Editorial

Letter | JUDGE UNDER SCRUTINY

Pro bono matter taken on to protect a principle, not a person

I found your Jan. 8 front-page headline “Judge got free aid worth $85,000” misleading. Attorney Michael Keating and his team at Foley Hoag took on the matter involving Judge Raymond G. Dougan on a pro bono basis not to defend an individual judge, but to preserve and protect the principle of judicial independence, an essential element of our democracy.

Because of the professional services donated by Keating and his law firm, our Supreme Judicial Court issued a landmark ruling safeguarding the “deliberative processes of judges fundamental to ensuring that they may act without fear or favor in exercising their constitutional responsibility to be both impartial and independent.”

It was not so much Judge Dougan who “won a major legal victory,” as stated in the story’s opening sentence; it was our system of justice.

J.D. Smeallie

President

Boston Bar Association

Boston