Author Archives: dsimonini

Committee Meeting Agenda – January 21, 2021 Meeting

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.  Registration is required.

  • Approval of minutes of the December 17, 2020 meeting
  • Audit and Oversight Overview
  • Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  • Monthly Financial Overview Report
  • COVID-19 Update
  • Chief Counsel Report

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Hello,

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
Chief Counsel
Committee for Public Counsel Services

Committee Meeting Agenda – December 17, 2020 Meeting

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 17, 2020.  Registration is required to attend the meeting.

  1. Approval of minutes of the November 19, 2020 meeting
  2. Amicus Request(s)
    1. Doe No. 7346 v. Sex Offender Registry Board, SJC-13032
  3. CAFL Counsel Shortage – emergency language
  4. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  5. Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  6. FY 2021 Budget Update
  7. FY 2022 Budget Proposal – Maintenance Request
  8. Chief Counsel Report

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Dec 17, 2020 05:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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CPCS Committee Meeting Agenda – November 19, 2020 Meeting

  • Approval of minutes of the October 15, 2020 meeting
  • Amicus Request(s)
    • C.M. v. Commissioner of Dep’t of Children & Family, SJC-13015
    • Commonwealth v. Jenks, SJC-13016
    • Silva v. Barr, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, No. 20-1593
    • Sign on in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction to Prohibit New Asylum Rule Expanding Criminal Bars from Going into Effect (Informational Purpose Only – Approved by Executive Committee on November 2, 2020)
    • Commonwealth v. Concepcion, SJC-12382 (Informational Purpose Only – Approved by Executive Committee on November 12, 2020)
  • FY 2020 Attrition Statistics
  • Calendar Year 2021 Meeting Dates
  • Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  • Monthly Financial Overview Report
  • FY 2021 Budget Update
  • Chief Counsel Report
  • Executive Session
    • Litigation Matter

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Committee Meeting Agenda – October 15, 2020 Meeting

  1. Approval of minutes of the September 17, 2020 meeting
  2. Amicus Request(s)
    • Commonwealth v. Sharma, 2020-P-0550
    • Commonwealth v. Hinds, SJC-12953
  1. Temporary Leave Policy Change
  2. Commitment $10,000 and Over Report
  3. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  4. Breathalyzer Litigation Update
  5. Equity and Inclusion Director Update
  6. Chief Counsel Report
  7. Executive Session

Registration is required to join the meeting
When: Oct 15, 2020 05:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Committee Meeting Agenda – September 17, 2020 Meeting

Due to social distancing, the Committee will be conducting all matters virtually

  1. Approval of minutes of the July 15, 2020 meeting
  2. Amicus Request(s)
    1. Commonwealth v. T.J., A Juvenile, SJC-12986
    2. Commonwealth v. Keith Winfield, 2019-P-871 (Reporting Only)
  3. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  4. Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  5. COVID-19 Status Update
  6. Litigation Update:
    1. Carasquillo
    2. DOC
    3. City of Springfield
  7. Chief Counsel Report

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Tribute to Attorney Ed Barshak, Early Pioneer in Massachusetts Indigent Defense

Edward J. Barshak, a titan in the Massachusetts legal industry and a trailblazer in the fight for the right to counsel, passed away last month. He was 96 years old.

Barshak spent his career pushing to create a better legal system for all people. He is an important figure in the history of indigent defense in Massachusetts, serving as the main litigator in Brown v. Commonwealth, the landmark Supreme Judicial Court decision that created a right to counsel for criminal defendants under the Massachusetts constitution. Six years later, the United States Supreme Court found that the federal Constitution bestowed the same rights in Gideon v. Wainwright.

Attorney Barshak served as the chair of the Massachusetts Defenders Committee, the precursor to the Committee for Public Counsel Services, for several years in the mid-1970’s.  He forcefully fought for federal funds for the MDC, demanding that public defenders receive the same level of funding as prosecutors.  He was a leader in establishing the Committee policy that staff attorneys would not represent co-defendants and obtained the backing of the SJC in support of that policy.  Finally, he also was instrumental in the establishment of the Roxbury Defenders Committee.

His career is filled with examples of stepping up to represent those who needed an attorney to fight for them against the power of the state.   When attorneys were accused of associating with communist activities during the Red Scare, Barshak rose to the occasion and represented them.  When a person was federally charged after advocating resistance to the Vietnam War draft, Barshak represented him – advocacy that led to the conviction being vacated by the First Circuit.

Barshak served as president of the Boston Bar Association from 1974 to 1976 and was honored with the BBA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. While heading the BBA, he helped create the Legal Advocacy and Resource Center, which continues to connect low-income individuals with free legal advice and referrals. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Judicial Nominating Committee.

“1970’s Boston was a time of upheaval and controversy. The city’s future stood on a knife edge, with communities torn apart by the contentious desegregation of Boston Public Schools and resulting busing crisis,” the BBA wrote, when giving Barshak the Lifetime Achievement Award. “At the time, the BBA was not known for weighing in on community issues. Ed, with a steadfast belief in the nobility of the legal profession, believed that lawyers could help guide progress and make a difference.”

Barshak also served as a Director for the Lawyers for Civil Rights, Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners and also Chair of the Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Appointments

In 2016, the Edward J. Barshak Fund for Justice was established to provide litigation resources for anti-discrimination cases brought by the Lawyers for Civil Rights.

Barshak was the recipient of the NAACP Boston Branch Special Award for Legal Assistance on a Continuing Basis. He also won the Anti-Defamation League’s William O. Douglas First Amendment Freedom Award.

Anthony J. Benedetti
Chief Counsel
Committee for Public Counsel Services
44 Bromfield Street
Boston, MA 02108

Committee Meeting Agenda – July 15, 2020 Meeting

Due to social distancing, the Committee will be conducting all matters by phone.

  1. Approval of minutes of the June 18, 2020 meeting
  2. Amicus Request(s):
    Commonwealth v. Josiah Zacher, SJC-12952
    Commonwealth v. Caliz, SJC-12932
    Commonwealth v. Delgado-Rivera, SJC-12929
  3. Contract Approval – 100 Cambridge Street, Boston
  4. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  5. CPCS Steps to Combat Racial & Ethnic Disparities
  6. Election of Officers
  7. Chief Counsel Report

Meeting ID: 876 6259 3378
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Committee Meeting Agenda – June 18, 2020 Meeting

Due to social distancing, the Committee will be taking all matters by phone.

  1. Approval of minutes of the May 20, 2020 meeting
  1. Amicus Requests – Reporting Only (approved by Executive Committee)
    1. Commonwealth Daniel Nash, 2019-P-0703
    2. Gonzalez v. Immigration & Customs Enf’t, 416 F. Supp. 3d 995 (C.D. Cal. 2019)
  1. Contracts
    1. FY 2021 Bar Advocate Program Contracts
    2. FY 2021 Provision of Legal Services to Dukes and Nantucket Counties Contract
    3. FY 2021 Bar Advocate Program Supervising Attorney Contracts
    4. FY 2021-FY 2022 CAFL Resource Attorney Contracts
    5. FY 2021-FY 2022 MH Regional Coordinator Contracts
  1. Lease Agreement – Boston Office
  1. Committee Rules and Regulations
  1. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  1. Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  1. FY 2021 Obligations over $25,000 for Preapproval
  1. Discussion of Criminal Justice System Inequities and Police Brutality
  1. Chief Counsel Report
    1. COVID-19
    2. Reopening Plan Update
  1. Executive Session – Personnel Matters

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Committee Meeting Agenda – May 20, 2020 Meeting

Due to the continued Stay at Home Advisory, the Committee will be taking all matters by phone.

  1. Approval of minutes of the April 16, 2020 meeting
  2. Amicus Request(s):
    William Dinkens and Eugene Ivey Mass. Parole Board, SJC-12882
    Commonwealth J.C., A Juvenile, Appeals Court No. 2020-P-0070;SJC-DAR-27424
    Commonwealth J.T., A Juvenile, SJC-12915 and Commonwealth v. G.L., A Juvenile, SJC-12916
  3. Salary Increase for Bar Advocate Program Staff
  4. Juvenile Supervising Attorney Contracts for FY 2021
  5. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  6. Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  7. COVID-19 Update
  8. Executive Session