Was Sen. Marzilli’s arrest a medical or legal event?

Since whatever happened, happened in Lowell, there is the largest amount of detail:


The reported details are sufficiently weird that I am personally concerned as to the possibility of stroke or a drug interaction [such as can occur between, say, prescription prednisone and certain decongestants].  One of my family members suffered a psychotic episode from the combination of prescribed prednisone and a decongestant, for example.  Yes, we had to call the police but as it turns out, what was going on was a dangerous medical event that looked like criminal behavior.  Prompt medical care was life saving.

There are also increasing reports of bizarre and uncharacteristic behavior from the use of tamiflu:


Anyway, I hope Senator Marzilli gets not just a lock up but medical care.  What was reported here makes no sense to me.

In my legal work with at risk adolescents, medical issues are often missed due to a rush to judgment and psychiatric labels.  One kid was very aggressive, out of control and it turned out his adenoids had grown into his airway and he was suffering from severe sleep apnea and deprivation – after the airway was surgically repaired the behavior was eliminated.

The idea of a mature person who is well known giving a fake name and trying to dash away is bizarre, frankly.  I suspect a medical cause or component, whether it is drug toxicity, drug interaction, or an idiosyncratic reaction.  Certainly, I won’t rush to judgment – nor crow over someone else’s distress.

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70 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. well of course first and foremost he needs a good attorney.

    because the underlying reason for his alleged actions may be medical, but the immediate repercussions are legal.  but i don't have to tell you that. :D

  2. Certainly, I won't rush to judgment - nor crow over someone else's distress.

    Unless they are named Larry Craig, or Bob Packwood, or ....

    • oh really?

      so it wasn't you who just said

      Is this anything like Patches Kennedy driving drunk into jersey barriers, and explaining that it's just something he struggles with every day?

      in another thread?

      got honesty?

    • are you suggesting

      Larry Craig may not have been sane? That he may have had a medical problem that caused toe tapping? Restless foot syndrome, perhaps? It was all some big misunderstanding, and his guilty plea was just a lie to the cops?

      If our own Massachusetts state senator is found guilty and found to be sane at the time of his crime, I hope a jury will be able to decide a proper course of action, but until then a comparison to Craig - who plead guilty and has yet to resign - just doesn't seem apt.

      Usually you make much better arguments, PP. I'm kind of surprised...

    • PP has a point

      I, like Laurel, just can't stand the hypocrisy of "family values" politicians who get caught in flagrante delicto. That being said, I think Peter Porcupine has a point, or really, two points. First, say what you will, there was some crowing, or chortling, or whatever you want to call it among Democrats when the Craig scandal erupted, and similarly for other scandals. Second, I would say that for someone in Senator Craig's position--a U.S. Senator--to compromise himself as he did shows pretty clearly, at least to me, that he was unable to control himself or conform his actions to the law--the same suggestion folks are making about Senator Marzilli. I'll go further and say that this is true of many, many crimes. The fact that the defendant committed the crime itself often shows that the defendant lacked the ability to do otherwise. That usually doesn't mean we shouldn't hold him criminally responsible.

      Maybe some evidence will emerge to show that Marzilli was not criminally responsible for his conduct, or maybe not. But in any case, I don't think we can just dismiss PP's point.


      • Ted - thank you for 'getting' what I said, but I have one question...

        ...are you implying that Marzilli and the Democrats don't CARE about family values?

        Because if they do - and I think it is so - the family values canard becomes even more hypocritical.

        • Define family values

          As I understand the term, it usually refers to a policy preference that gays not exist, and that everyone else behave like Ward and June.

          As far as I'm concerned, "family values" is the thing that right wing crazies are shrieking about when they argue that 9/11 was God's punishment for allowing gays to be.

          Might be time for a new euphimism.

        • Not sure what you're getting at

      • Ted

        I've heard no one suggest anything was fundamentally wrong with Craig. In fact, Craig is exactly where most Republicans want us homos: in the CLOSET. They don't mind gay people, so long as they shut up about it and don't ask for any "special rights," like equal protection under the law. No, there was almost certainly nothing wrong with Craig... he just chose to be in the closet for the entirety of his life. When you can't have the sex that you want openly and honestly, then you go toe-tapping in sketchy bathrooms to get it. It's a primal urge that everyone has and, unfortunately, it can't be ignored or kept secret forever.

        So I fail to see how PP has a case in this point.

        • Ryan - Bob Packwood wasn't gay. Neither were most of the names on Laurel's List. Not ALL sex scandals are homosexual.

          • Ted was talking about Craig.

            So Ryan was talking about Craig.  Your accusation of myopia is misplaced, at least in regard to the comment you were replying to.  

        • Ryan

          The issue isn't whether something is "fundamentally wrong" with Craig or Marzilli. The issue is whether they are subject to forces so strong as to absolve them of criminal responsibility. The suggestion is that Marzilli was not responsible for his actions because he was in the grip of some disease, because he had a bad reaction to a drug, etc. I should have thought that the reaction to Craig would have been the same: his lifetime in the closet, together with his hypocrisy, put him under such strong psychological pressures that he snapped and sought anonymous gay sex in an airport bathroom, and it's therefore wrong to hold him criminally responsible.

          In my comment, I was trying to suggest two points. First, it's difficult to square the schadenfreude we felt when Craig was arrested (I plead guilty to this) with some commenters' haste to propose innocent explanations for Marzilli's conduct, except on political grounds. Second, rightly or wrongly, the criminal law doesn't generally excuse people's conduct even if they were subject to such enormous pressures at the time of the crime. Marzilli will need to make a very strong showing if he wants to make such a defense. And judging from his lawyer's remarks, this doesn't seem to be the defense in any case.


  3. Question About Marzilli's political history

    Since I'm not from his district:  what were his accomplishments?

    • Marzilli's accomplishments

      Here are a couple of paragraphs from his resume:

      ...Jim organized the Working Family Agenda, a statewide coalition advocating for the needs of Massachusetts' working families. He twice led successful fights to increase the minimum wage, expand the earned income tax credit, provide tax relief for low-income seniors paying high property taxes, and restore the capital gains tax in Massachusetts. He was named "Legislator of the Year" in 2004 by the Massachusetts Human Services Providers Council and in 2007 by the Association of Developmental Disabilities Provides for his work on behalf of low-wage workers and people with developmental disabilities. He won the 2006 "Open Doors" award of the Boston Fair Housing Center for his work in combating racial discrimination. In March of 2008 he received the Marie Felton Award from the Boston Center for Independent Living for his advocacy and positive impact on the quality of life for people with disabilities.

      Jim was named "Environmental Legislator of the Year" by the Environmental League of Massachusetts in 2001 for his work linking environmental protection and tax policy. He is the author of the Energy, Climate and Economic Security Act, a comprehensive bill that emphasizes the use of energy efficiency programs and renewable technologies to reduce the environmental impact and cost of our current energy systems.

      I remain proud and impressed by all of Marzilli's accomplishments while he was my state representative.  (But I can imagine no plausible scenario in which he might be expected to maintain a political career at this point.)  

  4. I know Jim Marzilli

    We grew up in the same town, and I went to school with his sister.  It is clear to me that this is a medical event.  It's also clear that he didn't get the help he needed after the last event.  I hope that his family and friends are NOW paying attention and getting him the care that he needs.  Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.  

  5. Where are you getting all this weird medical speculation?

    Is Marzilli in fact on any of the drugs that have been known to (rarely) cause psychotic breaks? I have to agree with MCRD that if this type of crime had been alleged against some random dude in Lowell, nobody would begin a discussion of the incident with speculation about a biological or chemical cause to the behavior. It might come up later on , in those very rare cases where someone actually had a tumor or was taking a certain combination of medicines. But there is no way that an attempted rape or sexual assault would normally be viewed this way from the outset. It would be viewed as a crime, first and foremost.

    • Occam's razor

      Assumptions to explain something ought not to be multiplied beyond necessity:  he screwed up, tried to escape, got caught.  Quick and likely story.

      • How likely?

        Would you be saying the same story if it had been, say, Ogonowski behaving this way?

        It's pretty clear to me that there is something wrong with Marzilli. Whether it's medical, psychological, or drugs; whether it's temporary and remediable or permanent; whether it's something he needs to resign over (probably) or not (could be)... hard to say.

        But you think a public official would just up and commit indecent assault on the streets of Lowell in the middle of the day, and it's just "he screwed up and got caught?"

        No, there's something far more wrong here. What it is, it would be extremely premature to speculate. But there's something very strange about this.

        • Based upon my past denounciations

          of Republican Miscreants involved in assaults and the such, I'd be acting the same way.  

        • Well

          But you think a public official would just up and commit indecent assault on the streets of Lowell in the middle of the day, and it's just "he screwed up and got caught?"

          No, there's something far more wrong here. What it is, it would be extremely premature to speculate. But there's something very strange about this.


          I know neither Ognowski nor Marzilli for that matter [Bill Clinton http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... but, when a politician, businessman, or priest is caught philandering, whether criminal or not, first assume that he did it with most of his faculties intact, and not because of mental illness or because aliens from Zork seized his mind or that a Republican operative with big hooters tempted him, but rather because his testosterone got the better of his judgement.  

          That's Occam's Razor: it's wise to first assume that the simplest anwswer is usually the right answer, and then accept the outlandish answer if evidence presents itself.  

          • Yes and ...

            To some of us, Marzilli is a "good guy" who's been around for years so the simplest explanation is not that he's some kind of predator.

            Occam's razor is a useful starting point, but, at this point, we don't know. Good guys do mess up; okay guys can have these sorts of medical incidents.

            Finally, this is a mostly Democratic blog, for gosh sakes, we're going to have some sympathy for one of our guys.

            • vocabulary

              To some of us, Marzilli is a "good guy" who's been around for years so the most optimistic simplest explanation is not that he's some kind of predator.

              There you go.

              • Simplest

                No, "simplest" was the right word.

                If somebody radically changes their behaviour overnight and starts sexually assaulting people left and right, as it seems Marzilli has started doing after 18 years as a legislator, then the simplest explanation is not that they've been doing it all along and just now got caught, or even that they've been tempted all along and something within their psyche gave way.

                There's usually some sort of external causation. Which is not to relieve anybody of any responsibility whatsoever. I'm just saying that people don't generally radically change overnight apropos of nothing.

  6. Oh come on...

    The guy's got a reputation, especially when he's had one too many. This and the last "alleged" incident just show he's having a hard time keeping himself in check.

    Innocent until proven guilty is well and good, but let's not delude ourselves that there must be a better explanation just because we like the guy's politics.  

  7. For example

    Western Mass. residents were immediately sympathetic to native son Jeff Reardon, and were relieved when he was found not guilty for a crime that made no sense.  I hope there will be an explanation (and a remedy) for the alleged behavior by Sen. Marzilli.

    • Jeff Reardon's Fall from Grace.....

      was not sexual and it came aftyer the drug overdose death of his son.

      You people making excuses for him are frauds.

      eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
      • frauds?

        that's rich, coming from someone who had to make a public apology for telling lies about that a judge didn't say to a state rep in court.


        • HUH????????

          eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
          • You Guys are Suggesting Medical Reasons for this

            guy acting like a creep at best.

            C'mon. Fraudos.

            If i admit my mistakes how does that make me a fraud.

            Laurel you are very obtuse.

            eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
        • Omigod

          Lies! Ernie told lies?  I am amazed at the duplicity here.  Marzilli appears to be preying upon women.  Three women have so claimed in the past several months.  Democratic values used to mean standing up for female victims of a white male dominated society.  Democratic values now call upon you to filter everything through a left wing prism, if the guy passes the litmus test (Bill Clinton, Jim Marzilli et als.) his crimes against women are either dismissed out of hand or excused based on drug addictions or emotional issues.

          The big lie here Laurel is that people are making ridiculous excuses for a bad man all because he passes the green liberal litmus test.  The Republicans do the same thing and are excoriated in this blog for doing so.  What is good for the goose is good for the gander.  Do not check your principles at the door, be consistent.

          • Skimming?

            No one is making excuses for Marzilli. We don't know what happened. It doesn't square with what we know about him.

            Nor has anyone been eager to minimize what happened to the women involved.

            It is absurd to say "The big lie here Laurel is that people are making ridiculous excuses for a bad man all because he passes the green liberal litmus test."

          • I'm not making excuses for him.

            If he was in his right mind and can be proven beyond reasonable doubt to have done what is alleged, throw the book at him.  So no, i"m making no excuses.  Am I hoping that there is a mitigating explanation this side of "consciously criminal bastard"?  Sure.  And the reason is not because he is a liberal, but because he has accomplished some good things for the community.

            • This whole post is about trying to explain

              his criminal behavior.  I have heard stroke, drug interactions, a tumor, and many other causes of this behavior.  

              On this blog there are rules.  When dealing with Ben LaGuer, the acceptable position is that Ben is innocent.

              With Marzilli, the acceptable position is that "I know Marzilli is incapable of such behavior, therefore, there must be some explanation that would tend to separate Marzilli from other sexual predators".

              • Strawman

                No one, just no one, has the position "I know Marzilli is incapable of such behavior, therefore, there must be some explanation that would tend to separate Marzilli from other sexual predators".

                Well, maybe the bogeyman under your bed does. Have you checked recently?

              • So?

                Yeah, lots of people have been theorizing on explanations for his behaviour.

                Nobody's tried to excuse it or minimize it.

                I really don't get your point.

  8. I take it all back - just heard on the news - anyone who would DELIBERATELY claim to be Marty Walsh is obviously bonkers.

  9. This guy is no good

    Why is it that because he's a Senator you people come up with so many cock-eyed excuses.  Read the news reports and you'll see he's not worthy of holding office.  Having one too many is not an excuse.  Not for a Senator, not for anyone.  The poor women he accosted don't care if he was a greek adonis.  He crossed the line.

    • How Long?

      How long before this guy holds a press conference to accounce that he's going into rehab to treat an addiction or something like that?

      Isn't that the next step in the Massachusetts Politician Playbook?

      • If these allegations are true

        Marzilli should do some time, either in a correctional psych ward or a plain old jail, then get probation contingent upon AA/NA/Sex Addict meetings and registry as a sex offender. Even if he Marzilli was my best friend, I couldn't condone anything less than criminal charges for this stuff, though I'd be happy to take him to meetings/offer moral support when he finishes his incarceration.

    • rehab

      The Rehab solution is what I predicted would happen as soon as I heard the story.  It certainly wouldn't surprise me if he claimed alcoholism, sex addiction or something else.

      Drinking is no excuse for assault.  Even if you are an alcholic.  Not for a State Senator, not for anyone.

      I don't mean to be callous about medical problems, but if he did the actions he is accused of, the only thing to get him out of it would be a brain tumor.

  10. Where did you pull this idea from?

    Marzilli may have had a stroke?  I don't think he had a stroke, I think he needed a stroke.

    Please write more about this because it is hilarious. You true believers can look past everything if you like a guy's politics.  

    Please tell me, if your daughter was the woman on the park bench or the woman at the art show would you tell her that she should let it go because Marzilli must be off his game a bit?  Would you excuse his behavior due to it having been caused by external factors. There is a cause, or causes, for every behavior.  At some point in time the behavior and not the cause needs to be addressed.  This guy is dangerous and is on a slippery slope. I guess one bar advocate in Massachusetts has never met a lecherous, serial abuser before.

    • too bad

      Too bad no one took the first report seriously a couple of months ago.  Maybe if they had he wouldn't have been digging himself into a deeper hole.

      • That is what is so disturbing

        this man knows he is in the spotlight for the first time he got caught and cannot control himself just a few months later.  The next time he may go even further.  

      • Legal calculation

        One unfortunate possibility is that last month's investigation made it harder to seek treatment. The incentive is to avoid legal repercussions and seeking treatment would expose one to that. It could be taken as a sign of guilt.

        I'm saying this not to excuse it but as a hypothesis as to what might have happened and why someone in trouble didn't seek a way out of trouble.

  11. Is anyone else on the ballot for this seat?

    Do innocent or sane people of the Senator's profession generally run from the police?  I don't think so.  I think they stand calmly and profess their innocence.  They don't give a fake name or worse the name of a colleague.

    I am very disapointed.  I am feeling very badly for the campaign volunteers who worked so hard to get him elected too.

    I do think it is entirely possible that the Senator has a mental problem that caused his behavior.  I saw a case very similar on the TV Show Grey's Anatomy!  I'm sure he'll get checked out now if only so they can come up with some kind of temporary insanity defense.

    But something is going on here.  I am not going with the medical defense until some actual medical defense is presented.  At this point his lawyer is saying he is completely innocent.  Like it never happened.  Can they really dispute the fact that he ran, that he lied to the police?  It doesn't seem that they can.

    Sane or not, he is in trouble and I'm not sure how he will fare in September or November or if he is even capable of serving while indicted or if there is a medical problem while being treated.

    Is anyone else on the Democratic Ballot or on the Republican Ballot for this seat?

    • There are 2 Democrats in September

      Jack Hurd and Ken Donnelly both are on the Democratic Ballot in September. No Republican is on the ballot for November at this time but a write in in September could occur and then their would be a run off in November as well.

      just my opinion as usual

      • you should

        write a dairy on the other candidates in the race and what they're all about. I'm genuinely curious.  

        • See Special Election Last Year

          Ken Donnelly is the Treasurer of the State Fire Fighters Union and ran in the State Senate special election last year (finished 2nd to Marzilli) Jack Hurd is an Arlington Selectman. There should be significant info on both of them from past campaigns.

          With regard to medical or other reasons for Senator Marzilli's current situation, this from the Boston Globe this morning:

          After Marzilli's court appearance, Leone said Marzilli was also being investigated for "inappropriate touching of a female," in Brighton two years ago, other incidents in Lowell Tuesday, and one in Arlington a year ago.

          Arlington Police Chief Fred Ryan said the investigation in Arlington began after a woman came forward yesterday to report "inappropriate and unwanted touching," by Marzilli in a home last year.

          Less than a month ago, Leone concluded there was not enough evidence to charge the senator with inappropriately touching another woman in his hometown in April.

          "We are aware of the possibility of other matters, but we are developing those as we speak and are urging others, if they know of or have been victimized, to come forward," Leone said yesterday.


  12. Marty Walsh

    The most effed up thing about the new aspect of the story is that Marty Walsh is in recovery himself and is a hero for his legislative and personal efforts to help others. I wouldn't be surprised if Marty had reached out to Marzilli in the past and that's why his name came to the sick man's mind.

    Btw, Marzilli may have been completely out of his mind when he did what he allegedly did -- but if it's booze or pills, they generally don't remove legal responsibility for such acts. If they did, the prisons would be half empty.  

  13. A little compassion

    I would think that, Democrat or Republican aside, as a human being, if a guy has a medical issue you would want to see that dealt with first and foremost.

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