Judge Raymond G. Dougan won a major legal victory in November, successfully fending off a 61-page complaint from the Suffolk district attorney that his decisions were systematically biased in favor of criminal defendants.
Now, it turns out that a prominent law firm whose lawyers often appear in Boston courts paid for Dougan’s defense, giving him at least $85,000 worth of free services – and perhaps much more – from one of the most prestigious legal teams in the city.
The pro bono legal services provided by the Boston law firm Foley Hoag could violate the rules of judicial conduct that prohibit judges from receiving gifts from law firms whose attorneys have appeared before them or are likely to in the future. State ethics law also bars public officials from accepting most gifts.
The free legal services, confirmed by Dougan in mandatory reports to the Supreme Judicial Court and the State Ethics Commission, are certainly unusual. Michael Mone Sr., a leading Boston lawyer who frequently represents judges before the Commission on Judicial Conduct, said he always sends them a bill, because he believes he must.
“My interpretation of the law is that in representing individual judges, you cannot make that a gift,” Mone said.
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