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Berkshire DA rebuked for trying to remove judge

Jun 10, 2021 11:33 am

Amanda Burke reports in The Berkshire Eagle that criticism emerged June 9 of Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington’s failed attempt to remove a district court judge because of a series of rulings unfavorable to prosecutors. “Calling for a sitting judge to be removed from their post based on a decision a prosecutor disagrees with is both concerning and dangerous,” said Randy Gioia, deputy chief counsel for the Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services. “It sends a message to other judges that they need to fall in line or else face an attack on their livelihood, and it ignores the other avenues available when a party disagrees with a judge’s decision.” Harrington claimed in a May letter that Judge Jennifer Tyne posed a “significant threat to public safety.” But the chief justice of the district court system, Paul C. Dawley, found there was “no factual basis” to support the claims of judicial indiscretion. Harrington, though, is not backing down. “I respect and appreciate Justice Dawley’s review of my multiple concerns,” she said. “I am satisfied knowing that the leadership of the district court is aware that the atmosphere in the court is demoralizing for the prosecutors and victims who are seeking protection and justice.” Jedd Hall, a Berkshire defense lawyer and former prosecutor said, “She’s the executive branch; she has nothing to do with the judicial branch. The fact that the top prosecutor tried to have her [Tyne] basically removed because she wasn’t in line with the decisions the DA’s office is making is stunning.” Read more about this story in The Berkshire Eagle.