State Board of Retirement v. FinneranAnnotate this Case
In 2007, Thomas Finneran, former Speaker of the House, pleaded guilty in federal district court to one count of obstruction of justice. The conviction stemmed from false testimony that Finneran had provided in relation to a federal court action challenging the 2001 redistricting act. Immediately after Finneran’s conviction, the State Retirement Board ceased payments of Finneran’s pension on the ground of his conviction under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 32, 15(4). The hearing officer concluded that Finneran’s crime required the forfeiture of his pension under the statute because he had “been convicted of a criminal offense involving violation of the laws applicable to his office or position.” A municipal court judge reversed, concluding that there was no direct link between Finneran’s conviction and his position as a House Member and/or Speaker. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Finneran’s conviction of obstruction of justice was a “violation of the laws applicable to his office or position” and, therefore, required the statutory forfeiture of his pension.