Massachusetts Judge and Former Senator Facing Larceny Charge Over Craigslist Sale Of Crib

Massachusetts Judge Cheryl Ann Jacques is facing a bizarre misdemeanor larceny charge for allegedly misrepresenting the features of a combination crib-and-playpen set she sold on Craigslist. Jacques, 50 sold the Graco Pack ’n Play to Tracey Christopher, 39, for $75. It sells for roughly $150 new. Christopher insisted that there were parts missing but that Jacques refused to return her money. On both this allegation and a prior ethics charge, the level of scrutiny does not appear (in my view) justified by the underlying allegations.

Jacques is an administrative judge with the state Department of Industrial Accidents. She served six terms in the Massachusetts Senate (notably she was succeeded in the state Senate by Scott Brown) and addressed the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

She could now face a year in jail and a $300 fine for the Craigslist matter.

Christopher says that Jacque told her that the set came with a vibrating pad and was in good working order. It didn’t and it wasn’t. Yet, when Christopher says that she asked for her money back, Jacques allegedly said”‘I’m not a store. I don’t take returns.”

If true, it sounds like a pretty unreasonable position, but does it warrant a larceny charge? Her lawyer says that Christopher examined the box contents before taking it and only later said that something was missing. I fail to see how that makes the standard for a criminal charge since the box was removed after inspection from the premises.

The lawyer says that Jacque is now willing to refund the money — a bit late of course and it will now cost her a lot more than $75.

This is the not first run in with an ethical issue for Jacques. However, I am again unsure as to the basis for the possible ethics charge. On March 12, 2012, she was charged by the State Ethics Commission with violating Massachusetts’ conflict-of-interest law for allegedly trying to use her position as a judge to have a dentist office reduce her brother-in-law’s bill. In that case, Jacques reported appeared at the office and identified herself as a judge and demanded that the entire bill be waived even after the dentist offered to take hundreds of dollars off the $1000 balance. She reportedly threatened to report the office to the state attorney general and to call the insurance company.

Once again, the conduct is problematic. However, is simply identifying yourself as a judge enough for such a charge? The news accounts show her objecting to the treatment of her relative and making threats that any consumer could make in such a circumstance. She says that it was her brother-in-law who first identified her as a judge, though she admits that she did identify herself as such to the receptionist (which she admits was a mistake). This allegation triggered a five-month investigation in a case that is still pending. I respect the concern over alleged abuse of judicial office, but I am a bit surprised to see how far this charge was taken.

Jacques website heralded her as “a national leader in the gay civil rights movement . . . [and] the first openly gay State Senator in Massachusetts history.” Her bio says “Jacques lives with her spouse Jennifer, who serves as Executive Director of the Family Equality Council the nation’s largest organization dedicated exclusively to gay families. They live in Boston, Massachusetts, where they are raising their twin boys, Timmy and Tommy.”

Attorney Leonard Kesten is representing the judge in both cases. She may want to consider just putting him under retainer.

Source: Boston Herald as first see on ABA Journal

32 thoughts on “Massachusetts Judge and Former Senator Facing Larceny Charge Over Craigslist Sale Of Crib”

  1. If cases like this can be charged criminally, why is their civili court? Or even small claims court? Can every person I purchased an item from on ebay that was not as described and told me to go jump in a lake when I asked for a refund, be charged with larceny? The charge in this case sounds absurd.

  2. Malisha… I think more to the point, she CONFIRMED being a judge, when asked by the receptionist….
    in my opinion she knew enough about the laws to not have to use the old… “Do you know who I am?? ” bit…. as others have accused….

    also fact is… the dentist would have had EVERY reason to lie… if he had been cheating his patient, that is….

  3. I see a patern here too but I think it goes to her gender. How dare a female judge and a lesbian act like an angry consumer or a typical Craig’s list seller?! Even if these allegations are true, about which I have my doubts, I think it is unlikely a male judge would be subject to this type of scrutiny. In fact, the whole play pen story sounds like a set up to me. Cynical, yes; realistic, most assuredly.

    1. Justice Holmes….


      It is ODD… because as far as I can see, she did nothing more than anybody else would have done…

      I am wondering, what was she supposed to say when asked if she was a judge????
      as far as I can see, she ONLY CONFIRMED this… not that she was using it as a means to get her way….

      also the playpen issue, I don’t disagree with you at all…
      as we have seen that there are people who are used, just to take somebody of another party down…. David Brock comes to mind…

  4. Excuse a few direct questions:

    Are there any ethical rules that prohibit this?
    What proves it went down as the dentist says?
    Who brought the action, and before what responsible organ?
    Have any judicial or similar proceedings been held?
    Who has made any ruling which should lead to publication of informantion in newspapers?

    Without facts I am hardput to comment. I guess I just missed them. Will read the article again.

  5. I agree with you, Justagurl, and I can also envision a situation where the woman calling the dentist’s office is challenged in such a way that she defends her credibility by saying she is a judge. At times when my credibility has been questioned, I have provided work credentials to show that I am not a disreputable know-nothing, or something like that, even though my work credentials have never been very prestigious. (“I take care of children all day every day and I know blah blah blah blah,”) (“I answer phones all day; I know when I’m being given the run-around”) etc.

  6. Unless the brother is mentally disabled why was she even involved in the dispute? How many people get involved in a relatives dispute with a dentist, Home Depot or another business? That whole episode is troubling. Her position being in play is potentially coercive, she should have stayed out of it.

    The crib is specific to Craigslist, they should have an appeal process and that’s where the issue should have played out- just like EBay. If Craigslist doesn’t have an appeal process than don’t use Craigslist.

    As a gay person she may have enemies that are looking for any infraction to make her life miserable, she needs to keep that in mind and not hand them any ammunition. She ought to know that since she’s not a novice to the political arena. These episodes were not professional or intelligent on her part.

    1. actually…. I know a LOT of people who get involved with their relatives disputes….
      sometimes it is a son or daughter advocating for their parents regarding a doctor, or hospital visit…

      sometimes it is a brother or sister advocating for a sibling, whom they feel is being taken advantage of…

      and sometimes it is a friend…

      also people have relatives or friends who have gone to law school… and BOY, do those people get dragged into some crap… usually with a phone call of… “I don’t really need a lawyer, or have the money to hire one, but I have some questions about this…….”
      you catch what I am saying….

      I’m not an attorney, nor have I gone to law school, BUT, I have had MANY friends come to me regarding Landlord Tenant Laws and Consumer Laws… heck even bankruptcy laws… so, I would find information for people that didn’t know how to find information…. and sometimes call on their behalf, because I am better at fighting these kinds of things than some people are…. this was never done in a legal capacity….
      some people are NOT very good at advocating for themselves….

      Come on… have you even had a friend get taken for a ride at a auto repair shop, because they were female???
      I have… and I know a lot of people that have had that situation….

      If you could help a friend or relative, would you not go try and help them????

  7. Kesten said Jacques had called the dentist’s office because her brother-in-law, after being told he would be charged lower PPO rates, was charged the full rate instead by mistake and was having trouble settling the dispute.

    “She wasn’t trying to get free service,” he said. “She was trying to get them to charge the appropriate price. It was consumer protection.”

    He said Jacques did not present herself as a judge, but did eventually confirm that she was one, when asked by the dentist. She acknowledges, he said, that she should not have done that.

    But he insisted, “What she was doing is totally appropriate. … I have no doubt that she will be vindicated.”

  8. PS….. the Dentist thing was first of all… NOT a benefit… as it was alleged that the BROTHER in law was told by the dentist that the services would be heavily, discounted since his dental insurance was not covering the work…

    this was also NOT for her to benefit from…. she was getting NOTHING out of the deal….

    If she was so corrupt…. we would see stories of HER gaining something….. and after the Dentist thing, the right wing would have put out a LOT of feelers to see if she was using her position for personal gain….

  9. HHmmm…

    for this case of the crib… I agree with her…
    if the buyer looked it over, and agreed that everything was OK…. then LEFT with the crib, then who is to say that the buyer did not ruin it somehow????

    these are the basics of buying on Craigs list….
    the person met with the judge and looked the item over….
    Come on…. you know how many people buy something….. then do something stupid break the item, and expect that they can just return the item????

    I will tell you… it is a LOT!!!!
    working in retail allows you to look at just how dishonest some people can be…

    Now as for the Dentist situation…

    It is most likely that her BROTHER IN LAW SAID she was a Judge….
    not her….
    and when asked if she was at the dentist office, what was she supposed to say????

    so, just because they found out she was a judge, does NOT mean she was using her position of power…

    If that was the case…. I am sure there would be OTHER things in which SHE gained from…. yet, we have NO STORY what so EVER of her PERSONALLY gaining from any of these 2 stories….
    and by now…. the RIGHT wing would have found something JUICY…. that is what they do…. anything to bury a Liberal….

    Fact is the Supreme Court is as CORRUPT as it gets, with wives of justices holding TEA PARTY meetings in their home…. now THAT is an ETHICS violation….

    trying to help a brother in law not get taken for a ride on a bill, is not what I call, using your position for PERSONAL GAIN….
    and not allowing a buyer to return merchandise for a refund on Craigs List… is just smart…. as this is how craigs list works…. she is not a department store….

  10. The noive. Only a lawyer who will never likely have any business before this particular dishonest judge is likely to be willing to expect a higher standard of ethics from crooks like her.

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