Romney’s Willie Horton Moment? Giuliani Pays the Judicial Activist Card

Giuliani appears intent on re-playing the Willie Horton card used by Bush Sr. against that other Mass. Governor Michael Dukakis — this time the villain is Daniel Tavares, Jr. and the judge is Kathe Tuttman.

Here is the timeline from the Boston Herald:

July 1991: After being kicked out of a drug rehabilitation center in Florida, Daniel Tavares Jr. returns home to Massachusetts and stabs his mother, Ann Tavares, 46, to death with a carving knife in their Somerset home. Another man, Richard Pires, is stabbed multiple times when he tries to intervene.Tavares subsequently pleads guilty to manslaughter and is sentenced to 15 to 20 years in state prison, where he becomes a notorious troublemaker.

April 2005: In a report on computer access behind bars, the Herald reveals Tavares’ creepy online personal ad, stating he is a “6-foot, 235-pound Albino with over 40 real nice tattoos,” and asking,“Can I get a lil’ bit of love from a lonely female?”

Dec. 1, 2005: Correction officer Michael Kasprzak reports that Tavares struck him in the right cheek with his left hand, which was in a cast, as Kasprzak tried to remove Tavares’ restraints and waist chains.;

Feb. 27, 2006: Another prison guard, Matthew Atter, was trying to give Tavares his food tray when, according to court papers, Tavares “aggressively reached his hands out of the food slot and began flailing them around while stating, “I’m going to (expletive) kill you (expletive). Come closer you (expletive) I’ll break your (expletive) arms off.”

June 11, 2007: Tavares pleads not guilty to the assault charges; Clinton District Court Judge Martha Brennan sets $50,000 bail. Tavares finishs serving his manslaughter sentence around that time and petitions for the bail on the assault charges to be overturned. 

July 16: Superior Court Judge Kathe M. Tuttman grants the petition and sets Tavares free.Tavares moves to Washington to marry his wife, Jennifer.

Nov. 17: The bodies of Brian Mauck, 30, and his wife, Beverly, 28, are found in their home near rural Graham, Wash.

Nov. 20: Tavares is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The Maucks were shot “execution style” three times each in the head, according to prosecutors.

While bond does appear to have been called for in this case, Tuttman may have been responding to the minor aspect of the assault. There are many cases of alleged assault against officers that may to be minor or technical. I think that she should have granted some bond, but this is a very contextual decision for a judge to make.What concerns me is that Romney so quickly moved against his nominee and called for her resignation. here

While this may be a bit much to expect today, a president is supposed to show some degree of circumspection and maturity in calming public demands for retaliation. He could have disagreed with the decision and even suggested reforms. Instead, he is suggesting that a judge should resign if she makes a controversial decision, even if that decision was based on good-faith analysis.

Of course, Giuliani should know better. As a prosecutor, he should have a modicum of respect for the court system. Instead, he is playing into the lowest form of politics that brings us scandals like the Terri Schiavo disaster. For a prior column, click here