Act Today! BBA Raises Concerns Over Lack of Judicial Discretion in Sentencing Reform Bill 

Monday, July 30, 2012

On Saturday, Governor Patrick amended H 4286 "An Act relative to sentencing and improving law enforcement tools".  The House and Senate have said they plan to take this amendment up immediately.  There are two days left in the Legislature's formal session. 

As you know, the Boston Bar Association is deeply concerned by the limitations of judicial discretion contained in H 4286 should it become law without Governor Patrick's amendment.  The Governor's amendment would provide for judicial discretion on parole eligibility subject to a review on appeal in those cases when it is in the "interest of justice" and there are "substantial and compelling reasons" to do so.  The judge would have the authority to allow parole eligibility for a habitual offender after serving two-thirds of the sentence or after 25 years for life sentences. 

We need to urge the members of the Senate and House of Representatives to support Governor Patrick's amendment.  Please call or email your state representative and state senator TODAY as well as Senate President Murray and Speaker DeLeo and urge them to support the governor's amendment. 

Click here to look up your state representative and senator.

The Boston Bar Association is a non-profit, voluntary membership organization of 10,000 attorneys drawn from private practice, corporations, government agencies, legal aid organizations, the courts, and law schools. It traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, the lawyer who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the second president of the United States.