Posts tagged "Finneran"

State Board of Retirement v. Finneran, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-051-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC-12069   STATE BOARD OF RETIREMENT  vs.  THOMAS M. FINNERAN & others.[1]       Suffolk.     December 8, 2016. – April 5, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, & Budd, JJ.[2]     Retirement.  State Board of Retirement.  Public Employment, Forfeiture of retirement benefits.  Constitutional Law, Excessive fines clause.  Practice, Civil, Action in nature of certiorari.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on December 4, 2015.   The case was reported by Lenk, J.     David R. Marks, Assistant Attorney General, for the plaintiff. Nicholas Poser (Thomas R. Kiley also present) for Thomas M. Finneran.     LENK, J.  Former Speaker of the House Thomas Finneran pleaded guilty in the United States District Court in 2007 to one count of obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1503.  The obstruction of justice conviction related to false testimony that he had provided in relation to a Federal court action challenging the 2001 redistricting act, St. 2001, c. 125 (redistricting act).  Finneran had played a significant role in the development of the redistricting act from the point of its inception but denied under oath that he had played any part in its development.  Indeed, he testified that he had not even seen the plan before it was released to the full House of Representatives. After his conviction, Finneran was informed by the State Retirement Board (board) that his crime constitutes a “violation of the laws applicable to his office or position,” pursuant to G. L. c. 32, § 15 (4), requiring the forfeiture of his pension.  Finneran appealed from the board’s determination to the Boston Municipal Court.  A Boston Municipal Court judge reversed, discerning no direct link between Finneran’s “conviction and his position as a Member and/or Speaker of the House.”  We reach the opposite conclusion, and accordingly reverse the decision of the Boston Municipal Court judge and affirm the conclusion of the board. Background.[3] Finneran was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1978, as the representative of the Twelfth Suffolk District.  Thereafter, he was reelected every two years, and concurrently served as Speaker of the House from 1996 until his resignation in 2004. In 2001, Finneran played a key role in shepherding the Commonwealth through the redistricting process pursuant to the 2000 decennial United States census.  The Legislature bore the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 5, 2017 at 3:01 pm

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