Peter Elikann testified on behalf of the MBA at the June 5 hearing of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.
Representatives from the Massachusetts Bar Association's
Criminal Justice Section Council testified on behalf of the MBA at
the June 5 hearing of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, which
focused on criminal justice reform.
According to the State House News Service, the Judiciary
Committee's hearing agenda included 96 bills dealing with criminal
procedure. Committee co-chair Sen. Will Brownsberger said most of
the testimony dealt with what he deemed the "collateral
consequences" of justice system involvement, like changes to the
bail system and criminal records. The MBA representatives testified
on seven of the proposed bills.
Peter Elikann, former chair and current member of the MBA's
Criminal Justice Section, testified in support of S.
755 (Act Restricting Fine Time Sentences) and S.
777 (Act To Reduce the Criminalization Of Poverty). Regarding
S. 777, he said the ability for judges to waive fines for indigent
defendants who cannot afford them is on the cusp of a national
Charu Amrita Verma of the Committee for Public Counsel Services,
who is a member of the MBA's Criminal Justice Section Council,
testified in support of S.
802 (Act Relative to Probation Surrender) and S.
827 (Act Relative to Review of Bail for Inability to Pay). He
expressed the MBA's concerns with S.
834 (An Act Reforming Pretrial Process), noting its assessment
tools were "too cookie cutter."
Criminal Justice Section Vice Chair Pauline Quirion of Greater
Boston Legal Services expressed the MBA's support of S.
791 (Act for Justice Reinvestment), which the State House News
Service called an "omnibus criminal justice reform package" that
would repeal mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, end
probation and parole fees, reduce the length of time before a
criminal record can be sealed, create a medical parole program and
raise the threshold at which larceny becomes a felony instead of a
misdemeanor. Quirion also testified in support of a CORI reform
proposal filed as H.
3084 (An Act Promoting Community Prosperity by Further
Reforming Criminal Offender Record Information), noting that the
MBA is in favor of reducing the waiting period to seal criminal
Some of the bills at the June 5 hearing dealt directly with
issues addressed by the criminal justice reform resolutions
recently adopted by the MBA at its May House of Delegates meeting. The resolutions were put forth
by the MBA's Criminal Justice Reform Working Group, a collaborative
effort between the Civil Rights and Social Justice and Criminal
Justice section councils. Both Verma and Quirion were members of
that working group.