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High court disbars Finneran

The state Supreme Judicial Court on Monday took away former House Speaker Thomas Finneran's law license, citing his pleading guilty to obstruction of justice charges in 2007.

"[Finneran]'s misconduct implicates both the integrity of the judicial system and the honesty of a member of the bar," wrote Justice Margot Botsford. "We have no reason to disagree with the finding that the respondent's conduct during the voting rights lawsuit represented an aberrant event in his long career of serving his constituency and the public with loyalty and distinction. But the respondent was convicted of a serious crime involving false testimony to a court under oath in a significant case about fundamental rights."

Days before his case was to go to trial in January 2007, Finneran, a Mattapan Democrat, agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors, who had charged him with obstruction of justice in a civil voting rights lawsuit. Finneran said he made false statements out of anger at the charges of racism against him in the lawsuit, brought by a group of minority voters.

Finneran can petition for reinstatement to the state bar eight years from the effective date of the disbarment. The court's decision is retroactive to Jan. 23, 2007, when he was temporarily suspended.

Finneran served in the House for 26 years as the 12th Suffolk District representative, spending eight and a half years as speaker.

He has also been involved in Dorchester YMCA; the Pop Warner program in Mattapan; the Mattapan Community Health Center; the Codman Square Health Center; and the Mattapan Community Development Corporation.

Finneran, the second House speaker out of three to be indicted by federal prosecutors, is currently a talk show host on WRKO 680 AM.

The SJC ruling is available here.