What Were They Thinking

You may recall the brouhaha that arose last year when a Massachusetts state district court judge vacated a prior state court conviction in order to mitigate the impact that the conviction would have on the defendant under the federal sentencing guidelines in an upcoming sentencing in federal court. The defendant, Matthew West, was due to be sentenced in federal court by Judge Young later the same day. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the existence or non-existence of a prior conviction made a huge difference in how much time West would be required to serve under the guidelines. Hence the urgency (on the part of West) in getting the earlier conviction vacated so it wouldn’t be counted against him.

The whole bizarre story is described here. You may recall that after that story broke the judge was the subject of massive public criticism (think talk radio, Boston Herald). She ended up in the emergency room with chest pains, and upon recovering she changed her mind and reinstated the conviction.… Read the full article

I have written several times about the disciplinary proceedings against several attorneys who represented the losing party in the Demoulas cases. (see here, here and here).

As I described in the first of these blog entries:

The saga of how Gary Crossen (then of Foley, Hoag & Eliot and former ethics counsel to two Massachusetts Governors), Richard Donahue (a former President of the Massachusetts Bar Association, chair of its Commission on Professionalism and President of Nike, Inc.), and Kevin Curry, a former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General, lured the judge’s former law clerk out-of-state in order to tape record his “confession,” attempted to bully him into signing an affidavit, conducted surveillance on him, and more, is described in agonizing detail in the 229 page decision. As a fan of hard boiled detective novels (including Boston’s current claim to fame, Dennis LeHane, author of Mystic River and other engrossing works), I can only say that in Boston, reality is stranger than fiction.

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It appears that infamous Chicago patent attorney Ray Niro has offered $5,000 for anyone who will identify the author of the Patent Troll Tracker, which Niro apparently believes has made uncharitable comments about him. The anonymous author of the Patent Troll Tracker blog takes this in good humor, describing the offer as a “bounty” and stating:

I have never had a bounty on my head before (see also blog post here). And I can’t imagine why Ray Niro would pay $5,000 to find out who I am. I emailed him to find out (from the corner internet cafe, heh). He didn’t respond. Ray: if you up it to $50,000, can I collect the reward? . . .

Yes, Ray Niro has decided to offer $5,000 to find out who I am. According to the article, he wants to know “who is saying all those nasty things” about him. .

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Demoulas Disbarments

by Lee Gesmer on November 3, 2006

Two updates:

First, I learned today (12/11/06) that the hearing officer in this case, Ellen Carpenter, tragically passed away at the age of 52.

Second, Boston Magazine alerted me to an article discussing the Demoulas/Law Clerk scandal. If you want a quick summary of the case, Boston Magazine-style, click here for The Demoulas Trap:

Secret tape recordings. Clandestine meetings. Fake identities. Nothing was off-limits when supermarket tycoon Telemachus Demoulas’s desperate legal team hatched its plan to squeeze Paul Walsh. A billion dollars was at stake in the nastiest civil court case in state history, and the lowly court clerk was an easy mark. Until he decided to fight back.


On October 16, 2006, the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers issued its long-awaited decision in the Demoulas attorney misconduct case, essentially affirming the hearing officer (Ellen Carpenter) in her decision recommending disbarment of three Massachusetts lawyers. The BBO accepted the recommendation of the hearing officer and ordered the disbarment of two of the attorneys (Gary Crossen and Kevin Curry), and ordered that the third attorney, Richard Donahue, be suspended for three years.… Read the full article