This past week, there has been a flurry of press regarding the seriously declining health condition of former House Speaker Sal DiMasi. Emily Rooney and Margery Egan both devoted shows/columns to the call to bring Sal DiMasi back to Massachusetts to serve his sentence or to give him a compassion pardon. The Brockton Enterprise editorialized www.enterprisenews.com/article/20140213/OPINION/140218305 about it and Norfolk Sheriff Michael Bellotti had a letter to the Editor in the Boston Herald (similar to one he sent to the Boston Globe earlier).
The criminal justice system has spoken on this case, all appeals have been exhausted. This is no longer about guilt or innocence. DiMasi has been held accountable and is serving his (some would say excessive) sentence. Now the question of accountability shifts to the federal authorities: the US Attorney’s office, US Atty General Holder (and his boss Barack Obama and his friend our Governor Deval Patrick)
DiMasi’s cancer was diagnosed in prison but treatment was deliberately withheld for months while the US Atty tried to “squeeze” him. DiMasi was finally treated with radiation in excessive doses that burned him. He was being fed with a tube, losing weight at a fast rate and relying on Boost to keep his weight from falling further. The Boost was rationed to him. His bankrupt family is required to travel across states for restricted, brief visits. There is a cruel and unusual punishment going on here. There is a death penalty going on here and the punishment does not fit the crime.
Sal DiMasi was found guilty. The sentence was excessive to “make an example.” We all get that. The presiding Judge even recommended that DiMasi serve his sentence at Devens (a federal medically equipped prison facility) to lessen the hardship on his family. But, the feds had other ideas and agendas. Now is the time to stop this injustice. Now is the time for Gov. Patrick, and our Congressional delegation to intercede with Pres. Obama’s federal prison system. Now is the time to move DiMasi to Devens or, even more appropriately, to grant him a mercy pardon or parole.
Whatever bad DiMasi may or may not have done, no one, especially progressives who sought his help with numerous causes, can deny he accomplished a lot of good, too.
Please call on our “leaders” to do the right thing. Stop this death penalty.