CONFIRMATION HEARING ON EDWARD F. HARRINGTON BEFORE THE US SENATE

Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, DC Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1987

Appearing in opposition to Mr. Harrington’s nomination, prominent Boston Attorneys Alice Richmond and Earle Cooley presented this testimony:

Miss Richmond stated that she:

    -Graduated from Cornell University in 1968.
    -Served as an intern to both Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Jacob Javits.
    -Spent approximately one year in the office of the Mayor of the City of New York.
    -Received her law degree in 1972.
    -Is the Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Bar Association, a statewide organization of approximately 19,000 lawyers and one of the largest voluntary bar associations in the country.

She also submitted the following written testimony:

"My opposition [to Judge Harrington’s nomination] is based not only on my personal experiences with Mr. Harrington but upon the literally scores of conversations that I have had with other Massachusetts lawyers. To oppose a nomination submitted by the President of the United States is not an act that I, or any other responsible lawyer, do lightly. I believe that Mr. Harrington lacks judicial temperament to such a degree that I chose to accept the Committee’s invitation to discuss my concerns publicly.

"These accounts of Mr. Harrington’s explosive, if not abusive, conduct come from Massachusetts lawyers of widely different ages, backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. They come from both men and women and extend in time from my own experiences of more than a decade ago to the relatively recent past.

"My experiences with Mr. Harrington date back to late 1975 or early 1976. I was an Assistant District Attorney in Boston and had been appointed a Special Assistant Attorney General to prosecute James F. Blaikie for the murder of David DeWilde.

"I was informed that Edward F. (Ted) Harrington would be entering the case as co-counsel for Mr. Blaikie.

"Almost from his initial appearance, Ted Harrington’s behavior was intimidating, if not abusive. He frequently yelled. Almost every disagreement about discovery, scheduling or the like resulted in a personalization of the dispute with Ted Harrington suggesting that my conduct was improper, if not unethical. He regularly stated that the police officers were lying and implied that I was as well.

"At some point during the trial, a dispute arose while the jury was in the courtroom. My memory is that we were at sidebar and that Mr. Harrington was vehemently disagreeing with something I said. The Judge (Maguire, J.) excused the jury and told counsel to accompany him to his lobby to discuss the matter. As we were filing into the Lobby, the Judge, whose back was to us, asked me a question. I started to answer and Harrington, who was immediately behind me, leaned forward and said loud enough for me to hear: "you lying c---."

"Although I did report Mr. Harrington’s remark to Attorney General Bellotti, I chose not to pursue the matter.

"In 1983, in a similar situation involving a female prosecutor trying a serious rape case, Mr. Harrington, who had been insisting that the prosecutor "knew" that she was "railroading an innocent man", called the prosecutor a "liar" or a "f------ liar" as they approached the sidebar for a bench conference; Mr. Harrington’s client was subsequently convicted of rape.

"Neither time nor space permit me to recount all of the incidents I have heard regarding Mr. Harrington’s lack of control, his disproportionate reaction to, or personalization of, the kind of disputes or disagreements that regularly arise during the course of litigation.

"Were Mr. Harrington to be confirmed as a judge, the consequences of his tendency to personalize disputes and to regard those who disagree with him as his enemies, if not worse, would be disastrous not only for the lawyers who appear before him but especially for their clients."

Attorney Earle Cooley submitted this written testimony in opposition to Mr. Harrington’s nomination:

"Edward F. Harrington is under consideration for judicial appointment to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. I respectfully oppose his nomination.

" I have been a trial lawyer in Massachusetts for more than thirty years and I have seldom encountered a person less temperamentally suited to be a United States District Court Judge. It has been my experience that one disagrees with Mr. Harrington at the risk of being labeled an enemy of society.

"Mr. Harrington sponsored Joseph Barboza for inclusion in the Federal Witness Protection Program and he is quite proud of the convictions he obtained with the testimony of this witness. I submit that he has nothing of which to be proud. Barboza was a career criminal and a vicious killer. He was given a new identity and placed in an unsuspecting California community where he continued his criminal career. When he was arrested and prosecuted—I believe for murder—Mr. Harrington intervened in his behalf and the charge was greatly reduced. As a result, Mr. Barboza made it back to freedom and a life of crime in a very short period of time.

"Mr. Harrington also sponsored Diane Wazen for the Federal Witness Protection Program. Wazen was a key witness in two of the prosecutions against my client. While in the program, she participated in an American Express check scam that netted more than $20,000. Mr. Harrington shielded her from prosecution until she had served his purpose and, although ultimately convicted, Mr. Harrington saw to it that she never served a day for her crime.

"Thomas Sperrazza, confessed murderer of five people, including a Boston police officer, was another of Mr. Harrington’s protected witnesses against my client. Sperrazza was cajoled, coddled and even promised ultimate release in return for his testimony.

"The legitimate function of the Federal Witness Protection Program is to keep threatened witnesses safe and secure so that they will be available to give truthful testimony. It should not be used as a vehicle to reward witnesses for whom perjury is the least offensive crime in their repertoire, nor as a safe haven for continued criminal activity.

"I believe that those experiences, combined with my own, warrant the conclusion that Mr. Harrington is volatile, vindictive and intemperate when he doesn’t get his way or somehow feels invalidated. In my own opinion, he lacks the judicial temperament essential to the even-handed administration of justice in our federal courts.

Long-time Harrington associates Judge Douglas Woodlock [click Judge Woodlock] and Edward Hanify, John Hanify’s father, [click John Hanify] spoke in behalf of the would-be jurist.

In support of Mr. Harrington’s nomination Judge Woodlock in written testimony stated:

"It was an honor to have served with Mr. Harrington in the United States Attorney’s office. I look forward to the honor--and the pleasure—of serving again with him in public office or the bench of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

"I would be pleased to have this letter included in the record of Mr. Harrington’s hearing before the Judiciary Committee and would welcome the opportunity to expand on those views in person or in writing if you considered that helpful to the Judiciary Committee’s consideration.

Edward B. Hanify, Esq. offered oral and written testimony including the following:

"My name is Edward B. Hanify.
"I support the nomination of Edward F. Harrington as United States District Judge. Although of different generations, he and I are natives of Fall River, graduates of the same high school and Holy Cross College.

"The qualifications of a competent judge are so well-known to this committee as to make their enumeration presumptuous. I can only claim to have observed for a half-century those intangible qualities become tangible in the performance of what the Trial Bar tersely calls "a good Trial Judge," and express my expectation that Mr. Harrington will become such a Judge. The "good Trial Judge," is the man or woman who conscientiously strives to be a legal scholar yet not a pedant, is patient, yet not dilatory, expeditious in ruling and decision yet not hasty…"

COMMENT: One must ask how it is possible for supposedly objective positions regarding known professionals to be as different as those offered in support of and in opposition to Edward Harrington’s nomination to the Federal Bench.