"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
their dedication and commitment to due process, constitutional rights, and
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
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
Committee Co-Chair Chauncey
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 email@example.com..... 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
Click here for a PDF version
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.