Story Archive

Momma’s Boy

Theodore Berry, 24, came within 35 votes of being elected to the Rockland (Me.) City Council last year. This year, Berry was arrested for assault after allegedly knocking a woman down, injuring her. In court, representing himself, Berry said his right to privacy was violated by a newspaper report on his arrest, and he demanded the judge order the Bangor Daily News to withdraw the article, and remove it from its web site. He also demanded the judge order the police officer who released arrest details to the newspaper be demoted. Judge Patricia Worth refused to issue such orders. She lectured that having the legal system open to the public is an important protection for democracy and all citizens. “That sunshine, that bright light, is the way to be sure” the government doesn’t abuse rights. “Understood, news of a criminal prosecution is difficult. It’s difficult for defendants and victims.” But that difficulty is not as important as open government. Berry’s mother, Bethany Berry, interrupted court proceedings to tell her son, “Say you’re innocent!” Berry dutifully told the judge, “I’m innocent, your honor.” The judge, not knowing who had made the interruption, ordered that “The person who just felt they had to tell the adult what to say can go” — ordering her out of the courtroom. Berry also tried to get the judge to drop a restraining order keeping him from contacting the victim. But Knox County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Baroody told the judge that the order should stay in place: “There was a three-year plan to marry the victim written in a letter sent to the victim’s mother,” he said, and he thought Berry would try to influence her to drop the charges. Last, after the judge refused to seal the court proceedings to keep them from the public, Berry finally hired a lawyer to represent him. (RC/Bangor Daily News) ...Before that, Berry had a fool for a client.
Original Publication Date: 21 June 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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