What Were They Thinking

You may recall the brouhaha that arose last year when a Massachusetts state district court judge vacated a prior state court conviction in order to mitigate the impact that the conviction would have on the defendant under the federal sentencing guidelines in an upcoming sentencing in federal court. The defendant, Matthew West, was due to be sentenced in federal court by Judge Young later the same day. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the existence or non-existence of a prior conviction made a huge difference in how much time West would be required to serve under the guidelines. Hence the urgency (on the part of West) in getting the earlier conviction vacated so it wouldn’t be counted against him.

The whole bizarre story is described here. You may recall that after that story broke the judge was the subject of massive public criticism (think talk radio, Boston Herald). She ended up in the emergency room with chest pains, and upon recovering she changed her mind and reinstated the conviction.… Read the full article

I have written several times about the disciplinary proceedings against several attorneys who represented the losing party in the Demoulas cases. (see here, here and here).

As I described in the first of these blog entries:

The saga of how Gary Crossen (then of Foley, Hoag & Eliot and former ethics counsel to two Massachusetts Governors), Richard Donahue (a former President of the Massachusetts Bar Association, chair of its Commission on Professionalism and President of Nike, Inc.), and Kevin Curry, a former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General, lured the judge’s former law clerk out-of-state in order to tape record his “confession,” attempted to bully him into signing an affidavit, conducted surveillance on him, and more, is described in agonizing detail in the 229 page decision. As a fan of hard boiled detective novels (including Boston’s current claim to fame, Dennis LeHane, author of Mystic River and other engrossing works), I can only say that in Boston, reality is stranger than fiction.

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It appears that infamous Chicago patent attorney Ray Niro has offered $5,000 for anyone who will identify the author of the Patent Troll Tracker, which Niro apparently believes has made uncharitable comments about him. The anonymous author of the Patent Troll Tracker blog takes this in good humor, describing the offer as a “bounty” and stating:

I have never had a bounty on my head before (see also blog post here). And I can’t imagine why Ray Niro would pay $5,000 to find out who I am. I emailed him to find out (from the corner internet cafe, heh). He didn’t respond. Ray: if you up it to $50,000, can I collect the reward? . . .

Yes, Ray Niro has decided to offer $5,000 to find out who I am. According to the article, he wants to know “who is saying all those nasty things” about him. .

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Oral Argument in the Demoulas Ethics Case

by Lee Gesmer on November 21, 2007

This falls squarely under the “what were they thinking” category. I’ve written about the attorney discipline proceedings in the Demoulas case here and here. Oral argument before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court took place on October 4, 2007. These arguments may be viewed in full here (Crossen) and here (Curry). When the SJC issues its rulings on these two appeals, the door will finally close on this scandal, ten years after it first opened. The Justices’ questioning of the attorneys for Messrs. Crossen and Curry was surprisingly gentle, and their questioning of the BBO’s attorney quite aggresive. If I were in Crossen or Curry’s shoes, I would be cautiously optimistic following this hearing.… Read the full article