A passionate crowd gathered Thursday outside Superior Court in Salem, Massachusetts, unhappy with a judge's decision-making.
"Go home, retire, get out," said Jeri Levasseur of Bradford. "You're not serving your purpose."
Critics of Judge Timothy Feeley say he's been too lenient in several cases, pointing to a recent decision in which he allowed a defendant convicted on heroin charges to serve probation rather than prison time.
"I'm incensed to think that a judge would condone a heroin dealer being freed so that he can continue to deal his poison," said Holly Estrella of Nahant.
According to court records, the judge said given the circumstances, he wouldn't send anyone in the same situation to prison.
Legal experts say the judge's sentence was in the permitted range and say several lawmakers on Beacon Hill are sending the wrong message by sponsoring a resolution calling on the judge to be removed from the bench.
"To have legislators that attempt to use a small, misleading sample of decisions from any sitting judge as a reason to call for the impeachment of that judge, I see as an attack on the independence of the judiciary," said attorney Steven Van Dyke. "A form of attack that creates a risk of creating a chilling effect on the decision-making of judges."
A spokesperson for the court says Judge Feeley is not able to comment on anything involving a pending case.
Last week, Rep. James Lyons (R-Andover) introduced HD 4822, a bill requesting Gov. Charlie Baker to remove Feeley from the bench. A group of fellow Republican lawmakers co-sponsored it.
A petition on change.org calling for Feeley to be impeached is seeking 7,500 signatures. Late Thursday night, it had accrued more than 6,700.