The Massachusetts Bar Association's House of Delegates (HOD)
tackled a busy agenda at its Nov. 19 meeting - the first HOD
meeting to be held at the MBA's newly relocated Springfield
location at 1441 Main St. The building houses the MBA's Western
Mass. office on the ninth floor.
Gathered in the building's TD Bank Conference Center, MBA
President Robert W. Harnais opened the meeting by thanking those
who traveled to Springfield and acknowledged the importance of a
statewide bar association being visible in various locations
throughout the commonwealth.
Substituting for Amicus Curiae Committee Chair Thomas J. Carey
Jr., Peter T. Elikann, vice chair of the MBA's Criminal Justice
Section Council, presented the Amicus Committee report, which asked
the HOD to support the filing of an amicus letter and to join other
briefs in support of the appellant in Commonwealth v.
Wade. The appellant in that case seeks an order to conduct DNA
testing for the first time following a felony murder conviction in
1997. The filing of an amicus letter by the MBA to uphold the
integrity of the DNA statute under G. L. c. 278A passed
The Family Law Section Council requested that the HOD support an
amended version of S.834, a bill that focuses on child custody.
Jennifer R. Clapp, chair of the MBA's Family Law Section, provided
an overview of the bill and the proposed amendments. A decision on
whether or not to support the amended bill was tabled until the
January HOD meeting.
Among the officers' reports, MBA President-elect Jeffrey N.
Catalano reported that Harnais has created an MBA committee on
civility, which will be tasked with crafting civility guidelines
that reinforce the notion that lawyers should treat each other with
respect and dignity.
John J. Carroll Jr., chair of the Equal Justice Coalition (EJC),
also provided an update on the Annual Walk to the Hill for Civil
Legal Aid, which will be held on Jan. 28 at the State House. The
EJC is seeking $27 million in funding for civil legal aid in the
fiscal year 2017 Massachusetts state budget -- an increase of $10
million from the current budget of $17 million.
Following the HOD meeting, many HOD members attended a reception
hosted by the Hampden County Bar Association across the street at
the Springfield Marriott.