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. Malisha knows where the stink is coming from.
    Very acute. Of course this is the only answer when one of the “justice group” gets screwed. Who did they screw first. Knowing who not to phuck with is life essential.

  2. Every day of the year judges do drek a thousand times worse than anything even alleged against this woman, and not only does nobody care, but they climb on board to defend and promote the miscreants. Something ELSE is happening here; this woman, in my opinion, made “an enemy who buys their ink by the barrel.” Check into whether she made a decision that went against somebody much more powerful than she should have imagined herself to be.

  3. While I would agree the CribGate investigation does not fit the definition of a criminal matter or rise to the level of an ethics violation, I don’t agree in the suggestion that mentioning a person’s office in order to receive a pecuniary benefit not afforded to others is.

    I will qualify that statement in this case with regard to Judge Cheryl of her brother-in-law originally mentioning she being a judge and she just confirming it was rather minor and not worth pursuing further. The brother-in-law is not held to the standard she is.

    A person demanding “I am a customer of 20 years, I should get 10% off” is not using any office to obtain the discount. A judge demanding “I am the Superior Court Judge in this county, give me 10% off” in my view constitutes Official Misconduct and borders on Coercion.

    By announcing the office, there exists a intrinsic threat in doing so. In the 20 year customer example the worst case scenario for the merchant is the loss of the customer’s business. By declaring their office, a judge doing this conveys not only the loss of business, but can convey in the mind of the merchant if the judge is not satisfied, he/she could use their status to punish the merchant legally or in bringing others to affect the business.

    Additionally, one has to ask what would be the intent of declaring to the merchant their public office title when it is not at all relevant to the situation. I would say it is used as a tool to persuade the perrson into agreement.

  4. So if we had a video of the encounter between the consumer and the dentist then we might be able to judge the judge. As to the schmuck who inspected the goods, paid the money and left with the goods, give her the item back but deduct the fair rental use. What is unethical about selling something on Craigslist with a missing fart? A dentist is s chmuck in a white smock. This is all about this woman being gay. Contrive something more concrete next time.

  5. BettyKath,

    I did not know that we men had to fear being infected by lesbian women, and thus become homosexuals. ????

    Again I ask: what law prohibits stating your profession to obtain favorable treatment in a contact situation.

    The answer to her could always be: “And what does that mean to me?” Be sure to have your voice recorder activated to get her answer.

  6. Are straight male judges held to the same standard? While I don’t condone her conduct, I see a possible double standard. Women have to adhere to higher standard. Being openly homosexual raises the standard even higher when being critiqued by straight or closeted men.

  7. Anyone using the phrase (or its equivelent) “Do you know who I am? ” should get an immediate week in jail with those who really don’t care.

  8. rafflaw, The answer is that anyone who lives in Boston knows it is as corrupt as Chicago. Whitey Bulger helped quite a bit in that regard. He even corrupted the FBI and US Attorney in Boston. Chicago takes more of a perverse pride in their corruption, @ least most Bostonians haven’t reached that pathology…yet.

  9. Phillip Haynes Markoff was also from Boston. Maybe Craigslist should be Banned in Boston. There must be something in the “chowda.”

  10. This “judge” is a bomb waiting to go off on a big issue. She needs to be shown the door. How can someone with this lack of character be allowed to be a judge of any sort?

  11. I think the conduct is deplorable….. But to rise to an ethics investigation….. Seems there is more to the story as gene suggested….. I’ll wait and see before more is said from me…..

  12. OT OT OT

    Speaking of the oval office and justice. I wish to remind all that your rights to demonstrate are now limited by a new law. It, among other places, says
    that “national events” are restricted places where they may not take place. Which leaves the “Dem. hooray occasion” out of bounds.

    Here is one alternative place to do it which might get some notice in the media. And a suggested cause to demonstrate for. With the state of the union we have now, you will need many placards. Don’t forget to take your babies and blown up condoms to the Romney headquarters, will you.

  13. I am reminded of my experiences with persons of stature or position using that as means of attaining what they find they want—not on the basis of justice.

    Now I was of the opinion that this use was legal.

    Seems not to be true. Is there a general law on this “misuse of public position”, and how is it formulated as to which positions are denied this misuse?

  14. The Boston Herald is reporting that this case has just been dropped by the DA:

    The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office will announce today it will not prosecute Judge Cheryl Ann Jacques for selling a used all-purpose baby playpen on Craigslist to a pregnant Sudbury woman, who claimed the former state senator deceived her and charged $75 for a faulty product, the Herald has learned.

    Larceny isn’t a crime when committed by political elites, everyone should know that.

  15. Buyer beware. You came, you examined, you accepted, you paid, you left with the goods. Done deal. Quit your itchinBay. As to the dentist. Every dentist needs a rankling once in a while. They are picking on her for being gay. Turley dont get it.

  16. Once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, but given the outrageous conduct of the dentist episode, I’m already starting to smell pattern. I’m interested in why in addition to the ethics charge for what she did to the dentist she wasn’t criminally charged for extortion. Does the second episode merit a criminal charge? Maybe not, it seems it a bit excessive, however her fitness for sitting on the bench should certainly be reconsidered. Soon, seriously and with an eye to protecting the integrity of the bench.

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