Docket No. 602


In the Matter of Ronald J. D'Arcangelo


Date: February 29, 2000

Disposition Agreement


The State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Ronald J.
D'Arcangelo ("D'Arcangelo") enter into this Disposition Agreement
pursuant to s.5 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This
Agreement constitutes a consented to final order enforceable in the
Superior Court pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s.4(j). On January
19,2000, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B,
s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the
conflict of interest law by D'Arcangelo. The Commission concluded
that inquiry, and on February 23, 2000, found reasonable cause to
believe that D'Arcangelo violated G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(2).

The Commission and D'Arcangelo now agree to the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law:

1. From 1994 until 1999, D'Arcangelo served as the Newburyport
District Court chief of probation.[1][2] As such, he was a state
employee within the meaning of G.L. c. 268A, s.1 of the conflict of
interest law.

2. When a driver is cited for a motor vehicle violation in
Newburyport, the driver may pay the ticket or request a hearing in
the Newburyport District Court.

3. Newburyport District Court Clerk Magistrate J. Nicholas
Sullivan ("Sullivan") presides over such disputed civil motor
vehicle citation hearings.[3]

4. D'Arcangelo and Sullivan know each other through their
official positions as court employees and are friendly.

5. Between 1993 and 1998, D'Arcangelo wrote nine requests to
Sullivan for "consideration" [4] on post-it notes he attached to
the court's copies of the motor vehicle citation documents before
the file went to Sullivan for a magistrate's hearing.

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6. On each such occasion where D'Arcangelo requested
consideration, the motorist involved was either a relative or a
friend of D'Arcangelo's.

7. On each of the nine occasions indicated above, Sullivan
observed D'Arcangelo's notes when the citations came before him for
disposition. Sullivan subsequently issued nine findings of "not
responsible.[5]

8. Each citation had potential penalties between $35 and$ 100.

9. Section 23(b)(2) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a state employee
from knowingly or with reason to know using or attempting to use
his position to obtain for himself or others an unwarranted
privilege of substantial value which is not properly available to
similarly situated individuals.

10. D'Arcangelo requested "consideration" from fellow court
employee Sullivan on motor vehicle citations involving
D'Arcangelo's family and friends. But for his position as a court
officer, D'Arcangelo would not have had access to these such court
files and Sullivan. Therefore, D'Arcangelo knew or had reason to
know that he was using his official position to request such
consideration.

11. D'Arcangelo's consideration requests were for resolutions
not based on the merits but rather on his family or friendship
relationships with the motorists. Therefore, D'Arcangelo was
attempting to use his official position to obtain an unwarranted
privilege.

12. The potential penalties associated with the traffic
citations described above were between $35 and $100. An adverse
finding would cause the motorists to incur accompanying insurance
premium surcharges. Therefore, the privilege of avoiding such costs
was of substantial value.[6]

13. The privilege of a dismissal based on "consideration" was
not properly available to similarly situated individuals facing
similar penalties.

14. Thus, by using his official position as the Newburyport
District Court chief of probation in an attempt to secure for his
family and friends the unwarranted privilege of favorable
dispositions of their motor vehicle citations based on "consideration,"
D'Arcangelo violated G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(2).

In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A, the
Commission has determined that the public interest would be served
by the disposition of this matter without further enforcement
proceedings, on the basis of the following terms and conditions
agreed to by D'Arcangelo:

(1) that D'Arcangelo pay to the Commission the sum of three
thousand ($3,000.00) as a civil penalty for the violation of
G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(2); and

(2) that D'Arcangelo waive all rights to contest the findings
of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained
in this Agreement in this or any other related administrative
or judicial proceeding to which the Commission is or may be a
party.

----------------------

[1] On January 29, 1999, Chief Justice of the District Court
Department Samuel E. Zoll put D'Arcangelo on administrative leave
because of the allegations that are addressed in this Disposition
Agreement.

[2] As the Newburyport District Court chief of probation,
D'Arcangelo was responsible for overseeing all probation matters
under Newbury District Court's jurisdiction.

[3] Sullivan has been the clerk magistrate since 1981.

[4] By asking for "consideration," it is clear that
D'Arcangelo was seeking that the case receive preferential
treatment rather than be judged on its merits.

[5] "Not responsible" is the statutory terminology for
acquittal in such cases.

[6] See Commonwealth v. Famigletti, 4 Mass. App. 584 (1976).

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End of Decision