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Old 01-19-2010, 05:38 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post
It's a reference to a case she was involved in-the rape of a two year old girl with a curling iron.

Some saw Coakley as lax on ’05 rape case
AG defends steps in long process

By Michael Rezendes, Boston Globe Globe Staff | January 6, 2010

In October 2005, a Somerville police officer living in Melrose raped his 23-month-old niece with a hot object, most likely a curling iron.

Keith Winfield, then 31, told police he was alone with the toddler that day and made additional statements that would ultimately be used to convict him.

But in the aftermath of the crime, a Middlesex County grand jury overseen by Martha Coakley, then the district attorney, investigated without taking action.

It was only after the toddler’s mother filed applications for criminal complaints that Coakley won grand jury indictments charging rape and assault and battery.

Even then, nearly 10 months after the crime, Coakley’s office recommended that Winfield be released on personal recognizance, with no cash bail. He remained free until December 2007, when Coakley’s successor as district attorney won a conviction and two life terms.

Coakley, now the Democratic candidate for US Senate, has made much of her record prosecuting crimes against children, and says her office handled this investigation appropriately. But the case stands out as one in which she drew criticism for not being aggressive enough. Indeed, the case gave rise to Coakley’s last competitive election.

Larry Frisoli, a Cambridge attorney who had represented the family of Jeffrey Curley, a 10-year-old Cambridge boy murdered by sexual predators in an infamous 1997 case, was so angered by Coakley’s handling of the Winfield investigation that he ran against her as a Republican for attorney general in 2006, ultimately unsuccessfully.

“That was the principal reason Larry decided to run,’’ said Frank Frisoli, Larry’s brother and former law partner. “He clearly felt that procedure was not being followed.’’

Larry Frisoli died of kidney and liver failure last year.

In a recent interview, Coakley said her office acted appropriately at every turn, adding that her office fielded 900 complaints of sexual and physical child abuse each year. She asserted that it was not unusual for prosecutors to require more than one grand jury before obtaining indictments, especially in cases such as Winfield’s, in which there is only circumstantial evidence and the victim is deemed too young to testify.

“I think the jury’s conviction is sound and will be upheld on appeal,’’ Coakley said.

Coakley pointed out that Winfield had no prior convictions, had deep roots in his community, and had appeared voluntarily at his arraignment after a 10-month investigation, leaving her office with scant reason to ask for cash bail and little reason to believe that a judge would order it.

She insisted that Winfield’s status as a law enforcement officer had no bearing on her decisions. “The fact that he was a Somerville police officer was irrelevant,’’ she said.

Coakley’s prosecutors made the recommendation that Winfield be released with no cash bail, even though an investigator with the Department of Children and Families, working in the weeks immediately following the rape, found that Winfield had been suspended from his job with the Somerville police for disciplinary reasons and had lied about it.

In addition, the investigator found that Winfield had concealed the fact that he had been evaluated at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital for stress less than two weeks before the rape.

Indeed, before Winfield’s trial, prosecutors sought to admit evidence that Winfield, in the days leading up to the rape, was treated for a substance abuse problem and had threatened to kill himself by holding a gun to his head, “evincing great emotional stress and the strong possibility that [he] would harm himself or others.’’

Although high cash bail is intended primarily as a means to ensure that the accused appear for court dates, judicial guidelines say it can be imposed in cases because of “the nature and circumstances of the offense’’ or the potential sentence a defendant faces. Each of the rape charges on which Winfield was indicted carried a potential life sentence.

John Swomley, a defense lawyer who has represented clients prosecuted by Coakley, said he found her decision to recommend that Winfield be released on personal recognizance unusual.

“Given the evidence it appears they had, I can’t imagine them not asking for cash bail,’’ he said.

Family members of the toddler remain troubled by Coakley’s recommendation that Winfield be allowed to remain free.

“Why was he able to be two years out of jail? Why is that?’’ said one family member. “We ask that question all the time.’’

The Globe is withholding the names of the family members because naming them would indirectly identify the victim and the Globe does not publish the names of sexual abuse victims.

But Robert L. Sheketoff - Winfield’s attorney in his appeal, which is still pending - said the decision by Coakley’s office to allow Winfield to remain free on personal recognizance was appropriate.

“Bail is not supposed to be used as a means to keep someone locked up,’’ he said.

The Winfield case began Oct. 13, 2005, after a day when Winfield and his wife were baby sitting their niece, along with their own two children.

That afternoon, when the toddler’s grandmother stopped by to pick her up, she found the toddler crying, and the child refused to walk. After taking the toddler home, the grandmother changed her diaper and noticed what she could only conclude was a severe diaper rash, according to a narrative of the case detailed in court documents.

When the toddler’s mother returned from work, the girl was still crying and in obvious pain. And when the mother changed her diaper, she, too, noted that the area was very red.

By 11 p.m., when the toddler’s mother once again changed her diaper, the redness had become alarming. “Her genital and anal area was bleeding, and her skin was peeling off,’’ according to prosecutors.

The next morning, after her condition had worsened, the toddler’s mother took her to a Somerville pediatrician who referred her to Children’s Hospital and notified the Department of Social Services (now the Department of Families and Children), along with Melrose police. The toddler ultimately spent a month at Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston recovering from burns.

Three weeks after the rape, on Nov. 7, Winfield gave his interview to Melrose detectives, saying he was alone with the toddler for about an hour on the day of the crime. He also said, “I would have never, ever, ever, ever wanted to take on another child,’’ a statement that was later used by prosecutors at trial to show that Winfield’s commitment to care for his niece was an intolerable burden and, therefore, a motivation to harm her.

The following January, after neither Melrose police nor Coakley’s office had taken any public action against Winfield, Frisoli wrote to an assistant district attorney saying that he and the toddler’s mother planned to pursue charges on their own.

“I believe I already have enough evidence for the issuance of a complaint,’’ Frisoli wrote, “and do not intend to allow them to go unprosecuted.’’

In response, Coakley’s office contacted Frisoli and assured him that the case would go before a grand jury. Yet, months later, after presenting testimony, Coakley’s office decided that “additional time was needed to determine the legal sufficiency of the evidence’’ and did not ask the grand jury to take action.

By that time, Frisoli had announced his plans to run against Coakley for attorney general. On July 10, he followed through with his promise to have the toddler’s mother file applications for criminal complaints against Winfield and his wife. A magistrate’s hearing was set for Aug. 1.

“To me, it was a ploy and a political stunt to promote his own race for attorney general,’’ Coakley said in the interview. Coakley also said she believed Frisoli was “trying to have his cake and eat it, too,’’ by accusing her of foot-dragging while knowing that if indictments were issued, he could claim credit for prompting her to take action.

Coakley’s office presented the case to another grand jury, offering previously submitted testimony along with new evidence that included telephone records and information about Winfield’s employment history.

In late July, that grand jury issued the two rape and two assault and battery indictments against Winfield and, on Aug. 1, the day the hearing on the applications for criminal complaints was to have taken place, Winfield was arraigned and released on personal recognizance.

Coakley said that her office did not ask for a dangerousness hearing - a proceeding in which prosecutors may request pretrial incarceration by arguing that the accused presents a danger to the community - because Winfield did not show any sign of being a repeat offender or sexual predator. It would take another 15 months and a new district attorney, Gerard T. Leone Jr., before Winfield was convicted and sentenced to prison. Winfield appeared voluntarily for trial, generally meeting the terms of his release.

Recently, the question of bail in child rape cases made local headlines when a Kingston man was accused of raping a 3-year-old girl while free on $10,000 cash bail, which was imposed after an earlier charge of breaking and entering and raping a 5-year-old girl. Prosecutors had recommended $200,000 cash bail after the first alleged rape, but a judge would not agree to it.

Following the Kingston incidents, state Representative Karyn E. Polito, a Shrewsbury Republican, filed legislation that would require require prosecutors to request a dangerousness hearing in all child rape cases.

“What happened to this little girl is horrendous,’’ said Polito, referring to Winfield’s niece.
No one, Democratic or Republican, running for US Senate would admit that they made a mistake on something like this. Coakley is no different. Not right by a longshot, just how it is in politics. The consultants would tell her this "shows weakness."

However, a couple of things.

1.)With the story: The defense attorney saying "high bail is not a way to keep someone locked up"

Yes, it is. This is recognized, as the article points out, in judicial guidelines and was the one and only way to keep a dangerous person behind bars before preventive detention was passed in 1984.(Ted Kennedy actually wrote that preventive detention bill, along with Strom Thurmond and Joe Biden).

2.)I have no doubt that Coakley was wrong here in asking for personal recognizance release. However, the grand jury needing to meet 2 times to ensure indictment is legit, that happens alot. Ultimately, her successor, who worked under her, followed through with the case and he got 2 life sentences.

So yes, Coakley made a mistake, but so did a parole board dominated by Romney appointees who just released a murderer that went and shot a clerk dead in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. Anyone in law enforcement in anyway, liberal, conservative, radical, independent, whatever, will have at least one time you can point to where they probably should have acted differently. Everyone makes a mistake at their job once or twice, it is just the fact that public safety is so serious that it comes up when they run for office.

The criminal justice system is one that does not always work correctly, but thankfully, over the last 25 years, guidelines have made it more predictable.

In the realm of mistakes, Coakley's was not that bad, as she did not botch a prosecution and set the guy free, and he did, in spite of it being a bad idea to release him, show up again.

If you look at her overall record, no one could argue that it is soft on crime in any way. One ill advised recommendation by Coakley does not have 100 counterparts.

So my response to the curling iron comment would be:
1.)Inappropriate and unnecessary, as no one would ever defend a person doing what the Somerville Cop did to that girl.
2.)Despite the mistake, Coakley's office conducted a successful investigation and prosecution that resulted in the rapist going away for life. As the article points out, given the age of the victim and the status of the offender, this was not an easy conviction to win.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:06 PM   #47
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Massachusetts has always been an odd duck,
yes it is perceived to be a liberal state, the registration and elected officials skew heavily towards the Democrats

but scratch the surface a little, and racism and sexism are doing just fine
Not an odd duck, just like most of the rest of the states.

The perception of "liberal" comes from the Kennedy dynasty and its strong Democratic voting history. However, liberal is just a label, one JFK even struggled to explain.

MA has its share of left wing Democrats, but liberal is not the word you would use to describe most of the registered Democrats in MA. A non scientific, done just by me analysis would break the Dems in MA down like this:

-10% move on members or far left of that type.
-60% moderate, pro business, pro education, pro tech/jobs, highly educated affluent suburban voters whose parents were probably working class, inner city Democrats. These people are moderate/liberal on social issues. They are not racist, but you will not find them living in black communities. They are not on board with the far right economic philosophy, they know taxes fund services, but they certainly have no use for the Congressional Progressive caucus raising capital gains taxes to 40% or for single payer health care. They are a pragmatic bunch. Bill Clinton is their hero, Steve Pagliuca was their Senate primary guy, Bill Richardson or Joe Biden was preferable to Obama.
-20% old school, inner city urban Democrats who are socially conservative but die hard union lunch pail populists. These are the people who would rail against affirmative action or gay marriage, read the conservative Boston Herald, scoff at "liberal" yuppies, all while they are walking into the polls to pull every lever with a "D" next to it!! Look for them in South Boston, Charlestown, Quincy, Worcester, Everett, Lowell, etc.
-10% (if it is less, add a few percent to the old school D's) immigrants and African Americans. Massachusetts has this in the city and a few suburbs. Certainly not to the level of NY or MD or RI and most certainly not to the level of Southern and Western urbanized states. Same old story here, they view the Democrats as the party who provides the opportunity for immigrants(legal, of course) to climb the ladder.

These people added together have a 3-1 advantage over Republicans in voter registration.

However, where MA is like every other state is in this number that is finally getting some media attention: Independents represent over 50% of registered MA voters, and outnumber both Dems and Reps!

These people are moderate on economic and social issues, and their votes are up for grabs. They have the say in any Presidential or Senate election. These are the people who joined Republicans and a percentage of the old school and suburban Democrats to give MA to Reagan in 1980 and 84. They then joined the Democrats to give MA to Clinton in 92 and 96, and re elect Kennedy and Kerry to the Senate in 94 and 96. As these same people cheered Reagan in 1984, they elected Mike Dukakis Governor by a record margin in 86. As they cheered Clinton in 92 and 96, they elected Bill Weld(R) governor, and this started a string of Republican Governors in MA that was just broken in 2007. All the time we had a Republican governor(91-07) we were voting D for President and D's for Congress.

In short, its not that simple to call MA a "liberal" "bluest of the blue" state. It has the same tendencies as any other state. Louisiana, Arkansas, W VA went for Clinton in 92 or 96, NC, Virginia for Obama in 08. MA in the 1980s for Reagan.

Is it racism and sexism? No.

Sexism- you always get your people who wont vote for a woman, but they are a dwindling minority. Just because there are stereotypes and assholes yelling out of cars about "curling irons" does not mean they represent any more than a very small minority.

Racism- Hell, no. Boston and MA get a bad rap here because of the busing crisis of 1974-75. Bad decision, put in place by a suburban judge on the poor children of the city of Boston because the school committee there could not get its act together. 99% of white parents and 99% of black parents opposed busing in Boston. It was not motivated by racial hatred. Again, the idiots who made the news(and the opening scene of The Departed!), throwing rocks, attacking black kids and the police who protected them, well, they were the small minority. Most white busing opponents in South Boston and Charlestown thought those thugs were despicable and inhumane.

Some high profile Bostonians were racist- Jean Yawkey of the Red Sox for sure, but her husband and the manager of the 1967 Red Sox put that to rest when they said they would get the best players, black or white.

The Boston Celtics were quite possibly the most racially progressive professional sports organization ever. Bill Russell of 1950s-60s fame was the most beloved athlete in Boston, and he was black.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:10 PM   #48
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Jon Stewart is a comedian, right?
and you're also just some nobody, but you seem to think we should listen to you ahead of anyone else.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:14 PM   #49
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C'mon-diamond does know everything about women

I just picture him riding off into the sunset in Scott Brown's (poor man's Mitt Romney) truck
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:21 PM   #50
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Jon Stewart is a comedian, right?
A comedian and more intelligent, accurate and articulate than you are.

If you take him for what he is, he can be very enlightening.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:43 PM   #51
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Evan Bayh Warns of 'Catastrophe' for Democrats [Daniel Foster]

Sen. Evan Bayh (D., Ind.) told ABC News that failing to heed the results of the Massachusetts Senate race will "lead to even further catastrophe" for the Democrats (emphasis added):

“There’s going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all this,” Bayh told ABC News, but “if you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope of waking up.”

What is the lesson of Massachusetts – where Democrats face the prospects of losing a Senate seat they’ve held since 1952? For Senator Bayh the lesson is that the party pushed an agenda that is too far to the left, alienating moderate and independent voters.

“It’s why moderates and independents even in a state as Democratic as Massachusetts just aren’t buying our message,” he said. “They just don’t believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems. That’s something that has to be corrected.”

Bayh pointed that it’s not just Massachusetts. Independents also rejected Democratic gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia in November.

“Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Dem party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country — that’s not going to work too well.”
Can you tell Sen Bayh is up for reelection this year? Can you tell he's heard an earful from Hoosiers?
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:06 PM   #52
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it's actually closer than many thought. i think what we're seeing is more anti-incumbent populism -- a populism, imho, that's pretty immature -- than actual outrage at Obama.

still, one wonders how they let her run such an awful, awful campaign.

Brown wins, but it's not the thunderous condemnation that the GOP wishes it were, so listen to the spin of how "even in LIBERAL massachusetts they don't want health care."

Obama's first year is shaping up to be very similar to Clinton and Reagan.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:22 PM   #53
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do the Republicans have any -- any -- sort of plan for actually governing the country? or do they simply exist to whip up populist anger -- created, as we know, by Bush policies of war and debt -- and aim it at whatever target they so choose?

if the GOP had anything constructive to offer, or appeared to be even remotely interested in actually governing the country, i'd almost take joy in the Democrats losing because it appears as of Coakley is god-awful. but the Republicans seem interested in only tearing down the ability of government to do anything beyond blow up Arabs, torture people in Gitmo to death, and lower taxes.

there appears to be only one adult in DC who wishes to actually do his job and govern, thankfully he's the president.




Like 3 Curt Schilling fastballs... 3 strikes and you're out.

Time for some new talking points. Even Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts doesn't believe.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:23 PM   #54
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Like 3 Curt Schilling fastballs... 3 strikes and you're out.
god yeah, what an idiot. trying to get support for his party. it's laughable, really.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:27 PM   #55
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Brown wins.

Rachel Maddow looks like her dog just died.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:44 PM   #56
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Warm up the buses and let the throwing begin.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:45 PM   #57
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aww how cute, it's like you won something important
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:49 PM   #58
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aww how cute, it's like you won something important
It is pretty important.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:53 PM   #59
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RIP healthcare reform
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:55 PM   #60
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Time for some new talking points. Even Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts doesn't believe.


i can understand the impulse to want to connect these dots, but you are talking about three *spectacularly* bad candidates, two of whom were in states where the opposing party traditionally wins in the year after the election.

i'll let you razz tonight, but you've got to understand that the RNC/FNC/Drudge focus on tactics, and not strategy, isn't going to get you back the white house in 2012. populism only has so much to give, even in Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts.
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