Monthly Archives: February 2020

Committee Meeting Agenda – February 25, 2020 Meeting

  1. Approval of minutes of the January 16, 2020 meeting
  2. Amicus Request(s)
    1. Commonwealth v. Harding, SJC-12875
    2. In Re:  Adoption of Jermani H., SJC-12880
    3. Commonwealth v. D.R., DAR-27318
    4. In Re:  J.P., SJC-12872
  3. Lease Approvals
    1. Malden Office
    2. Worcester Office
  4. Counsel Crisis Report and Update
  5. Souza-Baranowski Litigation Update
  6. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  7. Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  8. Chief Counsel Report
  9. Executive Session

2020 Nominations for Annual Awards – Postponed


Nomination Process

The CPCS Awards Ceremony has become a favored event for staff and the private bar.  It is a joyous time to honor the outstanding work of attorneys, social workers, investigators, administrative assistants, and operations staff.  The 2020 Awards Ceremony was long ago scheduled for May 14.  Unfortunately, we cannot come together for this special event this Spring.  We would very much like to be able to honor our 2020 Awardees at a live event.  If we can do so, we will schedule an in-person event for the Fall.

All nominations should be submitted to Ms. Denise Simonini, Executive Assistant to the Chief Counsel, Committee for Public Counsel Services, 44 Bromfield Street, Boston, MA 02108, by fax to 617-988-8495, or by email to

Nominations must be submitted no later than March 3, 2020.  All nominations must include a written explanation of why the nominee should be honored. 

For a list of past award recipients, please check our website here.  Biographical sketches of those with an award named in their honor are also on our website here.


The Jane Addams Award for Outstanding Social Service Accomplishments honors a staff social worker or social service advocate who exemplifies a commitment to clients through their advocacy, support, and dedication.  The Addams Award recognizes the profound impact of social workers and social service advocates serving as members of a legal team.  It is named for Jane Addams, a pioneer in establishing the field of social work and the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace prize.

The Jay D. Blitzman Award for Youth Advocacy is presented to a person who has demonstrated a commitment to juvenile rights, which is the hallmark of Judge Blitzman’s long career as an advocate.  The award honors an advocate who has exhibited both extraordinary dedication and excellent performance to assure that children accused of criminal conduct, or otherwise at risk, are treated fairly and with dignity in the courtroom, in the community, and in the custody of the state.

The Carol A. Donovan Award for Exceptional Advocacy is presented to the lawyer, public or private, whose representation of poor people facing the awesome power of the state is most reminiscent of Carol’s fierce commitment to their vigorous and effective representation, and the cause of equal justice for all.

The Edward J. Duggan Award for Outstanding Service award is given to both a Public Defender and Private Counsel attorney and is named for Edward J. Duggan, who served continuously from 1940 to 1997 as a member of the Voluntary Defenders Committee, the Massachusetts Defenders Committee and the Committee for Public Counsel Services.  The award is presented each year to the public defender and private attorney who best represent zealous advocacy – the central principle governing the representation of indigents in Massachusetts.

The Paul J. Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award recognizes a public defender or private attorney whose legal advocacy on behalf of persons involved in mental health civil commitment, guardianship of adults, or criminal mental health proceedings, best exemplifies zealous advocacy in furtherance of all clients’ legal interests and autonomy.

The Thurgood Marshall Award honors a person or persons who champion the cause of zealous representation for the poor and the right to effective assistance of counsel for all.

The Teresa McParland Award for Operational Excellence is presented to a person who demonstrates dedication, creativity and passion to improving agency operations in service to our clients through enhancing agency performance and accountability.  These attributes were all hallmarks of Terry McParland during her CPCS career. The award honors Operations staff who exhibit extraordinary dedication, excellent performance, vision, and creativity in improving the services, systems, quality of life, efficiency, and environment provided to agency staff, clients, and private counsel.

The Maura Mellen Administrative Professional Award honors an administrative staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to the delivery of zealous and effective advocacy for CPCS clients.  The award recognizes that administrative staff members perform many critical roles in the provision of zealous representation to CPCS clients.

The Maria SoutoArmand Goyette Investigator Award honors a staff investigator for outstanding investigative work.  Maria Souto was an indefatigable CPCS investigator in the Boston office.  Armand Goyette, the first investigator at the Massachusetts Defenders Committee, was recognized as a consummate criminal defense investigator who provided outstanding service for over 25 years.

The Margaret Winchester Award for Child Welfare Advocacy honors a staff member or a private attorney who, through their zealous advocacy and extraordinary commitment to children and parents in care and protection and other Massachusetts child welfare cases, is a model for other advocates seeking to protect the rights of children and parents.

SJC: Ask if Passenger Can Drive Before Impoundment

Police must ask an arrested driver whether they want a passenger to drive their vehicle to a safe location before authorities can decide whether it’s “reasonably necessary” to impound and conduct an inventory search, according to the Supreme Judicial Court. 

“We conclude that, where officers are aware that a passenger lawfully could assume custody of a vehicle, it is improper to impound the vehicle without first offering this option to the driver,” Justice Barbara A. Lenk wrote in a decision issued Monday. “Absent such an inquiry, the police cannot conclude that impoundment is ‘reasonably necessary.’”

Committee for Public Counsel Services appellate attorney Patrick Levin argued that the requirement for police to honor a practical alternative to impounding a vehicle “would be rendered meaningless if police were permitted simply to impound the vehicle without inquiring into an obvious, readily available alternative.”

Levin added that the police should have the burden to “make a reasonable inquiry” to the arrested individual’s wishes when there are alternatives to impoundment “readily apparent at the scene.”

Lawyers for the ACLU of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys wrote an amicus brief siding with CPCS.

Randy Gioia Outlines Concerns about Videoconferencing

Randy Gioia

Defense attorneys across the Commonwealth have voiced concerns about the prospect of expanding the use of videoconferencing in criminal proceedings.

District Court Chief Justice Paul C. Dawley has been accepting comments on a draft standing order outlining the use of videoconferencing.

Randy Gioia, deputy chief counsel for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, explained his reservations about expanding the practice to Mass Lawyers Weekly for a recent article on the ongoing controversy:

Gioia said he appreciated Dawley’s willingness to listen to the bar’s concerns but fears the expansion of videoconferencing will be a “step backward” after great progress on criminal justice issues.

Gioia said he does not understand why judges look so favorably on a process that “detracts from the dignity of the court and dehumanizes the person on the other end of the screen.” …

Gioia noted that it is fairly common for a defendant in the courtroom to whisper to his attorney: “What the prosecutor said isn’t right. Here’s what really happened.”

But that conversation cannot happen with videoconferencing, at least not without a significant interruption of the proceedings, he said.

Theoretically, a judge could tell a defendant, “If at any time you need to say something to your lawyer, just let me know and I’ll stop the proceedings,” Gioia said. But he said he has never seen or heard of that happening.