This story was originally published in the August 4th issue of The Dedham Transcript.
|Retired Police Chief Mike Weir interrogates 95-year-old "convict" Joe Pagliucia at the Dedham Police Department's "Jail and Bail" Fundraiser on Tuesday, August 2. Photo by Rhys Heyden.|
DEDHAM, Mass. - - With a stern gaze and an unrelenting gavel, Mike Weir deals out ice-cold justice in his black judicial robes.
Suddenly, the intimidating judge is laughing uncontrollably.
“This is just too much,” said Weir, throwing his hands up in the air. “You’re free to go.”
Thankfully, justice is not the primary goal of this court.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, Aug. 2, the Endicott Estate was transformed into a makeshift court, and prominent Dedham citizens played the role of criminals. It was all part of the Dedham Police Department’s “Jail and Bail” Fundraiser, where all profits went to support participating Dedham civic groups.
Weir, Dedham’s retired police chief, played the role of judge with aplomb, jokingly berating and interrogating a constant stream of “convicts,” all of whom had to pay bail in order to be freed.
Participating groups included the Oakdale Square Alliance, the Mother Brook Community Group, the Dedham Square Circle, and Manor Neighborhood Watch Group. The Police Department raised around $1,000 at this event.
First up to be questioned was Ziad Greige, owner of the Tedeschi Food Shop on Cedar Street.
“Whaddya think he’ll give us?” asked Weir.
“You gotta figure at least a slush or a coffee or something,” joked current Dedham Police Chief Mike d’Entremont.
Weir and d’Entremont agreed to charge Greige with a violation of the wholly imaginary “meal tax.”
Greige, as it turned out, was in a generous mood. Clad in a convincing Norfolk County Correctional orange prison uniform and less-convincing plastic handcuffs, Greige offered up $400 for the Dedham Square Circle and his release.
“You see, here’s a man who really understands the seriousness of his crimes,” cracked Weir. “You’re free to go.”
Off to the side of the judge, a pack of jovial Dedham cops take turns busting each other’s chops. Lieutenants Bob Nedder and Mark Black, as well as Chief d’Entremont, are responsible for transporting the convicts to and from the Endicott Estate, but they still find time to reminisce about last Sunday's softball game.
The conversation stopped whenever a new convict entered the Endicott Estate. After all, the serious business of taking mugshots in the estate’s mock-jail area was vital to the whole operation.
“You’ve got to make sure and get the profile shot,” explained d’Entremont. “That’s very important.”
The court’s final convict is, perhaps, its most entertaining. 95-year-old Joe Pagliucia, affiliated with the Oakdale Square Alliance, eagerly recounted a list of his imaginary crimes to Judge Weir.
“Did you bring any bail money with you?” asked Weir.
“I certainly did,” said Pagliucia. “By God, you do make a good lookin’ judge.”
“Case Dismissed!” roared Weir, clutching his sides in laughter.