MA SJC on Fells Acres: 2 vacant seats, 7 vacant minds

Copyright © 1999 by Hugo S. Cunningham

first posted 990915
last updated y10302
latest minor change y10713

This is derived from a posting to Usenet newsgroup ne.politics


Unless the Federal Courts shake some sense into the SJC, it will be made a matter of record before courts around the world, that the Massachusetts judicial system still hands out crushing sentences for witchcraft, is too arrogant to correct its mistakes ("finality"), and in general does not meet civilized standards. Some of the taint may wash off onto other US State judicial systems.

Life could become interesting for US magistrates trying to extradite suspects from overseas. On the other hand, no foreign country in its right mind would want to become a magnet for real US criminals. Perhaps a compromise would be that a foreign suspect can be extradited for trial in Massachusetts, but only on condition that Federal courts assume direct appellate authority, bypassing the SJC.

The MA Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) wrote:
[Text from the SJC is italicized and indented]

I don't really blame SJC for shooting this down. To me, it seemed more like a technicality that enabled Judge Borenstein to keep the obviously innocent Cheryl LeFave out of jail until her attorneys were able to put together the third, far more meritorious, "new evidence" motion.

This argument, considered alone, is legitimate. Even if the Amiraults had been facing the child witnesses at their trials, given the national hysteria over Satanic cults in day-care centers in 1986-87, they probably would have been convicted anyways.

It would take the later work of researchers like Maggie Bruck and Stephen Ceci to show, in terms *jurors* would understand, *why* such utterly convinced, terrified, helpless, and appealing child witnesses might in fact be *completely* mistaken. Back in 1987, however, jurors would figure "Where there's smoke, there must be fire."

So why not call up John Paul Sullivan, the judge who *did* preside at the original trial, and *did* observe the effect of the evidence on the jurors? Might it be because he, like his successors Judges Robert Barton and Isaac Borenstein, believes the verdict should be overturned?

This doesn't alter the underlying reality that a couple of paid shrinks more or less would not change jurors' minds. Every juror knows that "expert" psychiatrists are paid by the Defense to lie on behalf of the guilty.

It would take the dramatic research of Dr. Maggie Bruck, not available in 1987, to show jurors in terms understandable and convincing to *jurors*, how the prosecution's investigation was guaranteed to brainwash young children. Such research made all the difference to Judge John Paul Sullivan, convinced in 1987, like his jury, that Cheryl must be guilty.

The difference is that Dr. Bruck had understandable and convincingly-illustrated research to back it up.

A doctrine that will live in infamy. The current SJC should be recessed until Massachusetts case law is cleansed from its influence.

which it does here, but apparently not before this panel of simians "which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not" (Jeremiah 5:21). Criminologists elsewhere have come to recognize that abuse of very young children is a furtive crime of *individuals*, not of bizarre cults in day-care centers.


Editor's note

A Court that will live in infamy

A list of SJC justices responsible for the disgraceful 18 Aug 1999 decision

NameCurrent statusNote
Herbert P. Wilkins
(Chief Justice)
retired Aug 1999
Ruth I. Abrams retired
Neil L. Lynchretired 25 Jun 2000
John M. Greaney2
Charles Friedretired1
Margaret H. Marshall current Chief Justice
after Wilkins's retirement
Roderick L. Ireland


Justices more recently appointed to the court (Francis X. Spina [14 Oct 1999], Judith A. Cowin [Oct 1999], Martha B. Sosman [7 Sep 2000], Robert J. Cordy [Feb 2001], JJ) obviously should not be held responsible for this decision. Nevertheless, it will remain part of Massachusetts case law, threatening other innocent people, unless and until the MA legislature overrules it, or until Congress and/or the Federal courts impose justice from outside.

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