Smelling A Rat: A Fake Attack On A Prosecutor and Politician

Incredibly strange, I thought reading an editorial in the Boston Globe. It would become even more so as I did a little research into it.

Bringing the matter up during waning days of a close race for the governorship seemed out-of-place. Nothing was or is urgent. It could have waited. Whether the editorial was published last Saturday or the last Saturday of 2014 would make no difference. It was about events that happened 29 years ago.

Was it a disguised hit piece on one of the candidates? Will it be, like many Globe editorials, the introduction to other articles on the same subject but ones more directly aimed at one of the candidates? Or, will it just be allowed to hang out there as a reminder about what one of them allegedly did in the past hoping that its insinuations will cause voters to turn away from the candidate?

It told the story of Bernard F. Baran. Jr. who was openly gay. It said he spend 21 years in prison “for crimes he didn’t commit.” It said: “trial records suggest the defense attorney was unaware of significant exculpatory evidence held by the prosecution.” The editorial is based upon an op-ed printed in the Globe by Harvey Silverglate who “helped win Baran’s release” written on October 8, 2014 .

Silverglate wrote:  “Baran fell victim to homophobia, hysteria, and arguable prosecutorial misconduct. While many now recognize these prosecutions as modern-day witch hunts, those responsible for his incarceration remain unapologetic and unpunished.”  He pointed out that: “Massachusetts conducted at least two such prosecutions: Baran’s and that of Violet Amirault’s family who ran Fells Acres Day Care Center in Malden.” 

Although it is disclosed Silverglate worked for Baran, neither Silverglate nor the Globe reveal is he was involved in supporting the Amiraults and working in conjuction with other lawyers attempting to secure Gerald Amirault’s release before the MA Parole Board. Silverglate’s interest in it had him writing  that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) by ignoring the convictions of the “obviously innocent” Amiraults “perpetuated this fraud on public justice.” From all I can see Silverglate is not a fan of one of the candidates.

It sure would  have been better not to bring this matter up at this time. Especially since the reason behind the editorial and Silverglate’s presentation is to attack a prosecutor, Daniel Ford, who is now a judge without any basis for doing this. Silverglate is a defense attorney. As such he will present the view of defendants. He has an ax to grind. Here without any basis he and the Globe impugn the integrity of Daniel Ford a prosecutor and overlook the real culprit, the defense counsel.

Not mentioned is that the same Appeals Court that decided in 2009 that Baran should have a new trial had earlier decided in 1986 there was no error in his trial. That earlier court noted: “The defendant had been supplied with the minutes of the proceedings before the grand jury and with copies of every police report, witness statement and report of the Department of Social Services in the possession of the prosecution. The prosecutor had offered to make the videotaped interviews of the victims available to the defense.” 

The editorial noted: “Part of the current dispute is the allegation that [the prosecutors] didn’t share full videotapes with Baran’s lawyer,” without mentioning that one of the Daniel Ford’s attorneys wrote to the Globe’s editor, Brian McGrory, saying: Before trial . . . there is a transcript of a pretrial at which ADA Ford offered to play all unedited tapes for defense counsel and the trial Judge.” That letter went on to say that defense counsel agreed those tapes were available to him.

Silverglate, who acknowledge receiving the letter, opted to write: “The Appeals Court judges overturned the verdict on the grounds of ineffective counsel alone, though not without noting ominously that “while the record does not settle the question of whether the unedited videotapes were deliberately withheld by the prosecution, there are indications in the trial transcript consistent with that contention.”  He too could have consulted defense counsel to learn they were available and omitted the “ominously.”

The Globe wants “a full public inquiry into both the prosecution’s conduct and its decision to try to the case in the first place.” Yet there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the prosecutor. The videotapes were available to defense counsel. He elected not to use them. For that reason Baran was given a new trial. This is turned around by the Globe and Silverglate into some type of prosecutorial misconduct when none occurred.

We recall the Globe demanded an investigation into the probation department and the SJC quickly responded as did Boston’s U.S. Attorney. It is now demanding the SJC do another investigation even though it has offered no substantial basis for it doing this. Now we get a chance to see whether the SJC is the Globe’s lap dog. If it proceeds with such an investigation, it will doing a great injustice since the editorial is falsely written.

There is, though, one ominous note to keep in mind. Obviously that Silverglate writes op-eds he and the Boston Globe coordinate matters. This goes back at least to the days of the 75 State Street affair. What we don’t know is whether this matter is also being coordinated with the SJC judges. In other words, has the SJC already decided to launch an attack on the prosecutor and are its judges using the Globe as the reason for it.

When Baran’s motion for a new trial was granted in 2009, two of the Appeals Court judges who decided he should get that were Barbara A. Lenk and Fernande R. V. Duffly, They are now on the SJC.

Silverglate introduced homophobia into the matter. Are we supposed to assume that Judge Daniel Ford prosecuted Baron because he was gay. Silverglate states: “Judge Ford has not been publicly investigated, much less removed from the bench. . . . ” Why should that even be a consideration where there is no showing of any wrongdoing?  Is this to become another modern-day witch hunts, something Silverglate and the Globe so decry?

Stay tuned. It should be interesting since we’ve seen it all before.


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  2. Yes, Matt, another modern day witch hunt. Many have decried the so called “joint press-judiciary conferences or committees” which were set up decades ago ostensibly to allow the judges to learn about the press, and the press to learn how judges think and work. They have become contemptible entities where the press protects judges so long as the judges protect the press; they meet in secret once a month or more and they share secrets. They should be dissolved, both on the state and federal level. If federal or state judges want to learn journalism let them take course on it like everyone else: in daylight, in open classrooms. If media members want to learn about courtrooms, let them go to law school. These public-private partnerships across the board should be disbanded. In Boston, especially, the press is rotten to the core and wages jihad, to advance its sociopolitical and financial positions (to sell more newspapers or promote favored radio-TV talk shows, or to appease academic elitists poisoning the minds of students with sociopolitical cant and “deconstructionist” gibberish. The judiciary is totally in the sack to the press and constantly curries favor with it: the judges want to be welcomed at cocktail parties, written well about, thought highly of, their children accepted at the best schools and offered jobs in the media; the judges themselves want to be offered teaching positions and lecture fees at favored schools and academies. It’s a shill, a con game. The press exhorts the courts and judges to act in politically correct ways, the judges and prosecutors fall in line and expect the press to cover their backs, to uphold their villainous decisions, and they’ll al toast each other at the next cocktail party dinner party held by the joint media-judicial conference, behind closed doors. Remember the words of a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in the Parade case about the entire Massachusetts judiciary, which SCOTUS said acted “without lawful authority.” When judges act unlawfully it’s time for a Revolution. Oust the Black Robes and their lackeys in the Press! Free the Black Robes from their turnkeys in the media! Over and over we’ve seen courts act unlawfully (defying statutes, regulations, rules of evidence and rules of procedure) and unconstitutionally (depriving people of First Amendment rights and fair trials). The case you write about involved a fair trial and a reputable former prosecutor acting lawfully and now he’s a judge and the Globe and Silverglate decide to rake him over the coals. The duo did the same thing with Judge Paul Mahoney, with Bill Bulger, with the people of South Boston, with the probation officers, and on and on it goes. A rotten system that needs to be exposed then dismantled. It’s one hand washing the others as an un-American modus operandi and un-American ideologies are being advanced over the dead body of prudence, reason, fairness, constitutional law and justice. It’s sickening and we need a revolution to stop it. Disembowel these joint media-press committees on both the federal and state level. Government is not a partner with the press, now with any private enterprise. Disembowel all joint private-public partnerships and disembowel the “deconstructionist” academics who teach that words are infinitely malleable and only modern elitists from ivy towers can manipulate words to mean whatever the elitists want them to mean, which they blithely do by telling us that all animals are equal but some animals (the media, press and judges) are more equal than other animals (the rest of us, the hoi polloi, the rabble in arms, the unenlightened). Oust the luminaries in the courts, academia and media. Up the republic!!! Power to the people! Delete the elitists, the Globophiles and the Globe’s junkies in the judiciary.

    • Bill:

      I agree the press-judiciary meetings are dangerous. Silberglate’s op-ed is so contrary to the facts as I’vee write about tomorrow that I can only wonder what is going on. Then looking at it I see two of the judges who gave Baran an new trial are now on the SJC. Wow, how does that happen. The Globe’s editorial is full of half-truths and it tosses it to the SJC where those two judges now sit. It all has a bad feel about it. What is the purpose? Is Judge Ford to be made a scapegoat for something that others did not like. The word homophobia hangs out there without any showing the prosecutor had an ounce of it nor is there any indication that was involved in the prosecutions during the time of the hysteria. It is assume Baran was innocent when he was never acquitted. He was convicted in 1985 and given a chance for a new trial in 2007 which was confirmed by the appeals court in 2009. The DA was faced with again trying a guy on evidence that was 24 years old and the guy served 22 years. That the DA choose not to go forward doesn’t mean Baran was innocent. This whole matter has a bad smell around it – it bears watching to see how much influence the Globe has on the court.