A former clerk magistrate of the Chelsea district court was sentenced in federal court yesterday to two years in jail for deprivation of civil rights. The case involved two women who faced criminal charges in Chelsea court and promises by 43 year old Burke, the magistrate, to help dismiss their cases in return for oral sex. The women gave him oral sex in the courthouse, one woman being removed by Burke from custody to do so.
Federal charges were brought against Burke rather than state charges, the decision to charge someone federally or in the state courts is made by each individual prosecutor's office. Usually the state and federal prosecutors work in conjunction with each other and allowing either one or the other to pursue a case rather than both at the same time. Federal charges for deprivation of civil rights come about when a person in a position of public authority abuses that position violating another's rights. This type of charge is not as common as federal conspiracy to violate drug laws, or other more common federal crimes.
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