Criminal Justice Newsletter
Welcome to the April edition of the Criminal Law Section Council
newsletter, containing information about CLE programs, meetings,
hot legal developments and other section news.
At its February meeting, the Criminal Justice Section Council
welcomed Probation Commissioner Ron Corbett to discuss the current
landscape of the Probation Department, its challenges going
forward, and Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal to move the Probation
Department to the executive branch. The council also began a
discussion on the potential use of videoconferencing in lieu of
in-person attendance of incarcerated defendants in Superior Court.
The council decided to continue this discussion in subsequent
meetings to understand the varying perspectives on the issue,
including that of judges, defense attorneys, defendants and
At its March meeting, the council received status reports from
its liaisons. A member of the subcommittee to study and evaluate
"harassment prevention orders" under Chapter 258E informed the
council that its members are in the process of surveying courts in
various counties to determine the use and potential abuse of these
orders. Additionally, our section editor invited members to submit
articles on current criminal justice issues for publication in the
Lawyers Journal. The council also briefly discussed the
practice of obtaining, at arraignment, a defendant's waiver to his
right to be present at his trial, but the council tabled this
discussion to gather more information on the use of this practice
and its effect on the bail and trial process. Finally, the council
continued its discussion about videoconferencing, discussing
proposals to address some of the objections to the practice.
Specifically, the council learned about new technology that has the
potential to permit real-time private conversations between
attorneys and clients during court proceedings and high-definition
video to allow incarcerated defendants to see, and be seen, in a
more realistic light.
The section council always welcomes suggestions from you as
section members and, if you are interested, invites you to
volunteer to work with the council members to plan and implement
programs. To volunteer, contact Jean Stevens or go to the Criminal Justice Web site council directory
and e-mail any council member.
Michael Fabbri, chair
Radha Natarajan, vice chair
Criminal Justice Section Council