The Massachusetts court officer system is rife with politically connected staffers who have ties to many of the power-brokers named in a scathing report on the patronage-ridden Probation Department, reports the Boston Herald. The report comes as the legislature and Gov. Deval Patrick wrestle for control of the Probation Department, which is overseen by Judge Robert Mulligan. The Herald's probe of court officers — who are also supervised by Mulligan — found dozens of successful court officer job- or promotion-seekers have a personal or political connection to the court or lawmakers who vote on the trial court's budget.
Some successful candidates either gave a political contribution or sought a recommendation from the offices of ex-House Speakers Salvatore DiMasi and Thomas Finneran and Senate President Therese Murray — all of whom were named in an investigation of the Probation Department by an independent counsel. Court officers hold the key public safety function of guarding prisoners and providing security to witnesses and jurors.