Back in 1984 during the middle of the "Satanic Panic" period of American justice Violet Amirault, her son Gerald, and daughter Cheryl, operators of the Fells Acre Day School in Malden, Massachusetts, found themselves accused of child molestation. These charges were based on the so called "spectral evidence" of children being coxed to testify to outlandish crimes by so called therapists. Just like in the "Salem Witch Trials" there was little or no physical evidence and no other witnesses, but these folks and many others across the country were routinely convicted anyway and given long prison sentences by outraged juries.
On appeal most of the cases were overturned when the manipulation, coxing, and badgering, of the child witnesses became evident. This case was moving in that direction as well based on accumulating evidence of perjury and fraud when Martha Coakley became local district attorney in 1999. Despite the evidence, and instead of agreeing with the judge and Governor's Board of Prison Pardons, she organized a public media campaign to keep Gerald in prison. It worked - she became popular, and he remained incarcerated for two more years - basically destroying his life. But now we come to payback time as reported by Carey Roberts in The Post Chronicle.
"...This legal travesty did not attract national attention until last Fall. At that point, Coakley held a nearly insurmountable 30-point lead over her Republican challenger.
Then Ann Coulter devoted her December 9 column to the case, calling it the "second-most notorious witch trial in Massachusetts history" and charging Coakley had "kept a clearly innocent man in prison in order to advance her political career."...(Cont.)...
A few more similar editorials and columns and only a few weeks later Coakley ended up loosing by five percentage points.
Perhaps prosecuting innocent men for lurid satanic crimes that never happened can no longer be considered a route to to electoral success. There is alot more coverage of this sordid case in Jason's "Wild Hunt" Blog.