HINGHAM– Edward Savage and Christine Savage entered the court separately Sept. 13, 2018, on a slow, rainy Thursday for a motion to dismiss a shoplifting case against them. Although they stood together when their case was called, they did not sit together while waiting and rushed out of the courtroom following the arguments. Their motion was denied on Wednesday after being taken under advisement.
The Savages, Plympton residents accused of shoplifting from Kohl’s a year ago April, have been involved in a drawn-out legal saga ever since. The case has caught the eye of local media because Edward Savage is the former Hanson police chief, who resigned in 2012.
According to a complaint issued by the Hingham Police Department April 30, 2017, the Savages were caught on surveillance camera by the Kohl’s Department Store, 100 Derby St., Hingham, apparently shoplifting clothing in an amount more than $100.
The two were originally summonsed to appear before the clerk magistrate at Hingham District Court, Joseph Ligotti. The clerk agreed to dismiss the charges, with the agreement of the Hingham police prosecutor, if the Savages stayed out of criminal trouble for eight months and wrote letters of apology for the shoplifting, to the Hingham Police and Kohl’s department store at Derby Shops in Hingham, according to transcripts and recordings of the closed-door hearing, which were released to the media.
The Savages did not write apology letters before Feb. 28, 2018, the end of the probationary period. A new acting clerk magistrate replacing Ligotti, who retired, seeing that the apology letters had not been received, issued criminal charges against the Savages, according to court officials.
At the hearing, Daniel Webster, their attorney, argued that the acting clerk magistrate, Andrew Quigley, had no right to issue the criminal charges, and that he in fact, “violated the integrity of the Magistrate’s hearing,” by doing so, because the Savages thought they had until the very last day before the charges were dismissed to write apology letters.
Quigley never held a probable cause hearing of his own, according to records.
During the hearing on the motion to dismiss, held before Judge John P. Stapleton, who was engaged and asked many questions, Webster read a quote from Ligotti’s hearing:
“Okay, I am getting two letters written, signed by both people. I’m going to continue this matter until 2/28 of ’18 for dismissal. It will automatically dismiss on that date, no need to be back. Should you be dumb enough to do anything else illegal, this will automatically kick in and will automatically come back…and it [charges] will be issued,” he said.
Despite the lack of a due date for the letters, Stapleton denied the motion to dismiss the charges noting that the court had not found that the acting clerk magistrate, Quigley, had violated the integrity of the clerk magistrate hearing.
The Savages are being prosecuted by an outside prosecutor, Frances Cannone, of Essex County.
They will be back in court at a date to be determined to face the criminal complaint. A court official noted that it looks like the case will be headed for either a trial or settlement.
The case is ongoing.