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Letter from Suffolk County District Attorney

September 22, 2020

MACDL and CPCS received a letter from Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County District Attorney, regarding the federal charges recently announced against nine current and retired Boston Police Department Officers. In the letter Rachel Rollins states, “I am deeply dismayed by the allegations outlined in federal court. If these allegations are true, these men and women have dishonored their badges by stealing taxpayer dollars on multiple occasions over a […]

By |2020-09-28T23:30:05-04:00September 28th, 2020|News|Comments Off on Letter from Suffolk County District Attorney

The Road to Commonwealth v. Long

September 21, 2020
Chauncey Wood, co-chair MACDL amicus committee

In the midst of an otherwise horrible week for Justice in America, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a ground-breaking decision on racial justice on September 17, 2020. In Commonwealth v. Long, SJC-12868, the Court unanimously agreed that its previous remedy for addressing racially motivated traffic stops under the equal protection clause of the state and federal constitutions, a statistical […]

By |2020-09-22T11:34:46-04:00September 22nd, 2020|News|Comments Off on The Road to Commonwealth v. Long

MACDL and CPCS Amicus Brief Challenges Parole Board’s “Non-Aggregation” Regulation

On August 20, 2020, CPCS and MACDL submitted an amicus brief to the SJC in Commonwealth v. Dinkins, the parole board’s regulation which makes it so people serving life sentences are “paroled” to any consecutive sentence, rather than having their parole eligibility periods aggregated to one date on which they have a true parole hearing that might actually result in their release into the community. When the […]

By |2020-10-10T11:33:36-04:00August 24th, 2020|Action Alert, News|Comments Off on MACDL and CPCS Amicus Brief Challenges Parole Board’s “Non-Aggregation” Regulation

Juveniles Should Get Credit for Pretrial Detention

MACDL Amicus for Commonwealth v. Lopez

Unlike adult defendants, children in Massachusetts do not receive credit for time spent in detention pretrial. The Commonwealth has justified this practice by emphasizing differences between juveniles and adults. As MACDL writes in its brief:

Children are indeed different, but DYS’s argument perverts that principle in a misguided effort to treat them worse than their adult counterparts. The reality is that pretrial detention […]

By |2020-08-17T20:20:36-04:00August 17th, 2020|News|Comments Off on Juveniles Should Get Credit for Pretrial Detention

Follow Up on Letter to Judiciary

July 31, 2020

Dear Chief Justices Gants, Carey, Ronquillo, Fabricant and Dawley,

On behalf of MACDL, we thank you for the opportunity to meet via Zoom on July 22, 2020, along with members from the Committee for Pubic Counsel Services, to discuss the issues raised in our July 14, 2020 letter to you. We are pleased and grateful that you expressed a willingness to listen to our concerns and to work with […]

By |2020-08-05T12:44:44-04:00August 5th, 2020|News|Comments Off on Follow Up on Letter to Judiciary

Dismantling Structural Racism in the Commonwealth’s Criminal Courts

June 15, 2020 — In reply to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court


MACDL’s Board of Directors and Racial Justice Committee take seriously the Supreme Judicial Court’s declaration that we all must all harness the power and privilege that comes with our professional accomplishments to end racial injustice. There is no neutrality in racism; failing to take aggressive measures allows racist […]

By |2020-06-15T19:59:06-04:00June 15th, 2020|News|Comments Off on Dismantling Structural Racism in the Commonwealth’s Criminal Courts

Say Their Names

The Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is outraged by the most recent show of force and violence against Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, events that are endemic to Black America and reflect the history of racism and oppression in this country.

But it is not enough to be outraged. We must confront how our criminal justice system has failed people of color.

Our system has perpetuated racism […]

By |2020-06-01T16:53:43-04:00June 1st, 2020|News, President's Messages|Comments Off on Say Their Names

MACDL President Responds to Rachael Rollins Comments about Defense Counsel

As reported in the Boston Globe and elsewhere, on April 30th, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins attacked defense lawyers during an appearance on WGBH, after a caller complained about having trouble reaching his attorney. Read MACDL President Victoria Kelleher’s response to her comments, below. The criminal defense bar has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to protect individuals in custody from the spread […]

By |2020-05-06T22:56:18-04:00May 6th, 2020|News, President's Messages|Comments Off on MACDL President Responds to Rachael Rollins Comments about Defense Counsel

MACDL and CPCS file SJC Petition Seeking Release of Incarcerated People in Massachusetts

MACDL and CPCS are the plaintiffs in a petition to the SJC, represented by lawyers from the ACLU of Massachusetts, asking the court to take immediate action to limit outbreaks of COVID-19 by reducing the numbers of people who are incarcerated in Massachusetts jails, prisons, and houses of correction, in order “to mitigate the mortal harm that the COVID-19 pandemic will inflict upon incarcerated people, on corrections staff, […]

By |2020-04-14T16:47:32-04:00March 24th, 2020|News|Comments Off on MACDL and CPCS file SJC Petition Seeking Release of Incarcerated People in Massachusetts

The Pandemic Shouldn’t Deprive Prisoners of Their Rights

Commentary by MACDL Board president, Victoria Kelleher, posted on the WBUR website.


Last week, several men and women with preexisting health concerns were released from pretrial custody — some to home confinement, some with GPS monitoring — by agreement with the Suffolk County prosecutor. Each represented one less person imprisoned without due process; one less person to get infected with the coronavirus behind bars.

Since […]

By |2020-03-24T15:24:41-04:00March 24th, 2020|News, President's Messages|Comments Off on The Pandemic Shouldn’t Deprive Prisoners of Their Rights
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