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Prosecutor Wants Lenient Judge Ousted From All Criminal Cases

Posted Apr 18, 2011 10:18 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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Corrected: A veteran Boston municipal court judge known as "Judge Let Me Go" is coming under scrutiny for being overly lenient, prompting a local district attorney to wage an unusual campaign to remove the judge from presiding over criminal trials.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley has instructed his prosecutors to ask for Judge Raymond J. Dougan to recuse himself in each criminal case; he's filed an ethics complaint against the judge; and he's asking the Supreme Judicial Court to bar Dougan from hearing any case involving the Suffolk district attorney.

In a lengthy Sunday article about the dispute, the Boston Globe characterized Dougan as "a prosecutor’s nightmare whose decisions are appealed by district attorneys far more often than any other judge in the Boston Municipal Court system."

A review of court records by the paper revealed that Dougan has been repeatedly warned by appeals courts that his decisions need to follow the law instead of his feelings. "A Globe review of scores of cases decided by Dougan reveals a pattern of rejecting police testimony while extending second chances to criminals whose rap sheets go on for pages," the paper notes.

But others say attacks against Dougan are unfair and a threat to judicial independence.

Chief Justice Charles R. Johnson is quoted as calling Dougan "one of the hardest-working and most conscientious judges in the judiciary."

Corrected at 2:40 p.m. to add the word "unusual."

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