|
|
The Lake News Online
Meet the new DA, same as the old DA
email print
About this blog
Recent Posts
June 16, 2014 11:10 a.m.
June 16, 2014 11:10 a.m.
June 15, 2014 5:10 p.m.
June 13, 2014 5:10 p.m.
June 13, 2014 5:10 p.m.
By Rick Holmes
July 11, 2013 12:01 a.m.



I spent an hour yesterday getting to know Marian Ryan, the new district attorney for Middlesex County.  She was appointed by Gov. Patrick to fill the unexpired term of DA Gerry Leone. She plans to seek election in 2014, and if history is any guide, will face no opposition.

As she was leaving, I told her I’d been interviewing Middlesex DAs since Scott Harshbarger (1983-91). She had me beat, she said.  She’s been in the Middlesex DA’s office since John Droney,  Harshbarger’s predecessor. She’s been working in the DA’s office for 34 years, and it shows.

Like her predecessors, she’s reluctant to give the press straight answers on investigations in progress.  We questioned her about a recent police shooting in Ashland, about the Marathon bombings, about the shooting of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s friend by an FBI agent, about the Waltham triple-murder the New York Times says today the DA’s office didn’t exactly break a sweat trying to solve. In patient, friendly terms, she refused to say anything.

I asked her if she supported any changes in mandatory minimum sentences, a longtime interest of mine. A lot of other states, especially ones run by Republicans, are way ahead of Massachusetts at enacting “smart on crime” reforms, but the Bay State DAs have resisted even minor reforms here.  She hemmed and hawed a little, giving no reason to think she was pro-reform (as opposed to Martha Coakley, who talks a good game on sentencing reform but has done little about it).

Someone asked about marijuana, and Ryan said she’d seen an increase in marijuana sales and marijuana-related violence as dealers fight for a growing market, thanks to decriminalization. She pointed to a recent bust of someone with 100 pounds of weed in Ashland and another in Malden.  Come on, I said, pot has been coming into Mass. in significant quantities for 40 years.  Since decrim, arrests for simple possession are way down, which was pretty much the point of the referendum. So what evidence to you have of more marijuana-related crime or marijuana-related violence?  It’s just anecdotal, she conceded, revealing herself to be an old-school drug warrior.

It would be nice if history didn’t repeat itself, and if someone with 21st century law enforcement ideas ran for Middlesex County DA.

Recent Posts

    latest blogs

    • Community
    • National