|56th Attorney General of Massachusetts|
January 3, 1991 – January 7, 1999
|Preceded by||Jim Shannon|
|Succeeded by||Tom Reilly|
|District Attorney of Middlesex County|
|Preceded by||John J. Droney|
|Succeeded by||Tom Reilly|
Luther Scott Harshbarger
December 1, 1941
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
|United Independent (2016–2017)|
|Alma mater||Harvard University (BA, JD)|
Luther Scott Harshbarger (born December 1, 1941) is an American lawyer and politician from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who is a member of the Democratic Party. He is currently Senior Counsel in the Boston law firm of Casner & Edwards, LLP. Harshbarger is married to Judith Stephenson. They have five children.
Education and early career
Harshbarger was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He attended Harvard College, where he was a halfback on the varsity football team, and Harvard Law School. After law school, Harshbarger worked as a public defender and civil rights attorney. He was first elected as District Attorney (DA) of Middlesex County, Massachusetts in 1982, defeating incumbent DA John Droney in the Democratic primary. He was re-elected in 1986.
Middlesex District Attorney
Harshbarger served as District Attorney for 8 years. Amongst the cases his office handled he obtained the conviction of Gerald Amirault and other employees of the Fells Acres Day Care Center in Malden, Massachusetts. Though subsequently reversed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Council (citing the need for "finality") the convictions of Violet and Cheryl Amirault were overturned in 1995, in Massachusetts Superior Court. Following the Judicial Council's reinstatement of the verdict, another Superior Court Judge, Isaac Borenstein, granted two separate motions for new trials to the accused. Borenstein held that the interrogations of children by Harshbarger's office and its designated experts, were so tainted by "grave errors" in the investigation process that they could not be used in any new trial.  However, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court once again ruled to send the women back to prison. The case has been criticized as a miscarriage of justice in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Nation.
Harshbarger was elected President of the Massachusetts Association of District Attorneys and was awarded the Livingston Hall Award by the American Bar Association for Harshbarger's outstanding work in Juvenile Justice.
In 1990, he was elected Attorney General of Massachusetts, defeating incumbent James Shannon in the Democratic primary. He was re-elected in 1994 with 70 percent of the vote. Harshbarger was one of the first Attorneys General in the nation to sue the tobacco industry for manufacturing a product, cigarettes, which causes disease and death when used as designed by the industry. Harshbarger was elected President of the National Attorneys General Association.
He was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Massachusetts in the 1998 gubernatorial election. He lost in a close race to incumbent Republican Governor Paul Celucci. Afterwards, Harshbarger served as president of the public interest organization Common Cause for three years, where he spearheaded the successful push for campaign finance reform in 2002 (McCain-Feingold).
In June, 2016 Harshbarger announced that he would be leaving the Democratic Party to join the United Independent Party to assist them in reaching the voter enrollment necessary to remain a recognized party in Massachusetts. He has since returned to the Democratic Party.
Return to private legal practice
Since 2003, Harshbarger has practiced law in the private sector, focusing on corporate governance and related issues. He is currently Senior Counsel in the Boston law firm of Casner & Edwards, LLP. Prior to joining Casner & Edwards, Harshbarger was Senior Counsel at Proskauer Rose LLP in Boston, MA. Harshbarger has continued to serve the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a private practice attorney by accepting appointments by both Republican and Democratic Governors of MA . He has chaired the Probation Reform Commission and Correctional Reform Commission. He also serves as member of the MA Supreme Judicial Court Management Advisory Board.
On September 22, 2009, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) announced that Harshbarger and Proskauer "would lead an independent inquiry into the organizational systems and processes surrounding the social services of the organization" pursuant to the recent allegations of corruption within that organization in the ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy. Harshbarger issued his written report, essentially exonerating ACORN from any alleged illegal activity, in December 2009.
- "Former Mass. AG Joins Casner & Edwards - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
- Proskauer Rose LLP - SCOTT HARSHBARGER Archived 2009-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
- "A Fells Acres Chronology". Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- Baldwin, Glenn. "Day Care Workers Get Retrial, As Accusers Did Not Face Them". nytimes.com. New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- Baldwin, Glenn. "Commonwealth v. Lafave: finding of fact, rulings of law and order on Defendants' motion for new trial". Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- Baldwin, Glenn. "Editoria: Travesty of Justice". Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly.
- "PD43+ » Search Elections". PD43+. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
- 1998 Gubernatorial General Election Results - Massachusetts
- "Former AG Harshbarger is leaving the Democratic Party". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
- Schoenberg, Shira (August 20, 2018). "Mass. pols Evan Falchuk, Scott Harshbarger try to 'flip Congress' with online donor site". Mass Live. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
- Proskauer Rose LLP Archived 2005-12-14 at the Wayback Machine
- "Harshbarger report on ACORN videos: No illegal conduct ACORN leaders embrace recommendations of "roadmap for reform and renewal"". Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. December 7, 2009. Retrieved 2010-10-22. (press release)
- "ACORN and the Ethics of Leadership", Atlantic Monthly, December 8, 2009
- "ACORN Investigation Results", The Nonprofit Quarterly
| District Attorney of Middlesex County
| Attorney General of Massachusetts|
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for Governor of Massachusetts