Mass Gov blows it at JP drug lab, prosecutors perp-walk of Dookhan not much better.


You can be persuaded ..

[Boston Globe, 10/2/12]

‘Perp Walk’ is a Bullying Tactic

The “perp walk” in front of cameras is one of contemporary prosecutors’ favorite forms of self-advertisement. Partly, it is a bullying tactic meant to lead to convictions and settlements. Always, its effect is to taint the jury pool and eliminate the presumption of innocence. The practice is criticized by civil-rights attorney Harvey Silverglate, but not many others.

In the case of former lab technician Annie Dookhan, charges filed by Attorney General Coakley were implicitly endorsed by Governor Patrick, whose own competence could be called into question by a full investigation of the operation of the state laboratory that employed Ms. Dookhan. The gratuitous display of state power when she was arrested at her home in Franklin is the responsibility of the attorney general. What makes it far worse is that, by obvious prearrangement, the Friday show ended up above the fold on the front page of Saturday’s Globe.

The press’s role in ginning up sentiment against criminal defendants has a sorry history one had hoped was in the past. The fault in this case is not with the photographer or reporters on the scene. It required editorial collusion.

David A. Mittell, Jr.
Jamaica Plain

On a related note,  Boston Phoenix reporter Chris Faraone ‏@Fara1 on Twitter,   September 28th wrote:  “Get caught with drugs, get held without bail.  Falsify drug evidence, bail yourself out for only 10k.” #mapoli