Reporters shuttle between the two courtrooms, trying to keep tabs on a murder trial in Courtroom 906 and a political corruption case right next door in Courtroom 907. The lawyers from 907 chat with the lawyers from 906 during recesses. Court officers in 906 want to know what’s going on in 907.
In a strange coincidence of courthouse scheduling, two of the most closely watched criminal trials in Massachusetts are unfolding in adjacent courtrooms on the ninth floor of Suffolk Superior Court.
Inside Courtroom 907, Timothy P. Cahill and his former campaign manager, Scott Campbell, are waiting for a jury to decide whether they used a $1.5 million, publicly funded lottery ad blitz to boost Cahill’s campaign for governor in 2010.
On the other side of the wall behind them, in Courtroom 906, Dwayne Moore sits with his lawyer, John Amabile, and waits to find out if a jury will find him guilty of killing four people, including a two-year-old, in Mattapan in 2010.
The proximity of the two trials has put on stark display two sides of the justice system, one for a man accused of a violent crime, the other for two men accused of a white-collar conspiracy.
If Moore walks to the bathroom outside the courtroom, he is always accompanied by a court officer and is chained around his legs and arms. Cahill and Campbell are free to come and go as they please, and often visit the coffee shop on the courthouse’s second floor.
Moore’s mother, Diann, was in court for much of her son’s trial, but has stopped attending because she said she fears for her safety.
Relatives of both Cahill and Campbell pack the courtroom every day, chatting in the public gallery and tweeting about the long wait for a verdict.
The state is paying for Moore’s lawyer, Amabile.
Cahill has raised money from relatives and business people to help defray the cost of his two lawyers, Jeffrey Denner and Brad Bailey.
Donors to Cahill’s legal defense fund include his two sisters, who have each loaned him $25,000.
Moore’s trial featured testimony from admitted drug dealers, violent felons and ballistics experts.
The trial of Cahill and Campbell saw prominent ad executives, grizzled political strategists, and Cahill himself take the stand.
If convicted, Cahill and Campbell face up to five years in prison. Moore faces an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole.
While he waits for a verdict, Cahill has been seated quietly in 907, eating peanut butter sandwiches and reading an inspirational book, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.” Moore has been held in a locked cell, outside 906.Michael Levenson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson