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Document Type

Symposium Article

Abstract

Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants was a uniquely kind and empathetic person and an enormously consequential reformer. He was also a model judge. He prepared for each case like it was the only one before him, considered thorny legal issues from every angle, and pursued justice in all his judicial work. These qualities were on full display in Commonwealth v. Keo. There, a dissenting Justice Gants identified a question of fundamental fairness, one which the parties had not raised: If a prosecutor, based on essentially the same evidence, makes contradictory statements in the trials of two different defendants, can a defendant introduce those statements into evidence as admissions of a party opponent? In his dissent, Justice Gants answered that question brilliantly, disentangling a complex legal issue to craft a solution that was both pragmatic and would make the legal system operate more fairly. Though not among his most famous opinions, Justice Gants’s Keo dissent reveals the sharpness and integrity of his legal mind and his constant pursuit of a more just, fair, and righteous legal system.

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