Judge rejects bid to delay start of prison sentences for ex-probation officials

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BOSTON — A judge has denied a request by defense attorneys to delay the start of prison sentences for two former state probation officials pending the outcome of their appeals.

Former probation commissioner John O'Brien was sentenced to 18 months in prison earlier this month following his conviction on charges he rigged the agency's hiring process to favor candidates backed by powerful Beacon Hill lawmakers.

Elizabeth Tavares, a former top aide to O'Brien, was sentenced to three months behind bars while a third defendant, William Burke, received one year of supervised release.

O'Brien and Tavares are scheduled to report for their sentences on Jan. 12. U.S. District Court Judge William Young ruled on Tuesday that O'Brien and Tavares cannot remain free while their lawyers appeal the convictions to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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