The judge who yesterday dismissed Briefly Police Commissioner Dennis White's request to block his firing today blocked Acting Mayor Kim Janey from actually terminating him at least long enough to let White appeal her ruling.
After Suffolk Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger denied White's request for a temporary restraining order, White's attorney asked Brieger to stay that denial pending an appeal to a single justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
In a brief, handwritten note on a copy of the request by White's attorney, Brieger agreed, which means that, technically, White remains police commissioner even though he's only actually worked at the job for the two days between the time then Mayor Marty Walsh appointed him and then suspended him after the Globe reported on a 1999 domestic-violence incident involving his wife at the time.
Janey used the report an outside attorney Walsh hired to investigate the claim as justification to remove White from office, which White then sued to block.
In his request for a stay, White's attorney, Nicholas Carter insisted that White deserves the "trial-like, name-clearing hearing" that Brieger had ruled just yesterday he does not. Without such a hearing:
His reputation will be permanently ruined making it impossible for him to pursue employment in his profession. Even though the allegations that he committed domestic violence are false, Commissioner White will not be able to repair his reputation unless the constitutionally mandated trial-like hearing occurs at the same time as the termination decision is made. No one will pay attention to a later hearing that might be provided months after his termination as he will be ‘old news.’
Brieger had ruled that the state law on removing appointed officials, such as police commissioners, does require a hearing, but not the sort of potentially protracted one White is seeking. She also found that the mayor has the right to remove appointed officials and that there was nothing legally wrong with the way Janey called White at 10 a.m. to inform her she would be removing him at a hearing just a few hours later in the day.