U.S. judge dismisses Hingham blogger’s complaints

By Neal Simpson | The Patriot Ledger

HINGHAM — A federal judge has dismissed charges against police officials made by a Hingham blogger who was accused of sending out a bogus campaign email – one that appeared to be from a selectman – in 2006.

Russell Reeves, author of the Hingham Blog, has formally indicated that he will appeal the ruling, which was issued by Judge William Young.

Young last month dismissed all of the federal charges in Reeves’s complaint and sent the state charges to Plymouth Superior Court.

If Reeves chooses to pursue the charges in Superior Court, he will have to file a new complaint, said Andrew Gambaccini, a lawyer representing Hingham Police Chief Taylor Mills, one of several defendants named in the complaint.

“I don’t think there’s any expectation that the state claims will survive very long,” Gambaccini said.

In his original complaint, filed in January 2010, Reeves alleged that his family, including his wife and son, had been repeatedly harassed by Hingham police officers since October 2006, when Reeves was accused of sending Hingham voters an email that appeared to be from then-Selectman Melissa Tully. The email, sent from melissa.tully@yahoo.com, contained a message critical of the Community Preservation Act, which Reeves opposed and Tully supported, according to court documents.Hingham police obtained a subpoena for Yahoo’s subscriber records and linked the email to Reeve’s home on Edgar Walker Court, according to the complaint. Police searched the home and charged Reeves with identity fraud and making false statements; both charges were ultimately dismissed.

Reeves alleged that in the three years after the email was sent out, Hingham police officers repeatedly showed up at his house and demanded to search the property, questioned his son at school and parked police cruisers outside his home. His complaint characterizes the police actions as “malicious” retaliation for critical remarks he had made about the police department on his blog.

Judge Young dismissed the federal charges in the complaint on March 3, saying there was not enough evidence to support them. The state charges he sent to Superior Court include trespassing and infliction of emotional distress.

Reeves did not return a call for comment, but court documents show that he filed a notice of intention to appeal on March 18. His former lawyer, Theodore Goguen, said Reeves is pursuing the case without the help of a lawyer at this point.

“It’s still alive,” he said.

If you are a member of the Massachusetts Police Association Legal Defense Fund and in need of an attorney to defend your rights, contact the Massachusetts legal defense attorneys at Reardon, Joyce, & Akerson for an initial consultation.

Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, PC
Massachusetts Police Defense Attorneys
4 Lancaster Terrace
Worcester, MA 01609

Telephone (508) 754-7285 • Fax (508) 754-7220