Jury concludes fourth day of probation deliberations

Former probation commissioner John J. Brien is shown in a file photo.
Ted Fitzgerald/Pool Photo/Boston Herald
Former probation commissioner John J. Brien is shown in a file photo.

The jury has concluded its fouth day of deliberations in the corruption case against former probation chief John J. O’Brien and two top aides.

The jury of seven men and five women in US District Court in Boston has now deliberated for a total of about 30 hours.

O’Brien and two top deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke III, are charged with unlawfully doling out jobs to the friends and family members of the politically connected in exchange for favors from state legislators.

Related: Probation trial jury submitted 281 questions to judge


Prosecutors allege that the probation officials committed fraud by creating a bogus hiring process to make it look as though they were complying with policies and procedures.

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Defense attorneys argue that nothing their clients did was illegal, that it was simply patronage typical of Beacon Hill politics.

The Globe reported today that during the 35-day trial, jurors submitted 281 questions before they began deliberations last Wednesday, sometimes in handwritten notes to US District Judge William G. Young.

The submission of questions has added a new dynamic to an already complicated case, which featured 60 witnesses and 104 questions for the jurors to consider as they weigh whether the three top Probation Department officials ran the department like a criminal enterprise, the Globe reported.

Related coverage:

Spotlight Report: Patronage in the Probation Department


Farragher: Favoritism hurtled to a corrupt extreme

House colleagues say speaker system branded unfairly

Jury hears of power play in probation case

Robert DeLeo in glare at Probation hiring trial

Probation officials practiced simple patronage, lawyer says


Probation case focus on lawmakers may backfire

O’Brien declines to testify as prosecution rests

DeLeo denies trading favors for probation jobs

Ex-judge grilled on probation hiring

Yvonne Abraham: Grimy politics on display at probation trial

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.