Author Archives: dsimonini

Committee Meeting Agenda – January 16, 2020 Meeting

  1. Approval of minutes of the December 18, 2019 meeting
  2. Amicus Requests:
    1. Commonwealth v. Long, SJC-12868
    2. Commonwealth v. Rambert, 2018-P-1282
    3. Commonwealth v. J.S., A Juvenile, 2019-P-1645
    4. Four Co-Defendant Cases:  SJ-2019-0511; SJC-0513; SJ-2019-0512; SJ-2019-0510
    5. Commonwealth v. Bohigian, SJC-12858 (Reporting Only)
  3. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  4. Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  5. Chief Counsel Report

Calendar Year 2020 Committee Meeting Dates

All meetings will being at 5:30 p.m. in the CPCS Conference Rooms at 44 Bromfield Street, Boston, MA.  The meetings will be held on either a Wednesday or Thursday evening as noted.

January 16 (Thursday)
February 19 (Wednesday)
March 19 (Thursday)
April 16 (Thursday)
May 20 (Wednesday)
June 17 (Wednesday)
July 15 (Wednesday)
August (NO MEETING)
September 16 (Wednesday)
October 14 (Wednesday)
November 18 (Wednesday)
December 16 (Wednesday)

Committee Meeting Agenda – November 20, 2019 Meeting

AGENDA

Executive Session:
 *FY 2020 Compensation Proposal – Discussion of Chief Counsel and Manager Salaries

Open Session:

  1. FY 2020 Compensation Proposal – Committee Vote on Chief Counsel and Manager Salaries Pursuant to Line Item 0321-1500 in Section 2 of Chapter 41 of the Acts of 2019 (FY 2020 General Appropriation Law)
  2. Approval of minutes of the October 17, 2019 meeting
  3. Approval of minutes of the October 28, 2019 special meeting
  4. Amicus Request(s)
    • Doe No. 36870 SORB, FAR No. 27130 (report only)
    • Dept. of Revenue v. Joshua Grullon, SJC-12784
    • Commonwealth Tykorie Evely, SJC-12808
    • Commonwealth Lewis, 18-P-765
    • Impounded Case, SJC-12827
  5. FY 2021 Budget Proposal – Maintenance Only
  6. Staff Attrition Report
  7. Calendar Year 2020 Meeting Dates
  8. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  9. Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  10. Chief Counsel Report
    *Counsel Shortage Report

Good Work of Public Defenders Leads to Outstanding Results in the SJC

Recently, the outstanding efforts of public defenders – and assigned counsel – have led to great results for our clients in the Supreme Judicial Court.  This Tuesday, the SJC issued two groundbreaking decisions expanding access to post-conviction forensic analysis under G.L. c. 278A, in Commonwealth v. Williams and Commonwealth v. Putnam.  And just two weeks earlier, the Court decided in Commonwealth v. Feliz and Commonwealth v. Johnson that the attachment of a GPS monitor is a constitutionally significant search that cannot be imposed on a mandatory basis.

Lisa Kavanaugh, Director of the CPCS Innocence Program, submitted an amicus brief in Williams and Putnam, along with exoneree Dennis Maher and attorneys from the New England Innocence Project and the Boston College Innocence Project.  Both cases were argued by Merritt Schnipper, who was assigned counsel.  The SJC adopted the arguments made by the defendants and amici, holding that a claim of factual innocence can be asserted by a defendant who claims that no crime occurred.  As a result of the hard work of the advocates involved, Massachusetts has become one of a very small number of jurisdictions that recognize self-defense as a form of factual innocence.

David Rangaviz of the Public defender Division Appeals Unit represented Mr. Feliz in the SJC, in his appeal from the mandatory imposition of a GPS monitor pursuant to G.L. c. 256, §47, following his conviction on child pornography charges.  Mr. Feliz was represented in Suffolk Superior Court by Public Defender Division staff attorney,  Alyssa Hackett.  The SJC held that the imposition of the GPS monitor is a search that cannot comport with article 14 unless a judge makes an individualized determination that the Commonwealth’s interest in imposing the GPS monitor outweighs the privacy invasion occasioned by such monitoring.  Given the record establishing the very onerous nature of a GPS device (Alyssa presented evidence showing that Mr. Feliz’s device frequently lost signal, often requiring him to leave his workplace to walk around outside – or risk arrest), his perfect compliance with probation, and his low risk of re-offense, the SJC struck the probation condition subjecting him to GPS monitoring.  Credit is also due to Ryan Schiff, former CPCS Director of Juvenile Appeals and Special Litigation staff attorney, who worked with Alyssa to craft the motion in the trial court.   Thanks to the efforts of these dedicated public defenders, many of our clients will be freed from their electronic shackles.  This case represents a much-needed departure from our “one size fits all” treatment of people convicted of sex offenses.

Thank you and congratulations to Lisa, Merritt, Dave, Alyssa and Ryan!  And thank you to entire staff for your tireless work arguing and preserving these types of issues at every level to make systemic change possible!

 

2019 Nominations for Annual Awards

Nomination Process

The Committee will present the awards at an Awards Ceremony on April 24, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston.

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 dsimonini@publiccounsel.net.

Nominations must be submitted no later than February 22, 2019.  All nominations must include a written explanation of why the nominee should be honored.

The Committee is pleased to announce that an award designed to honor excellence of Operations staff will be presented for the first time at the 2019 Awards Ceremony.  The Teresa McParland Award for Operations Excellence honors Terry’s almost 40 years of dedicated service to CPCS, in a career that spanned the Finance, Human Resources and IT Units. 

For a list of past award recipients, please check our website at https://www.publiccounsel.net/award-recipients-1998-2018/.

Awards

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 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 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.

Committee Meeting Dates – CY 2019

All meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be held on the third Wednesday of the month except where noted.

January 15, 2019 (Tuesday starting at 11:00 a.m.)
February 20, 2019 February 26, 2019 (Tuesday)
March 20, 2019
April 17, 2019
May 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
July 17, 2019
August – NO MEETING
September 18, 2019
October 16, 2019
November 20, 2019
December 18, 2019

YAD Staff Recognized for their Efforts Fighting Racism Across the State

It is my pleasure to share with everyone the news that three staff members from YAD will receive awards at the Annual Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) Awards Breakfast on September 20, 2018 (see attached flyer).  JDAI is a national juvenile justice initiative that focuses on reducing the unnecessary and harmful use of secure detention for juveniles.  It has a special focus on reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice population.  Dozens of YAD staff members and private attorneys participate in JDAI activities on a regular basis. Continue reading

MLW Top Women of the Law

Congratulations to our colleague Atty. Rebecca A. Jacobstein and former colleague Atty. Kelli L. Porges for being among those to be honored by Mass Lawyers Weekly as Top Women of Law 2018.  Rebecca and Kelli are among 50 women attorneys being celebrated for their “outstanding achievements….by exceptional women lawyers who have made tremendous professional strides and demonstrated great accomplishments in the legal field…”[1]

Atty. Jacobstein is a CPCS staff attorney in the Appeals Unit of the Public Defender Division and has been one of the lead lawyers in the on-going litigation probing the misconduct of former Amherst Drug Lab chemist, Sonja Farak.  She joined the Appeals Unit in April, 2014.

Atty. Porges was a CPCS staff attorney, most recently with the Boston Superior Court Trial Unit, where she put her incredible courtroom skills to work in gaining acquittals for clients charged with murder.  She joined CPCS in August 2004, was certified to take murder cases in 2012, and recently left the agency to be a partner at the law firm of Iglehart & Porges.

The Top Women of Law 2018 event will be held on Thursday, October 18, 2918.  Anyone who would like to attend can visit the following website for more details:  https://masslawyersweekly.com/top-women-of-law-2018/honorees/.

 

 

[1] https://masslawyersweekly.com/top-women-of-law-2018/