Council weighs Amirault pardon hearings – Boston News, Weather, Sports

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, NOV. 21, 2022…..The Parole Board denied the Amiraults an opportunity to advance their pardon, but with Governor Charlie Baker recommending that pardon last week, the Board of Governors could soon be the site for a public airing of two controversial harassment convictions in the 1980s.

The council, which votes final on the governor’s recommended acts of clemency, has refrained from public hearings or debate on any other pardons proposed this year. The others were “sort of slam dunks,” council member Robert Jubinville told News Service Monday, and were unanimously approved by the elected council.

But the case of the Amiraults, who have long maintained their innocence, is a more complex matter.

“I think the feeling is that we’re going to have a pardon day, maybe on a Thursday or a Friday or something,” Jubinville said, adding that he was personally “inclined” to holding a hearing on Amirault’s pardons.

The convictions of Gerald “Tooky” Amirault and Cheryl Amirault LeFave were based on allegations of child sexual abuse at Fells Acres Day Care in Malden, which they ran with their mother Violet.

Jubinville, a 76-year-old practicing criminal defense attorney, has been familiar with the case since its inception and said he supports granting forgiveness to the Amiraults.

“If there has ever been a miscarriage of justice in this commonwealth, count it among the Salem witches,” the Milton Democrat said. “…I think it was a tragedy, and I think they deserve an apology, in my opinion.”

Jubinville said young children from the daycare were “coached” by parents and prosecutors in a way that differs from current practices.

“They didn’t have SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) interviews back then, where they have professionals who are trained to interview kids involved in things like this,” he said.

In announcing the pardons last Friday, the governor said the “investigations and prosecutions against the Amiraults in the 1980s took place without the benefit of scientific study, which in recent years has led to widespread adoption of investigative protocols designed to do so.” are to protect objectivity and reliability in investigating cases of child sexual abuse.”

Council member Marilyn Pettito Devaney also said Monday that she wants the case publicly reviewed by the council and that she believes in the family’s innocence.

“I believed her,” Devaney said of mother Violet, who died in the 1990s.

Council member Eileen Duff said she tends not to want hearings on the Amirault cases in order to achieve “consistency” with the other pardons the council has been considering, but added she would support her peers’ consensus .

Baker appears to have acted independently in pardoning the Amirault children.

The governor normally acts on a parole recommendation recommended to him by the parole board, which meets in its capacity as the parole board. In that case, the board denied both requests for pardons, according to letters it sent to LeFave in August and Baker in September.

The board has invited Gerald Amirault to a conversion hearing, although Amirault “declined” the offer, according to the board’s letter. Commuting can mitigate a convict’s sentence but does not forgive the underlying conviction as pardons do.

If the council calls hearings on Amirault’s pardons, they’ll likely be chaired by Councilman Terry Kennedy of Lynnfield. Council records indicate that both Amiraults reside in his district.

(Copyright (c) 2022 State House News Service.

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Sarah Y. Kim

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