Governor Deval Patrick recently appointed Fernande R.V. Duffly as the newest Supreme Judicial Court nominee. The December 21st state house press conference was conducted to introduce her and Duffly explained that she had applied for the position when vacancies existed in the past. The most interesting part of the appointment however is its bypassing of the normal procedures for appointment by Governor Patrick. Unlike prior nominations to the SJC the Governor never publicly posted the position leaving many to wonder whether something was already in the works prior to the vacancy. According to Superior court judge Robert Barton “when they pull something like this, the public thinks they are circling the wagons. The Governor has to remember that even though he got reelected, he still serves the public and the public is still entitled to a process that looks better than this.”
How the appointment of the new justice will affect police across the state has yet to be determined. There can be a little doubt that from an ideological standpoint Justice Duffly will be similar to Justice Marshall in her opinions. Although it can be hardly expected for the Supreme Judicial Court to decide cases similar to the United States Supreme Court, the hope is that they will maintain a pragmatic attitude to the way police are forced to conduct business without placing their lives and safety at risk. We will see.
Attorney Ronald A. Sellon