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Carissa Byrne Hessick @CBHessick
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Very odd development in Boston: The National Police Association has filed a bar complaint against incoming Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins. The complaint can be found here:… 1/x
The crux of the complaint is that the NPA is upset about Rollins statements during the campaign that there are certain crimes that she will not prosecute when she assumes office next month. (Full disclosure: I wrote about the list a few months ago:… 2/x
To be clear, I am characterizing the substance of the complaint as the NPA being "upset" because it is very difficult to ascertain which ethics rules Rollins is supposed to have violated. Instead, NPA seems to be using the word "unethical" in a colloquial manner. 3/x
To be sure, the complaint points to a couple of Massachusetts rules of professional conduct. But those references are largely in footnotes, and the footnotes fail to provide any cogent explanation of how Rollins' policy or behavior run afoul of those rules. 4/x
The complaint does give some detail about how Rollins' policy is not consistent with the ABA Criminal Justice Standards for the Prosecution Function. But those standards are best practices and explicitly state that they aren't intended to be used this way. 5/x
In another bizarre twist, the complaint says that it would be an ethical violation for Rollins to both follow and *not* follow her non-prosecution policy. 6/x
The penultimate paragraph of the complaint gives some hint of why the NPA filed a bar complaint without bothering to develop a coherent argument of what ethical rules Rollins violated: It wanted to draw attention to its concerns. 7/x
In any event, I am not familiar with the National Police Association (which has an account on Twitter: @NatPoliceAssoc) But I can't say that I think it is a good idea for this organization--or any other organization--to file a bar complaint as a publicity stunt. 8/x
The Bar receives many complaints against prosecutors that it needs to investigate and take seriously. By all accounts, there are too many complaints overall and not enough resources to investigate. So let's not make that worse by using complaint to score political points. 9/x
And yes---I know that the NPA is not the first group to do this. There were, for example, some gratuitous bar complaints filed against Kellyanne Conway based on comments she made on talk shows. Everyone should really stop. 10/10
Addendum: Kudos to @AndyHessick for tracking down a list of ridiculous MA crimes. The NPA argues that DAs have an ethical obligation to prosecute whenever they've got probable cause . . . to believe you took a bath without a doctor's prescription!
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