Defense bar stands up for judge criticized by prosecutor

Date Published:  Mon, 07/12/2010
By BRIAN FRAGA | Published: JULY 12, 2010
 
Two high-profile Superior Court defense attorneys in recent days have come to the defense of Judge Susan Garsh, who was criticized by Bristol County prosecutor William McCauley for purportedly being antaganostic toward the commonwealth in the recently-concluded murder trial of George Duarte.
 
The Brockton-based defense attorney Kevin Reddington wrote a scathing letter in response to McCauley’s statement, saying that Garsh is one of the state trial court’s most respected judges, who is even-handed and “assiduously adheres to the dictates of the Constitution and the law.”
 
I spoke today with defense attorney J. Drew Segadelli, who represented Duarte. Segadelli said he was “outraged” by McCauley’s statements and added that he was in the process of penning his own letter to the editor, with the title “Sour grapes in victory.”
 
“For (McCauley) to cast aspersions on (Garsh)… was just a cheap shot,” Segadelli said.
 
In a post-trial interview with my colleague Curt Brown, a frustrated McCauley – who prosecuted the case with fellow assistant district attorney Cynthia Brackett – said Garsh appeared to have had no background in a murder trial like Duarte’s, where more than 80 witnesses testified.
 
The prosecuton felt Garsh was antaganostic toward their case, and that she issued unfair rulings on the evidence that was allowed/not allowed during the trial.
 
“The commonwealth’s evidence, painstakingly gathered in spite of uncooperative witnesses’ attempts to deny it, was repeatedly limited or excluded by the trial judge, who exhibited antagonism to the commonwealth’s case throughout the course of the trial,” McCauley told The Standard-Times.
 
Garsh has said that the judicial canon of ethics prevents her from responding to that statement. The case will go to an automatic appeal.
 
For his part, Segadelli – whose client was convicted of 2nd degree murder for the shooting death of 15-year-old Edwin ‘Gio’ Medina in January 1, 2008 – said Garsh made appropriate rulings and was professional.
 
“She’s one of the more learned jurists I’ve met in my career,” Segadelli said.”She was not antagonistic to the commonwealth. It was (McCauley) who was combative. He wanted the judge to set aside the rules of evidence because the commonwealth had a very poor and weak case.”
 
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