Make a Comment 0

Bonin book stirs the pot

Posted in: Courts
Tags:



A book on Robert Bonin’s ouster in the late 1970s as chief justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court is rekindling some old feuds.

The book, The Vidal Lecture: Sex and Politics in Massachusetts and the Persecution of Chief Justice Robert Bonin, focuses on Bonin’s ouster in the wake of a lecture he attended given by author Gore Vidal at a fundraiser on behalf of 24 men charged with sodomy and statutory rape.

Bonin insisted he went to hear Vidal and didn’t know the purpose of the event, but the controversy ultimately led to his downfall in the face of opposition from court officials resistant to the change Bonin was ushering into the courts and a media complicit with the old guard.

The book, written by former state transportation secretary James Aloisi and excerpted in CommonWealth’s winter issue, provides a fascinating look at how Massachusetts politics was practiced in the 1970s. Political alliances were more brazen; ethical standards were different. The Globe’s court reporter, for example, maintained a law practice on the side.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (subscription only) covered the book’s release with a story that interviewed many of the characters who are still alive, including former governor Michael Dukakis, who appointed Bonin; Thomas Dwyer Jr., who worked for the late Suffolk County district attorney, Garrett Byrne; the 80-year-old Bonin himself, and a number of prominent attorneys.

Dukakis said Bonin’s removal from the bench was appropriate. “I thought he had the right qualities to do the job, but, as chief judge, he exercised very poor judgment,” he said.

Dwyer accuses Aloisi of libeling his former boss by implying his feud with Bonin was fueled by anti-Semitism. “That’s one of the reasons why I went ballistic over this book,” he says.

Aloisi, in a letter to the editor, said his book never suggested Byrne was anti-Semitic. “Mr. Dwyer’s comments demonstrate how polarized the city’s legal establishment was back in 1978, and how polarized some of it remains today,” he wrote.

Bonin, in a separate letter to the editor, praises Aloisi, dismisses Dwyer, and offers up some examples of the back-stabbing that ultimately brought him down. “I deny being a revanchist looking to even old scores,” he writes. “I ‘hold fast my righteousness…my heart does not reproach me.’”

                                                                                                                                        --BRUCE MOHL



BEACON HILL

CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas reports on the Harry Potter-like chamber of secrets where the House deliberates on budget amendments. WBUR examines the budget process through the eyes of Rep. Carlos Henriquez of Dorchester as he pursues a budget amendment important to him.

CommonWealth’s Back Story suggests the House is turning the Community Preservation Act into just another form of local aid. Gloucester officials say the changes in the law would allow the city to fix up 18 playgrounds and playing fields, the Gloucester Times reports. West Newbury residents maneuver to exit the program altogether.

The just-passed House budget adds $6 million more for the state’s Trial Court, but the amount is still $8 million below Gov. Deval Patrick’s initial budget request, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports.

Patrick says he’s open to putting photos on EBT cards.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The New Bedford mayoral race last fall was the state’s most expensive election battle in 2011.

Lowell’s tax-lien auction attracts no bidders, the Lowell Sun reports.

The Abington town manager apologized to selectmen for saying he wasn’t a “slave” to the town after it was learned he was one of 11 finalists for a similar job in Key West, Florida, which he applied for without seeking permission from selectmen as required by his contract.

The bulk of Mansfield’s town finance board resigns en masse.

CASINOS

The Mashpee Wampanoag roll out their plan for a $500 million casino in Taunton. And when you go the new Taunton gambling hall, bring the kids. Meanwhile, Gov. Deval Patrick clarifies his stance on casino prospects for the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoags.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

The US House passes a cyber security bill; President Obama threatens a veto, the BBC reports.

ELECTION 2012

The Romney campaign needs to do something about its “gaffe-prone” media conference calls. Karl Rove’s first electoral map prediction of the election shows a steep uphill road for Romney.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party tries to chip away at US Sen. Scott Brown’s everyman image in advance of his tax returns release today.  His returns were released this morning, and they show Brown’s income jumped from $294,000 in 2009 to $839,000 in 2010, a leap due largely to a hefty advance he got for the autobiography he published.

Republican Bill Hudak, the fiscal conservative who mounted an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2010, files for bankruptcy protection, the Salem News reports.

A New York Times editorial calls for an online database of television ad spending to combat super PAC spending.

FISHING

An 80 percent cut in the amount of yellow-tailed flounder that commercial fishermen can catch is a major blow to the already distressed industry and has local officials thinking about seeking a federal disaster declaration.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Gov. Deval Patrick calls Ted Kelly’s compensation at Liberty Mutual “breathtaking,” but Jim Braude calls it obscene.

The National Review uses Patrick Bulger, son of former Senate president William Bulger, as the poster boy for all the ills of public pension systems.

The FTC steps up its Google anti-trust inquiry.

Eric Rosengren, head of Boston’s Federal Reserve Bank, pushes for more money market fund regulation in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

EDUCATION

The payroll for the Lawrence Public Schools, now in state receivership, tops $100 million, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

A push to open a search for a new school superintendent in Lynn fails on a 4-3 vote of the School Committee, the Lynn Item reports.

Both the GOP and the Democrats want to extend low student loans rates (for one year anyway), but no one has figured out yet how to come up with the $6 billion to pay for the program.

A student death last weekend in a Harvard dorm room is ruled a suicide, the fifth known case at a Boston area college this academic year.

The Globe, meanwhile, looks at the risk of bipolar disorder onset during the high-pressure and freewheeling college years.

“I’m a scientist. The facts are what they are,” says Boston University President Robert Brown, who is developing a reputation for frankness and transparency.

HEALTH CARE

The dean of the Harvard Medical School and the director of the school’s Center for Primary Care tell Greater Boston why there is a crisis in primary care in the United States.

Massachusetts health insurers will be rebating $45 million to subscribers and employers because of a provision of the federal health care law that requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on delivery of care.

TRANSPORTATION

Bring your T bus driver an espresso: A new CDC study shows transportation workers are the most sleep-deprived group of employees.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A Scituate High School hockey player is scheduled to be in court this morning after the parents of a Duxbury player sought criminal charges for a hard but unpenalized check the Scituate teen laid on their son during a game in January.

Upshot of feds’ take on Anthony DiNunzio: He’s not a very nice man.

MEDIA

The Bridgewater State University newspaper is under fire and the school’s president is threatening to withdraw funding after the paper ran a story that included the name of a student who spoke at a public event about being the victim of an alleged rape.

Because the state has no law banning cellphone use in cars, Keller@Large is trying to start his own movement for operators to voluntarily put away their devices while driving.

USA Today serves up a lengthy article on “racism, hockey, and Boston” in the wake of the a barrage of racist tweets after a black Washington Capitals player scored the winning goal that knocked the Bruins out of the playoffs.

0 Article Comments
There are currently no comments.
Would you like to comment? You must Login or Create an Account to leave a comment.
Back to top

Login

Forgot Password?

 

* = Required
*
Username Required
*
Password Required

Create an Account Here!

Create an account with us to comment on stories and blog posts. Your account information will not be shared with third parties.

* = Required
*
First Name Required
*
Last Name Required
*
Screen Name Required
*
Email Required
*
Password Required
*
Confirm Password Required
*

Archive