Category Archives: Chief Counsel’s Office

CPCS HELPS UNITED WAY HELP THE HOMELESS

CPCS Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti was one of the guest speakers kicking off the United Ways’ Project Homeless Connect at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury, MA on August 11, 2017.  He explained to the more than 350 staff and volunteers what CPCS does, saying, “We defend the accused; we demand justice; we stand for the voiceless; we fight for the rights of children and parents, and we protect the rights of clients who suffer with mental health issues and drug and/or alcohol use issues.”  He praised the crowd for volunteering and giving back to the community, and thanked them for their help.  He told them that you can show you care by posting on Facebook or tweeting on Twitter, but people who really make a difference are people like you who give their time and effort to help others.

Staff from CPCS volunteered to help answer questions of the more than 250 homeless families that were expected to seek help from an array of service providers at the day-long event.  Other volunteers manned tables that offered housing, employment, and health and dental care, as well as legal advice from fellow legal volunteers from Greater Boston Legal Services and Massachusetts Law Reform.

Our CPCS colleagues volunteering at the day’s event were (in the photo in the back row from left to right) Chief Counsel Benedetti, Social Worker Sandra Caron from the Brockton CAFL Office, Atty. Jeff Richards the AIC from the YAD Roxbury Office, and Atty. Rosemarie Clinch from the Lowell CAFL Office, and (in the photo seated in the front row from left to right) Atty. David Satin from the Lowell CAFL Office, Atty. Maura Hardiman from the Brockton CAFL Office, and Atty. Connie Tran from the Malden District Court Office.

Lisa Kavanaugh’s Victory for Frederick Clay

INCREDIBLE!

CONGRATULATIONS to our colleague, Atty. Lisa Kavanaugh, Director of the CPCS Innocence Program, and her co-counsel, Atty. Jeff Harris of the Boston law firm Good, Cormier, Schneider and Fried, on their victory in convincing the Commonwealth to vacate the conviction of Frederick Clay, convicted of first degree murder in 1981.

Clay was convicted on the evidence of two eye witnesses who confirmed his identity only after being hypnotized by police investigators and shown the same array of photos several times.  New identification science reveals that this type of identification is profoundly flawed.  In addition, other witness statements that should have led police to investigate other suspects who more accurately fitted descriptions of the perpetrators were never followed up by them or by Clay’s trial attorney.

Below are links to some of the media reports that followed this incredible outcome, as well as to the press release issued by CPCS:

Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti receives NACDL 2017 Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award

Congratulations to Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti on receipt of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award, which “recognizes an individual or group whose tremendous efforts have led toward progressive reform of a state criminal justice system.” Continue reading

CPCS Honors the Best in Indigent Defense – 2017 Awards Ceremony

On Tuesday, April 25, CPCS had the pleasure of honoring exceptional members of our community – attorneys from the public and private counsel divisions, as well as a social worker, investigator and administrative professional – who work tirelessly to insure that CPCS meets our mission:  to fight for equal justice and human dignity by supporting our clients in achieving their legal and life goals; to zealously advocate for the rights of individuals; and to promote just public policy to protect the rights of all.

Gathered at the John Adams Courthouse were honorees, members of the staff and private bar, friends, family and clients of the honorees, as well as many Committee members.   The evening was aptly described by Committee Member Arnold Rosenfeld, “an outstanding demonstration of the spirit, diversity, and extraordinary competence of the full time staff and the members of the private bar who carry out the responsibilities of CPCS.  Those who received awards … all demonstrated an exceptional commitment to justice.  They all had remarkable stories to tell.”

The 2017 CPCS Award Recipients:

DEREGE B. DEMISSIE, Thurgood Marshall Award.   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.

Derege Demissie began his law career at the firm of Grayer & Dilday, where he concen-trated in immigration, civil rights and other civil litigation. Derege joined CPCS in 1998 as (continue reading here)

SARAH E. SCHOOLEY, Margaret Winchester Child Welfare Award.    The Margaret Winchester Child Welfare Advocacy Award honors a staff member or a private attorney who, through his or her 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.

Since 1990, Sarah Schooley has been providing high-quality representation to parents and  (continue reading here)

LISA M. KAVANAUGH, Carol Donovan Exceptional Advocacy Award.  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.

After a stellar academic career (Yale, summa cum laude; Harvard Law School, cum laude)  (continue reading here)

ANDREW S. CROUCH, Edward J. Duggan Award For Outstanding Service – Private Counsel. The Edward J. Duggan Award for Outstanding Service, Private Counsel is given to an Assigned Private Counsel 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 has been presented each year      (continue reading here)

ANGEL RODRIGUEZ, Maria Souto-Armand Goyette Investigator Award.  The Maria Souto-Armand Goyette 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.  (continue reading here)

JESSIE ALTAGRACIA BRITO, Maura Mellen Administrative Professional Award.  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.

Jessie Brito, the consummate dedicated, intelligent, hardworking, collaborative colleague,  (continue reading here)

BRANDON L. CAMPBELL, Paul J. Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award.  The Paul J. Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award recognizes a public defender or private attorney whose legal advocacy on behalf of persons involved in civil and/or criminal mental health proceedings best exemplifies zealous advocacy in furtherance of all clients’ legal interests.

Brandon Campbell has all the qualities of a stellar legal advocate.  Dogged determination  (continue reading here)

CYNTHIA NICHOLLS, Jane Addams Award For Outstanding Social Service Accomplishments.  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 his or her 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 (continue reading here)

LAURA CHRISMER EDMONDS, Jay D. Blitzman Youth Advocacy Award.  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, (continue reading here)

JOANNE DALEY, Edward J. Duggan Award For Outstanding Service – Public Defender.  The Edward J. Duggan Award for Outstanding Service, Public Defender is given to a Public Defender 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 has been presented each year since 1988 to the public defender who best represents zealous advocacy — the central principle governing the representation of indigents in Massachusetts. (continue reading here)

 

CPCS 2017 AWARDS CEREMONY

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO ATTEND
THE COMMITTEE FOR PUBLIC COUNSEL SERVICES 2017 AWARDS CEREMONY
TO HONOR MEMBERS OF OUR STAFF AND PRIVATE BAR 

JOHN ADAMS COURTHOUSE, PEMBERTON SQUARE, BOSTON
TUESDAY, APRIL 25, 2017 — 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

♦♦♦♦♦

Jane Addams Award for Outstanding Social Service Accomplishments 
Cynthia Nicholls

Jay D. Blitzman Award for Youth Advocacy
Laura Chrismer Edmonds

Carol A. Donovan Award for Exceptional Advocacy 
Lisa M. Kavanaugh

Edward J. Duggan Private Counsel Award for Outstanding Service 
Andrew S. Crouch

Edward J. Duggan Public Counsel Award for Outstanding Service
Joanne Daley

Paul J. Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award
Brandon L. Campbell

Thurgood Marshall Award
Derege B. Demissie

Maura Mellen Administrative Professional Award 
Jessie Altagracia Brito

Maria Souto-Armand Goyette Investigator Award
Angel Rodriguez

Margaret Winchester Child Welfare Advocacy Award
Sarah E. Schooley

RECEPTION TO FOLLOW AWARD CEREMONY — PLEASE RSVP HERE

Another Huge Loss in the Indigent Defense Community

10/6/11 3:40:14 PM -- Boston, Massachusetts Portrait of BU Law Professor Robert Spangenberg  Photo by Vernon Doucette for Boston University Photography

Bob Spangenberg – taken in 2011 when he joined the faculty at Boston University Law School

Sad news as another giant from the indigent defense world has passed away.  Robert (Bob) Spangenberg, who spent a lifetime working to improve access to counsel for the poor in criminal and civil cases died late last month at age 83.

In the 1960’s, as an advisor to the Lyndon Johnson administration, Bob was instrumental in the creation of the Office of Legal Services, the precursor of the Legal Services Corporation.  Having helped establish the largest national civil legal aid funder, Bob turned his attention to Boston, where he helped found the organization now known as Greater Boston Legal Services.  Before settling in the Commonwealth, Bob was called back to Washington to serve as Special Assistant to the first Director of the National Legal Services Program.

Bob returned to Boston to become the Executive Director of the Boston Bar Association’s Action Plan for Legal Services.  During his tenure, The Action Plan conducted in-depth research into the legal needs of the Commonwealth’s indigents. The Action Plan’s findings helped prompt the 1983 legislation which created the Committee for Public Counsel Services.  Bob served as a CPCS board member from its inception until 1995 and remained a strong supporter in the years after.

In 1985, Bob formed The Spangenberg Group (TSG).  For a quarter of a century TSG conducted research and provided technical assistance to civil and criminal legal systems around the United States and throughout the world.  During this period Bob testified before Congress and numerous state legislatures, leading to positive change in the delivery of legal services in many jurisdictions.  TSG’s work contributed to a critical rate increase for CPCS private assigned counsel.   Bob and TSG provided key information and expertise to CPCS in the Lavallee (Nathaniel Lavallee, et al. vs. The Justices of the Springfield District Court, 442 Mass. 228 (2004)) and the Arianna  (Arianna S., et al. v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, et al., SJ-2004-0282 (filed June 28, 2004)) cases.  As result of Lavallee and Arianna, the state legislature enacted hourly rate increases in criminal, juvenile and child welfare cases, and instigated the creation of the first CPCS District Court staff offices.

In 2009, Bob received the Champion of Indigent Defense award for outstanding efforts in making positive changes to indigent defense systems from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  The National Legal Aid and Defender Association Reginald Heber Smith award, as well as the Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense Robert O. Dawson award were presented to Bob in 2008.  In addition, Bob was the recipient of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bob was extremely generous with his time and expertise, always willing to answer a call for advice.  He maintained a keen interest in CPCS, often calling to check in on the never-ending battle for increased funding, or to get more details about a story he had seen in the press.

Bob Spangenberg will be sorely missed.  His work benefitted scores of individuals.   Although still inadequate, because of Bob the services available to indigent defendants and civil legal aid clients in the Commonwealth are significantly better than those provided in most other parts of the country.

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