weren’t great criminal things – althought today’s society might frown upon them – as I write it seems we learned to take our lumps and not whine about – we knew who the enemy was – the cops – we respected elders – told our parents (or at least I did) as little as possible – and had little to do with girls – although they were always mysterious creatures who’d never truly be out of our ken. Thanks for writing a giving me a chance to jump back a bit – you are right, we were proud and poor and happy – although if some of the social helpers of our day learned of our lives they’d tell us we had no right to be happy.

          1. Our enemies – the cops – were sighted coming up from the rotary.

            Cops! The Cops!

            All bee catching, wiffle ball, four square, reliev-o and Barbies would stop.

            The car would roll by, taking its own sweet time.

            Then, back to it all we would go.

            Nearly everyone was related to a cop, even a detective. Maybe Mrs. Morrison called when we cut through her yard.

            1. Firefly:

              Brings back memories – speaking of everyting stopping – how about if you lived on the street between the convent and the church where the nuns would parade by in an endless formation and you had to interrupt the game to say “good afternoon sister” over and over again – cops and nuns – the bane of the afternoon street games.

        2. This reminiscence reminds me of growing up in Pawtucket (PawSox!) and Providence. Apparently, growing up in the provincial urban neighborhoods of these two cities was not unlike the neighborhoods of South Boston. The Catholic churches, the streetlights, the bullies, being tough and gritty, yelling “five 0” when cops drove around. Oh, the memories.

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