February 21, 2007

ACLU members disconsolable

Amazing story in today's Boston Globe about yesterday's police shooting of an alleged carjacker outside Barnstable Superior Court, a setting I know well from my days as political reporter at the Cape Cod Times and as a stringer for the New York Post last fall covering the Christa Worthington murder trial --

Amazing for two reasons -- a well-written and detailed account of how a 22-year-old Cambridge man "bolted out of [a] jail van in front of the courthouse, pulled the driver out of a nearby car, and commandeered it, triggering a frenetic chase across Route 6A that ended with police shooting him as he tried to drive away," write Globe reporters Brian R. Ballou and Raja Mishra.

One of the numerous witnesses to the incidents, which started outside the district court in Barnstable village and ended about 100 yards away outside the superior court, was none other than Cape and Islands' District Attorney Michael O'Keefe.

Amazing for a second reason -- the eye-opening list of suspect Anthony Roberts' (no, not the actor) previous alleged offenses. Roberts was arrested on Friday after a hit-and-run accident, according to the Globe, which was why he was being brought to district court yesterday.

But Roberts was also "facing trial on four separate incidents totalling more than 10 alleged felonies, including drug dealing, assault on a police officer, identity fraud and burglary," the story states (emphasis added).

Before he tried to fly the coop, Roberts was to be arraigned yesterday on charges of receiving stolen property, driving with a revoked license, drug possession, leaving an accident scene after property damage and forgery "stemming from the Friday accident, according to the Globe.

But wait ... there's more! When police arrested Roberts on Friday, "they found a stolen wallet, stolen credit cards, and stolen checkbook," the Globe said. "In April, Roberts was arrested after making a ruckus in several hotel lobbies, according to court documents."

But according to Roberts' lawyer, Drew Segadelli, "there have been no convictions, just simple allegations." Hate to break it to you, counsellor, but your client's streak may have just ended. And what's with the curious use of "simple," by the way?

"Some judges would say that his slate is clean," Segadelli went on to say, as quoted in the Globe. Yeah, some lawyers too. And so long as slates like that are kept "clean," who knows how long ambulance-chasers can avoid working for a living.

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