Rally-Goers Call For Removal Of Salem Judge

salem judge rally

(Bernice Corpuz/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

SALEM (WBZ-AM) -- Chanting "Feeley Must Go!" and "Lock Him Up," a crowd gathered outside Essex Superior Court Thursday calling for the removal of a judge who let a heroin dealer off without jail time.

Judge Timothy Feeley made the decision to let Manuel Soto-Vittini off with just two years of probation--even after he pleaded guilty to the drug crime--because, he said, the man was only trying to feed his family.

"Forty bags of heroin? It's an economic crime? So is bank robbery, but we don't give that a pass," Jay McMahon, currently running for Attorney General, said before the crowd. "It's nutty."

The controversy over Feely's decision was discussed at a Governor's Council meeting Wednesday.

At least three dozen Beacon Hill lawmakers have banded together to try to remove the judge, and Governor's Council member Marilyn Devaney has been calling for Feeley's removal.

Republican Rep. Jim Lyons of Andover told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz he is one of those lawmakers.

"This judge's behavior and his decision-making clearly shows that he's not competent to remain on the bench," he said.

He added that over 6,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Feeley's removal.

The measure would have to be approved by the House and Senate, as well as Gov. Baker, before a vote from the Governor's Council.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz reports

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