MA High Court Backs Boston Prosecutor in Parade Case

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Massachusetts’ highest court sided with Boston’s district attorney in a dispute over the prosecution of counterprotesters arrested during a ‘‘straight pride’’ parade over Labor Day weekend, reports the Associated Press. State Supreme Judicial Court Justice Frank Gaziano said Boston Municipal Court Judge Richard Sinnott had ‘‘no authority’’ to force Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office to prosecute Roderick Webber, a counterprotester charged with disorderly conduct. The judge ordered Sinnott to recognize Rollins decision to drop the case and have it expunged from Webber’s court record.

‘‘The prosecutor’s sole authority to determine which cases to prosecute, and when not to pursue a prosecution, has been affirmed repeatedly by this court since the beginning of the nineteenth century,’’ Gaziano wrote. ‘‘Such a decision, in which a prosecutor decides how to allocate her limited resources, is made countless times every day in courthouses throughout the Commonwealth.’’ Rollins has argued that Sinnott overstepped his constitutional authority in refusing her bid to drop charges against Webber and other counterprotesters facing minor infractions after the Aug. 31 parade. Eight others have been arraigned on more serious charges, such as assault and battery on a police officer, and Rollins’ office is seeking to prosecute those cases. Rollins said she’s pleased with the decision and is evaluating the other non-violent cases, as well as looking into complaints that police used excessive force .‘‘This was a colossal waste of time,’’ she said of the public dispute with Sinnott. ‘‘Anyone who has gone to law school knows that there’s a separation of powers’’ between the judicial and executive branches of government, Rollins said.

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