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Massachusetts District Attorneys Criticize Governor's Remarks on Bill


Six District Attorneys in the State of Massachusetts have sent a letter to Governor Deval Patrick in response to remarks he made about the anti-crime bill in a recent television interview. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless joined 5 other District Attorney’s across Massachusetts in signing a letter to Governor Deval Patrick criticizing him about his comment that the state’s prosecutors are “gaming” the system to put non-violent drug offenders in jail. Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless…

As part of the anti-crime bill, the House and Senate agreed to reduce school zones from 1,000 feet from a school to 300 feet. Patrick said on WGBH television that current school zone laws were being “gamed by some prosecutors” and that he would look into reducing the zones.

David Capeless again…

Capeless also expressed that the anti-crime bill that is now waiting to be signed by Governor Patrick fails to address the needs of communities across the commonwealth after provisions were dropped while the bill made its way through the legislature.

Capeless said that prosecutors are asking for the restoration of language that would update current wiretapping laws, DNA collection laws, and domestic violence laws. He also remarked that the 3 strikes provision in the bill targeted at habitual offenders is more political than practical.

Five District Attorneys did not sign the letter. Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early, Jr., President of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association did not join the six prosecutors in the letter. In a statement provided to WAMC on the bill and letter Early states:

“I had already made my priorities known to the House, Senate, and the Governor’s Office.”

The Governor’s Office did not return a call for comment in time for broadcast.

The anti-crime bill is being praised by Les Gosule, who led the push for the legislation after his daughter Melissa was killed by a habitual offender over a decade ago. “Melissa’s Bill” has been introduced every year since 2000. The governor has until this Sunday to sign the bill into law.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.