Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined Boston Public Radio for her monthly segment, "Ask the A.G." A.G. Healey talked about the FBI's faulty hair-forensics admission; the possible over-charging of electric customers; and the unsolved Waltham triple murder, among other things.
Questions are paraphrased, and responses edited where noted [...]. To hear the entire conversation click the audio above.
The FBI recently admitted it overstated forensic matches relating to human hair in order to favor the prosecution. What do you make of this?
I read that, and I think there's more to read and more to learn. [...] The federal government has an obligation to get that right. So whatever the issues are or were, they need to be addressed, and they need to be addressed swiftly.
Could this affect cases in Massachusetts?
[It predates my time in office] so I'd have to look into it, [...] but certainly something I'll look to learn more about.
What can people do if they get unwanted phone calls at home or on their cell phones — offering them anything from credit-rate adjustments to new cable packages?
It is so frustrating. I get the same kind of calls at my house and now on my cell phone. I would encourage everyone to sign up for the Do Not Call registry. [...] I often say, 'Where are you calling from?' and let them know I'm going to report them to the Attorney General's office. [...] Usually that's met with a hang-up.
There is a push to put marijuana legalization on the ballot here in Massachusetts. Have you ever smoked, and do you support legalization?
Oh yeah. And I'm also somebody who supported decriminalization and supported the medical marijuana bill. [...] It's one thing for adults. But I have real concerns for young people. [...] There are a lot of things that we can legalize. We can legalize cocaine or heroin [but] it doesn't make it right. What I'm concerned about is the effect that the legalization is going to have on young people.
A number of states have already legalized it for adults, including Colorado.
Despite legalization they've not seen a drop in black-market activity, to the point where other states have now sued Colorado saying, 'We've got a real problem [across state lines].'
But what about adults who smoke in their homes and don't bother anybody?
Those individuals have an ability right now through decriminalization. [...] I'll be walking down the street and [there are] wafts of marijuana all of a sudden, right up there by the Statehouse!
Gov. Baker thinks one or maybe two medical marijuana facilities may open in the state this year. Are they imminent at this point?
I don't know that I'd say it's imminent. I know that it's a heightened urgency and that the Governor has made it clear that he is working to get this done.
Has the state made progress on whether some people's electric bills were raised unreasonably high over the winter?
This is such a huge issue, right? And people really got whacked this winter. Part of the problem is the actual commodity itself. The price is way up. [...] We've got a couple of actions pending before FERC [...] with respect to transmission line activity and how those costs are getting passed on to consumers. [...] I'm hoping that will return as much as $180 million to consumers. [...] We're going to continue to be active and certain [we've] received any number of calls and complaints about this in the past couple weeks.
What do you think of Eversource CEO Tom May making $9 million last year?
The next time they come before the DPU asking for a rate hike, I'm going to make sure that we are there making sure that any excessive compensation isn't passed on to consumers as a rate hike. [..] They're not footing the bill.
What did you think when you heard he made $9 million?
Maybe I'm in the wrong business. I love the law and I love being A.G., but it's an awful lot of money.
When you were on Greater Boston on April 6th you said "understanding what happened, what went wrong, what went right, is important" surrounding the death of Ibragim Todashev in Orlando, Florida, and the involvement of Mass. State Troopers. What's the status of that?
I went back and looked, and here's what I know. That matter was investigated by the Florida state authorities. It was also also investigated by the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Both investigations exonerated the police officers involved, and those reports are public.
We also have going on here in Middlesex County the prosecution of that triple homicide, and that is currently underway. [...] I understand that that matter is still before the Middlesex County Attorney's office. And so, I wouldn't want anything at this particular juncture to compromise the investigation and the prosecution handling of that matter. But I am going to continue to review it.
Were there other people involved in the triple murder? Two of the suspects (Todashev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev) are already dead. Who is left to investigate?
Well, I don't want to speak to the specifics of this particular matter, but suffice it to say I'm reviewing it.
What do you think of Gov. Baker's move to ask the state transportation board to step down?
I support anything and everything we can do to get this right. But my view fundamentally is [fixing it is] more important than just changing out board members. I respect and support his prerogative in doing that.
Does the T need more money, more help?
We need something to fund this. I mean, we only have to think back on the last few weeks and months to know we need to go in a different direction.
President Obama's Harvard Law School mentor, Laurence Tribe, has been petitioning the EPA for a change to US laws surrounding coal. The Obama administration maintains that emissions rules must be strict. Who's right?
The President's right, absolutely. I think Larry Tribe's wrong on that issue. [...] Far be it for me to call Larry Tribe wrong. But I am, in this instance.
Is there concern about unpaid internships in Massachusetts?
As a general matter they have to be paid. There are certain exceptions and exemptions for that. But you know, I think it's important right now as we face summer — and as somebody who worked through every summer and into college — so that [students are] treated fairly.
>>You can hear Attorney General Maura Healey every month on BPR's "Ask the A.G."