Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is running to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, is “far to the right of” Kennedy on criminal justice issues, Radley Balko of Reason magazine writes on Politico.com. Last year, Coakley argued before the Supreme Court in the case that led to a ruling requiring crime lab technicians to be present at trial for questioning by defense attorneys. Coakley maintained that result would place too large a burden on prosecutors, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia coming down on Coakley's left, Balko says.
Coakley has opposed efforts to create an innocence commission in Massachusetts, calling the idea “backward-looking instead of forward-looking.” So far, there have been at least 23 exonerations in Massachusetts, including several in Coakley's home county. Balko contends that advocates for criminal justice reform should be wary: “Coakley may share Kennedy's opposition to the death penalty, but her record as a prosecutor leaves plenty of doubt about her commitment to justice.”