The Children and Family Law Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is seeking qualified attorneys to represent children in Child Requiring Assistance cases in the Juvenile Court. Admission to the CRA panel is by application only and requires completion of a two-day training. Applicants must be members of the Massachusetts Bar, or be admitted to the Bar of another state and be eligible to practice law in Massachusetts. All attorneys who accept CPCS assignments are required to maintain malpractice insurance.
The 2018 February CRA Training Application can be found in the link below:
2018 CRA Application
Upon filing a petition at the SJC that seeks relief for the thousands whose cases were tainted by Amherst Drug Lab Chemist Sonia Farak and further exacerbated by the misconduct of two assistant attorneys general, CPCS sent out the following press release:
CPCS Files Petition Seeking Relief from Convictions Tainted by Amherst Lab Chemist and the Misconduct of Two Assistant Attorneys General
(Boston) – Today the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) filed a petition in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of thousands of potential clients, requesting that the Court dismiss with prejudice every case tainted by the misconduct uncovered recently at the Amherst Drug Laboratory by chemist, Sonia Farak. This action comes after the dismissal of thousands of other convictions tainted by another state laboratory employee, Annie Dookhan. Continue reading
David Hallinan receiving the American Bar Association’s Harrison Tweed Award
The following article on the Essex County Bar Advocate Program being named this year’s recipient of the American Bar Association’s Harrison Tweed Award appeared in The Salem News on June 28, 2017: http://www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/local-legal-assistance-program-receives-national-award/article_825265e8-c83e-5c41-9873-f47c655446ed.html
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services responsible for issues of mental health and substance use, recently released a letter with recommendations for the treatment of pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorder and their infants. The text of the letter, containing many useful links, is available here: https://www.publiccounsel.net/cafl/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2017/08/SAMSHA-Dear-Colleague-Letter-2017-2.pdf
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.
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:
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
Below is a link to a PDF of the piece in Lawyers Weekly from Max Stern and Michael Keating.
The Massachusetts Department and Children and Family Services (DCF) has a new policy directing social workers how to conduct clinical assessments and create “action plans.” The policy went into effect on February 6, 2017 and replaces DCF’s “Assessment Policy # 85-011” and “Service Planning and Referral Policy # 97-003.” As part of the new policy, the term “action plans” will replace “service plans.”
A full summary and comments on the new policy are available here: Action Plan Summary and Comments.
The new DCF policy is available here : https://www.publiccounsel.net/cafl/professional/triallitigation-practice-tools-and-resources.