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CPCS Annual Training Conference

FINAL REMINDER!! Limited Space Available

Please join us at the CPCS Annual Training Conference on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 8:00 – 5:00, at the DCU Center on 50 Foster Street in Worcester.

Ruth A. Potee, MD will be the keynote presenter on the topic of the Physiology of Addiction and Opioid Use. She will explain the effects of opioid and other drug use on the brain, and present forceful arguments for long-term multi-faceted treatment models.  The keynote will be followed by workshop sessions on a wide variety of topics of interest to criminal, juvenile, child welfare and mental health practitioners, including but not limited to the wrongful conviction and exoneration of Frederick Clay, litigating nursing home admissions, appellate advocacy, criminal case law update, how to use social science research in your case, the new sentencing guidelines, restorative justice, ensuring language access, advanced issues in Superior Court litigation, representing emerging adults, how to contest preliminary drug test results, a practicum on mindfulness, as well as the latest from the immigration impact unit.

At midday, we will gather to hear remarks from Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti, who will also be presenting the Thurgood Marshall Award to Nancy T. Bennett. A box lunch will be served.

The conference is approved for 6.5 CLEs.

Advance registration is required.  Our annual conference fills up quickly, so please register early to ensure a seat.  To register, please visit the Eventbrite Annual Conference registration page by clicking HERE.

If you have any questions about registration, please contact Bonnie Mullen at bmul...@publiccounsel.net.

RESOURCE ATTORNEY POSITION

CPCS is accepting applications for Resource Attorney Positions with the Children and Family Law (CAFL) Division in the following regions: Berkshire, Essex–South, Middlesex–South, Suffolk and Worcester counties.

The Resource Attorney position is an excellent opportunity for experienced, dedicated and zealous advocates to share their knowledge with CAFL practitioners for the benefit of indigent clients.

Resource Attorneys provide legal and technical assistance to all trial panel members in their designated region or court.  They are responsible for coordinating and presenting relevant legal education trainings in collaboration with the CAFL Training Unit. Resource Attorneys serve as liaisons between the court and the CAFL Trial Panel Support Office.  Resource Attorneys are required to have “office hours” where they are available to members of the private bar at least twice a month.

The Resource Attorney works collaboratively with an assigned trial panel support staff attorney on local practice issues, legal education, and advice.  They submit quarterly reports and bills.

Resource Attorneys do not oversee the local mentoring program nor are they responsible for mentoring new CAFL trial panel members.

Applicants must be CAFL certified and have a minimum of five years of experience representing children and parents in state intervention proceedings.  Applicants with experience representing parties in status offenses, guardianships of minors, and other Probate and Family Court matters are preferred.  Applicants must have significant litigation experience.

To apply, please email a statement of interest including the region(s) in which you are interested, a detailed description of three contested Termination of Parental Rights Trials, a current resume, and a legal writing sample by May 4, 2018,  to Alice Turner, (CAFLattorney@publiccounsel.net).

 

CPCS Brings Gideon to the State House

Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti

In recognition of the 55th Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, CPCS held an informational forum for Legislators and their staff on Gideon and the right to counsel at the Massachusetts State House on March 20, 2018.  Although a majority of those attending were staff, several legislators, including State Rep. Joan Meschino (D-Hull), State Rep. Jack Lewis (D-Framingham), and State Rep. Chynah Tyler (D-Roxbury) were on hand for a portion of the day’s event.

CPCS Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti thanked the audience for

SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants

Sen. William Brownsberger

attending and recognized guest speakers, SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants and Senate Judiciary Chairman William Brownsberger (D-Belmont), for agreeing to share their perspective on why the right to counsel is so important.  Both speakers focused their remarks on quality counsel and why it is necessary if we are to fulfill Gideon’s promise.  Chief Justice Gants explained that expecting attorneys, both public and private, to accept cases for inadequate compensation leads to a dearth of quality counsel.  He called attention to the fact that public attorneys who represent the liberty interests and rights of the Commonwealth’s indigent do not make nearly as much as Executive Branch attorneys who do important work, but who do not face the same burdens and complications as public defenders, especially risking a client’s freedom.  Sen. Brownsberger spoke to his personal experience as a member of the private bar who accepted indigent cases and the difficulties attorneys face, including the lack of trust clients have for most public and private assigned counsel when their they are first assigned.

Before showing the film, “Defending Gideon”, Chief Counsel Benedetti gave a brief history of the right to counsel in Massachusetts, noting, “In Massachusetts, we have unwaveringly upheld this freedom far longer than most other states with the right to counsel having a long and legendary history.  When Gideon was decided, the belief that the right to counsel is fundamental was very old news in the Commonwealth – by nearly 200 years.”  He took the audience from 1770 Colonial Massachusetts with John Adams and the Boston Massacre to 1963 and the Commonwealth’s direct involvement with Gideon because of Massachusetts Assistant AG Gerald Berlin’s amicus brief in support of Mr. Gideon and the right to counsel.

The Chief Counsel closed by telling the audience, “Although we are here to celebrate Gideon, we must also defend it.  As states across the nation struggle with dwindling fiscal resources the right that Gideon secured is in jeopardy….‘Defending Gideon’ tells the story of Clarence Earl Gideon and the successful outcome of his efforts, and it alerts us to the risks challenging the right to counsel that he so persuasively won.”  He added, “Unlike many other states, the Massachusetts system provided through CPCS has been lauded as ‘the best statewide indigent defense program in the country’, it has often been a model to which other states turn when they are looking to improve their systems, and we continue to work tirelessly with the help of both the Legislature and the Court to make certain that we protect the right to counsel and provide the highest quality, zealous representation possible to our clients.”

 

CPCS 2018 ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO ATTEND
THE COMMITTEE FOR PUBLIC COUNSEL SERVICES
2018 ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY
TO HONOR MEMBERS OF OUR STAFF AND PRIVATE BAR
__________

Thurgood Marshall Award
Nancy T. Bennett
(to be awarded at the Annual Conference on May 15, 2018)

Jane Addams Award for Outstanding Social Service Accomplishments
Norman Beach

Edward J. Duggan Public Counsel Award for Outstanding Service
Richard D. LeBlanc

Edward J. Duggan Private Counsel Award for Outstanding Service
Jeanne Earley

Maura Mellen Administrative Professional Award
Bonnie E. Mullen

Paul J. Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award
Karen Owen Talley

Margaret Winchester Child Welfare Advocacy Award
Ann Balmelli O’Connor

Jay D. Blitzman Award for Youth Advocacy
Ryan M. Schiff

Carol A. Donovan Award for Exceptional Advocacy
Wendy S. Wayne

Maria Souto-Armand Goyette Investigator Award
Eddie Coren, Jr.
_________

RECEPTION TO FOLLOW AWARD CEREMONY

PLEASE RSVP HERE

CPCS Atty. Wendy Wayne and Other Advocates File Writ of Protection Asking SJC to Block Immigration Arrests at Massachusetts Courthouses

On March 15, 2018, the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) Immigration Impact Unit, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice (LCCR) and Greater Boston Legal Services filed a petition in the Commonwealth’s highest court, seeking a “writ of protection” to prevent federal immigration officials (ICE) from arresting individuals on civil immigration matters while they attend to court business.  Continue reading

Private Counsel Compensation Hearings – SPRINGFIELD HEARING POSTPONED

DUE TO THE ADVERSE WEATHER PREDICTED FOR TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2018, THE SPRINGFIELD HEARING IS BEING POSTPONED. 

A NEW HEARING WILL BE SCHEDULED IN SPRINGFIELD AND NOTICE OF THAT EVENT WILL BE PUBLISHED SHORTLY.

Pursuant to M.G.L. ch. 211D, § 11 (Establishment and Review of Compensation Rates) CPCS will be holding hearings in order to solicit input on the current rates of compensation for attorneys who accept appointments to represent indigent persons.  All persons who accept these appointments are invited to attend and to provide input on this issue.

March 6, 2018                                              March 13, 2018
4:30 – 6:00 p.m.                                           3:00-4:30 p.m.
Taunton Superior Courthouse                  Springfield Hall of Justice
9 Court Street                                              50 State Street
Taunton, MA  02780                                   Springfield, MA  01103

March 20, 2018
John Adams Courthouse
Great Hall, 2nd Floor Conference Suite
One Pemberton Square
Boston, MA  02108
4:00 -5:30 p.m.

Written Testimony may be emailed to Denise Simonini at:  dsimonini@publiccounsel.net

Please include subject line:  “Public Compensation Hearing”

THE HISTORY OF THE ROXBURY DEFENDERS – February 13, 2018 – First Church Roxbury

Last Tuesday night I, and many other people, attended an event entitled “The History of the Roxbury Defenders” at the First Church in Roxbury.  The event was cosponsored by the Roxbury Historical Society and the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry.  It was great. A group of four former Roxbury Defenders, and the current Roxbury Defender Attorney-in-Charge,  spoke to a large group of neighborhood residents, and many CPCS people about their experiences as attorneys of color bringing equal justice and high quality legal services to an underserved community.  The speakers were former SJC Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, former SJC Associate Justice, Geraldine Hines, former Roxbury District Court Presiding Justice, Milton Wright, former Boston Juvenile Court Justice Leslie Harris and current Attorney-in-Charge of the Roxbury Defenders, Yolanda Acevedo.  The group was moderated by long-time State Representative, Byron Rushing.  Each speaker told of their experiences that illuminated the depth of the struggle they faced and continue to face fighting for equal justice in their community.  The history of the Roxbury Defenders is fascinating and inspiring.

Former SJC Chief Justice Roderick Ireland spoke first.  Justice Ireland was the first black person appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court in 1997, more than 300 years after the formation of the Court.  The SJC was formed in 1692 as part of the charter for the Province of Massachusetts Bay.  In 1971, when Ireland was twenty-seven years old, he and Wallace Sherwood formed the original Roxbury Defenders. At the time, people in Roxbury received legal representation in criminal cases from the Massachusetts Defenders Committee, but there was no permanent public defender office in Roxbury. The Roxbury Defenders office was the first.  Sherwood and Ireland established the Roxbury Defenders in an energetic and inspired manner.  They hired a small staff and set out to be pioneers and great lawyers.  They challenged systemic issues.  At the time, pre-trial court hearings were not recorded.  Ireland and Sherwood brought a lawsuit, challenging the lack of recording. Although they did not win the case, their challenge was the first step towards the recording of all court proceedings.  Also, at that time, judges could interrupt and stop probable cause hearings if they determined they had enough evidence for probable cause.  These judicial interruptions often denied defense counsel the opportunity to complete cross-examination of prosecution witnesses or to present witnesses.  The Roxbury Defenders challenged this practice as a violation of the defendant’s right to call his own witnesses and the SJC agreed.   Aside from legal challenges, the early Roxbury Defenders sought to increase community awareness of legal issues.  They produced a local radio show, called “Legal Line”, on which they answered questions from listeners and discussed topical legal issues. By the time Ireland left the Defenders in 1974, they had established a social services department and published a weekly newspaper. They were handling about 1500 cases a year and the office eventually grew to about 12 lawyers.  Geraldine Hines and Margaret Burnham (first black woman judge in Massachusetts) were early staff attorneys.

Geraldine Hines, who was the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Judicial Court, spoke about the struggle for black women attorneys in Boston in the early seventies. Justice Hines put it politely when she said: “there were cultural issues to fight through”.   She was a Roxbury Defender in 1973 when she was sitting in a Roxbury courtroom, waiting to have her case called.  She sat until her case was the only one that had not been called.  The judge asked her: “Ms. Hines, are you a lawyer?” Hines replied: “I have sat here all day and you haven’t asked anyone else that question.” She refused to answer the question and the judge left the bench without calling her case.

Milton Wright, another former Roxbury Defender, who went on to become the Presiding Justice in the Roxbury District Court, also spoke about the struggles he faced as a black attorney in Boston.  Wright spoke about a time, in the early 80s, when he was working as a Roxbury Defender.  He went up to the lock-up to see his client.  He was blocked by a court officer, who asked: “Who are you?”  He responded: “I’m Mr. Wright, who are you?”  Wright, who is also a professional singer – he is known as the “singing judge” – always wanted to be an entertainer but said that nothing compared to being a Roxbury Defender.

Leslie Harris, another Roxbury Defender, who became a juvenile judge, spoke about his path to the Roxbury Defenders.  Harris started out as a grade school teacher in Boston and was inspired by Judge David Nelson, who was the first black person to be appointed to the federal bench in Massachusetts.  He remembers Nelson urging teachers to become probation officers so they could assist underserved young people.  Harris became a probation officer but was inspired by watching attorneys in court.  He decided he wanted to become an attorney, specifically a Roxbury Defender.  He went to law school and was soon hired as a Roxbury Defender.

Yolanda Acevedo, the current Attorney-in-Charge of the Roxbury Defenders, spoke about her long career as a Roxbury Defender.   Yolanda has been a Roxbury Defender since 1982;  her entire legal career.  She has been the Attorney-in-Charge for the last five years.  Yolanda spoke about the inspiration she has continuously received from the Roxbury Defenders, especially in her early days, when she worked with John Amabile – currently a preeminent private criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts – and Martha Reeves – currently a federal Administrative Law Judge. Yolanda also spoke of her struggle as a woman Hispanic attorney, recounting that she was asked if she was the court interpreter.

As the evening began to wind down, moderator Byron Rushing stated that things had improved for poor black people in the criminal justice system.  Justice Hines pushed back.  She said racial disparity is still a major problem in the Massachusetts criminal justice system.  She cited Massachusetts’ poor record of racial disparity in sentencing and the persistence of implicit bias in all aspects of the criminal justice system.  Yolanda also mentioned the many injustices that continue, including the imposition of extraordinarily high bails that keep accused people locked up and the persistence of minimum mandatory sentences that prevent the client’s life story from being considered by the sentencing judge.

This event drew a large group of people from the community and from CPCS.  The Roxbury Defenders is an institution in Roxbury and is part of the proud history of CPCS and a tribute to its fight for equal justice.  Here are some photographs from the event.

Mental Health Litigation Certification Training Spring 2018

The CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division is now accepting applications for its spring 2018 Certification Training. The first 5 days of the training will be held at the Worcester Registry of Deeds on the following dates:

  • Monday, April 23, 2018 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Monday, April 30, 2018 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Tuesday, May 1, 2018 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • The 6th day of the training on clinical aspects of mental health litigation is tentatively scheduled for May 18, 2018, location TBD.
  • Please download the application from our website here
  • Applicants must be accepted before registering for the training.
    For more information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Certification Training, please contact Joe Robinson at 617-910-5784, jrobinson@publiccounsel.net or Paulette Marie at 617-910-5844, pmarie@publiccounsel.net
    The deadline to apply is April 2, 2018.

Nominations Accepted for Duggan, Marshall, Donovan, Blitzman, Winchester, Liacos, Mellen, Addams and Souto-Goyette Awards

Nomination Process

The Committee will present the awards at an Awards Ceremony on April 26, 2018 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 email to dsimonini@publiccounsel.net.

Nominations must be submitted no later than February 23, 2018.  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 at https://www.publiccounsel.net/blog/2017/01/23/cpcs-past-award-recipients. Continue reading