HAMILTON — A Suffolk Superior Court judge has denied former MIT professor and convicted forger John Donovan Sr.’s appeal for medical parole.

In a decision announced Wednesday, Judge Anthony Campo found in favor of the Department of Correction, which denied Donovan’s petition for release last year — a petition he filed shortly after starting his two-year sentence in the forgery case in May.

The ruling paves the way for Donovan to take his case back to the Appeals Court, where his lawyer first filed the challenge of the Department of Correction ruling last year.

Donovan, 80, was originally sentenced to two years in state prison following his conviction in a scheme to divert proceeds from the sale of land from his late son’s estate to the Trust for Public Lands, absolve himself of several financial obligations, including a judgment, and give him access to his grandchildren.

Donovan has pursued release from custody since under two separate routes: An effort to have his sentence reduced to time served, and a request for compassionate release on medical parole, maintaining that he is incapacitated and has just months to live.

A Salem Superior Court judge, after hearing pleas from Donovan’s current lawyer, Ruth Greenberg, decided last fall to reduce the severity of the sentence by changing it to two years in the Middleton Jail, which would create an opportunity for Donovan to seek parole after serving one year.

Greenberg had sought more, asking the judge to release him immediately, and has maintained that Donovan has but months to live as a result of prostate cancer and heart disease, a prognosis that state doctors do not share.

Judge Salim Tabit said it was not his intention for Donovan to die in prison, though he expressed some reservations about the prognosis offered by Greenberg and a cardiologist who had not seen Donovan since before his trial, which was contradicted by testimony from Donovan’s oncologist at a prior hearing.

With Donovan still in custody, Greenberg, who has been dubbed the “mama of medical parole” for her legal advocacy on the issue, continued to pursue compassionate release.

Campo’s order this week concerned the medical parole issue.

Greenberg, in a motion asking the judge to order Donovan’s immediate release on medical parole, called the Department of Correction’s denial an abuse of discretion, and the standards applied “fundamentally unfair,” saying that Donovan should not “die in chains.”

Lawyers for the DOC argued that Donovan, who has responded to treatment to bring his PSA to normal levels, did not meet the standards for medical parole, and still poses a public safety risk, noting that he committed his latest crimes in his 70s.

Campo held a hearing on Jan. 10, with Donovan appearing via Zoom from the Middleton Jail.

He denied Greenberg’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and affirmed the DOC’s decision denying medical parole.

Greenberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether she will pursue an appeal.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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