A group of Massachusetts lawmakers has filed a petition to have a Salem judge removed from the bench.
Lawmakers and critics of Judge Tim Feeley are outraged in large part over a recent ruling in which Feely sentenced a defendant convicted on heroin charges to probation instead of prison. They also claim that defendant was not given jail time because he's not a United States citizen.
Others in the legal community say the judge’s ruling was legal and within the sentencing guidelines. They say that the judicial process must remain independent.
In April, Feeley came under fire for lowering the bail of John Williams, who allegedly went on to kill sheriff deputy Eugene Cole in Maine just weeks later.
A spokesperson for the court says Feeley is not able to comment on anything involving a pending case.
Last week, Rep. James Lyons (R-Andover) introduced HD 4822, a bill requesting Gov. Charlie Baker to remove Feeley from the bench. A group of fellow Republican lawmakers co-sponsored it.
By Wednesday, more than 8,600 people had signed the petition.
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If approved by the legislature, it would go to the governor and then onto the governor's council which would make the decision about impeachment.