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'JAILING JUDGE' GIVES 'JUNKYARD' OWNER 60 DAYS IN JAIL, $4,000 FINE

Back in May, Robert McLaughlin got a second chance -- a $2,000 fine and time to clean up what city inspectors called a "neighborhood junkyard."

Three months later, there are 20 abandoned cars on the residential property -- even more than before -- and the garage roof has collapsed, according to inspectors.

Housing Court Judge Michael L. Broderick, nicknamed "The Jailing Judge," gave McLaughlin 60 days behind bars Thursday and tacked on an extra $4,000 fine.

"Apparently, he didn't get the hint," said Frank DiJames, the city's Housing Court representative.

DiJames said neighbors around the junkyard at 349 Masten Ave. have complained for years about unlicensed cars, tires, fenders and motors stored on the property, which is zoned for residential use.

"They're going crazy," DiJames said of the neighbors. "It's an unauthorized, unlicensed junkyard in the middle of a residential neighborhood."

McLaughlin, who lives at 27 Emerson Place, could not be reached for comment, but a woman who answered his phone said "no, no, no," when asked if the charges against him were true.

DiJames said McLaughlin did not have a lawyer during his court appearances and has not yet started his jail sentence. He described McLaughlin as a repeat offender, who was first brought into housing court four years ago.

In May, Broderick gave McLaughlin until Thursday to remove the cars and auto parts and fix up the property. When inspectors reported even more cars there, the judge ordered jail time.

Broderick has gained a reputation for relying on jail time as a punishment. Court records show that Broderick, in his first year, put three times as many people behind bars and handed out twice as much jail time as any housing judge in memory.

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