Section Review

Section Review

Anti-gang/witness protection legislation

In late March 2006, a compromise was reached by both branches of the Massachusetts legislature on the omnibus “emergency law” anti-gang bill concentrating primarily on witness protection and guns. The legislation placed on the governor’s desk was enormously popular both within the legislature and with the public. (In fact, the initial House vote was 151-2 and the initial Senate vote was unanimous.) The legislation was motivated by the current atmosphere of widespread alarm concerning threats made to witnesses and increasing gun violence particularly among youth gangs. The debate has arisen as Boston struggles with its highest homicide toll in a decade. Proponents of the bill said that police are not making arrests in two-thirds of the homicide cases because residents in some neighborhoods are worried that if they cooperate with police after a crime occurs, they might be killed.
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