Monthly Archives: May 2021

“Here Comes the Judge”

Ever wonder how someone becomes a judge? In Massachusetts, judges are appointed by the governor. Judge Robert C. Cosgrove, an associate justice of the MA Superior Court, discusses the steps in that process and divulges many details of the day-to-day work of a sitting judge.

Twisting the Facts: The Dangers of Confirmation Bias

Sherlock Holmes warned that “it is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data … one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts”. That tendency to interpret information to support a pet theory or to support what we think we know is called “confirmation bias”, and it can be a major problem in police investigations when likely suspects are ignored and data or evidence is misinterpreted or even suppressed. Aviva Jeruchim, a criminal defense attorney, explains how confirmation bias works, why it happens, and how it can lead to wrongful arrests and convictions.

Justice Was Not Done: The Trials of Sean Ellis

In 1993, 19-year-old Sean Ellis was sentenced to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He served 22 years for the murder of Boston Police Detective John Mulligan, who was shot multiple times in the head as he slept in his private vehicle while parked in a drugstore lot in Roslindale MA. At the time of his murder he was on a paid detail. It was revealed after his death that Mulligan was part of a four-man crime spree within the Boston Police Department. While watching TV in prison, Sean saw a Boston-based criminal defense attorney, Rosemary Scapicchio, who was defending another wrongfully convicted young man. Eighteen months after Sean wrote to her, Rosemary went to see him at the correctional facility where he was serving his sentence and decided to take his case. Rosemary reviews the challenges she faced and obstacles she overcame to finally get justice for Sean nearly 30 years after his conviction. This case was featured on the Netflix docuseries Trial 4, released on November 11, 2020.