Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers


"The Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the only statewide association of lawyers in Massachusetts devoted exclusively to serving all segments of the defense bar. According to our mission statement: MACDL's mission is to preserve the adversary system of justice; to maintain and foster independent and able criminal defense lawyers and to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime. MACDL will be an advocate for the advocate." If you practice criminal defense law in Massachusetts, you belong in MACDL.

To join MACDL, sign up here


President's Message:  June 2016

It was great to see so many of you at our Annual Spring Meeting.  Our thanks go out to Attorney Dean Strang, who became a household name after being featured in the Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer." And once again we congratulate our award recipients:  Attorneys Anne Goldbach and Robert Sheketoff for their dedication and commitment to due process, constitutional rights, and zealous advocacy.

Continuing Legal Education

Over the past few months, MACDL has sponsored or co-sponsored a number of legal education events. In March, MACDL presented its always popular Post-Conviction Litigation Seminar to a packed house in Boston. Last month, MACDL teamed up with Suffolk Lawyers for Justice for an all-day conference at UMASS-Boston dedicated to criminal law practice. In April, MACDL sponsored a seminar, "Police Misconduct Law for Criminal Defense Practitioners," in Boston hosted by Goodwin Proctor. This program will be repeated on June 22, 2016, in Worcester at 4:00 p.m. and in the fall in Springfield. See website for more details.


The Amicus Committee continues to work zealously and productively to promote our values in cases before the Massachusetts and federal appeals courts. We have signed onto Commonwealth v. Laltaprasad arguing that judges have the power to sentence lower than the minimum

mandatory sentence. Committee Co-Chair Chauncey Wood, along with a team from Foley Hoag, is working on the case of Commonwealth v. Thomas, where the issue is whether a defendant is entitled to suppression of an identification where police fail to follow the I.D. procedures laid out in Silva-Santiago. The amicus brief will likely catalogue all the procedures adopted by Massachusetts police departments in order to demonstrate that the majority of them have already adopted the practices as a matter of internal policy.

FARAK Litigation/Investigation

MACDL has continued to press for a full investigation and public accountability concerning chemist Sonia Farak’s misconduct due to her near daily drug use at the Amherst Drug Lab from 2003-2013, and into allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in relation to post-conviction litigation regarding Farak cases. Our thanks to Board member Luke Ryan for spearheading our efforts in this regard. Earlier this spring, the Attorney General’s office filed a 54 page report detailing Farak’s malfeasance. A second 3 page report, submitted by Special Attorney General (and former judge) Peter Velis, cleared prosecutors of any wrongdoing for the three year delay in revealing information in their possession regarding the scope of Farak’s misconduct. However, other materials now make clear that former prosecutors in the Attorney General’s office deliberately withheld highly exculpatory evidence pertaining to Farak’s history of drug use.

An evidentiary hearing on motions regarding the failure to provide the discovery is expected to take place in the coming month. MACDL will continue to monitor this situation so as to provide support for counsel on these cases and demand fuller accountability and remedies for this misconduct.

Attorney Visitor Dress Code

Acting upon complaints (almost all from women) about attorneys being denied entrance or otherwise hassled at state prisons because of the way they were dressed, MACDL has worked closely with CPCS and other groups to seek changes in DOC procedures. The result is a new and improved dress code for attorney visitors with fewer restrictions and better procedures to be followed if issues arise. A copy of the new code is on the DOC website. Thanks to MACDL members Victoria Kelleher, Patty Dejuneas and others for their efforts in bringing about these changes.

The Elimination of Court Reporters

As many of you know by now, the Trial Court has announced that it will lay off all court reporters by January of 2017 and replace them with digital recording in all courtrooms. Earlier this year, I wrote a letter (joined in by past-presidents Max Stern, Liza Lunt and Jack Cunha) to Chief Justice Gants and Trial Court Administrator Harry Spence expressing our serious reservations about this development. We continue to have concerns about this new technology’s ability to produce accurate transcripts and have called for delaying the use of digital recording in serious felony cases until, and only if, the assembly and production of complete and accurate transcripts through digital recording has been sufficiently demonstrated.

Other Activities, etc.

Marty Rosenthal, our representative on the Sentencing Commission, continues his tireless efforts there to advocate for major reforms in Massachusetts sentencing policies and procedures and for shifting resources away from over-criminalization and mass incarceration and toward crime prevention…. Congratulations to our law school Board representative Trevor Maloney on receiving an award from the National Lawyers Guild recently for his volunteer efforts. Good luck on the bar exam! . . . MACDL’s representative on the Working Group of the Council of State Governments, Leslie Walker, reports that the group has recently received and reviewed extensive data which should hopefully provide further support for reforms in three areas: incarceration levels, recidivism, and post-release supervision. . . . MACDL has been working in cooperation with the New England Center for Investigative Reporting in an ongoing series regarding the largely unaddressed problem of prosecutorial misconduct in the provision of discovery and trial argument . . . My thanks to Dave Nathanson and John Thompson for coordinating MACDL’s proposals for revisions to the S.J.C.’s Model Jury Instructions on Homicide . . . MACDL has been asked to support the upcoming referendum question on the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts. If you have a strong opinion as to whether MACDL should take a position on this issue, please contact me at We recently joined with many other criminal justice reform groups in calling upon Governor Baker to fill the current Parole Board vacancy with a social worker, sociologist, psychologist or psychiatrist who is both committed to the objectives of parole and who has a background in treating mental health problems and addiction.

Thanks to all of the attorneys mentioned above for their efforts on behalf of MACDL and for many others who help to make us a strong and active organization. My best wishes to all of you for an enjoyable summer.

Mike Hussey


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MACDL Announces Witness Advocacy and Representation Network (WARN)

MACDL is pleased to announce the creation of a state-wide Witness Advocacy and Representation Network (WARN) designed to provide pro bono legal representation for individuals who are contacted by law enforcement agents for questioning or interrogation. For more information and to participate, click here.


Comments on Proposed Ethics Changes

MACDL recently submitted our comments to the SJC on the proposed changes to the Code of Professional Responsibility.  Prepared by Marty Rosenthal and Liza Lunt, the comments can be found here.


MACDL Recommendations on Eyewitness Evidence 

In response to the request of the Supreme Judicial Court, MACDL submitted  extensive comments on the draft report and recommendations of the SJC Study  Group on Eyewitness Evidence.  The comments prepared by Lisa Steele were  endorsed by the Board of Directors and sent to the court in a letter from MACDL  President Liza Lunt. For the complete text of MACDL's position, click here.  (You can view a copy of the Study Group's  report here.)

From the Sentencing Project

Marc Mauer, of the Sentencing Project in Washington D.C. offered to share with us two shadow reports submitted by The Sentencing Project to the U.N. Human Rights Committee in advance of its review of U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) later this month. The first report, Racial Disparities in the United States Criminal Justice System documents the impact of racial disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system and how they violate the ICCPR, which the United States ratified in 1992.

The second report, Democracy Imprisoned: A Review of the Prevalence and Impact of Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States, details the impact of felony disenfranchisement laws in the United States in violation of the ICCPR.


Find A Lawyer

MACDL comprises approximately 1,000 criminal defense lawyers, covering all types of criminal defense matters in the federal courts and every state court serving the Commonwealth. You can search our Member list by name or location.


If you practice criminal defense law in Massachusetts, you belong in MACDL

Not a Member? Join here

Already a Member? Keep your membership up to date here. 


 Amicus Updates January 2016

The Amicus Committee continues to give MACDL a voice in litigation of concern to the defense bar.

For the January updates, click here. 

For previous updates, click here.  

New Dues Structure for CPCS and Bar Advocates.

If you are a full-time CPCS staff attorney or a Bar Advocate (if 50% of your practice is state court appointed)  your first year of membership is free. Thereafter, your dues are based on the following schedule:

  Admitted for 2-5 years         $50

  Admitted for 6-10 years        $75

  10 years or more                $125.


Calling all new lawyers!

Would you like an experienced MACDL member to help you navigate the criminal practice in Massachusetts?

Well you are in luck! MACDL has created a new lawyer partnership program.

Click here for details. 


Benefits of Membership in MACDL

  • Legal Assistance for Defense Lawyers under Fire 
  • Continuing Legal Education for the Criminal Defense Bar
  • A Powerful Statewide Network of Colleagues
  • A Voice on Legislative and Public Policy Matters
  • A Wealth of Legal Expertise  
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Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL)
321 Walnut St.
, Newton, MA 02460
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