BOSTON (CBS) –A Salem judge is under fire for several controversial court decisions. Some claim he is going too easy on criminals.
Judge Tim Feeley is responsible for lowering the bail of John Williams, who, after being released, allegedly murdered Maine Sheriff Deputy Eugene Cole back in April.
Feeley also gave a probation sentence to a man found with more than 40 bags of heroin. The move was called an “absolute outrage” by Governor Charlie Baker.
While Baker is among the critics, defense attorney and former Mass. Bar President Ed Ryan came to his defense and said the sentencing is not uncommon.
“Probation is not an easy sentence. People talk about it as though it’s a slap on the wrist and it is not,” he said.
Multiple protests have called for Feeley’s impeachment. On Thursday, several Republican lawmakers were present.
According to Ryan, those that disagree with Feeley’s probation ruling on the heroin dealer are taking his words out of context.
“He’s not viewed as any sort of a liberal or lenient judge,” said Ryan. “A lot of what these people are saying about Judge Feeley are flat-out wrong.”
The defense attorney also took aim the Feeley critics who are angry he reduces bail on many defendants — including the man who weeks later murdered a sheriff’s deputy in Maine. Williams had been accused of gun possession but had no prior record.
“No one can predict human behavior with any degree of reliability,” said Ryan. “I worry about the intimidation factor for all judges across the board.”
Feeley was appointed by former Governor Deval Patrick and can keep his job until the age of 70. The tenure was designed to protect judges from politics.