SJC’s Cinquegrana OUI Report Finally Here: Should Scare the Shit Out of Constitutional Scholars

Ernie provides an example of the adversary system at work: more than one side to a story. In the legacy media, however, criticism like this is as rare as discussions of global warming in the context of Hurricane Sandy. - promoted by Bob_Neer

So the SJC  received the Cinquegrana report today and for all you legal scholars out there beware: jurisprudence is now a science according to the Commonwealth’s highest court.

If you don’t think the report is a piece of garbage than you must ask yourself: Why are they releasing it the Thursday before the big election? Not to mention the hurricane shutting down NYC?

The report is all about statistics and more statistics, naturally resulting in half-ass conclusions and worse, recommendations to even further chip away at the Bill of Rights and the Mass Declaration of Rights.

Cinquegrana was tasked by the SJC to

determine the rate of acquittal in jury-waived trials on charges of operating under the influence (“OUI”) of drugs or alcohol, and to examine whether that rate differs from the national average and from the rate of acquittal in other criminal cases in Massachusetts.

So that’s what he did. They guy hadn’t a clue what to do. Not his fault, the SJC hadn’t a clue either. But the Globe ran a Spotlight series so the Court’s hands were tied.

Cries of “There may be a Pulitzer in this for our friends at the Globe” were heard coming from the Adams Courthouse.

An assignment more appropriate for a mid-level type at Bain Capital, Cinquegrana went out and got some high-priced statisticians to “volunteer” to do the work.

Freakin’ conflicts of interest all over the place. But the Canons of Ethics don’t apply to the SJC.

Imagine the Pope sinning all the time and in open. He can, he’s the Pope. Huh?

Anyhoo, there are some statistical disparities among the courts and judges on OUI bench trials.

Jurisprudence should run like a widget factory goddamnit. Screw the individuals. And screw the Constitution. We want efficiency so who cares about reasonable doubt?

All because one out of twenty OUI arrests result in a not guilty finding after a bench trial. (shouldn’ they have researched data on other crimes adjudicated in the district courts?

In a letter released with the report the SJC said there is the appearance that some judges are lenient. “Lenient” used as  pejorative I assume. The opposite should be worse, don’t you think?

I’d like to see a report on all the motherfuckers sitting on the bench handing out mean and nasty sentences and conditions of probation just because they can.

How about plea bargains that are shams resulting from judges severely punishing people for exercising their right to a trial. Different than a leaner sentence in return for the plea.

More like…”You can go to trial and hope the jury believes you and your buddy over the cop that beat the shit out of you and stole your money and is lying about the facts. If they don’t the judge is giving you significant jail time even though you don’t have a criminal record. OR you can lie and admit to it just as the cop says it happens, pay a fine, and go home.”

And in the district courts it’s the same abusive lying cops who are protected by some of these jerks in the robes.

But no, the SJC wants all finders of facts (judges and juries) to interpret reasonable doubt for all sets of facts in a more general way. How general? I’m not sure. You’ll have to ask the Globe. Or wait until the SJC asks them for all of us.

Scary stuff.

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6 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Is this particular segment poetry or prose?

    All because one out of twenty OUI arrests result in a not guilty finding after a bench trial. (shouldn’ they have researched data on other crimes adjudicated in the district courts?

    Is this a statistic or a rant? I read this as: 5% of OUI arrests result in a not guilty finding after a bench trial. Is that right? Followup: what percent of OUI arrests result in a guilty finding after a bench trial? Also, could we use numbers as well as percents, to help understand how many people this directly affects?

    • Sorry for the confusion

      The stats revealed in the Globe stories and similar to the report findings, though not as clear, were that
      for every 20 OUI arrests
      1 is found not guilty by a judge after a bench trial.

      I have to go through the stats of the Cinquegrana report closely but this is nothing alarming about that. It sounds about right.

      Most bench trials occur because the D.A. is too gutless to dismiss the shitty case so the defense lawyer asks for a bench trial where the shitty facts of the shitty case are testified to by the cop, whose getting paid at least four of court time, and the judge does the right thing as a matter of law.
      Judges have different stats because of many factors including
      court assignment
      amount of OUI cases at the court
      policies of District Attorneys
      competence and credibility of local police

      By definition not all arrests are for crimes that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
      The SJC and The Boston Globe think this is a 6 Sigma problem

      eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Fri 2 Nov 3:35 PM
      • Then it sounds like...

        the “right” numbers are the percent of people who are *arrested* for suspected OUI who get *convicted* of OUI, as compared to other states. Another metric: what percent of those with drivers licenses get convicted for OUI each year. Those are ultimately the most important metrics, and if MA is out of whack with that national set of numbers, then it makes sense to start asking why.

        • Right on Stomv

          Now you see the problem. How do we quantify the particular rules and regulations in other states that encourage and discourage guilty pleas? Do the rules chill the defendants’ rights to fair trials?

          What should be a baseline?
          Is there a possibility that statistic driven jurisprudence results in a oneway spiral? Much like arbitration in baseball. Numbers go up, never down.

          eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Fri 2 Nov 9:47 PM
          • Sorry, but...

            I laughed at the idea judges would be judged by test results that are, in so many cases, meaningless.
            You’ve just described American Education Today.

      • Judicial Independence at Risk

        Bench trials (for OUI or any other offense) most often occur because the underlying case has flawed facts or law and the DA can’t or won’t dismiss the case. It’s a slippery slope to measure judicial performance by outcomes in a case. Measure the time to trial, or measure the number of times called to trial without being reached, measure how long it takes courtrooms to open in the morning or for decisions to be issued or other process metrics. We can even measure recidivism to test whether certain probation best practices or corrections programs are working. But let’s not assess the outcomes based on whether “enough” defendants are being found guilty. That’s the job of the appellate courts. When the report concluded that there was no corrupt influence that resulted in these outcomes, that was the only outcome that mattered. The Legislature should take a look at the proposed legislation, but I certainly will question anything that undermines due process or judicial independence.

        dan-winslow   @   Sat 3 Nov 10:06 PM

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