TRANSCRIPTS IN BARAN CASE SHOW SHAMELESS ACTIONS OF PREDATORY PROSECUTORS AGAINST CONFUSED AND FRIGHTENED CHILDREN … plus … SHOWING DOCUMENTARY ‘FREEING BERNIE BARAN’ MUST HAPPEN AS A FIRST CONDITION OF THE CITY OF PITTSFIELD’s EXORCISM
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY-FRIDAY, APRIL 19-20, 2012) — Anyone who read the May 2009 ruling of Judge Francis Fecteau in upholding a lower court’s dismissal of the Bernie Baran‘s conviction, published in full on THE PLANET yesterday, can only agree: the Pittsfield criminal justice system, especially the office of the DA, committed an egregious miscarriage of justice in The Baran Case. The system, for reasons that are yet not fully clear, Shanghaied Baran and sent an innocent man to prison for life.
Why? Who wanted Baran out of the way? What, if anything, had Baran seen or known? What does he still know? These questions, and others, lift The Baran Case out of mothballs. It can’t be dismissed as old news. It is as relevant as the lock on city hall’s front door. It is more meaningful than the municipal budget the mayor will be submitting before long.
DA’s Committed a Mortal Sin in the Name of ‘We The People’
Only the dogged work of a sharp and crusading lawn firm, led by attorney John Swomley from Boston, helped rectify the sin committed in the name of We The People. We must remember: The office of then-District Attorney Anthony Ruberto, with then-assistant prosecutor Daniel Ford doing the work in court, acted in this shameful manner in our name,
We are The People. They smeared us with their crime.
We must also remember that is it not THE PLANET, not Joe Pinhead, not barrister Swomley, and not Bernie Baran that ruled against the Pittsfield criminal justice system, but the appellate courts, after a “painstaking” review of the entire record.
For those who still need convincing that Baran’s initial trial was a North Korean-type “show trial,” and those who did not read the entirety of Judge Fecteau’s 18,000-plus word decision slapping down the DA and the Pittsfield Establishment, we present this excerpt.
Prosecution Coached Children to Say what the Adults Wanted to Hear
Judge Fecteau, from the huge volume of testimony in the court transcripts, chose this gem and singled it out to indicate the kind of manipulation the prosecution used against Baran. It was bad enough that Baran had a layer in over his head. No. The Pittsfield ‘Criminal Justice’ Establishment had to make sure Baran would be put away for life.
This transcript clearly shows how the children — frightened and confused as they were — were duped into saying on videotape what the prosecution wanted them to say. When the prosecution then edited down the raw tape, it literally fabricated the evidence to “prove” Baran’s guilt.
As we know, an appeals court threw out Baran’s conviction in 2006 and ordered a new trial. District Attorney David Capeless appealed. In 2009, Judge Fecteau told the DA: “Nice try, bub, but you railroaded the kid.” New trial, pronto. He had smacked the DA’s office into silly land.
When Fecteau upheld the lower court’s ruling to throw out Baran’s conviction — this after 21 years of hell suffered by Baran in the exemplary Massachusetts Prison System — it had the following effect:
(1) Baran’s conviction disappeared. It was as if it never happened.
(2) The DA was left with unproven allegations against Baran.
(3) Baran once again had the presumption of innocence.
When Capeless decided soon after Judge Fecteau’s heroic ruling not to prosecute the case, Baran’s court record became white as the driven snow. The DA had no conviction and no charges pending. BERNIE BARAN WAS THEREFORE INNOCENT, AND HE STILL IS.
The guilty parties in this case have never been brought to a full accounting of their contemptible actions. Isn’t it about time they were called to answer before We The People?
Read closely this excerpt of the court transcripts, as singled out by Judge Fecteau:
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JUDGE FECTEAU WRITING: As to the grand jury presentment, the motion judge found that only a composite videotape, containing edited versions of the interviews, was shown to the grand jury. Our review of the composite tape and comparison of it to the unedited counterparts reveals a somewhat distorted portrayal of the children’s allegations, the composite tape omitting significant exculpatory content. As the motion judge stated in his memorandum and order:
“All [of] the edited versions [shown to the grand jury] omit statements of denial and statements indicative of suggestiveness . . . . The unedited versions [of the videotapes] contain statements in which the children deny that Mr. Baran had done anything to them and statements where they accuse other persons of abuse. They also contain statements which accuse other people of witnessing these alleged acts — evidence which counsel could have used to . . . [challenge] the veracity of the allegations.”
The motion judge offered numerous illustrative examples culled from the transcripts of the unedited videotapes, including the following excerpt from the interview with Boy A,(53) which was omitted from the grand jury version:
Q.: “[C]ould [you] tell me a little bit more about what Bernie did to you.”
A.: “He didn’t do nothing.”
Q.: “Yeah. I know, you showed me. You showed me where he pulled down your pee pee stick.”
A.: “He didn’t now.”
Q.: “He didn’t do it now, though. Did he, did he do it more than one time, do you know?”
Father: “No, you’re a good kid. So can you tell her if Bernie said anything, or if you said anything?”
A.: “I don’t know.”
Q.: “You don’t know. Okay. Maybe you’ll remember some other time and you can tell me. Maybe you don’t remember right now. Maybe it will come back to you, what Bernie said to you. When you went to the doctor yesterday, was your pee pee okay?”
The motion judge also provided this example from Boy D’s interview, which was likewise omitted from the grand jury version:
Q.: “Okay. We were talking about when you went to ECDC, right [boy nods yes], do you remember when you were there a long time ago [boy nods yes], do you remember being touched with bad touch? [Boy nods yes.] Yeah? Who touched you [i]n a bad touch way?”
A.: “[A classmate].”
Q.: “[Your classmate] did? Do you remember any big people, adult people who touched [another classmate] in a bad way that made him feel kind of funny inside, like that person shouldn’t do that to me?”
A.: “Mary.” Q.: “Are you sure it was Mary? [Boy nods yes.] Yeah?”
These examples, as well as others cited by the motion judge, appear typical of the type of material omitted from the composite videotape presented to the grand jury. Compare Commonwealth v. Fleury, 417 Mass. 810, 817 (1994).
IV. Conclusion. We do not lightly affirm the order granting a new trial. For that reason, we have painstakingly examined the record, the motion judge’s decision, and the legal issues on which it is based. The charged offenses are grave and we are mindful that the passage of so much time will impose heavy burdens on all concerned in the event of a retrial.(55) At the same time, it cannot be said that the defendant received anything close to a fair trial. Preserving public confidence in the integrity of our system of justice must be our paramount concern notwithstanding the costs our decision today might occasion. “Our desire for finality should not eclipse our concern that in our courts justice not miscarry.” Commonwealth v. Amirault, 424 Mass. at 660 (O’Connor, J., dissenting).
The motion judge did not abuse his discretion in granting the defendant a new trial and vacating the convictions and sentences.
Order allowing motion for new trial affirmed. Judgments reversed. Verdicts set aside.
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We repeat: “[I]t cannot be said that the defendant received anything close to a fair trial.”
“Judgments reversed. Verdicts set aside.”
This is not THE PLANET making this up. This is the judge, after what he went out of his way to call his “painstaking” review of the complete record in the case.
Priority #1 for Pittsfield Exorcism: Show the Film Freeing Bernie Baran
Because Baran was railroaded in the name of We The People. The Pittsfield community and all of Berkshire County needs an full accounting of why Baran was subjected to a witch hunt in the first place. That question needs a relentless pursuit in the name of truth and all that we hold honorable and sacred in the affairs of men.
One key aspect of the community coming to terms with the mortal sin committed in its name is that Daniel Alexander’s documentary film, Freeing Bernie Baran, be shown in Pittsfield and throughout Berkshire County.
We envision a double thrust, with a live showing at The Colonial Theater and a showing, along with special, locally produced ancillary material, on PCTV. We have thought a lot about the timing: How about October, maybe on or near the day Bernie Baran was initially charged?
THE PLANET will be keeping you informed on this effort, which is in the conceptual stage. Meanwhile, we would advise people to keep the pressure on Your government. Press the mayor, the city council, the DA’s office, and anyone with an interest to have this film shown.
We may recommend all sorts of clever ways to address the cancer and poison that reasonable people will agree has infected the body politic in the city of Pittsfield for a generation, but the confrontation with the facts of the Bernie Baran case MUST be the first attempt as a healing.
For more information on the Baran Case, go to
“THE BOYS FLOCK AROUND HIM, AND THE PEOPLE STATRE // SO STIFF, SO MUTE! SOME STATUE, YOU WOULD SWEAR.”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.