DA Neednt Be Concerned

Ξ October 6th, 2007 | → | ∇ mass lawyers weekly |

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
March 10, 2003

To the Editor:
District Attorney Martha Coakley need not be too concerned that Carl Takei’s and my piece on the civil liberties implications of her office’s Sexually Dangerous Persons case against S&M practitioner Alden Baker appeared the morning his jury trial commenced (”‘Commonwealth v. Baker’ Poses Novel Question,” Feb. 24). Judge [Ralph D.] Gants immediately queried the jurors to make sure that none of them had read the piece, and, sure enough (and quite predictably, I might add), none of them had read it nor, in fact, read Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly at all.

Had the piece appeared in a general interest newspaper prior to the judge’s instructing jurors not to read about the case in the press, Coakley’s concerns about juror taint might be more realistic. In fact, I submitted the piece to Lawyers Weekly not to taint the jury pool, but rather to educate journalists and convince them of the need to cover this important civil liberties case right in their own back yard. I actually wish that Lawyers Weekly were read by more journalists who cover the courts but who, alas, often do so in blissful ignorance of what is really happening.

Ignorance remains dubious bliss when it comes to the public’s and the media’s lack of knowledge of, or perhaps lack of interest in what is done to civil liberties in the people’s name.

Harvey A. Silverglate



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