Criminal Justice

Defendants want new trials because of racist Facebook posts said to be written by their lawyer

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Lawyers for at least two convicted men in Massachusetts are seeking new trials because of racist and offensive Facebook posts thought to have been written by their now-deceased defense lawyer.

The lawyer, Richard Doyle, was accused of denigrating Muslims, immigrants, transgender people and Black people in Facebook posts that were available to the public, according to WBUR and an opinion column in the Boston Globe. He died nearly a year ago.

Doyle was appointed to represent defendants Anthony Dew and James Gaines by the public defender agency in Massachusetts, the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Doyle’s appointed cases are now under review by the agency, while Dew and Gaines are trying to undo their convictions.

A lawyer with the agency detailed Doyle’s alleged posts in an affidavit filed in Dew’s case.

One shared post, for example, showed a picture of the back end of a huge pig with the caption, “Dear Muslims … Kiss our big bacon balls.” Other shared posts used demeaning terms and the F-word to describe Muslims.

Another shared post was titled “5 minutes after Trump legalizes weed in all 50 states.” The picture showed Black men in Trump shirts and hats.

Another post referred to a “punk client” who told Doyle that he didn’t like his attitude. In comments, Doyle wrote, “I told him to come back with a new lawyer or a toothbrush.” Later he wrote, “Soap on a rope for a going away present.”

The Committee for Public Counsel Services said it suspended Doyle from its cases when it learned of the posts. The agency also appointed a lawyer for Dew after it determined that Doyle’s representation could provide grounds for a new-trial motion.

Dew’s lawyer, Edward Gaffney, said in a motion Dew, a Black Muslim man, should be allowed to withdraw his 2016 guilty pleas to charges of human trafficking, assault and drug distribution because of the posts.

“The foundation of this motion are 20 original and shared statements and/or images posted by Doyle on his Facebook page between 2014 and 2017, publicly demonstrating his virulent bigotry toward African Americans and Muslims, among others,” the motion said.

Gaines is also a Black Muslim man. He wants a new trial following his conviction for armed assault with intent to murder in 2005. His new lawyer is William Korman.

“Every case this guy ever touched is tainted, in my opinion,” Korman told the Boston Globe. “And every case this guy ever touched needs to be looked at.”

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