Affidavit in rape, cocaine case unsealed in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of a local newspaper seeking access to a sealed affidavit. The New England First Amendment Coalition and other public access groups filed an amicus in support of its disclosure.

NEFAC cheers opening of affidavit in rape, cocaine case against Quincy, Mass., developer

From the New England First Amendment Coalition:

BOSTON – In a ruling cheered by the New England First Amendment Coalition and other public access groups, the state's Supreme Judicial Court ordered the opening of a shielded document related to rape and drug charges against a real estate developer.

"The Commonwealth v. Prescott decision is a significant victory for the public's right to know," said Rosanna Cavanagh, NEFAC's executive director.

"As the SJC pointed out aptly, "[I]t is of the highest moment that those who administer justice should always act under the sense of public responsibility, and that every citizen should be able to satisfy himself with his own eyes as to the mode in which a public duty is performed."

The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass., intervened in the case against William O'Connell, who is charged with two counts of aggravated statutory rape and one count of cocaine trafficking. NEFAC, the Massachusetts Newspaper Association, the New England Newspaper and Press Association and the Citizen Media Law Project joined in an amicus brief backing the newspaper.

Read more about the story:

CONTACT: Rosanna Cavanagh, Executive Director of NEFAC