As you may have already seen, the state – responding to a joint request from CPCS and the Massachusetts Bar Association – has added defense attorneys and other “court system workers” to Phase 2 of the vaccination priority list. The decision to add defense attorneys to the Phase 2 designation came over the weekend in response to a joint letter (See: Attached) we sent to Gov. Charlie Baker on Jan. 6.
We appreciate that the governor and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services quickly responded to our request. We also owe a debt of gratitude to MBA leadership, which continues to support the work that we do, and was ready and willing to stand with us as we made this request.
More information about the vaccine priority list can be found here. We are seeking more clarifying information from HHS and the governor’s office, including: the full list of defense attorneys and support staff involved in Phase 2 and where we fall on the priority list once the state enters the Phase 2 portion of the priority list. As of now, it is anticipated that Phase 2 distribution will occur during February and March. We will provide you with more information as it becomes available.
In seeking Phase 2 designation, our letter to the governor and HHS pointed out that defense attorneys and our supporting professionals both help maintain the critical infrastructure necessary to the ongoing operation of the judicial system to assure public safety. We also noted the enormous backlog of cases, and the fact that defense attorneys and supporting professionals must be ready to enter courthouses, jails and prisons as soon as possible to facilitate the operation of the judicial system.
It is clear that the state took our concerns seriously. Once again, I want to thank the MBA for its guidance and support in this ever-important campaign.
I look forward to providing more information as it comes in. Until then, stay safe, and thank you for all of the hard work you put in on behalf of our clients.
Anthony J. Benedetti
Committee for Public Counsel Services