MBA supports commission report calling for higher state prosecutor/defender salaries

Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015
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The Massachusetts Bar Association supports the call for higher salaries for assistant district attorneys and public defenders as detailed in a recently released report by the Commission to Study Compensation of Assistant District Attorneys and Staff Attorneys for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, which was created by former Gov. Deval L. Patrick. In its report, the commission recommends a minimum salary for both ADAs and CPCS Staff Counsel of $55,360, and that implementation occur within three years.

"My colleagues and I on the commission believe there is no question that significant and immediate salary increases are necessary to remedy the woeful compensation paid to our assistant district attorneys, who are paid less than courtroom custodians, and to our public defenders, who are the lowest paid in the country," said MBA President Marsha V. Kazarosian, who served as a member of the commission. "While I wholly support the report's recommendations for higher salaries for both ADAs and CPCS staff attorneys, I do not support the inclusion of Exhibit C, which does not reflect the commission's vote for parity in the salary structure."

Kazarosian added: "We at the MBA believe even more funding is needed -- including for private bar advocates, whose work, though not under the commission's purview, is nonetheless vitally important to our criminal justice system. We will continue to advocate for the proper salaries deserved by all attorneys serving our criminal justice system."

The commission's findings incorporated by reference and affirmed the conclusion of the MBA's May 2014 report, "Doing Right by Those Who Labor for Justice: Fair and Equitable Compensation for Attorneys Serving the Commonwealth in its Criminal Courts," which analyzed the "declining economic status" of prosecutors, public defenders and bar advocates due to low salaries. (The full MBA report from May 2014 can be accessed online at: Blue Ribbon Commission Report: Doing Right by Those Who Labor for Justice 2014.)