Before any of us heard of COVID-19, MACDL had dedicated itself to pursuing constitutionally mandated rate increases–first in Carasquillo v. Hampden County, and then in lobbying efforts. These increases are: $85 for District Court, $125 for Superior Court, and $148 for Murder Panel. These are not fantasy figures. Consider that of those states that pay bar advocates hourly rates, only Oregon and Wisconsin pay less for misdemeanors than Massachusetts pays for work in District Courts, and that in South Dakota and Hawaii, BAs make $95/hour $90/hour, respectively.

Since 2005, our Legislature has raised the District Court rate by only $3 and the Superior Court rate by $8. The Murder Panel rate has seen no increase at all.

Our efforts to increase Bar Advocate rates for all criminal defense practitioners can’t wait. Because no matter how COVID-19 affects the budget, legislators will be making decisions about our rates, and they will not be acting in a vacuum. Other lobbyists have already proposed rates increases that don’t come close to meeting our needs, and without our voice legislators may think that such inadequate funds will incentivize lawyers to take more cases in Hampden County and elsewhere.

So please join us this week and next for a ZOOM meeting led by MACDL’s lobbyist, Leslie Walker. The meeting will last an hour and will give you everything you need to make your case to your legislators for rate increases. If nothing else, it will defeat any attempt to give us inadequate increases based on ill-formed ideas, and will build relationships that will get us the constitutionally-based rate increases we require once normalcy returns. And it will.

Schedule and ZOOM links below. You can join any county, day or time that’s convenient. Look forward to seeing you there.

Best, Victoria Kelleher, President

Monday, March 23, 2020 at 4pm
Plymouth, Barnstable and Bristol Counties
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 314 690 444
Password: 542609
Call-in 1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 4pm
Essex County
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 899 083 974
Call-in 1 929 436 2866

Monday, March 30, 2020 at 4pm
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 956 796 982
Call-in 1 929 436 2866