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Court strips Tommy Finneran of his state pension

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that former House Speaker Thomas Finneran of Mattapan forfeited his right to a state pension when he pled guilty in 2007 to lying in federal court about his role in a state redistricting plan following the 2000 census.

The state's highest court reversed a ruling by a Boston Municipal Court judge that would have restored Finneran's pension for his time as a state representative between 1978 and 2004. That judge had ruled that Finneran's conviction for lying about a plan to reduce the number of minority voters in his district did not have "a direct factual link to his position as a House Member and/or Speaker."

The SJC justices, however, didn't buy that for a second:

Finneran's false testimony concerning his knowledge of and participation in the redistricting planning process is in at least two respects directly linked as a factual matter to his position as Speaker of the House.

The court also rejected Finneran's argument that the state retirement board's decision to strip him of his pension was excessive under the Eighth Amendment, because it could mean the loss of $433,400 in anticipated pension payments.

The court essentially told Finneran that he should count his blessings for having received a federal sentence of 18 months' probation and a $25,000 fine:

Finneran's offense is a felony connected to a redistricting plan which violated Federal law, carrying a maximum penalty that includes ten years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The forfeiture of $433,400 in pension payments pursuant to [state law] therefore does not qualify as an excessive fine in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

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PDF icon Complete Finneran ruling47.12 KB

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Howie Carr will be in heaven.

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He can find honest work as a MBTA consultant!

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Howie hates it when government actually works to expel and punish its own.

We'd never hear the end of it if congress started taking aim at Trump's hacks and how unfair Howie would think that was.

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Worth at least two or three days of material for Hormel Howie's canned rehash column.

Howie Carr: once again saved from writer's block by the principle that "everything old is easier to print again"

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