The District Attorney, often overlooked, is so important
Ours has been bad, really bad, but there’s hope for how much better we can be
Most people have no understanding of what a District Attorney means to a community, why the job is so important, how the DA stands at the crossroads of criminal and social justice, how decisions made every day in every court affect lives, families, neighborhoods.
That’s even more true here on the Cape and Islands, because our longtime District Attorney Michael O’Keefe has personified good-old-boy, failed policies, approaches, and attitudes. That makes it especially hard for us to imagine the creative and positive ways this office could improve lives, and express our better angels.
DA O’Keefe has been there for more than two decades. To give you a big-picture sense of how wrong he is, consider:
The man who is the top law enforcement official in our region has stated that “substantial election fraud” led to the election of President Biden. He is an election denier.
Of course he has no evidence of that, in his jurisdiction or anywhere in the country, because there is none.
That outrageous disregard for evidence and truth “does not reflect well on a man who has sworn to uphold the law,” as The Falmouth Enterprise politely put it.
Some of us remember the infamous Christa Worthington murder case in Truro. This is the DA who positioned state troopers in front of the post office with instructions to collect DNA from every able-bodied man they could coerce, supposedly to further the investigation. That is unconstitutional and outrageous, no less so because a DNA sample of the man eventually convicted had already been taken, deposited and ignored in a state crime lab.
How about this DA inviting a woman journalist writing about that case to his home, where he answered the door wearing nothing but a bath towel with an offer to wrap around and help improve her golf swing?
This doesn’t even address whether the DA’s office convicted the real murderer – or not.
Of recent note:
Venezuelan immigrants arrived on the Cape and Islands, enticed here in ways deceptive if not illegal. The Texas sheriff where they came from has launched a criminal investigation, which Governor Charlie Baker welcomed. Our DA should have immediately announced his cooperation, linking departing jurisdiction with arriving jurisdiction, pooling resources to gather evidence and find truth.
Instead, avoidance, silence.
Then there’s the tragedy of the Howe family in Truro, a woman killed by her son, the son then sent to a notorious New Bedford jail where he was allowed to commit suicide. The DA should have gotten that man into a psychiatric facility, at least made sure he was closely watched in our county jail. He did none of that, but found time to issue the obligatory press release trying to exonerate himself of responsibility.
I could go on and on — a Justice Department investigation, lavish “campaign” spending — but won’t because finally, DA O’Keefe is retiring. The problem is that he has a handpicked successor in the upcoming election, an assistant DA who celebrates and supports the boss and status quo.
This handpicked candidate won’t even disavow election deniers like O’Keefe.
Are we ready to move past this ugliness?
We have the chance, a great alternative in the upcoming election, a candidate who has integrity, experience, and vision to transform the District Attorney’s office. He has practical ideas, he’s creative and tough, he’s stood before judges and juries in just about every courtroom in Massachusetts.
Attorney General Maura Healey (soon to be governor) celebrates him.
So does former Senator Dan Wolf, so much so that Dan signed on as the campaign’s honorary chair.
His name is Rob Galibois.
Next week, a good look at who he is and what he wants to accomplish.
Get ready for a big breath of fresh air.
NEXT: THE CASE FOR ROB GALIBOIS, AND HOW A DA CAN REDEFINE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Really bad, known for how bad! Thank you! The Worthington Case is a prime example.
Thanks, Seth for the eye-opening information. We look forward to more updates.