Atlantic Beer Garden swears it's not a dive bar anymore

The Northern Avenue restaurant says it's taken steps to reduce the number of people who try to dive into Boston Harbor, following yet another incident that saw it explaining itself to the Boston Licensing Board.

Beer Garden officials say nobody has jumped into Boston Harbor from their decks since Aug. 10, when a patron took of his shoes and jumped in - and was promptly arrested. That came a couple months after somebody celebrated the Bruins' Stanley Cup win by diving into the harbor from the restaurant's roof - while holding a small replica of the Cup.

The Beer Garden has put signs along the perimeter of the deck that not only isd jumping into the harbor dangerous, it subjects the diver to possible arrest - unlike certain jumps off the nearby ICA, they are not sanctioned by the city. Also, restaurant bouncers tell anybody they see standing up - or even just peering over the edge - to sit down. People who refuse, or who keep doing it, are escorted off the deck, John Ruggierio, in charge of security for the restaurant, told the board today.

Still, all that failed to stop one man around 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 10. Ruggierio, who was working that night, said he noticed a group of people standing near the water - which at high tide might only be two or three feet below the railing - and asked them to sit. They did, but, he continued, as he went back inside, he noticed patrons there pointing toward the water and he turned around just in time to see a splash coming up.

According to a police report, the man was not intoxicated, he just was grabbed by a sudden urge to jump into the briny shallow, took off his shoes, but nothing else, and jumped in. A friend told police the jump took him by surprise. However, a woman spotted with a camera left before police arrived.

The jumper was charged with disturbing the peace; the police report noted a large crowd gathered to watch the goings on after he emerged from the water cold, but otherwise unharmed.

The board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take.

This just in: 15mph over the speed limit is "slightly over"

Gisele Bundchen not nailed for doing 15mph over the limit with kids in the car.

Not only does the Globe not have as an amusing a title as the Herald, but leaves out that the trooper's son (who has now locked down his twitter account) tweeted about the incident, claiming she autographed (and then did the whole lipstick-autograph routine) to the citation. The Globe quotes a spokestroop saying that just isn't so:

Procopio said he was not aware Bundchen had provided an autograph to the trooper. “No, not that I am aware of,’’ he said. “There was no citation to be autographed. It was a verbal warning.’’

There's supposedly no such thing as a verbal warning - the officer instead checks the "warning" box on the citation, and the registry tracks them, both for if you're stopped later, and if you receive too many warnings.

“He reminded her that the speed limit on the Cape is 55, not 65 as it is in other parts of the state.”

Right. Even if the limit was 65, she was still speeding. Also: raise your hand if you've ever tried out that argument on Route 3, Route 2, or parts of the Mass Turnpike, and been reminded that the speed limit is thoroughly denoted.

Related: the Globe's spotlight on race and gender statistics in traffic stops. Not surprisingly, women get out of tickets more than men.

Court reinstates lawsuit against Boston over man's 34 years in prison on murder charge that was dismissed

A federal appeals court yesterday reinstated James Haley's family's lawsuit against the city over allegations Boston Police framed him for a 1971 murder they say he didn't commit.

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston dismissed the lawsuit's complaints against two specific Boston detectives, saying they had "qualified immunity" because they were acting in their official capacities. But the court said the city itself had no such immunity and that the family had a right to a trial on allegations that the detectives - who, like Haley, are now dead - withheld two key documents from Haley's lawyers. Those documents - summaries of interviews with the two main witnesses in the case that contradicted their testimony - led the Suffolk County District Attorney's office in 2007 to agree to vacate Haley's life sentence.

Haley was convicted in 1972 of murdering the boyfriend of his estranged wife's sister in her Roxbury apartment. Both his wife and her sister testified they saw him the day before outside the apartment; the summaries of their police interviews, however, had both saying they had not seen Haley for at least a month before the murder. Haley discovered the discrepancy in 2006 when he used the state public-records law to request Boston Police documents on his case.

In its ruling, the appeals court wrote:

Disclosure abuses are a recurring problem in criminal cases ... and the BPD's failure to disclose the sisters' statements is wholly unexplained. Given the volume of cases involving nondisclosure of exculpatory information and the instant failure to disclose statements that clearly would have undermined the prosecution's theory of the case, we think that the municipal liability claims pleaded by Haley step past the line of possibility into the realm of plausibility. ... Indeed, if the detectives intentionally suppressed the discoverable statements even when such activity was condemned by the courts (as Haley has alleged), it seems entirely plausible that their conduct was encouraged, or at least tolerated, by the BPD. Although couched in general terms, Haley's allegations contain sufficient factual content to survive a motion to dismiss and open a window for pretrial discovery.

The court slapped down a city attempt to dismiss the entire lawsuit because many of the records are now missing:

In a plea that defies reason, the defendants contend that "extraordinary circumstances" warrant dismissal of all of Haley's claims. Specifically, they complain that the loss of many relevant files, the death of several witnesses, and the passage of so many years will hamstring their ability to mount a full defense. The defendants cite no authority in support of the startling proposition that the loss of evidence over time, without any fault on the part of the plaintiff, warrants the automatic dismissal of a cognizable claim. What authority exists contradicts their position. ... At any rate, the loss of evidence will not necessarily prevent the development of the facts of this case. Some records (such as the files of the BPD) remain available; others may still be found or located; and Haley has identified specific witnesses, including the sisters and various employees of the district attorney's office, who may be in a position to shed light on the facts. Haley bears no responsibility for the loss of evidence, and it would be unfair to prevent him from attempting to prove his case because of the foibles of others.

Three-alarm fire rips through Fort Point building; two firefighters injured

UPDATE: BFD identifies the cause of the fire.

Remains of the crossover. Photo by BFD.Remains of the crossover. Photo by BFD.

The Boston Fire Department reports a three-alarm fire broke out shortly before 11 p.m. at 27 Melcher St., in the warren of large, old interconnected buildings off Summer Street.

The fire, in a four-story high crossover between two buildings, sent one firefighter to the hospital with a separated shoulder and another to the hospital with an arm injury, the department reports. Damage was estimated at $200,000, the cause is under investigation.

27 Melcher. Photo by BFD.27 Melcher. Photo by BFD.

Mon, 09/19/2011 - 23:00

Judge doesn't want to be bothered with college students seeking restraining orders against classmates they claim attacked them

The Massachusetts Appeals Court today ordered a new hearing for a college student seeking an extension of a restraining order against a classmate after a lower-court judge said it's a matter for college officials, not the judicial system.

The unidentified woman wanted to continue to have her equally unnamed classmate to stay away from her and her classes on campus after their romance soured and, she claimed, he stalked her and eventually attacked her sexually. But Somerville District Court Judge Neil Walker rejected her request:

I'm sorry and I, again, point out the fact that I've been hearing a lot of these cases since I've been here. My home is Lowell. I deal with [a different university], and I deal with them fairly frequently. I am satisfied, in most cases, that once the college or university gets involved, they can do a lot more than I can. I will say to you at this point that I will not under any circumstances, unless it can be shown otherwise, ... prevent any student from physically being on the campus, physically attending any and all classes.... I'm going to suggest you might want to sit down and discuss this because I'm going to tell you I'm going to be hard-pressed to continue an order that's going to prevent one student, okay, as opposed to the other, to attend a private institution.

Walker declined to extend the restraining order even when the woman said the college had failed to protect her - and even after her attorney told the judge college officials were on their way to the court to testify.

But what got the appeals court to order a new hearing for the woman was what it said was Walker's mistake in refusing to let the woman's attorney ask the classmates questions under oath:

It may be that the defendant would have asserted his constitutional privilege not to testify, through counsel or otherwise. It is also possible that the defendant would have testified about some of the incidents described by the plaintiff and thus corroborated, or contradicted, some or all of her testimony. In any event, it was not the judge's prerogative to make that choice for him.

Normally, when appeals courts order a new hearing, they kick it back to the original judge. In this case, however, the appeals court said;

Under all the circumstances of this case, including, particularly, what might be thought to be irregularities in the procedures employed here, we think it better that the matter be heard before a different judge.

Boston to get another real-estate blog

But not just any real-estate blog: New York's Curbed.com is hoping to set up a pied-a-terre in our little town.

This is either an early taste, or an applicant's effort to convince the moguls he's worthy of their attention for the editor's job (they're looking for somebody who has "mainlined into the soul of their city's real estate and neighborhoods universe").

UPDATE: Eater.com, owned by the same company, is planning to take a bite out of Boston as well.

Two indicted over Cahill fundraising

Treasurer Tim's former chief of staff and the former state probation commissioner were indicted today on charges they organized a campaign fundraiser for Cahill in 2005 in return for a job at the Massachusetts State Lottery for the commissioner’s wife, state Attorney General Martha Coakley announced.

Scott Campbell, 40, Cahill's chief of staff, was also charged with concealing the identity of donors to Cahill's failed gubernatorial bid last year. Campbell and ex-probation head John O'Brien were also charged with soliciting funds for the Cahill campaign despite a state law that prohbits unelected state employees from doing so.

Innocent, etc.

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