It’s been 3 months since a judge dropped the charges filed by former Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins against Boston activist Jaoa DePina for heckling her about her failures and shortcomings as DA at a press conference.
I can't really say in words how corrupt this is. The DA of Suffolk County filed witness intimidation charges against a private citizen for heckling and criticizing her for 10 minutes during a televised press conference. Biden nominated her to be US Attorney. https://t.co/NE49QEzf3Y
— AidanKearneyTB (@DoctorTurtleboy) November 19, 2021
But the mere fact that she even attempted to weaponize the powers of her office and attempt to incarcerate a man for exercising his First Amendment rights in public was an injustice that hasn’t been rectified. Yesterday Attorney Marc Randazza’s office announced that they are suing Rollins in Massachusetts Superior Court for what she did to DePina. Here is the press release from Randazza’s office:
Community Activist Files Lawsuit Against US Attorney Rollins, Others
Worcester, Mass. – The Randazza Legal Group (@randazza_legal), in conjunction with the Center for American Liberty (@Liberty_Ctr), on behalf of plaintiff Joao DePina, filed a lawsuit today in Massachusetts Superior Court against U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins (@DARollins) in her personal capacity, the Worcester District Attorney, the Boston Police Department, and others.
The lawsuit stems from an incident when then-Suffolk County District Attorney Rollins held a press conference where DePina questioned Rollins over the continued gun violence in Boston and government incompetency, including the incompetency of the District Attorney’s Office to respond to his brother’s murder. During the exchange, Rollins mocked DePina and then continued her press conference. However, three days later, Rollins caused a criminal complaint to be filed against DePina, accusing him of attorney intimidation.
The charges were clearly in violation of DePina’s First Amendment rights. Accordingly, at least two District Attorneys’ offices refused to prosecute DePina. However, when it landed on the desk of the Worcester District Attorney, they were willing to seek to put DePina in prison for up to 10 years — for publicly criticizing Rachel Rollins.
Depina’s complaint alleges the defendants of malicious prosecution, abuse of process, violation of DePina’s freedom of speech, and negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress.Depina Complaint
DePina is a community activist and past candidate for the Boston City Council, who resides in Dorchester, Mass. A judge ruled in favor of DePina’s motion to dismiss the case on May 25, 2022, citing the obvious First Amendment issues.
“That a prosecutor would even try to send a citizen to prison for heckling a public official is utterly repugnant to the Constitution,” said Marc J. Randazza (@marcorandazza), DePina’s lead counsel. “We had a principled and wise judge who dismissed the charges, but this abuse of power can not stand without being challenged. We recognize that the law currently gives prosecutors absolute immunity, no matter what they do. We can not live in a constitutional republic where anyone is above the law and above the Constitution. We aim to change this ludicrous immunity and show the government that nobody can trample on the Constitution with impunity.”
DePina is seeking damages for the past loss of his constitutional rights and his attorneys fees. But, most importantly, DePina is seeking a change in the law that currently gives prosecutors absolute immunity, no matter how unconstitutional or egregious their actions may be.
“The First Amendment is dead if Americans cannot peacefully criticize government officials,” said Mark Trammell (@mark_trammell), Executive Director of the Center for American Liberty. “Merely being accused of a crime does not deprive one of his or her constitutionally protected right to free speech.”
It’s worth pointing out that while she was DA, Road Rage Rollins led the fight to end qualified immunity for police officers.
Qualified immunity protects public servants from being sued personally for mistakes they made on the job. If a police officer does something wrong it is the department that gets sued. Since municipal governments have insurance they can afford to pay for their attorneys to litigate, and in some cases settle, all the frivolous lawsuits filed by grifting attorneys like Ben Crump and Hector Pineiro. But if police officers had to pay for their own attorneys and risked losing their homes every time they punched into work, then cops would simply stop arresting people to avoid being sued. Qualified immunity is vital to ensuring that our streets our safe and police officers aren’t afraid to do their job.
Now, ironically, Rollins is hiding behind qualified immunity. She will try to argue that she can’t be sued because she was doing her job as an elected official, but the fact of the matter is that nothing in her job title gave her the power to violate someone’s First Amendment rights. The complaint rightly points out that Rollins gave this same heckler (DePina) her state issued phone and badge in order to calm him down while he was heckling then police chief William Gross.
Rollins believes that people like DePina have free speech when they’re berating cops, but they don’t have free speech rights when they’re berating her.
Rollins case against DePina was shopped around too. They struck out in Suffolk and Norfolk County where judges refused to prosecute. Finally they went to the most corrupt District Attorney in the state – Joe Early.
The Worcester County DA was found guilty by the State Ethics Commission of overseeing the biggest State Police scandal in history (which was first broken by Turtleboy), after ordering the State Police to redact an arrest report for his friend Dudley District Court Judge Tim Bibaud’s daughter.
DA Early with Judge Timothy M. Bibaud at his swearing in as the presiding judge in Dudley District Court. pic.twitter.com/fQRkt4VUZ3
— Joseph D. Early Jr. (@worcesterda) December 6, 2013
He was also ordered to pay $5K to the trooper who arrested Alli Bibaud and included her quote in his report offering him a blowjob in exchange for the charges to be dropped. The left wing Telegram and Gazette called for him to resign in 2018, which they’ve never done for a Democratic politician before. For that reason he is being sued as well:
Thank you to Marc Randazza for going after these corrupt government officials and reminding them that there are consequences for their abuse of power.