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Judge clears the way for Devaney trial to proceed

Posted by Michael Warshaw July 29, 2008 04:13 PM

A Waltham District Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss felony assault charges against Massachusetts Governor’s Council member and Watertown Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney. In a July 23 ruling released today, Judge Gregory C. Flynn rejected an argument by Janice Bassil, Devaney’s attorney, claiming that Waltham police unfairly singled out Devaney for “vindictive” prosecution because of her high-profile official roles.

In his ruling, Flynn stated that since she has not argued that by facing charges, her constitutional rights have been violated, there’s no legal basis to support a claim of discrimination.

Waltham police allege Devaney assaulted a Waltham beauty supply store clerk with a shopping bag containing a curling iron during a dispute over a purchase in April, 2007. Devaney has pleaded not guilty.

At a June 10 hearing, Devaney attorney Bassil argued that Waltham police selectively pursued felony charges as “part of a political agenda” against Devaney because she is an outspoken politician who is “controversial and both well-liked and well-disliked.” Bassil claimed Waltham police had not sought felony charges against any of the 30 other assault and battery cases it investigated during a four-month period earlier this year. A jury will hear Devaney’s trial beginning Thursday in Newton District Court.

-- Christina Pazzanese

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