On Monday, 49-year-old Michael Lavigne of North Adams was found guilty on two counts of assault and battery on a household member in Northern Berkshire District Court. Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington has made domestic violence a policy focus, and her office pursued the conviction using evidence gathered from a correctional facility phone, with the victim unwilling to testify. Harrington spoke with WAMC.
On Friday, multiple law enforcement agencies on the state and federal level executed a search warrant at a Monterey, Massachusetts home related to an investigation of illegal manufacturing and sale of homemade explosive devices. WAMC spoke to Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington about what the search uncovered and the investigation.
On Thursday, a junior varsity baseball coach at Taconic High School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on multiple charges related to sexual misconduct with students at the school. WAMC spoke with Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington about the case, and why she thinks more allegations against Scott Nimons could emerge. Neither the school nor the superintendent immediately responded to request for comment.
This week, Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington announced that she is instating a formal Brady disclosure policy for her office. The new guidelines will establish how prosecutors turn over exculpatory evidence favorable to the accused over to the defense. It also creates a team to review the process, as well as requesting that county law enforcement provide findings of bias and racial profiling, and more. Harrington tells WAMC that the new policy is meant to increase her office’s transparency and strengthen community faith in the criminal justice system.
In June, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court agreed with Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington that judges can extend pre-trial holdings on defendants who are deemed to pose a risk to their communities. The issue clarifies one of the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all jury trials suspended until at least September. WAMC spoke to Harrington about why she advocated for the expanded ability for pre-trial holdings.
Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington was elected in 2018 on a progressive platform of criminal justice reform and community-oriented law enforcement. She took part in demonstrations over the weekend that called for an end to police brutality against African-Americans spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. Harrington spoke to WAMC about how she’s preparing her office during a historic period of social unrest, and why she disagrees with the county’s sheriff about decarceration.
Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington says an increased amount of fentanyl-laced heroin has hit area streets. The Democrat spoke with WAMC Thursday about the connection between the batch and rising overdoses in the region, as well as increasing domestic violence rates and the coming arraignment of a Great Barrington police officer for drunk driving in April.
The closure of public offices across Massachusetts in response to the COVID-19 outbreak is forcing key elements of the state’s legal infrastructure to adapt. Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington says her office is continuing to work while respecting the restrictive public health measures. Harrington spoke with WAMC.
The Berkshire County District Attorney’s office has closed its investigation into the March 2019 quadruple murder-suicide in Sheffield, Massachusetts that sent shockwaves through the community. Now, newly released documents are shedding some light on the family at the center of the tragedy. A warning – the details of this story are upsetting, and may not be appropriate for all listeners.
A citizen-driven data collection organization is attempting to track changes in the Berkshire County criminal justice system. Beginning this summer, Berkshire County CourtWatch sent volunteers to observe around 300 hearings held in the Southern Berkshires District Court in Great Barrington. This week, it released a preliminary analysis of the information it gathered from those appearances. Peggy Kern is the head of Berkshire County CourtWatch. She spoke with WAMC about that report on Wednesday, and how the group is trying to track the campaign promises of Berkshire DA Andrea Harrington.
On Tuesday, Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington unveiled her office’s Juvenile Justice Initiative. The DA has convened community leaders to advise on the effort. A Democrat who ran on a reform ticket in 2018, Harrington spoke to WAMC about what the initiative will offer young people in the Berkshire criminal justice system, and who will sit on its advisory committee.