On Monday we published a story about Judge Beverly Cannone declaring a mistrial in the murder trial for Michael Chesna and Vera Adams, after one rogue juror refused to participate in deliberations. The Chesna family had no idea this was going to happen and when Cannone announced her decision in the most callous way possible, you can see the look of shock on his mother’s face as his widow Cindy cries out. You can also see Judge Cannone rolling her eyes, as if Cindy Chesna’s tears (which Cannone caused) annoy her.
Not only is she horribly corrupt, she’s heartless. This was the face she made the moment she heard Cindy Chesna wailing.
I’ve stood in front of many judges, and all of them command a level of respect through their tone, demeanor, and visual presentation. I’ve never seen a judge conduct themselves the way this woman does in the people’s courtroom. The demeanor and tone that Cannone gives off in court creates an atmosphere that encourages jurors not to take the proceedings seriously. She constantly looks haggard, hung over, and tired, she doesn’t take care of herself, she whispers into the microphone, and she gives observers the impression that she doesn’t want to be there. Throughout the Karen Read hearings she has frequently asked “are we done here?”, as if she has better places to be. Thirty minutes into the hour long hearing she prodded the defense to stop talking about relevant evidence showing Karen Read is innocent.
Fifteen minutes later she whispered into the microphone, “Is this hearing over?”, encouraging both sides to stop making oral arguments.
Finally she asked, “Is THAT everything,” in an exasperated tone, further showing how bothered she was to be there.
Cannone granted the motion to quash Jen McCabe and Brian Albert’s subpoenas within minutes of the hearing beginning on May 24, and cancelled the planned evidentiary hearing minutes after that. She did it flippantly without a care in the world, as if a woman’s life isn’t on the line. She didn’t care that Karen Read’s defense team has been working on her case round the clock, and that two of the attorneys flew in from California on Read’s dime. She made a flippant comment about Alan Jackson attending the hearings on Zoom – a ridiculous suggestion in a murder case.
Cannone has had that same visible attitude throughout the month long Emmanuel Lopes trial as well. The way she dismissed that jury so flippantly and without any pushback, knowing full well that a mistrial would force the victims families to relive their trauma again in that courtroom, was callous. She demands that jurors and observers stand as she enters in order to show their respect for the court, but then constantly disrespects the court with her own behavior.
She didn’t care that Cindy Chesna has two children at home and a business she had to take 5 weeks away from to sit on the wooden benches in that courtroom and relive her trauma.
She didn’t care that Mimi and Charles Chesna had to bury their son, and have much better things they’d like to be doing with their time.
She didn’t care that 11 jurors who took their job seriously, took time away from their jobs and families, and took a bus into Dedham from Worcester every day, will now be forever disillusioned with our justice system. Why would any of them ever want to serve on a jury again?
She didn’t care that the trial was supposed to be last year, but was pushed forward a year because “people take vacations and they didn’t want college kids.”
She told juror to “dress comfortably,” and constantly laughed during sidebars, which led to jurors not respecting her authority.
Cannone allowed one rogue juror to intentionally sabotage the entire trial, and did nothing as the juror refused to talk with other jurors, or step foot in the deliberation room. The juror would not step foot in the deliberating room, and instead of using her authority to demand that she do so, Cannone catered to this rogue juror’s defiance. The juror laughed in front of the Chesna family like this was a joke. The juror obviously did not fear or respect Cannone’s authority, and who can blame them?
Cannone was supposed to scare her into doing her job with a statement on Friday, but instead she read the instructions to the jury like she was reading a children’s book. She could have held the juror in contempt and had her arrested for refusing to deliberate. The prosecution had prepared case law instructing what the judge could do about a juror like this, but instead of hearing them she declared a mistrial within minutes of entering the courtroom. In doing so she allowed the juror to hold our entire judicial system hostage because the Latina woman in her 20’s didn’t want to convict a cop killer.
Cindy Lavoie was the foreman of the jury and spoke with 7 News last night. The CFO of the Southwick Zoo said she was honored to be foreman, but that the rogue juror “would not participate and give justified reasons for her conclusions,” which she described at “very frustrating.” She said she’s angry and very disappointed with the rogue juror, and feels horrible for the victims’ families. Lavoie said she was shocked when Cannone announced that she was declaring a mistrial after giving the jury the weekend to think it over, and said she never wants to serve on a jury again.
Notice the 7 News reporter says that it was “exasperation” that Cannone declared a mistrial. But anyone who’s been watching her knows that this is just the way she talks. Cannone was just bored with it all and wanted to go home, just like she did at the May 3 Karen Read hearing. Cannone caused this very qualified juror to never want to do her civic duty again.
One of my favorite movies, and one of the most iconic in American history, is the 1957 Henry Fonda movie 12 Angry Men. It’s the story of a murder trial in which 11 of the 12 jurors immediately vote to convict the defendant, who was accused of killing his father. Fonda votes not guilty on principle because he believes that a discussion should take place, considering the seriousness of the matter. He then begins convincing the other jurors one by one that the defendant is not guilty, until one final holdout attempts to do what the Chesna juror did and hold the proceedings hostage. His obstruction stemmed from the fact that he was estranged from his son and was biased against the defendant because of that. The final scene when Juror 3 finally votes not guilty is one of the greatest in American cinematic history.
If 12 Angry Men were redone in Judge Cannone’s courtroom it would’ve ended 15 minutes earlier in a mistrial before the next jury sent the defendant to the electric chair. Cannone must recuse herself from the Karen Read case, and our state legislators should be looking into removing her as a judge entirely.