Opinion

Max D. Stern and Barry S. Pollack

Judge inquiry would damage courts

BOSTON MUNICIPAL Court Judge Raymond Dougan’s appeal of a subpoena issued by the Commission on Judicial Conduct has set off a debate on whether he should be allowed to avoid questioning about his handling of criminal cases, and whether, if he prevails, legitimate investigations into judicial misconduct in the future will be imperiled.

The issue arises from the Commission’s investigation into Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley’s complaint that Dougan has shown a pattern of antiprosecution bias. The commission’s attorney is seeking to cross-examine the judge as to why he acquitted certain defendants, disbelieved particular police officers, or made other, like decisions with which the district attorney disagreed. The commission also wants access to the judge’s private notes.

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