During the 25 years she was a defense lawyer, Nancy Gertner was known for her radical causes, red clothing, and loudly voiced opinions, in the media and the courtroom.
So far, there's been no great public outcry from prosecutors over any of Gertner's ruling, few of which have been overturned on appeal. But she is attracting growing attention in public and legal circles, a result, defense lawyers and prosecutors say, of Gertner finding her voice as a judge, becoming accustomed to being behind the bench rather than in front of it.
US Attorney Donald K. Stern, the chief federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, praised Gertner's courtesy to all who come before her but faulted her for decisions like the so-called driving-while-black case, in which she reduced a defendant's sentence because she believed the man's criminal record was inflated by traffic violations that he probably would not have incurred had he been white.
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