STATE REP RACE: Candidates Debate Reforms Needed To Hold Judges More Accountable

WILMINGTON, MA — At last month’s 19th Middlesex State Representative debate, candidates were asked what can and should be done to hold judges more accountable for their decisions.

“I think anyone an appointed position should be held accountable by someone, somewhere,” said Patricia Meuse (I-Tewksbury). “Is it the governor’s judicial council? I’m not sure. They’re the ones who appoint them. I think maybe they’re should be a citizen’s council who, every five years, look over every judge’s decisions.”

“What happened during the summer with [Judge Feeley] was outrageous,” added Meuse. “As an attorney, if I had ever had a drug dealer go to that judge and have been sentenced, I would have had them file an appeal. If you’re going to do it for him, do it for all of us. He’s a drug dealer who is helping his family? [By the judge’s logic], then all drug dealers are trying to help their families.”

“All judges should definitely be accountable and, every five years, their records should be looked at,” said Pina Prinzivalli (R-Tewksbury). “Judge Feeley was the one that released a drug dealer because he said he was supporting his family, which is just ridiculous.  I’m the only candidate that joined the fight with State Rep. Jim Lyons to impeach Judge Feely. The reason there was no vote to impeach him was because the Democratic Party on Beacon Hill would rather not vote on it and protect themselves, than stand up for what is right and what is wrong. As your next State Representative, I will always be a bold voice and fight for what is right on Beacon Hill.”

“Pina, you weren’t the only candidate,” said Dave Robertson (D-Tewksbury). “In fact, I signed Rep. Lyons’ petition the very first day and then wrote an extensive op/ed that was looking to creative another council and more bureaucracy, but rather put judges on a rotating schedule and put their accountability in the hands of the voters.”

“When you look at appointed judges vs. elected judges, it’s pretty transparent – and this comes from both liberal and conservative law schools – that when judges start getting elected, and you’re friends with that elected judge, and your son or daughter gets pulled over, that ticket kind of goes away,” added Robertson. “What was proposed was a hybrid system. A governor would appoint such judges and, after five years, the public could vote them out. Voters couldn’t replace them, the governor would still have the ability to appoint with the advice of his or her council. It appoints accountability in the hands of us, the voters. Judge Feeley wasn’t the first judge to screw up in the Commonwealth, let’s face it. It’s been happening since 1776.”

Watch the debate, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below. Fast-foward to 29:05 for the discussion on judicial accountability.

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