Author Archives: dsimonini

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

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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

CPCS Committee Meeting Agenda – March 19, 2020 Meeting

As you are aware, recent events have raised serious public health concern.  As a result, Governor Baker has declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts.  In light of these developments, the Committee has determined that they are taking all matters that need to be addressed by phone.

  1. Approval of minutes of the February 25, 2020 meeting
  2. Hourly Cap Increase
  3. Coronavirus – Sick Leave Bank Change
  4. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  5. Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  6. Chief Counsel Report

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

NOMINATIONS ACCEPTED FOR ADDAMS, BLITZMAN, DONOVAN, DUGGAN, LIACOS, MARSHALL, MCPARLAND, MELLEN, SOUTO-GOYETTE AND WINCHESTER AWARDS 

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 dsimonini@publiccounsel.net.

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.

Awards

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.