The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office is once again under fire for its unethical conduct. This time, prosecutors are being accused of misleading a superior court judge in a high-profile murder case in order to keep the defendant in jail.
Aisling McCarthy is an Irish woman who was in the United States illegally and working as a nanny in Cambridge. In 2013, she was arrested and charged with murdering a baby in her care. She was held in jail without bail for more than two years before the prosecution’s case fell apart and the charges were dismissed. During the pendency of the case, the defendant’s attorneys repeatedly asked the judge to release her on bail. The prosecutors always urged the judge to keep the defendant locked up, arguing that if the defendant was released on bail, she would be immediately deported to Ireland. In an outstanding column yesterday, the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham reported the prosecutors’ argument were completely untrue.
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for deportation proceedings. A spokesman for the agency told the Globe that ICE would work with local authorities to ensure illegal aliens are kept in the country if they are facing serious criminal charges. The truth is that even if Aisling McCarthy was released on bail, she was never going back to Ireland as long as she was under indictment for murder. District Attorney Marian Ryan told the Globe it was the understanding of her office, based on case law, that ICE would be obligated to deport McCarthy. Apparently nobody from the district attorney’s office picked up the phone to call ICE to ask what would happen if McCarthy was released. The district attorney’s office also claimed the Irish government would assist McCarthy in returning home if she was not in custody. However, according to the Globe, the Irish Embassy said such allegations are “completely basis.”
The superior court judge presiding over the case finally decided to fact check the prosecution’s representations. After learning the prosecutors’ claims of imminent deportation were completely bogus, the judge released McCarthy on an ankle monitor until the case was ultimately dismissed. The Globe asked several times for the district attorney’s office to detail its conversations with ICE, but the district attorney’s office failed to respond.
Within the past month, it has come to light that the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office: (1) pressured a medical examiner not to change his initial findings that a baby had been the victim of a homicide; (2) failed to produce exculpatory evidence for more than a year in the Aisling McCarthy case; and (3) provided false information regarding ICE and the Irish government to a superior court judge in order to keep a defendant locked up. A medical examiner has called the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office “unethical and unprofessional.” ICE and the Irish embassy have flatly disputed Middlesex prosecutors’ representations in court. Last year, a district court judge accused Middlesex prosecutors of requesting “ridiculous bails that exist because of political considerations.”
The manner in which the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has recently prosecuted cases is unconscionable. The evidence has established the office cares more about obtaining convictions than doing justice. Political considerations are more important than applying the law. It’s acceptable to fudge the truth in court if it prevents a defendant from being released. A prosecutor’s office that has an attitude of winning at all costs is dangerous. The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office is dangerous.