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Judicial Misconduct

Saturday, July 02, 2005
Associated Press

BOSTON - A Holyoke judge has been reprimanded by the Commission on Judicial Conduct for failing to follow procedures for accepting guilty pleas by criminal defendants.

Judge William B. McDonough, 65, failed to follow complete plea colloquy procedures before June 16, 2000, according to a statement released by the commission yesterday.

McDonough was also reprimanded for signing an affidavit that inaccurately described his plea colloquy practice as of 1994.

During plea colloquies, required by law when defendants enter guilty pleas or admit that the prosecution has sufficient facts for a conviction, judges ask defendants a series of questions to ensure that they understand their rights and are pleading guilty voluntarily.

The commission said the reprimand was issued with the consent of McDonough, who waived his right to a hearing and agreed that the reprimand be made public.

McDonough, who was appointed to the bench in 1982, has voluntarily stepped down as presiding justice of the Holyoke District Court, and has corrected his plea practice, said the commission. A court spokeswoman said he will sit as a judge of the western region, which embraces the district courts in Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee.

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