One suspects that if Magistrate Christopher Hadley of the Franklin-Hampshire Massachusetts Juvenile Court could do it all over again, he'd just walk across the street to find another bathroom.
Judge John A. Agostini has ruled that a Boston Globe reporter and lawyers for Juvenile Court Clerk-Magistrate Christopher D. Reavey may not be ordered to appear before a grand jury.
Agostini's rulings, which were issued Thursday, included strong language about the way Elizabeth D. Scheibel's office has handled the affair that has come to be known as "Pottygate."
Since 2008 Elizabeth Scheibel, the District Attorney for Northwest Massachusetts, has been investigating Hadley before a grand jury. Hadley alleges it's because he asked a bailiff to retrieve the key to a locked bathroom from Scheibel's office. Indeed, prior media reports suggest that's the case.
But prosecutors don't like it when their grand jury investigations are compromised, particularly when it's an investigation of something as silly as a missing bathroom key. So Scheibel appears to have subpoenaed Boston Globe reporters who broke the story, as well as Hadley's own lawyers, to testify before her grand jury, about the bathroom incident or (as her office now alleges – though earlier it confirmed that the courthose toilet was the reason for the investigation) "favoritism" on Hadley's part.
Demanding that a suspect's own lawyers testify against him is, um, rather extraordinary. As is attempting to grill news reporters on the bathroom beat.
But those are not the first extraordinary things Scheibel's office has done in this case. She's also served subpoenas on the Judge who oversees the state's trial courts, Robert Mulligan, to see what he knows about this bathroom mess.
According to reports published earlier this year, Scheibel, who usually runs for office unopposed, will face opposition in her next run for reelection. Although "pottygate" is not mentioned as the primary reason for this development (another case that drew some blogospheric notoriety is), Northwest District voters who care about bathroom security will no doubt consider Scheibel's hard work at the next election.
Via the ABA Journal.