SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

January 3, 2014

Benton: Judicial picks continue to haunt Bay State

(Continued)

He’s talking about crimes like the one committed by Alfred Brown, who was 15 years old when he used the rifle he’d been given as a gift to kill his parents and sister in their Topsfield home in 1978 after his mother asked to see his report card. At 15, 16 or 17, you’re old enough to know right from wrong, and society has a right to demand that teenagers capable of killing in cold blood be locked away for life.

Five of the seven justices of the state’s high court are Patrick appointees, as are scores of district and superior court judges. Their decisions will haunt the state long after the governor has departed the Statehouse next January.

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Salem resident David Pelletier penned a terrific column for these pages this week exposing the hypocrisy of state Rep. Lori Ehrlich, D-Marblehead, the Conservation Law Foundation and their allies in opposing plans for a natural-gas-fired power plant in Salem to replace the one being decommissioned this year. For years they argued that being much cleaner than coal, a natural-gas plant would be a good alternative for meeting the region’s energy needs.

But wait: Now that such a plant is in the works, they’d prefer it go in somebody else’s backyard. Maybe they’d rather go nuclear which, after all, is the cleanest energy source available.

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Datebook: On Thursday, Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the Vittori Rocci Post, the North Beverly Neighborhood Association will brief residents about the Feb. 8 referendum, which seeks to overturn the City Council’s decision that rezoned land at the intersection of Route 128 and Brimbal Avenue for commercial development.

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