|Daniel T. Tavares|
Under this structure, Gov. Romney appointed career prosecutor Kathe Tuttman to the bench. In the first half of 2007, Judge Tuttman heard the case of a convicted murderer named Daniel T. Tavares. Taveres, in prison for murdering his own mother by stabbing her 26 times, went before Judge Tuttman to request early release because, under Massachusetts law, he was eligible to do so after serving the “lower end” of his sentence.
Tuttman granted the request and ordered that a date be set for Tavares’ release. Three days before Taveres was to be released, on June 11, 2007, he was charged with assaulting two prison guards and ordered held on $100,000 bail by another Judge (Martha Brennan).
“I reserve to myself the responsibility to evaluate judicial temperament and philosophy."--Governor Mitt Romney
But Romney-appointed Judge Tuttman overturned her colleague’s decision, cancelled Taveres’ $100,000 bail and ordered him released on his own recognizance. Furthermore, despite the viciousness of his crime, his history of violent behavior in prison, the order of her colleague Judge Brennan that he be held, and the pending legal action on him for assaulting two prison guards, Judge Tuttman stated from the bench that she did not believe Taveres to be a flight risk. This was on July 16, 2007.
She was wrong, with devastating consequences.
Seven days later, on July 23, Taveres jumped bail and fled across the country to Graham, Washington.
On November 17, 2007 – just 4 months after Judge Kathe Tuttman, for whom Gov. Romney reserved to himself the responsibility to evaluate before appointing, ordered the release of Daniel T. Tavares – the convicted murderer walked up to his neighbor’s house in Graham, Washington and shot newly-weds Brian and Beverly Mauck to death.
It gets worse.
In December, 2007 two members of the board that approved Gov. Romney’s appointment of Judge Tuttman to the bench called for her removal, claiming that Gov. Romney had recommended her to them without telling them of her involvement as a prosecutor in a botched case that freed a child rapist.
The case involved a child rapist named Daniel Parra, who walked free after prosecutors headed by Kathe Tuttman missed deadlines in their failed bid to have him committed as a sexually dangerous person in 2005.
Gov. Romney, who changed the state’s judicial nominating process saying “I reserve to myself the responsibility to evaluate judicial temperament and philosophy,” nominated Tuttman to the bench just six months later.
Former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, who oversaw the judicial nominating council under Romney, called the botched child rapist case “very disturbing” and acknowledged that the connection to Tuttman was missed in the nomination process.
An incompetent prosecutor and unqualified judge, nominated by Romney, who “reserved to himself” responsibility for evaluating her, granted early release to a heavily tattooed white supremacist (Tavares) who had served just 16 years of a life sentence for butchering his mother. She did this while Tavares was charged with assaulting two prison guards, overriding the order of a colleague that he be held on $100,000 bail. She cancelled the $100,000 bail and ordered the release of Tavares on personal recognizance. Seven days later, Tavares jumped bail. Four months later, he murdered two newly-weds in cold blood.
Eric Fehrnstrom, a spokesman for Gov. Romney issued a statement saying the judge’s decision to release Tavares was “an inexplicable lapse in judgment and was inexcusable.” Worcester (MA) District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said Judge Tuttman erroneously released Tavares …“I’ve never seen $100,000 bail knocked down to (personal recognizance) before.”
Romney has so far failed to comment.