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The Boston Globe

Metro

Spotlight report

O’Brien’s rise and reign defined by tenacity

Just before he took over as the state’s chief administrative judge, Robert A. Mulligan began meeting with the court system’s department heads, chummy meet-and-greet sessions that gave the incoming boss a chance to get to know his top lieutenants.

But when the judge shook hands with Probation Commissioner John J. O’Brien during that summer of 2003, the encounter was icy.

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