The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld the right of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins to drop charges against several people who had been arrested while protesting one of those marches right wingers liked to hold in Boston during the ancien regime of the former president.
The ruling comes in the case of lawyer who claimed that protests against his right-wing pals at a so-called "straight rights" parade on Aug. 31, 2019 were a violation of his First-Amendment rights and that Rollins had no right to dismiss charges against some of the protesters without first consulting with a "victim" like him.
The state's highest court did not have much good to say about attorney Rinaldo del Gallo III's legal stylings, which it called "prolix" and completely devoid of evidence to support his case that he was, in fact a "victim," let alone somebody who had the right to tell Rollins how to run her office:
[I]t is difficult to find any specific allegation in his lengthy complaint suggesting that any of the charged individuals or their conduct actually prevented him from marching or speaking or even interfered in any way with his doing so.
In a footnote, the court goes further:
Del Gallo does not identify a specific criminal defendant whose alleged conduct he claims directly affected him (if indeed he was affected at all). Nor does he identify which specific acts of alleged disorderly conduct he was even aware of, or in the vicinity of, at the time they occurred. Instead, as best we can tell, he appears to take the sweeping position that all of the disorderly charges against all of the defendants at the parade and rally that day must be vacated because of an alleged violation of his rights as a victim of one or more of them, although he cannot say which ones.
Boston Police arrested 34 people protesting the march, some after first using pepper spray on them, most for disorderly conduct or assault and battery on police officers. Rollins filed "nolle prosequi" documents for the defendants charged only with disorderly conduct or resisting arrest, ending the cases against them - although she had to go to the Supreme Judicial Court herself when a Boston Municipal Court judge at first refused to accept her filings.
In his request to the court, Del Gallo acknowledged Rollins had the right to drop the cases, but claimed she also had a requirement to speak to him about it first, as one of the "victims" in the case, under a state law requiring prosecutors to keep crime victims informed of the status of cases they're involved in, despite, as the court noted, not explaining what exactly made him a victim.
But in any case, the law doesn't say what Del Gallo thinks it says, the court continued - the right to be informed does not make victims a part of the prosecution. Further, the court continued:
Del Gallo fails to state a claim in this case because he was not a victim of the alleged disorderly conduct crimes that were nol prossed.
[W]e reject Del Gallo's claim that he was a victim within the meaning of the statute because he suffered "threatened . . . emotional . . . harm" as a result of the alleged disorderly conduct. That language might include, for example, someone who is victimized by criminally assaultive behavior directed at him or her that does not result in physical contact. We cannot imagine, however, that the Legislature intended it as broadly as Del Gallo's argument suggests, to apply to every person who is upset by an act of disorderly conduct. There could be tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people who witness a given incident, or who claim to have been emotionally affected by it even though they did not witness it firsthand, who may be known or unknown to the prosecutor. It is inconceivable that the Legislature meant for the prosecutor to provide all of them with the rights afforded to crime victims under G. L. c. 258B.
Del Gallo, a Pittsfield resident who ran for the state senate in 2016 as a self-described "Bernie Sanders Progressive," has in recent years become an ally of various right-wing provocateurs in the Boston area, whose rallies here he would attend and speak at.
In January, he served as the lawyer for accused 1/6 putschist Mark Sahady following Sahady's arrest. At one of Sahady's initial appearances in federal court in Boston, a judge dressed Del Gallo down for filing an "unintelligible" motion demanding Sahady's immediate release after his arrest. Sahady dropped him as a lawyer when his case was transferred to federal court in Washington; Del Gallo filed a motion to be "disappeared" from the case, accusing Sahady of stiffing him for his work. A judge ruled the motion moot because a Washington attorney had been recognized in court as Sahady's new lawyer.
The decision is the latest of a string of legal defeats for the right wingers this year.
In August, a federal judge dismissed a suit by serial Senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai against Marty Walsh and Bill Evans over the way they handled a post-Charlottesville rally on the Common,
That decision came a month after another federal judge dismissed a similar lawsuit by a man who claimed protesters prevented him from getting to that rally.
And that decision came three months after yet another federal judge dismissed a similar lawsuit by one of the rally's organizers.
Docket in Del Gallo's case, includes a copy of his legal brief.