The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 28, 2003


Threat investigation proceeds slowly

While town employees hold their breath, Carlisle police are still waiting for Verizon to release information from the phone logs for the assessors' office for January 31 when a threatening message was left on the assessors' answering machine.

A confusing trail

Lieutenant John Sullivan of the Carlisle Police said that Verizon cannot release records without a subpoena, which must be requested from the district attorney's office at the Cambridge District Court. According to Sullivan that office decides whether to approve a subpoena and, if it is approved, forwards it to Verizon. Verizon does a hand search for the information, which usually takes about two weeks. The information is returned to the requesting D.A., who then releases it to the requesting agency, in this case the Carlisle Police Department. That is what should have happened and in the regular course of events the phone logs would have been available around February 17.

Sullivan says he requested a subpoena from the D.A. in a timely manner and faxed documentation supporting the request to that office after the police became involved on February 3. He called that office on February 6 to see if the fax had been received and things were on track and was told that they had been received. When he had heard nothing by February 21, he called again and was told there was no record of the request, it had presumably been lost and he would have to resubmit the request for a subpoena and the "lost" documentation. This he did. When he was then told it would take another two weeks to obtain the phone logs, he stressed the urgency of the case and pressed for a more immediate response. The D.A.'s office then agreed to try to do it in four days because of the "immediate threat."

The story changes

On Tuesday, February 25, Sullivan was told that the first request and documentation was not lost or misplaced, but had been held on a D.A's desk because subpeonas are rarely issued for a single threat, usually only for repeated threats. However, the subpoena had been signed and sent to Verizon on February 21.

Unanswered questions include why were Carlisle officials not informed when the "missing" request was located and why was it four days later before they were informed? The biggest question is when will local authorities be given the information they need to get on with their job?

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito