Friday, October 03, 2008

Wilkerson Faces Another Judgment Day

As much as I think of Sen. Dianne Wilkerson as amoral and in need of rethinking herself, it gives me no pleasure to see that she may face disbarment. The Boston Globe reports that the State Bar Counsel filed a complaint today for professional misconduct — lying under oath at a nephew's trial in 2005.

I thought she had gotten a free pass on that case, despite questions raised by police involved. There must be something to the cliché about the wheel of justice grinding slowly...and finely.

The eight-page complaint related to both a court appearance and affidavit aimed at helping Jermaine Berry get a new trial in a stabbing case. It alleges that she gave "intentionally false, misleading, and deceptive testimony" to Superior Court at the hearing.

The complaint alleges that she falsely placed herself at a BPD station when two homicide detectives questioned Isaac Wilkerson, another nephew. She testified that the detectives repeatedly turned their tape recorder on and off. Her point apparently was that police did not capture Isaac Wilkerson's statements that could have cleared Berry. Berry was convicted in the 1994 murder of Hazel Mack.

Suffolk County DA Dan Conley reviewed Sen. Wilkerson's statements. Superior Court Justice Christine McEvoy denied Berry's appeal and wrote, "Dianne Wilkerson's testimony that Isaac made additional unrecorded statements during his interview, and her claims that she was present during this interview, are irreconcilable with the tape recording and the police record of the interview."

The detectives also said that she was not in the interview room with Isaac Wilkerson when she claimed she was. In August 2006, a family friend Rev. Ernest Branch supported her claim she was with nephew Isaac during an informal interview with police. Also, her lawyer, Jeffrey Denner said he saw no reason to bring perjury charges despite the claims of the police and judge.

The Globe also quotes the former president of the BPD Benevolent Society as saying he was pleased to hear of the disciplinary proceeding. His group filed the complaint. Detective Jack Parlon said, "If she lied — and we allege that she did — and there's an agency that found that she did lie, then c'est la vie. No one is above the law.''

Of course, that's not always true. Dick Nixon pretty much got a free ride, with a pardon, and came back to public life with the honorific of statesman.

Nine years ago, Wilkerson had a law-license suspension following her conviction on income-tax charges and two counts of parole violation. The latest spreading stains follow her plea bargain with the state AG this summer and within the last two weeks notice that she had not made fine payments nor supplied the AG with a plan for staying on the right side of the campaign-finance laws.

If disbarment proceedings continue apace, she has even less prospect for winning her quixotic sticker campaign next month. She and her campaign staff and supporters love to blame everyone else and circumstances for things Sen. Wilkerson does to herself. I don't think there are enough excuse umbrellas to keep her dry this time.

Bar Counsel Note: To see how the Bar Counsel operates, head here.

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Anonymous said...

It is curious that this particular case against Sen. Wilkerson is now moving into the public realm at this time especially since there will be no trial for this will happen until after the Nov. 4 election.

Ryan said...

This must be Sonia Chang-Diaz's fault!

/sarcasm off

massmarrier said...

To anon, I find it more curious that it took so long after Conley's initial examination to get it this far. How deliberative can they be? Did the detectives need to get a lawyer to write up their stuff and couldn't get their act together? Had someone decided to wait until after the primary to hand it in and then the Bar Counsel got caught after she decided to go for a sticker drive?