Attorney General: Pay No Attention to that Plea Agreement Behind The Bench
In 2007, Attorney General Patrick Lynch charged Ryan Greenberg with Second Degree Murder; Operating a boat to Endanger, Death Resulting; Refusal of a Chemical Test for Intoxication; and Minor Possessing Alcohol – charges related to the death of Patrick Murphy on the Barrington River.
Yesterday, Ryan Greenberg pled no contest to being involved in a boating accident, death resulting – a plea agreement authorized on behalf of the State of Rhode Island by Patrick Lynch in his capacity as Attorney General. Immediately afterward, the Attorney General issued the following statement.
With today’s plea, I am hopeful that we have heard the last of Patrick Murphy’s death being described as an accident and that it is recognized that Patrick Murphy died as the result of Ryan Greenberg’s criminal conduct. Our focus now is on sentencing, and on ensuring that to the degree it can, our legal system provides some measure of justice to the Murphy family, to whom I continue to offer my prayers and deepest condolences.
So … after authorizing a plea that stipulates that Mr. Greenberg’s actions were accidental, the Attorney General steps out of the courtroom and insists that Mr. Greenberg’s actions were not accidental?
If the Attorney General believed that Mr. Greenberg’s actions were deliberate, he needed to pursue the original charges against him in a court of law. If the case was not provable for whatever reason, the Attorney General should have remained silent after the plea agreement was formalized … or limited his words to sympathetic generalities.
Instead, the Attorney General went with Option #3; namely, issuance of a statement that can only be viewed as a transparent and inept p.r. sleight-of-hand. “Oohoo! Over here! Look at my words! No, no, don’t don’t pay any attention to my official actions. All that matters is what I say. You are getting sleepy, very sleepy …”
In short, why has the Attorney General chosen to make his words in this matter so starkly disconnected from his actions?