Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Phony #BostonMarathon Judge #GeorgeOToole Called Out By @WhoWhatWhy’s #JillVaglica @BostonCollege

Why did Judge O’Toole dodge my question?

O’Toole said that the first requirement for fairness is a jury pool that represents a cross-section of the community

By Jill Vaglica
Via WhoWhatWhy.com

The U.S. District Court judge who presided over the trial of convicted Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seems to have forgotten crucial details about the jury pool he interviewed during voir dire. Why do I seem to remember more about this aspect of the trial than the presiding judge?

When I heard that Judge George O’Toole would be speaking at Boston College, I was intrigued, as the case against Tsarnaev is still pending appeal. I wondered if he would reveal new details about the cases over which he presided. Instead, he spoke more generally, waxing poetic about the responsibility of the court to ensure defendants a fair trial.

  • Complete Article

    Story & Podcast via WGBH News, Boston, MA

    The most striking observation is that there have been so few people of color. So that whenever there is a person of color called during voir dire there is a great flutter of Twitter activity.”
    - Andy Thibault, author, more COOL JUSTICE

  • The Tsarnaev Jury Pool: Questioning the Role of Race and the Absence of Diversity


  • Related story:


  • 1st Circuit Court of Appeals hearing coverage #Tsarnaev

  • Boston Marathon Bombing Trial: Feds Not Sure Where Bombs Made

  • Can We Stop Calling Tsarnaev The 'Accused' Boston Marathon Bomber?

  • Boston Marathon Bombing Pre-Trial: A Landslide for Guilty

  • Here’s What the Boston Bombing Trial Judge Thinks a Good Juror Looks Like

  • Boston Marathon Bombing Trial: Prosecution Rests

  • Prosecutors Say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Wrote 'Defiant' Messages After His Arrest

  • Tsarnaev Sentenced to Death in Boston Bombing Trial

  • Before #BobbyKnight Inspired #Trump Campaign, He Was A Role Model For Certain Judges

    In This Symbiotic Relationship,
    He Emulated Them As Well…

    News item: Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump will hold another rally in Indianapolis on Wednesday [4-27-16], but this time he’ll be joined by famed former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight.


    Cool Justice
    All Rise For Judge Bobby Knight
    By ANDY THIBAULT, Columnist
    Law Tribune Newspapers
    October 2, 2000

    Also published in Law & Justice In Everyday Life,
    Chapter Four
    The Politics Of Justice

    Bobby Knight needed a job.

    Knight, recently ousted from his post as coach of the University of Indiana basketball team, wanted a spot where he might only have to murmur, " Show me some respect." He had grown tired of throwing potted plants at framed pictures. He wanted a place where manners and civility really counted.

    Of course, if Knight wanted to enforce his own "zero-tolerance" policy, it would be good to have his own Praetorian Guard carry out the mission. Guy and gal weightlifters and maybe a few good old boys would be nice.

    That's when Knight heard there were openings for Superior Court judges in Connecticut. He prepared carefully and sent his application to the Judicial Selection Commission. Here's what happened.

    Patience was in order. It couldn't happen right away. Knight learned this after just a little bit of research. He found that in some states the voters elect judges, but in Connecticut, three or four votes make all the difference in the world. The votes that really count include the chairman of the Judicial Selection Commission, one or two political leaders who might or might not be on the commission, and the governor.

    Knight didn't want to serve 10 or 15 years in the Legislature making nice to other judges. None of his college roommates or home-town pals were among the real voters. So he visited a few judicial districts to discover the best route.

    First stop was chambers of a judge affectionately known as "Melon Head."

    "They said I couldn't make it 30 days on my own, but I showed 'em," Melon Head told Knight. "I called Lew Rome's [Power Broker, R] office three times a week for three years begging to get a robe. Finally, Rome got sick of me, palmed me off on Tulisano [Power Broker, D], and here I am!"

    Knight learned that Melon Head had a pretty good situation. Most lawyers were afraid to try cases in front of Melon Head. Melon Head didn't want to try cases unless he absolutely had to. The settlement statistics for Melon Head's court were very impressive.

    "This is looking better all the time," Knight thought.

    Next stop, the Public Defender's office.

    "I was almost indicted for disappearing with a state car," Slick told Knight. "They say I can't walk down the hall without bumping my head on the floor. Now I tell those other lawyers what it really means to administer justice."

    Knight reflected before going on to his last stop.

    "This is just like coaching basketball in Indiana," the coach thought. "If fear and greed rule the marketplace, the courthouse is just like the basketball court: fear and power are the two driving forces."

    Maximum Bill's chambers was the final destination before Operation Judge Knight got off the ground.

    "Even when I don't know what I'm doing, which is a lot of the time, it's not really a problem," Maximum Bill told Knight. "I just ask the lawyers how to proceed, right in open court. If I get flustered, I just bang the gavel and yell 35 years. Doesn't even matter what the crime is!"

    Turns out some of the powerhouse law firms were fans of Knight. They made the right phone calls and the right donations. Knight passed muster at Judicial Selection and sailed through confirmation. He became the latest gift to the judiciary from the The Big Guys.

    Once on the bench, Knight didn't even have to threaten to throw chairs. Once, however, a lawyer dared to object to a ruling. "I don't care what the ruling of the Supreme Court is," Knight said, "this is my ruling. Objection overruled. And next time, call me Mr. Judge Knight."

    -- How Did This Go Unreported?
    Oh, Yeah, It Did Get Reported


    The Hartford Courant
    October 16, 2000

    Maybe it was the column earlier this month suggesting that deposed University of Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight would feel right at home among Connecticut's judiciary. Or the column last week opining that the entire bench needs a course in civility.

    Or it might have been the editorial Oct. 2 describing the Judicial Review Council as an "arrogant protection agency" for the very judges whose conduct it is supposed to scrutinize. Judge Robert C. Leuba, chief court administrator for the judicial branch, didn't want to talk specifics Friday. But he also made no apologies for canceling the branch's subscriptions to the Connecticut Law Tribune because he doesn't like "the attitude that's crept in" to its commentaries.

    And when Leuba says "cancel my subscription," he's talking about $16,000 worth of business for the weekly legal publication -- 26 subscriptions to the $365-a-year weekly, plus a dozen books the company also publishes. The subscriptions go to law libraries in courthouses statewide, and to a handful of judges.

    Connecticut Law Tribune Publisher and Editor Vincent Valvo said Friday the cancellations don't put a significant dent in his paper's circulation or finances. But, he allowed, "We are not happy that the judiciary as a branch of government has decided to boycott us."

    Columnist Andy Thibault wrote the Bobby Knight column, which Valvo characterized as "a parody, and certainly a pointed barb at the judiciary." Valvo said such columns jibe with his commitment to publish diverse viewpoints. He noted that few lawyers are willing to publicly criticize the judiciary, and we have to give that point of view a voice somewhere."

    Leuba said it's not his intent to stifle the paper's opinions.

    "He can publish whatever he wants to publish, but I'm also free to purchase whatever I want to purchase," Leuba said. "I told [Valvo] I'd be the first one to defend his right to publish anything he wants. But in terms of what we buy and distribute in the judicial branch, we have a choice, and right now we're not buying the Law Tribune.

    "There are some attitudes being used editorially which are not helpful to improving communications among the legal community, of which we are a part," Leuba said. Asked if his concerns centered on columns by Thibault and New Haven Attorney Norman Pattis, Leuba declined to name names, citing again the paper's "attitude."

    Valvo said Leuba's cancellation was not received in time to halt distribution of today's issue, or include mention of it in the Tribune. However, Pattis already has written a column about the cancellation for the Oct. 23 issue. And Leuba doesn't have to worry about missing that one: Pattis bought him a gift subscription.



  • Sunday, April 03, 2016

    Breaking the Mold w/ New #RestorativeJustice Program at University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, #CT

    'I hope students gain a passion for restorative justice theory and practice through their degree at USJ.'

    By Kathleen M. Mullin, J.D.
    Criminal / Restorative Justice Program

    WEST HARTFORD, CT -- In the past, the criminal justice system has focused almost exclusively on punishment, with incarceration heavily favored. As a result, today the US is the largest jailer of people in anywhere in the world and approximately one in four US adults has a criminal record.

    Knowing we cannot and must not continue with this trend, there is now a tremendous shift towards restorative justice – nationally, regionally and locally. Restorative Justice breaks the previous mold, offering individuals an opportunity for acceptance, healing and growth.

    When there is a crime, that crime causes a break in our societal fabric, the same as other disruptive behaviors like truancy, delinquency and addiction. Each of those breaks leaves those around the break harmed and hurting and leaves those who caused the break scarred, ostracized and shut out of opportunity. Restorative justice encourages an acceptance of personal responsibility by those who have caused the harm and then focuses on giving a voice to those most affected by the harm, providing acceptable punishment and implementing a community supported opportunity for restoration back to society.

    Determined to go beyond incarceration as punishment, restorative justice is an alternate form of justice which focuses on the full scope of harm, the needs of victims, the responsibility of offenders and the roles of community and government.

    I hope students gain a passion for restorative justice theory and practice through their degree at USJ.

    In this program, whether you leave here to become a nurse, a social worker, or a lawyer, I want you to take with you this burning flame for the oneness our society and a deep understanding that there is no “us” and “them.” There is only us. We must work together, particularly when there is trauma or harm to heal and restore us all.

    About Professor Mullin, From the Courtroom to the Classroom

    From her early days as a public defender to running her own law firm specializing in high-profile criminal cases, Kathleen Mullin, J.D., has had a passionate love affair with the law for more than 25 years.

    Her experience has taken her from courtrooms to television as a legal analyst and trial commentator and to law schools teaching as an adjunct professor.

    Now, Professor Mullin once again uses her legal experience to better the next generation of criminal and social justice workers as the Director of the University of Saint Joseph’s (USJ) Criminal /Restorative Justice program.

    “I love to empower my students to find joy and fulfillment in their studies and to share the wisdom that I’ve gathered along my way,” says Mullin. “To me, the teacher / student relationship is symbiotic. When I’m in a classroom, I teach and I learn, every single time. It’s something that I truly enjoy and which reenergizes my creativity, my spirit for the law, and my commitment to justice for all.”

    The Importance of Field Work

    Through her work in this program, Professor Mullin emphasizes the importance of real-world experience for students interested in pursuing this field. Offering intern- and externship opportunities with businesses and organizations in the area, USJ’s Criminal/ Restorative Justice program focuses on offering students first-hand experience in order to discover their passions.

    “I hope to plant opportunities out there and allow USJ students to step into the world and experience something that may light a fire in them,” says Professor Mullin, who discovered her passion for criminal defense work during law school in the criminal clinic program at Boston University.

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  • Restorative Justice Curriculum Highlights

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