O'Brien juror: Walsh 'irresponsible and reckless' in comments

WGBH posts e-mail from a juror in the probation trial about Hizzona's comments.

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I'm glad the juror spoke up,

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I'm glad the juror spoke up, as it's helpful to hear the perspsective of one of the jurors. However, I find this portion of the juror's email very concerning -

"My hope is that John himself will at some point testify against Deleo and in exchange, any sentence against him or Liz Tavares, or Bill Burke will be lessened or done away with all together."

It sounds like this juror envisions the role of a jury in determining guilt or innocence to include, at least in part, putting pressure on individuals to compel testimony for a subsequent possible case. That's not the juror's job, and no juror should base his or her decision on whether their verdict will, in turn, lead the (now-convicted) defendant to implicate others. The prosecutors, I'm sure, exerted all the pressure of the federal government on these defendants already, and yet the US Attorney couldn't (didn't want to?) bring charges against any legislators. The jury's job is not to do the prosecution's bidding for a future case, no matter how frustrated you may be with the set of facts the prosecution put together for the case before you.

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Alternatively....

Alternatively, the juror took his responsibilities seriously enough that he or she was able to separate his job as a juror "weigh the evidence and determine whether or not the prosecution made its case" and his personal feelings "I hope they nail more of these S.O.B.s higher up in the food chain.

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Fair point, and I sincerely

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Fair point, and I sincerely hope that's what happened here. The juror clearly took his responsibilities seriouslt, but to the extent there was no separation, the stakes are pretty high for the defendants whose fates were put in this juror's hands.

Unfair? Yes! Bad Government? Yes! But was it illegal?

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Walsh did not explain himself well but there is an argument to be made about the prosecution of O'Brien as a racketeer and it goes like this. The way O'Brien conducted hiring and covered it up was bad government and not explicitly illegal. It is now, a bill was passed in 2011 to make it so. Walsh was in the state legislature at the time.

If the hiring practices were illegal OBrien would have been charged with illegal hiring practices and defrauding the public by misrepresenting the process. Neither happened.

Instead, OBrien was charged and convicted of racketeering. Racketeering is a law passed in 1970 to prosecute the mob. It has two elements criminal practices and conspiracy--doing it with others-- for the purposes of enriching the folks participating. There was no personal enrichment. Is it true he did it with others. And it is also true gaming the hiring process, as corrupt as it was, was not illegal.

Ginning up fake documents is fraud.

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And fraud is illegal. That is black and white. As is using the Postal Service to transmit fraudulent documents. Its very clear, and I'm not sure why you and so many others are confused about that. With fraud and criminal conspiracy, you have racketeering. One follows from the other.

Had O'Brien merely hired the chosen people without signing his name to fraudulent scoring sheets, there would have been no prosecution.

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Mail fraud, yes. Racketeering, no. Illegal hiring, no.

I see how it's mail fraud.

I don't see how it's racketeering becuase the conspiracy was not a profit scheme. They did it to hire elected officials' recommended candidates for jobs. Now if you could find an elected official who put them up to it, then you can expand the conspiracy but I don't know if you could argue political capitol is profit.

The hiring itself was not illegal. That was dishonest services.

There was no evidence O'Brien or the other two did this to enrich themselves. The US attorney presented evidence about Probation's Dept. budget to demonstrate there was a profit motive but one it was not a personal profit scheme and two it was debunked--the department's budget was decreased.

Racketeering has been used by other US attorneys to prosecute cases when the essential activity was not explicitly illegal under the law but widely agreed to be bad government practices.

kinda like when walsh gave

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kinda like when walsh gave that bank robber state employee a raise instead of sending them to prison. this man makes me laugh

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Walsh: "The system got the better of him"

Anonymous juror: "Personally, I found O’brien likeable and feel he was stuck between a rock and a hard place—make the legislature happy, or suffer budget cuts and/or layoffs of the staff you oversee and care about. He did the wrong things for the right reasons"

In other words, the system got the better of him.

Nice Defense by the Juror

Clearly the juror put a lot of thought into this case and took his role seriously. Too bad the same can't be said about Walsh's comments.

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You can't expect the former

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You can't expect the former head of an ethics commission to understand the concept and process of ethical behavior. That would be alien to MA government after a century of Lomasney's, Curley's, Bulger's, Kennedy's, and Finneran's rotting out the cradle of liberty with machine politics.

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Extended family yes. And if a

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Extended family yes. And if a Kennedy wanted someone in local office you complied or Federal funding would be reallocated.

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Even if they did, that wouldn

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Even if they did, that wouldn't make the plural of Kennedy into a possessive. I guess we should blame the public schools run by "machine politics" for this anon's poor understanding of the English language. Glad he could take a few pot shots at his least favorite politicians though.

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Burying the lede a bit

The juror basically calls O'Brien a victim of some kind of conundrum:

Personally, I found O’brien likeable and feel he was stuck between a rock and a hard place—make the legislature happy, or suffer budget cuts and/or layoffs of the staff you oversee and care about. He did the wrong things for the right reasons.

and says the wrong people were indicted:

...I have followed his statements about the verdict. In no way do I feel our decision exonerated Deleo. To the contrary, I feel he should have been on trial rather than O’brien. We found gratuity proven, rather than bribery, because no witness was able to testify to the conversations that occurred between O’brien and Deleo.

then expresses his hope that O'Brien will cooperate with prosecutors and that all of the defendants will get a lenient sentence or no sentence at all:

My hope is that John himself will at some point testify against Deleo and in exchange, any sentence against him or Liz Tavares, or Bill Burke will be lessened or done away with all together.