Monthly Archives: April 2015

CPCS In Court App

The Committee for Public Counsel Services, is pleased to announce the launch of its first web app, “In Court.” See http://www.publiccounsel.net/incourt.

incourtThe project was the work of two legal-tech interns form Suffolk Law School, Jodie Gurry and Vedika Mehera. Gurry and Mehera built upon an existing CPCS tool, expanding its offerings to include resources for all CPCS practice areas. 

The app acts primarily as an aggregator, collecting links to various resources in a single mobile-friendly location. These are tools attorneys have found helpful to have on-hand in court. 

A list of most content sources along with an “updated on” date can be found by clicking on the information button (i.e., info ) found on each section’s navigation bar.

The resources are divided into seven sections, and you can filter content based on whether it is relevant to criminal or civil practice. Selecting “All” in the menu at the top of the home screen will show all content. Selecting “Criminal” will show only content relevant to criminal practice (e.g., PD, PC & YAD), and selecting “Civil” will show only content relevant to civil practice (e.g., CAFL, MH). The sections include:

  1. Duty Day Resources. A collection of quick-reference resources commonly helpful to have on hand at arraignment, including: judicial assignments, access to the MA Master Crime List and DYS grid, a tool for calculating indigency, and links directly to statutes for bail, dangerousness et al.  
  2. Practice Guides. A collection of guides and case notes for adult and juvenile criminal practice, child and family law, and mental health litigation.  
  3. Statutes, Cases, Rules et al. Links to commonly referenced rules and statutes along with tools for searching statutes and case law. 
  4. Tools and Guesstimators. A collection of general tools that might prove helpful, including a duration calculator, historical weather data search, language translator, and sentencing calculator.  
  5. Tables, Lists & Glossaries.  Includes: a list of judicial assignments, MA Master Crime List and DYS grid, and commonly used disposition codes to name a few. 
  6. Directories. Includes: attorney lookup by BBO number, court directories, CPCS staff directory, Mass Legal Services resource finder, District Attorney offices, DOC facilities, social service organizations, and DMH offices.
  7. Legal App roundup. A list of legal-interest iOS and Android apps. 

Gurry and Mehera shadowed CPCS attorneys across the Commonwealth to better understand their practice, and it is hoped the tool will find a home on the phones/tablets of attorneys across the Commonwealth. 

In Court is a web app. So you will not find it in an app store. All you have to do is visit the In Court page and add it to your home screen. If you’re unsure how to do that, check out How to Add Websites to the Home Screen on Any Smartphone or Tablet.

We are actively looking to improve our offerings. So if you have suggestions for tools we have missed or you discover a broken link, use the “Contact Curator” button in-app to send us an email.

For those of you interested in the details, the codebase for the app is available on GitHub and licensed under an MIT license

Featured image above by D Colarusso, left to right: Vedika Mehera and Jodie Gurry.

CPCS 2015 Award Recipients to be Honored at May 5, 2015 Awards Ceremony

Each year, the Committee for Public Counsel Services recognizes the work of individuals who dedicate their careers to overcoming injustice, and championing the cause of zealous representation and effective assistance of counsel for all. Please join us at the John Adams Courthouse on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. for the CPCS Awards Ceremony, where we will honor this year’s chosen exemplary attorneys, social workers, investigators, and professional administrative staff.  A reception will follow the presentation of awards. 

CPCS Chief Counsel Anthony J. Benedetti said, “This year’s event honors 11 outstanding members of the CPCS team. They are individuals who have made and continue to make extraordinary contributions to indigent defense. Not all are attorneys because CPCS realizes that zealous advocacy is only attainable through the best efforts of everyone involved in the representation of our clients. The staff and private bar receiving this year’s awards are the people who are the very foundation upon which CPCS has attained nationwide recognition and respect.”

This year’s honorees are:

  • Peg Higgins, who is receiving the Jane Addams Award for Outstanding Social Work for her consistent and superior performance as a social worker who exemplifies a commitment to clients through advocacy, support, and dedication.
  • Atty. David B. Paradis, who is receiving the Jay Blitzman Youth Advocacy Award for extraordinary work and dedication in ensuring that children accused of criminal conduct, or who are otherwise at risk, are treated fairly and with dignity.
  • Atty. John “Jack” Cunha, who is receiving the Edward J. Duggan for Outstanding Service Private Counsel Award for his incredible service to zealous advocacy, which has made him one of Massachusetts’ most respected attorneys.
  • Atty. Denise Regan, who is receiving the Edward J. Duggan for Outstanding Service Public Counsel Award for her unwavering commitment to the zealous advocacy of her clients and her dedication to the pursuit of justice.
  • Atty. Jeannie M. Rhinehart, Atty. Kally Walsh, and Atty. L. Mark Watkins, who are receiving this year’s Mary C. Fitzpatrick Children and Family Law Award for being steadfast in their efforts and success in representing the child, the grandparents, and the mother in a case in which the Department of Children and Families tried to terminate the mother’s parental rights because of her developmental disabilities.
  • Kerrie Antunes, who is receiving the Armand Goyette Investigator Award for outstanding investigative work in the furtherance of zealous advocacy on behalf of CPCS clients.
  • Atty. Antoinette “Toni” Hall, who is receiving the Paul J. Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award for exceptional legal advocacy on behalf of indigent persons involved in civil and/or criminal mental health proceedings.
  • Atty. Andrew L. Cohen, who is receiving the Thurgood Marshall Award for championing the cause of zealous representation for the poor and the right to effective assistance of counsel for all.
  • Dorothy “Dolly” Mele, who is receiving the Maura Mellen Administrative Professional Award for her limitless dedication and selfless contributions to the delivery of zealous and effective advocacy of CPCS clients.

 Please RSVP to Awards2015@publiccounsel.net.  

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Nancy Hathaway Receives Juvenile Bar Association Award

Nancy Hathaway, a supervising attorney in CPCS’s Children and Family Law Division office in Boston, was honored by the Juvenile Bar Association (JBA) with the Leo J. Lydon award at its annual conference on March 20.  The JBA is a statewide bar association dedicated to engaging and connecting attorneys who represent clients in abuse and neglect, delinquency, youthful offender and status offender cases.  This award, named for the late Juvenile Court Judge Leo J. Lydon, honors an attorney who has demonstrated the utmost integrity, sound judgment, and perseverance in zealous advocacy and who has elevated the standard of Juvenile Court practice through example.

While Nancy is being honored for her overall work on behalf of her clients, one particular recent case exemplifies her personal and professional qualities that inspired this award.  In a case that became quite high-profile, garnering local and national headlines and spawning extensive discussion on social media, Nancy represented a teenaged girl whose parents brought her to Boston for treatment of a controversial mitochondrial disease, were accused of neglect, and became embroiled in a complex custody dispute involving the state and medical providers.  Throughout the lengthy proceedings, Nancy was charged with representing the interests of her endearing, but very sick teenaged client.  In the end, Nancy was able to obtain the legal outcome that her client desired. 

CPCS thanks the JBA for its ongoing support of attorneys doing this most important work on behalf of children and parents in our communities and appreciates this generous and well-deserved tribute to Nancy.