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September 16, 2011

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David J. Saliba Attorney at Law By JUDGE SANTO RUMA RET., and ATTORNEY DAVID J. SALIBA Intimidating the Judge PETER HRYCENKO v. COMMONWEALTH SJC-10771 SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS 2011 Mass. LEXIS 174 February I0, 2011, Argued April 19, 2011, Decided On December 20, 2007, the defendant appeared be- fore a judge in the West Roxbury Division of the Bos- ton Municipal Court (judge) and pleaded guilty to operat- ing a motor vehicle after a suspension and operating while under the influence of alcohol. The defendant of- fered to plead guilty, request- ing one year's incarceration. After a colloquy, the judge, who also had presided over the defendant's 2001 trial at which he was convicted of operating while under the influence and related charges, accepted the de- fendant's plea, but adopted the Commonwealth's sen- tencing recommendation of two years in a house of cor- rection, one year to serve and the balance suspended with two years' probation. The defendant requested a stay of execution, which was denied. On December 21, 2007, the defendant telephoned his mother from the Suffolk County house of correction, expressed anger about his sentence and referred to the judge, using a Ukranian word that means "whore." He had a second conversation with his mother the next day in which he told her where the judge lived, declared, "She hates me! She hates me!" and stated, "I wanted another judge (1) told them ... I don't want her!" On December 27, 2007, the judge received a seven- page, handwritten letter from the defendant, which was dated December 23, 2007, addressed to her and mailed to her home. The point of the letter was the defendant's request that the judge "please find it in your heart to commute or change this sentence." It began with the following: "I am as shocked writing you this letter, as you may be receiving it. I've known of your residence for years and as upset as I have been towards you, I have never retaliated against you or your property because it is not who I am! Please take the time to read this as I want you to fully understand the toll your harsh sentences have taken on me and my family." The judge testified that she was "very alarmed" to receive the letter because, in her sixteen years as a judge, she had never been contacted by a defendant at her home. She identified several passages in the let- ter that she found threaten- ing, including the opening paragraph, quoted above, which mentioned retalia- tion for the sentencing and contained language sug- gesting that she should be shocked to receive the letter; his mention of the fact that he had pleaded guilty to a drug charge so that he could retain his "pis- tol permit." The crime of threats to a judge was created in 1969 as part of an omnibus statutory theme to protect against the intimidation of witnesses. On a personal note, in 2003 the Essex County District Attorney's Office prosecuted an individual who threat- ened Judge Ruma with physical harm. District At- torney Blodgett takes this type of crime very seriously and the individual received 4 1/2 to 6 years in state prison. The Supreme Court said "We conclude that, given that the defendant made it clear to the judge that he knew where she lived, as well as his expression of hostility toward her in tele- phone conversations with his mother and in his state- ment to the State troopers, a rational jury could con- clude that the defendant's description of his own crimi- nal history and ownership of a pistol, his reference to re- taliation and his statement that he wanted her to "fully understand the toll your harsh sentences have taken on me and my family" meant to convince the judge that he did mean to harm her in the event that she did not change his sentence. Words do not need to be ex- pressly intimidating, threat- ening or harassing. In this case, a jury could find the defendant intended to "im- pede, obstruct, delay ... or otherwise interfere" with a criminal proceeding; the analysis does not depend on the meaning of the words "harm" and "punish." This case says don't con- tact the judge in a way to scare the judge. News Briefs (Continued from Page i) a 1930s rescue plan that really didn't work the first time around. Listening to his answers to questions in the Patriot Bridge was laughable. It is bad enough when liberal Democrats still blame Bush for everything, but Capuano is still blaming Hoover. Gimme a break! Kudos to Murphy and Linehan on Proposal City Councilor Bill Line- han and Council President Steve Murphy have pre- sented an order to the City Council to discuss changes to federal housing guide- lines in public housing which mixes those under 62 with disabilities with the elderly in senior develop- ments. Several recent inci- dents include the killing in Brighton of an elderly man residing in public eld- erly housing. Often, these younger residents qualify for elderly housing after being designated "disabled." Many of these folks have serious mental and psychological issues often related to sub- stance abuse. Today, 30 percent of these elderly com- plexes are younger than 62 and often much younger than that, too. This federal policy destroys the notion of elderly housing. Many eld- erly live in constant fear and are fearful of reprisals ff they complain to management. The Commonwealth's guidelines for subsidized housing for the elderly are capped at 13.5 percent for those under 62. Both Line- han and Murphy think that is a much better percent- age cap. Both of these city councilors have already no- tified Boston's congressmen, Stephen Lynch and Michael Capuano, and asked for their support on this urgent matter. What's With Menino and Scott Brown? Recently, Boston Mayor Tom Menino had some very nice things to say about U.S. Senator Scott Brown and not so nice things about the great Democratic hope, Elizabeth Warren. Liberal Democrats appear to be ral- lying around her potential candidacy for next year when Brown is up for re-election. A few months ago, the same liberals were pushing New- ton Mayor Setti Warren but now most of them have slid over to Ms. Warren. , " Menino's public comments toward Brown as both a per- son and political candidate were quite positive and very flattering. This kind of talk can only make party leaders over at the Democratic head- quarters in Charlestown ner- vous about beating Brown in '12. Warren or anyone else running against Brown can- not win without the aid and comfort of Menino. While the Mayor of Boston is no longer a kingmaker in state poli- tics, Boston mayors still carry much weight at elec- tion time. I was a registered Demo- crat and union member who voted for Brown back in January 2010 over Demo- crat Martha Coakley. Demo- crats who are running in the 2012 primary need to win back those 2010 voters who crossed over to the other party to win the U.S. Senate seat. Democrats also need Menino saying nicer things about them, not Brown. Keep your eyes on Menino because you know Elizabeth Warren, Setti Warren and the rest of the crew are cer- tainly watching his every move and speech. ooooo@e@@@o@o@e@@Q@@@o@@o@@e@@@@@@@e@@@@@@@@ V,,o00o o I w w . . . . more than meets the eye eeeoeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee e TRACY MORGAN: BLACK AND BLUE (DVD) HBO Home Ent. Tracy Morgan is at his outrageous best in his first HBO stand-up special from the Apollo Theater in New York. Commanding the stage with hysterical ven- geance before a live audi- ence, Tracy cuts completely loose for an explosive, non- stop hour of adults-only humor. Morgan takes on any and all topics includ- ing sex, politics, celebrities, superheroes, the Founding Fathers, black and white cul- ture and his own summit meeting with President Obama. You'll laugh until you're Black and Blue with this shocking, take-no-pris- oners performance, plus bo- nus features. (1 hr. 15 mins.) SPY KIDS - SPY KIDS 2: THE ISLAND OF LOST DREAMS - SPY KIDS 3: GAME OVER (Blu-ray) Lionsgate Lionsgate debuts the three films that started the "Spy Kids" adventures, all on Blu-ray - Spy Kids; Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams; and Spy Kids 3: Game Over. The films feature Antonio Banderas, Alex Vega and Carla Gugino. All three re- leases come packed with fun special features that kids will love, including the "10- Minute Film School" deleted scenes and multiple fea- tures. In addition, this will be the home entertainment debut of all-new special fea- tures for the original Spy Kids! including stunt and special effects features and more, allowing viewers to go behind the scenes of the original Spy Kids film. (91 mins./1 O0 rains./84 mins.) ZEN: VENDETTA, CABAL, RATKING (2-DVD) BBC Zen: Detective Zen (Rufus Sewell) is sent to a remote village to re-investigate a murder, which may spark a political scandal. Constantly under pressure from politi- cians and the Chief of Police, a gangster seeking revenge is pursuing Zen. Cabal: The death of a fa- mous aristocrat, Umberto Ruspanti, leads Detective Zen into the shadowy world of The Cabal -- an organiza- tion more powerful and secret than the Mafia. The Ministry seeks verdict of suicide, but not Zen. Rat- king: Detective Zen works against the clock to recover the kidnapped Ruggerio Miletti, a wealthy industri- alist with political ties. The involvement of the manipulative family and a beautiful grieving widow complicate matters. (4 hrs. 25 mins.) THE WIGGLES: UKULELE BABY! (DVD) Warner Home Video The Wiggles set sail on a new adventure with the sweet sound of ukuleles and palm trees in the distance. The Wiggles launch 21 new songs and paddle into a harbor of hits including "You Can Play the Ukulele," "Hawaiian Boogie" and "Hula, Hula Baby." Renowned weatherman, A1 Roker, joins in for "Thank You, Mr. Weatherman!" and Aus- tralian entertainment icon Rolf Harris climbs on board "The Good Ship Fabulous Flea!" to sing. The Wiggles sing about things kids love, songs to make young- sters dance, plus tuneful oc- casions for more magical Wiggles fun. (1 hr. 29 rains.) JUMPING THE BROOM (DVD) Sony Pictures Home Ent. Celebrate the marriage of Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton) and Jason Tayor (Laz Alonso), considered to be the perfect couple. Unfortu- nately, their families are the perfect recipes for disas- ter. Mrs. Watson (Angela Bassett) has an upper-crust sensibility that matches her family's Martha's Vine- yard estate, where Jason's straight-out-of-Brooklyn mom (Loretta Devine) seems utterly out of place. When uptown meets downtown, the truth comes out -- and only one question remains. Will this couple endure the hysterical, harrowing trials of love and finally jump the broom? (I hr. 52 mins.) THE LAST GODFATHER (DVD) Lionsgate Mafia head Don Carini (Harvey Keitel) is retiring. When he gathers family to give the news, the Don sur- prises everyone by anointing his goofy adopted son, Young- gu (Hyung Rae Shim), as the next godfather. Will Young- gu bumble his way to suc- cess and prove his father proud? Or will his dumb antics play into his enemies' goal to leave Young-gu sleep- ing with the fishes? An hys- terical spoof on everyone's favorite mafia movies. Cast includes Jason Mewes, Michael Rispoli and stand- up comic John Pinette. (1 hr. 40 mins.) ROBERT PLANT'S BLUE NOTE (DVD) Sexy Intellectual Enjoying a career that has spanned five decades, Robert Plant's film follows his incredible and on-going tour of musical styles and acts as travelogue to docu- ment and review a fascin- ating career. His fantastic voyage has essayed the plan- tations of Mississippi, the deserts and townships of Africa and the settlements of the Appalachians. Plant's consistent experimentation and a unique talent that makes the incorporation of his discoveries into a popu- lar contemporary form seem almost effortless. Featured are rare footage, perfor- mance archive, recorded in- terviews, contributions from his closest collaborators, expert critique from the finest music writers, plus location film, news reports, seldom seen photographs and a host of other features. (2 hrs. 35 mins.)