Massachusetts judge nixes prison time for immigrant heroin dealer

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Jeffrey T. Kuhner

Liberal judges in Massachusetts are out of control. They pose a mortal danger to public safety, and need to be reined in.

Exhibit A is Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley. He has blood on his hands.

Feeley ruled Tuesday that a notorious local drug dealer, Manuel Soto-Vittini, will not serve any time in prison despite pleading guilty to charges of drug possession with intent to distribute. In particular, Salem police officers arrested Soto-Vittini in June 2015. They found over 40 small bags of heroin (and two small bags of cocaine) hidden in secret compartments inside his luxurious black Volvo.

Demonstrators outside Ruane Judicial Center on May 16.

According to police reports, Soto-Vittini is a major dealer, who for years has been a central player in the city’s heroin trade. In short, he is directly responsible for the opioid epidemic plaguing Salem, which has taken countless lives. He is a peddler of poison; a merchant of death.

Feeley, however, has set him free. The stunning reason: According to the Moonbat judge, Soto-Vittini is a businessman — an entrepreneur — who is simply trying to provide for his family.

“This was basically a money crime,” Feeley said, denying the prosecutor’s request for one to three years in prison.

“This was not a drug addict who was dealing to fund his own addiction,” the judge said, “but rather, a person who made some terrible judgments and decisions, but made them for what he thought was in the best interest of his family.”

Only in Massachusetts: The heroin drug dealer as the noble family man. Feeley was referring to Soto-Vittini’s girlfriend, the two children they have, and his mother. What the judge forgot to mention is that for Soto-Vittini drug trafficking is a family business.

“That family are the biggest drug dealers around Salem,” a law enforcement official told me. For example, Soto-Vittini’s brother, Michael Soto-Vittini, was sentenced to over two years in prison in an unrelated case for heroin distribution. The Soto-Vittinis have become wealthy — fancy cars, swanky apartments and bundles of cash — by getting kids hooked on highly addictive, deadly drugs.

Yet, there was another reason why Feeley let Soto-Vittini free: The drug dealer is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. He is living here as a permanent legal resident. Hence, if he should go to jail, then his green card status would be revoked and Soto-Vittini would be deported. Despite pleading guilty, Feeley refused to send Soto-Vittini to prison in order to help him avoid deportation.

Think about it: Feeley is putting the rights and interests of an admitted heroin trafficker above those of U.S. citizens and the many Americans killed by the opioid scourge. Over 60,000 died last year alone due to the opioid epidemic. In Massachusetts, the death toll is in the thousands. Now, because of Feeley’s reckless, immoral and irresponsible actions, Soto-Vittini will be back to pump more narcotics — and death — into our communities. More people will become addicted; more schools and neighborhoods will be infested with heroin/fentanyl; and more children will die.

Salem, once a traditional working-class town, will continue to be overwhelmed with drugs, addicts who walk around like zombies, and heroin needles littering the parks, streets and sidewalks — until it is transformed into a Third World hell hole. Like all sanctuary cities, Salem is already beginning to resemble Mexico or Honduras. The streets increasingly belong to the gangs and the drug traffickers, not decent law-abiding citizens.

Nor is this Feeley’s only outrageous decision. He has a long, sordid history of favoring vile criminals over innocent victims. He recently released a man, John D. Williams, who was arrested on numerous serious gun charges. The result: a month later Williams allegedly murdered a Maine deputy, Cpl. Eugene Cole, stole his vehicle and then robbed a store. Had it not been for Feeley, Cole would be alive today.

In 2016, Feeley also released Daniel Beauvais, who one judge described as a “serial sexual abuser.” Beauvais’ alleged crime? He was charged with having repeatedly sexually abused and raped a 12-year-old girl. Feeley released him even though Beauvais had been accused of numerous sex crimes going all the way back to 2000.

I could go on, but why bother? The evidence is overwhelming: Feeley has no right to be sitting on a court bench. He is not just soft on crime. He poses a serious, mortal threat to the safety of every law-abiding citizen in Massachusetts. He is actively aiding and abetting the worst criminals in our society — drug traffickers, cop killers and child molesters. He needs to be held accountable and removed from office.

Appointed by former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, Feeley embodies Massachusetts’ corrupt liberal judiciary. Gov. Baker’s shameful silence speaks volumes. The only way to get rid of Feeley and his ilk is for the people to demand an end to judicial supremacy, rampant incompetence and callous arrogance. It’s time for peaceful mass protests and social outrage. How many more have to die?

Feeley must go. The sooner, the better.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at and the host of “The Kuhner Report” weekdays 12-3 pm EST on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.