Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013
Criminal Justice Section Council Chair Radha Natarajan (left) and Vice Chair Adam Foss present the recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Court Study Group on Eyewitness Identification, at the Nov. 7 House of Delegates meeting
House of Delegates support eyewitness ID study, other measures
The November House of Delegates meeting convened at New England
Law | Boston last month, the first of several HOD meetings that
will be held at Boston-area law schools during the 2013-14
association year. Massachusetts Bar Association President Douglas
K. Sheff opened the meeting by recounting several recent and
successful bench-bar collaborations, including the MBA's annual
Bench-Bar Symposium. Sheff also previewed his upcoming "12 for 12"
initiative, a new program aimed at getting 12,000 lawyers over 12
months to ask their clients to send letters of support to
legislators for increased court funding.
Among the most discussed items at the meeting, the HOD voted
unanimously in favor of recommendations contained in a study aimed
at improving the procedures used in eyewitness identification in
criminal trials. Criminal Justice Section Council Chair Radha
Natarajan and Vice Chair Adam Foss presented the recommendations
contained in both the majority and minority reports of the Supreme
Judicial Court Study Group on Eyewitness Identification, which were
formulated by prosecutors, defense attorneys and academics. In
supporting the measure, several MBA delegates commended the
collaborative nature of the study.
Two other measures brought before the HOD also met with
unanimous support. Delegates voted to support in principle
legislation (H3099/S1643) that would eliminate automatic
suspensions for convictions of delinquency or adjudications on drug
offenses. Delegates also elected to support a bill (H2389) that
would give collective bargaining rights to employees of the
Committee for Public Counsel Services, much like those enjoyed by
other public employees.
In addition to a My Bar Access presentation and other
MBA-related business, delegates heard from several members of other
organizations. MBA Vice President Chris Sullivan introduced Patrick
Curran from the Federal Bar Association for a presentation on the
SOLACE Program, which is a network of legal professionals who
assist attorneys and other legal professionals facing difficult
personal tragedies. American Bar Association Delegate and MBA Past
President Alice Richmond also announced that the ABA will be
holding its annual meeting in Boston next summer.
Massachusetts Bar Foundation President Jerry Cohen and MBF
Executive Director Elizabeth Lynch closed out the meeting with an
announcement about the MBF's annual appeal and the MBF's 50-year
anniversary, which will be celebrated in 2014.