Is Karen Read, the Handwriting on the Wall for County DA


Michael W. Morrissey became Norfolk District Attorney in 2010 after serving in both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and State Senate, where he chaired four major committees including the Committee on Public Safety.

According to the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance, he was an early supporter, and voted for, the original Victim’s Bill of Rights and supported services for domestic violence victims. He served on the board of directors for Domestic Violence Ended (DOVE) in Quincy while DOVE was acquiring their first shelter building. He continues to partner with them today. As District Attorney, his office has focused on education, enforcement and crime prevention to address the opioid overdose epidemic, to prevent impaired driving and associated fatalities, and increasing data-driven policies to decrease crime and recidivism.

And he has been known to Franklin in connection with numerous crimes over the years, including the prosecution of Brendon Owen, for murder and arson.

But for Morrissey, the now infamous Karen Read case – a woman charged with murder and other crimes in connection to the death of her boyfriend, a Boston Police officer, things have lurched from bad to worse. Notably, a well known and controversial blogger, known as “Turtle Boy” (Aidan Kearney) adopted the case of Read and promoted views that not only questioned her guilt but also questioned the honesty and professionalism of everyone involved in her arrest and prosecution.

The Turtle "Ninja"

Thus, according to Wikipedia, in December 2023, thanks to his controversial methods, Kearney was indicted on "eight counts of witness intimidation, three counts of conspiracy to intimidate witnesses, and five counts of picketing a witness" related to the Read case. Initially released on bail, Kearney's bail was revoked after he was accused of assaulting a former girlfriend who had received a summons to appear before a grand jury related to the witness intimidation charges. He spent approximately two months in jail until being released in February 2024, amid new charges of witness intimidation and wiretapping related to the alleged assault of his former girlfriend.

Still, the fires started by Turtle Boy continued to smolder, generating massive publicity and national attention.

But back to Read. In May, Morrissey, attending a SAFE Coalition fundraiser, told the Observer, “Read is guilty, it’s just that the jury hasn’t figured that out yet.”

Proctor Fails in 'Exam'

But the lengthy trial, concluded last week, ended with a “hung jury” – far from the conclusion Morrissey predicted. The trial included lengthy testimony by the State Police detective who worked in Morrissey’s office, Trooper Michael Proctor. Much of his testimony consisted of his reading aloud the often obscene and denigrating texts he wrote to colleagues and friends about Read, calling into question his professionalism and likely undermining the prosecution’s case.

Indeed, immediately after the conclusion of the trail, Proctor was placed on leave. Monday, unofficial ‘on background’ information indicate that the State Police likely convened a duty status hearing regarding Trooper Michael Proctor. In such a hearing, a board of three commissioned officers gathers sufficient facts to reach a “fair determination” about whether the individual should remain on full duty, be placed on restricted duty, be suspended with pay, or be suspended without pay. During the hearing, the Department can present evidence and witnesses. The trooper, who has the right to be represented by counsel, can cross examine the Department’s witnesses, and present evidence or witnesses of their own.

In Trooper Proctor’s case, the board reportedly recommended suspension without pay. Colonel Mawn accepted the board’s recommendation making it effective immediately.

Previously, the Department relieved Trooper Proctor of duty on July 1, 2024, making him ineligible to work (although he would be paid for a period of not more than five days until the duty status hearing, per the Department’s Rules & Regulations as well as the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the State Police Association of Massachusetts).

Simultaneously, the Department transferred Trooper Proctor from the Detective Unit assigned to the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office (NCDAO) effective on Sunday, July 7, 2024, which is the first available day at the end of the required five-day notice for any change of assignment (e.g., shift, functional role, etc.). He was administratively assigned to Troop H in field services, but he remains ineligible to work.

The ongoing internal affairs investigation regarding Proctor, reportedly continues. Every internal affairs investigation culminates in a report that addresses each allegation, which are classified as:

• Unfounded;

• Exonerated;

• Not Sustained; or

• Sustained.

The results of an internal affairs investigation are then shared with the POST Commission, per the Department’s Rules & Regulations.

At the conclusion of an internal affairs investigation, the Department may pursue charges that would be adjudicated by a State Police Trial Board.

What Next?

All of this leaves Morrissey, who vowed to retry Read, in a difficult position. Furthermore, hovering over the Read case for months were reports that some of those involved in the prosecution might in fact by under investigation themselves!

Asked about that matter and Morrissey’s spokesman, David Traub simply referred to a December 2023 Boston Globe report on the topic. In its, Morrissey simply said he was “mystified” by reports of federal involvement.

Monday came further ‘bad news’ for Morrissey, Karen Read’s attorneys are seeking to dismiss two counts against the Mansfield woman — including second-degree murder because they assert that that jurors actually reached a unanimous decision to acquit her on that count, making it clear that the prosecution was far from winning the day.

WCVB recently noted the thicket of troubles surrounding Morrissey and quoted two seasoned observers, interviewed on Sunday by the station, predicting his tenure in service to the county may be nearing an end. "It's been an embarrassment for the DA's office, an embarrassment for State Police, an embarrassment for local police, across the board. He can't survive," said Rob Gray, a Republican political analyst.

His view was echoed in turn by Globe columnist Adrian Walker who said simply, ‘It’s time to end it.”

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