The Boston Herald says it is taking the state to court to force the release of individual voting records of the parole board, the politically appointed seven-member body that decides whether to let convicted murderers and other felons out of prison. The complaint against state Executive Secretary of Public Safety Kevin M. Burke, whose office oversees the parole board, seeks to overturn a decision to keep the records secret. “Cops, prosecutors and judges are all required to perform their criminal-justice duties in the light of day, fully accountable to citizens,” said Herald Editor in Chief Kevin R. Convey. “Why should the members of the Parole Board alone be allowed to shield their actions from public view?”
In May, the Herald sought the member-by-member breakdown in the 4-3 decision to release murderer Karter Reed, 31. Burke's office denied the request. The Herald appealed to the state's Supervisor of Public Records, who upheld Burke's decision. Reed served 15 years of a 25-year sentence for stabbing to death a fellow teen in a high school classroom. The board voted to release him after his first parole hearing in March, during which the victim's relatives pleaded with the board to keep Reed locked up. Reed's supporters said he had turned his life around.