In a case that laid bare the unseemly culture of patronage on Beacon Hill, a guilty verdict today in the trial of former probation commissioner John J. O'Brien.

The jury found O'Brien guilty on mail fraud, racketeering, and racketeering conspiracy. His top aid, Elizabeth Tavares, was also found guilty on those charges. A third official, William Burke, was convicted of conspiracy, but acquitted on the other charges.


Maurice Cunningham is a professor of political science at UMass Boston, and active blogger on Massachusetts politics.

Jeremy Sternberg is a former federal prosecutor who now has a criminal defense practice at Holland and Knight.