A civil rights lawyer representing a former City Council member currently serving a federal jail sentence went before the state’s highest court yesterday to try and salvage the man’s reputation.
The Supreme Judicial Court heard testimony from attorney Chester Darling, who claimed Boston’s City Council unfairly threw former member Chuck Turner out of office following a bribery conviction in 2010.
Turner is serving a three-year sentence in federal prison for accepting a $1,000 bribe.
Darling said the purpose of the hearing in front of the SJC was to “restore [Turner’s] good name” and “get a few bucks for Chuck’s family.”
“The way [City Council] removed [Turner] was humiliating,” said Darling. “It was a circus.”
Darling argued Council members had “no legal authority” to kick Turner from his post the way they did, by voting 11-1 during a meeting in December 2010, despite the fact that the former District 7 councilor is now behind bars.
If Darling convinces the SJC to favor his position, Turner wouldn’t get his job back — but his family would be entitled to $11,000 in back pay, according to the Globe.
Attorneys representing the city argued that Turner’s removal was legitimate, stating it was done “to protect the public interest and maintain the integrity of the City Council by eliminating public corruption and preventing the appearance of impropriety.”
Turner time line
How former City Councilor Chuck Turner's downfall played out:
1999: Turner is elected as the District 7 city councilor.
Oct. 2010: A jury convicts Turner of attempted extortion and three counts of providing false statements to the FBI.
Dec. 2010: The City Council votes to remove Turner.
2011: Turner is sentenced to three years in jail.