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May 22, 2007

Request for Reconsideration

Topics: Freedom's Zone

judge05222007.jpg[Judge Ernest B. Murphy waits in the courtroom during a recess in his libel suit against the Boston Herald, in this file photo taken on Friday, Feb. 11, 2005, in Boston. (AP)]

Jules Crittenden posts on a freedom of the press issue, one in which the Boston Herald has asked the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to reconsider its ruling in the libel case of Judge Ernest Murphy vs. Boston Herald, Wedge, Crittenden etal. Jules was acquitted at trial. In its ruling against Dave Wedge, the Herald argues, the high court misrepresented some key facts of the case.

The SJC issued a strongly worded, unanimous opinion earlier this month backing the 2005 libel verdict won bySuperior Court Judge Ernest B. Murphy. Murphy sued the paper in 2002, claiming he was libeled in a series of stories about his sentencing practices, including a story that said he demeaned a 14-year-old rape victim.
Apparently the judge and his supporters at the Supreme Judicial Court don't like the idea that we have a free press in America and that citizens and the media should be free to criticize what they consider as bad judgment by who they consider to be bad judges!

And can someone please explain to me how telling a 14 year-old rape victim to "get over it" or even at best, "she needs to get on with her life and get over it," is in any way shape or form - "warm and considerate"? I'm no lawyer, which in my view is a good thing, but from reading this post it seems apparent that Justice John Greaney, who wrote the rather strongly worded opinion for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, had to go out of his way to support a ruling that said nothing less than Judge Murphy had met and proved a standard that what Boston Herald reporter Wedge reported about him was false and defamatory, that Wedge had acted with "actual malice" -- that is, that he knew what he was reporting was false, or that he showed "reckless disregard" for whether his reporting was true or false. Greaney writes that Murphy met that standard. Simply, incredible - and in my humble opinion, a ridiculous conclusion given the facts in the case.

Will the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court now sue me because I believe that their opinion is more cronyism than legal finding based upon the real facts in the case? Who's next, the blog reader for reading it? What is going on in the courts of Massachusetts? Even given what some might consider as amateurish missteps in reporting by Wedge, I can't help but "believe" the SJC to have gone so far to at the very least give the "appearance" of cronyism.

Posted by Richard at May 22, 2007 11:30 AM

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