Monday, November 30, 2009

Seven Reasons Martha Coakley Will Never Get Our Vote

We've had several opportunities over the last ten years to not vote for Martha Coakley. Another is coming up in the Democratic primary to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat on Tuesday, December 8. Our reasons:

(1) The Louise Woodward case, in which a young British girl working as an au pair in a suburban Boston home was charged and convicted of second degree murder in the death of an infant, only to have the judge in the case reduce the conviction to manslaughter and sentence her to time served awaiting trial. The prosecution medical expert later recanted the crucial piece of testimony, that the inured happened while the infant was in her care: “The science we have today could, in fact, have exonerated Louise. There is certainly, in retrospect, reasonable doubt." This was the case that brought Martha Coakley to the public eye.

(2) The Fells Acres day care case, which was documented by both the conservative business newspaper The Wall Street Journal and the liberal magazine The Nation to be a grave miscarriage of justice. After lengthy interrogations including use of Sesame Street puppets, pre-schoolers at the family-run day care center were led to describe being raped with knives, sticks, forks, and magic wands; assaulted by a bad clown in a secret or magic room; forced to drink urine; tied naked to a tree; and many other acts. Martha Coakley may not have been involved in the original case, but one commentator has described her as a "very, very good soldier who showed she would do anything to preserve this horrendous assault on justice."

(3) The Father John Geoghan child abuse case, where Martha Coakley was applauded for a successful prosecution in 2002, only for it to come out later that she had plea bargained similar charges against Father Geoghan in 1995, letting him off with probation in a deal that was kept secret from the public.

(4) The Big Dig tunnel collapse, where Martha Coakley pursued criminal charges as leverage to win a large civil settlement against one of the small firms involved, but not against the large firms. I thought that was unethical, and not just on grounds of unequal treatment. Either the defendant is guilty and should not be allowed to buy out of the criminal charges, or the defendant is innocent, and the criminal charges should not be used to extort a higher monetary settlement.

(5) The Henry Louis Gates arrest in Cambridge last July. Harvard University Professor Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct when he lost his cool after police responding to a 911 caller reporting possible burglary in progress instead found him at what turned out to be his house. Martha Coakley was ideally positioned to defuse that situation, as she is the state’s top law enforcement officer and her husband is a former Cambridge deputy police superintendent. She doesn’t appear to have even tried.

(6) The Menino “emailgate” affair earlier this fall where Martha Coakley first announced she was leaving the investigation of deleted emails by a Menino underling to the Secretary of State’s office and later saying she was investigating herself, all handled in a manner suggesting backroom political dealing in the middle of a hotly contested mayoral race. The alleged email offense: the underling was routinely emptying his deleted items folder. Emailgate came to nothing after Menino released a ton of these emails recovered from other computers.

(7) The financial disclosure mistake, where Martha Coakley failed to list $200,000 to $250,000 in assets on her financial disclosure forms for the Senate race. I know that these forms may sometimes require a law degree to fill out correctly, but Martha does have a law degree and other candidates have managed. Once again the smart woman tries to play it too cute on the legalities.

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