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:  October 2015

Get caught up on MACDL events, activities and issues.  Click here. 

MACDL Advocacy for the Defense Bar - Latest Updates from Across the Board


MACDL continues to work with CPCS, the ACLU, FAMM and other groups for criminal justice reform.  In June, Mike Hussey and Liza Lunt testified in support of bills to repeal mandatory minimums. 

In September Mike Hussey testified before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in favor of a bill that would mandate that every city or town have a written policy to be used by police officers consistent with best practices for fair eyewitness identifications.  On that same day, he also spoke in favor of a bill that would require stationhouse interrogations to be recorded, save for special circumstances, and if not, the statement would be deemed inadmissible.

Also in September, MACDL supported legislation to institute long-overdue changes in the juvenile justice system. Earlier this month, MACDL testified in opposition to a proposed bill to reinstitute the death penalty in Massachusetts.  Although this bill does not appear to have any real chance of success, it is critically important that our voice be consistently heard in opposition any time death penalty proposals rear their ugly head. 

MACDL recently called for increased compensation for court-appointed counsel (H-1246) raising rates to $75 per hour for District Court, $100 for Superior Court and $140 per hour for murder cases. For details click here. 

Also before the Massachusetts legislature, MACDL urged support of House Bill 2374 and Senate Bill 1393. The bills would collectively amend Massachusetts Gen. Laws to permit CPCS employees to collectively bargain; a right which extends to 20,000 other employees of the Commonwealth from 60 different state agencies. Click here for MACDL's letter to the Joint Committee on Public Service.


In response to the SJC's request for comment, MACDL largely supported the provisional instructions suggested by the court in Commonwealth vs. Gomes, concerning jury instructions on identifications.  Based upon the hard work of MACDL member Lisa Steele, MACDL President Liza Lunt and President-Elect Mike Hussey submitted extensive comments, detailed here.

In response to a request from the SJC, we submitted our comments to the Committee to Study the Code of Judicial Conduct.  We endorsed the comments of the Committee for Public Counsel Services and submitted our own additional comments on proposed changes to the rules.


Women attorneys visiting their clients have been subjected to degrading and improper body searches by the Executive Office of Public Safety. In a letter to Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett, MACDL called for an immediate end to such practices at MCI Norfolk (the most recent and frequent offender) a complete disclosure of relevant public records and system-wide changes to existing DOC practices.  Patty DeJuneas has headed up MACDL's efforts on this issue.  To read the letter to Secretary Bennett, click here.


New Rules on Jury Voir Dire

The Massachusetts Superior Court recently issued Standing Order 1-15: Participation in Jury Voir Dire by Attorneys and Self Represented Parties.

For a copy of the Standing Order, click here.


Testimony Before the MBA Blue Ribbon Commission on Criminal Justice Attorney Compensation


On March 26, 2014 MACDL president, Liza Lunt testified on behalf of MACDL at a public hearing before the MBA Blue Ribbon Commission on Criminal Justice Attorney Compensation.  Click here for the written statement submitted by MACDL.


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

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

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MACDL 2015 Fall Meeting

Tuesday November 17th

Ned Devine's Irish Pub

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

details here

JAVS Machine Malfunction

We have learned that the JAVS machine in the motion session in Suffolk Superior Court malfunctioned for an entire month before the problem was caught.

We  have also learned about a case involving a Plymouth Superior Court motion where the recording of the hearing was lost by JAVS.

What you should do. click here


Action on Repeal of Mandatory Minimums

At the recent public hearing, Michael Hussey and Liza Lunt presented MACDL's position to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

For a copy of MACDL's testimony, click here. Members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary can be found here.

Amicus Updates - June 2015

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

For the June 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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