Lessons for all as the Probation Department saga ends

Within the past few hours, the trial of former Probation Department head John J. O'Brien and his two deputies finally came to a conclusion. My research assistant Daniel Schneider and I have taken the liberty of writing a long-needed response, just published by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, to this malicious prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.

If you have a subscription to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly you can read (and comment on) our piece online. Otherwise, click here to view the column as a PDF in your browser.

As always, I appreciate your feedback on the topic at hand, and you can reach me or Daniel directly at harvey@harveysilverglate.com or daniel@harveysilverglate.com. If you’d like to write a Letter to the Editor in response to this column, you can email  Henriette.Campagne@lawyersweekly.com.  

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DOJ's New Recording Policy: The Exceptions Swallow The Rule

The Department of Justice recently distributed a memorandum of its new recording policy which ostensibly seeks to revise its long-standing practice of not electronically recording suspect or witness interviews. While many view this as a positive development, I have written a column explaining the shortcomings of this policy. I’m afraid little will change as the policy’s exceptions swallow the rule. 

The article can be found on on the Forbes.com website.

As always, I’d appreciate your feedback on the topic at hand and encourage you to either post a comment directly below the column on Forbes.com or reach me directly at has@harveysilverglate.com

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Unsettling result of Bulger trial: soon to hit big screen

Last week I sent out my review of the latest Whitey Bulger documentary that I wrote for Forbes.com. This week I have published another piece in response to Berlinger’s film, this time in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, that considers the legal details of the Bulger trial in more depth. In this column I argue that, given the ambiguity in the case law governing the admissibility of Bulger’s claimed immunity agreement, Bulger should have been allowed to present this defense. 

I realize that my position here will be seen as questionable by many, and as both wrong and wrong-headed by some. If you have any feedback, whether in agreement or disagreement, feel free to make a comment below the piece on the MLW website, or write me directly at has@harveysilverglate.com .

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WHITEY: An Only-In-Boston Extravaganza Comes To The Big Screen

Last week I attended a screening of Joe Berlinger's excellent documentary WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, about the life, times, and trial of Boston's most notorious mobster. I've written a review for Forbes.com examining the immunity defense Whitey Bulger was never allowed to present in court, and the film's thoughtful treatment of the explosive subject.

As always, I’d appreciate your feedback on the topic at hand and encourage you to either post a comment directly below the column on Forbes.com or reach me directly at has@harveysilverglate.com

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Mass. Governor's Council Settles the 'Armenian Genocide' Question...Sort Of

You may be familiar with the kerfuffle that occurred at the Governor’s Council this past fall regarding Joseph S. Berman’s submission for a Superior Court Judgeship. Despite having a distinguished career as a respected litigator here in the Commonwealth, Mr. Berman’s submission was met with fierce resistance due to his affiliation with the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL describes the slaughter of Armenian’s by the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI as “tantamount to genocide,” but the inclusion of that modifier continues to draw critique and contempt from the Armenian community. While it is known that Mr. Berman worked internally to soften the organization’s line on the issue, his affiliation with the ADL, it appears, is sufficient to impeach his candidacy for the bench. I’ve had my own experience learning just how narrow and politically-ordained the acceptable narrative of the Armenian genocide is in this state, when representing a group of students and teachers wishing to keep so-called “contra-genocide” educational materials in a resource guide provided by the state’s education commissioner. The materials had been removed after significant pressure was exerted by the local Armenian lobby, which appears to be at work again in Berman’s case.

For a more detailed report on this issue of the Armenian genocide debate becoming a third rail in Massachusetts, please see my column posted on WGBH here: http://blogs.wgbh.org/scrum/2014/1/30/governors-council-settles-armenian-genocide-question-sort/

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A sampling of the twists and
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