It is my pleasure to share with everyone the news that three staff members from YAD will receive awards at the Annual Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) Awards Breakfast on September 20, 2018 (see attached flyer). JDAI is a national juvenile justice initiative that focuses on reducing the unnecessary and harmful use of secure detention for juveniles. It has a special focus on reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice population. Dozens of YAD staff members and private attorneys participate in JDAI activities on a regular basis. Continue reading
Congratulations to our colleague Atty. Rebecca A. Jacobstein and former colleague Atty. Kelli L. Porges for being among those to be honored by Mass Lawyers Weekly as Top Women of Law 2018. Rebecca and Kelli are among 50 women attorneys being celebrated for their “outstanding achievements….by exceptional women lawyers who have made tremendous professional strides and demonstrated great accomplishments in the legal field…”
Atty. Jacobstein is a CPCS staff attorney in the Appeals Unit of the Public Defender Division and has been one of the lead lawyers in the on-going litigation probing the misconduct of former Amherst Drug Lab chemist, Sonja Farak. She joined the Appeals Unit in April, 2014.
Atty. Porges was a CPCS staff attorney, most recently with the Boston Superior Court Trial Unit, where she put her incredible courtroom skills to work in gaining acquittals for clients charged with murder. She joined CPCS in August 2004, was certified to take murder cases in 2012, and recently left the agency to be a partner at the law firm of Iglehart & Porges.
The Top Women of Law 2018 event will be held on Thursday, October 18, 2918. Anyone who would like to attend can visit the following website for more details: https://masslawyersweekly.com/top-women-of-law-2018/honorees/.
We have posted a position for staff counsel in Boston.
Staff Counsel, Mental Health Litigation Division Administration:
The Staff Counsel assists the Trial Panel Director with overseeing the work and training of the Division’s private panel attorneys so that clients receive zealous representation. The Staff Counsel also participates in, and helps develop the Division’s training, certification, and recertification programs. The Staff Counsel reports directly to the Trial Panel Director of the Mental Health Litigation Division.
This opportunity may be found on our online job tracking system.
Please consider applying and let me know if you have questions.
Mark Larsen, Director
The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is now accepting applications to its fall 2018 Civil Commitment Certification Training.
In Massachusetts, people experiencing psychiatric distress can be involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, committed for up to six months, and treated with medications against their wishes. This substantial deprivation of liberty entitles these clients to court-appointed counsel to make sure that all their rights under the law are protected.
There is a great need for certified attorneys to represent these clients and it is rewarding work. Effective advocacy by attorneys can make a real difference in these cases. You will get client contact, litigation experience, and the satisfaction of knowing that the most vulnerable people in the Commonwealth had a lawyer to fight for their rights.
This certification training will be held at Community Legal Aid in Worcester on October 22, 23, 24 (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day), and November 5, 2018. November 5th will be a half-day mock hearing (you will be scheduled for either morning or afternoon, to be determined).
Please download the application from our website here: MHLD Panel Application
The deadline to apply is September 21, 2018. Applicants to the program must be accepted before registering. The cost of the training is $125.00.
For more information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Civil Commitment Certification Training, please contact Miriam Ruttenberg at (617) 910-5782, firstname.lastname@example.org or Paulette Marie at (617) 910-5844, email@example.com.
In response to the 2017 CPCS/Suffolk University survey regarding trial court video conferencing (VC), the Trial Court has established a Working Group to address various issues associated with VC. Technological malfunctions are one focus for the Working Group.
CPCS’s representatives on the Working Group seek to gather data so the Working Group can identify specific courts and correctional institutions that tend to experience malfunctions. This data will allow CPCS to work with the courts to remediate malfunctions.
CPCS Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti coauthored an Op Ed for the Boston Globe with
Dr. Laurie Guidry, chair of the Public Policy Committee for the Massachusetts Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (MATSA). The Op Ed, “Changing Sex Offender Law Needs to Be Evidence-Based”, opposes the Governor’s legislative response to the proposed release of Wayne Chapman. Two examiners found Chapman no longer sexually dangerous after having spent 40 years in custody, serving a lengthy prison sentence followed by sexually dangerous person civil commitment. The Globe posted the Op Ed on July 9, 2018, online. To read it visit: https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/07/09/changing-sex-offender-law-needs-evidence-based/495OLMLwZHlpu4rTUDH4RP/story.html.
The Children and Family Law (CAFL) Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is seeking qualified attorneys to represent children and indigent parents in care and protection/termination of parental rights and child requiring assistance cases in the Juvenile Court.
There is a significant shortage of CAFL attorneys in western Massachusetts. The need is most critical in the Springfield Juvenile Court. As a result we are particularly interested in applicants who are able to accept CAFL appointments in Springfield as soon as possible after successfully completing the certification training.
Admission to the seven day CAFL trial panel certification training is by application only. The training dates are September 24-26 and October 2 in Sturbridge and either October 3 & 4 in Boston or October 4 & 5 in Springfield followed by a one day mock hearing scheduled at locations throughout the state from October 15 to 17. Applicants with extensive trial experience may request a waiver of the trial skills portion of the training program (the last one and one-half days), and the mock hearing.
We will give preference to attorneys who commit to practicing in western Massachusetts and to attorneys who submit completed applications by Friday, July 20, 2018.
The application and training requirements can be found here: https://www.publiccounsel.net/wp-content/uploads/CAFL-Trial-Panel-Training-Application-Fall-2018.doc
The Berkshire Eagle
Monday, June 11, 2018 9:51 am
STEPHANIE ZOLLSHAN — THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
Attorney Richard LeBlanc of Pittsfield has received the Edward Duggan Award from the state Commission of Public Counseling Services for his work as a public defender in the Berkshires. Tuesday, May 22, 2018.
“It’s all I ever wanted to do”: A love of the law led Richard LeBlanc to become a public defender. Now, he’s being honored for his “zealous advocacy.”
PITTSFIELD — Richard LeBlanc’s mother loved novels that were written by mystery writers.
They included books by Erle Stanley Gardner, who created Perry Mason, a Los Angeles defense attorney who fought long odds trying to clear his clients from seemingly insurmountable situations. Mason’s exploits became the subject of one of the most beloved and long running crime dramas in television history. LeBlanc’s whole family were big fans of the show; Rick especially liked the way it contained realistic interpretations of the law.
“The law was right down the line,” said LeBlanc, a Pittsfield native who graduated from Taconic High School in 1971. “It just fascinated me the way the whole thing worked.”
Fast forward several years. LeBlanc turned his love for Mason into a love for the law into a career as a public defender — “it’s all I ever wanted to do” — where he’s often found himself representing clients facing the same situations that his television alter ego was up against. He’s represented two of Berkshire County’s most notorious defendants, convicted child serial killer Lewis Lent, and convicted school shooter Wayne Lo. Continue reading
CPCS and the Mass Bar issued a joint statement on Friday, June 8, 2018, responding to those calling for the removal of Judge Timothy Q. Feeley. CPCS and the Mass Bar warn that removing a judge because he or she made an unpopular decision would threaten the independence of the Judiciary. See statement below or view statement at the following link: MBA/CPCS Statement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 8, 2018
CONTACTS: MBA: Kelsey Sadoff (617) 338-0680; Cameron Woodcock / (617) 338-0675; CPCS General Counsel Lisa Hewitt (617) 910-5717
Mass. Bar Association and CPCS Warn Removal of Judge
Would Threaten Judicial Independence
BOSTON, Mass. —Massachusetts Bar Association President Christopher P. Sullivan and Committee for Public Counsel Services Chief Counsel Anthony J. Benedetti release the following statement in opposition to calls for the removal of Superior Court Judge Timothy Q. Feeley:
The recent uproar related to Judge Timothy Q. Feeley’s lawful sentencing of convicted drug dealer Manuel Soto-Vittini illustrates the absolute importance of preserving an independent judiciary. As the public outcry increases, facts get distorted, and misinformation travels faster than it can be corrected. Continue reading