(Top): MBA President Jeffrey Catalano presides over his last HOD meeting of the year.
(Bottom left): MBA Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship winner Shayla Mombeleur.
(Bottom right): Catalano presents the MBA Public Service Award to UMass School of Law Dean Eric Mitnick.
The last House of Delegates (HOD) meeting of the 2016-17
membership year featured the adoption of several timely
resolutions, plus an award to the state's first public law school
and a presentation on courtroom recordings.
MBA President Jeffrey Catalano kicked off the May HOD meeting by
recapping some of the highlights of the year, including the launch
of the MBA's Leadership Academy, the start of the MassBar Beat
podcast, and the adoption of the MBA's immigration resolution from
January. HOD members gave Catalano a standing ovation in
recognition of his leadership this year.
Following a court budget update and report from MBA Chief Legal
Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy, Catalano
invited 2017 MBA Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship winner
Shayla Mombeleur to share a few words about her experiences at the
University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth. It was a
fitting segue into the presentation of the MBA's Public Service
Award to UMass School of Law Dean Eric Mitnick, in recognition of
the school's demonstrated commitment on public service.
Representatives from digital recording company For the Record
(FTR), which is providing digital court recording and content
management solutions for the Massachusetts Trial Court, then gave a
presentation about their service. HOD members got to hear a
recording from a Housing Court session in Worcester taken earlier
the same day.
The HOD adopted five criminal justice resolutions put forth by the
Criminal Justice Working Group, a collaboration between the Civil
Rights and Social Justice and Criminal Justice section councils.
The resolutions addressed:
- Fines, fees and bail: A series of recommendation to avoid
incarceration, pretrial detention, or imposition of less favorable
conditions on defendants in criminal cases solely due to their
poverty or low income.
- Conviction Integrity Units: A series of recommendations to
promote establishment of conviction integrity programs in D.A.'s
offices to prevent and remedy wrongful convictions of innocent
- Forensic drug lab reform: A series of a recommendations for
reform of forensic laboratories relied upon by law enforcement and
the courts in light of the recent drug lab scandals.
- Enhanced data collection: A series of recommendations to
enhance data collection to keep communities safe, prevent
discrimination, foster trust in the criminal justice system, and
help protect law enforcement from unfounded claims of racial or
- Body worn police cameras: A series of recommendations to
encourage law enforcement agencies and departments to use and be
trained on use of body worn cameras.
HOD members also voted to:
- Support, in principle, An Act to Reduce the Criminalization of
Poverty. (S.777 and H.2359), introduced by the Criminal Justice
- Support, in principle, the Statement of Opinion and Practices
and Core Opinion Principles, introduced by the Business Law
- Support, in principle, An Act to Protect the Civil Rights and
Safety of all Massachusetts Residents (S.1305 and H.3268),
introduced by the Civil Rights & Social Justice and Access to
Justice section councils; and
- Support a resolution proclaiming that the MBA celebrate
Conflict Resolution Day (Oct. 19, 2017) and Conflict Resolution
Week (Oct 16-20, 2017), introduced by the Dispute Resolution
In addition, HOD members selected by vote three members to join
the Executive Management Board for the 2017-18 year: Anthony
Benedetti, Melissa Juárez and Damian Turco.