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Federal judge orders government to pay more than $100M to wrongfully imprisoned men

The Associated Press reported earlier today that U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner ordered the government to pay $101.7 million to four men and their families who spent many years in prison for a 1965 murder that they did not commit.

Government lawyers had argued that the FBI was not liable for the four men’s wrongful imprisonment because the agency was not required to share documents and information with state prosecutors or defense lawyers.

“The FBI's misconduct was clearly the sole cause of this conviction," Gertner remarked. “The government's position is, in a word, absurd. She continued, “No lost liberty is dispensable. We have fought wars over this principle. We are still fighting these wars.”

Randy Chapman, a former chair of the MBA Criminal Law Section Council and current president of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, agreed with Gertner’s ruling.

“The original actions of the government which resulted in these wrongful conditions were inexcusable, and offensive to the fundamental principles of our Constitution," said Chapman. "The prosecutorial misconduct was compounded by the complete indifference to the harm caused to these men and their families once the injustice was uncovered.” 

He continued, “It is incomprehensible that the Justice Department did not make any good faith efforts to resolve this matter through settlement prior to trial. Hopefully, the judgment will be satisfied quickly and not be delayed by meritless appeals, and attempts to minimize the horrific consequences of the government's misdeeds.”


MBA President praises Gov. Deval Patrick’s nomination of Judge Margot G. Botsford to SJC

Statement of MBA President Mark D Mason in response to the nomination of Judge Margot G. Botsford as Associate Justice to the Supreme Judicial Court:

We are pleased that Gov. Deval Patrick has nominated Judge Margot Botsford to the Supreme Judicial Court. Botsford’s keen intellect and extraordinary abilities as a jurist enhance the outstanding reputation of our state's highest court. She is highly regarded and respected amongst jurists and attorneys throughout the commonwealth. Botsford has an unfailing commitment to the administration of justice and we hope this nomination, Patrick’s first, is indicative of the type of jurists that he will continue to nominate throughout his administration.

Image for MBA members riding for life; attorneys take on Pan-Mass Challenge
Top: Seven members of Team Zipcar, training together for their 192-mile ride for cancer; bottom: Between team members and sponsors, Team Zipcar has raised over $50,000 in the fight against cancer. Photos courtesy of Shelly Chisholm

MBA members ride for life

Local attorneys take on Pan-Mass Challenge in August

Several weeks ago, the MBA invited members to share their stories of participation in fundraising events in their communities. As a result of the responses, we are proud to highlight MBA members who are going "beyond the bar" by their involvement in the upcoming Pan-Massachusetts Challenge--an annual bike-a-thon to take place Aug. 5-6.

Founded in 1980, the PMC raises money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund. This year, over 5,300 cyclists will travel nine different routes, logging between 70 and 192 miles over one or two days, through 46 scenic Massachusetts towns.

Central Mass. attorneys ride to honor colleague and friend Harry Quick

Edward P. Ryan, a Fitchburg attorney and MBA Past President, will be riding with Team Quick - a group of seven Worcester-area lawyers and court personnel. "This is one of the best events that I have ever participated in." Ryan said. Ryan first began to ride in the PMC more than 20 years ago for a family member afflicted with a form of cancer. Participating for his 22nd year, Ryan is riding in memory of Harry Quick, his former law partner who lost a long battle to stomach cancer this past year, leaving behind three children.

The MBA wishes the best of luck to the rest of Team Quick: Also riding as members of the team are ADA's Tom Landry, Mike McHugh and Ian Bennie; attorney Mike Wilcox; Assistant Worcester District Court Clerk Bob Tomczak; and Worcester District Court Probation Officer Charles Engdahl.

Husband and wife team honor brother's memory in their seventh PMC

Husband and wife (and law partners from Chelmsford) Margaret Reilly and Kevin Finnegan are riding in their seventh PMC. Reilly noted that this year's ride is "particularly meaningful" because she and her husband are riding in memory of Kevin's brother, Ed Finnegan. Ed practiced probate and family law in both Lowell and Chelmsford for over 25 years, and passed away in February of 2007 from thymus cancer.

"This year we have raised over $16,000, which is a tribute to Ed and his lasting effect on this community.  Not a week goes by that I don't run into an attorney or former client that fondly remembers Ed."

Team Zipcar includes law student and breast cancer survivor

Shelly Chisholm will be a first time participant in the ride across the state, riding with the other eleven members of Team Zipcar. Thus far, the team has held three fundraisers have raised more than $50,000. Their goal is $75,000.

"So many people have been affected by cancer." Chisholm said, "I was inspired to ride by my close friend (and fellow team member) Kris, who is a breast cancer survivor. "Just in the five years since my friend Kris was diagnosed with breast cancer, so many new treatment options have become available," she explained. "Today, cancer is no longer seen as a death sentence. We are winning the fight."

To donate to the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, visit their donation site.

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Photograph by Christine Baronas
A group of judges and attorneys from the first Bench-Bar Breakfast Forum, held in Hampden County on May 30.

MBA announces second Bench-Bar Breakfast Forum

Second program to be held in Bristol County, Aug. 16

The Massachusetts Bar Association, with the support of the Bristol County Bar Association, is pleased to invite local MBA attorneys to participate in the second in a series of Bench-Bar Breakfast Forums: unique and informal forums for members of the judiciary and the bar to discuss and collaborate on current issues facing the courts and the bar.

Second Bench-Bar Breakfast Forum to be in Bristol County

The second Bench-Bar Breakfast Forum will take place on Thursday, Aug. 16 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Fall River Courthouse conference room, 289 Rock St., Fall River. MBA Vice President Denise Squillante will guide a discussion of the most timely and important issues of concern to both the judiciary and the bar in Bristol County.

Southeastern Mass. MBA members who are interested in attending the breakfast should R.S.V.P. to Christine Baronas at (413) 731-5134, or [e-mail cbaronas].

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This month's "Complete Lawyer" focuses on the graying of the legal profession

The Massachusetts Bar Association is proud to present its members with the July/August issue of “The Complete Lawyer”—an online magazine that provides helpful insight and tools of the trade to help practitioners sharpen their practice.

The Massachusetts Bar Association is pleased to provide you with an issue every other month as another tool that presents ideas and practical tips to improve your practice. With each issue, expect to read personalized articles that explore the very topics that most affect the majority of practicing attorneys—managing your practice, navigating your career, work/life balance and industry trends.

This month's issue focuses on aging attorneys, and considers the following questions:

  • What kind of ethical obligations arise when age-related conditions impact the ability of a lawyer to meet his or her professional responsibility?
  • How do we best benefit from the wisdom and experience of the most senior and seasoned representatives of our proud profession?
  • Finally, how do we ensure our ability to continue to practice effectively by staying mentally and physically fit? 

To view the July/August issue, visit http://massachusetts.thecompletelawyer.com.

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Upcoming CLE courses cover basics of estates, wills and depositions

For more information, or to sign up for the following programs, call Member Services at (617) 338-0530, download the latest CLE brochure as a PDF file or visit the CLE Web page.

How to Handle a Will Contest
Course #: PLI07
Tuesday, July 31, 4–7 p.m.
Suffolk University Law School, Boston

This informative seminar will provide an overview of the litigation strategies and practices used to challenge and defend a will from both plaintiff and defendant perspectives. Our expert panel will also provide practice tips to help attorneys minimize the risks of facing a will contest in the future.


Basics of Developing an Estate Plan
Course #: PLJ07
Thursday, Aug. 2, 4–7 p.m.
Boston University Law School, 765 Commonwealth Ave., room 1570, Boston

Estate planning can provide the foundation for a rewarding law practice. To ensure that you are providing the best estate planning service to your clients, attend this seminar to learn practical pointers for developing an estate plan from beginning to end. Participants will also gain knowledge of issues concerning estate tax, planning for long-term care (Medicaid) and providing for minors. Learn from our experts in the field of estate planning.


Handling Depositions With Confidence
Course #: CLU07
Thursday, Aug. 9, 2–5 p.m.
Boston University Law School, 765 Commonwealth Ave., room 1570, Boston

This seminar is a unique opportunity for attorneys with little or no experience in taking depositions to learn how to handle specific issues that may arise when preparing for, taking or defending a deposition. Topics will include: understanding the “usual stipulations”; knowing when one should be “on the record” or “off the record”; how to handle difficult opposing counsel; and more.


Casemaker Training
Course #: CASEV07
Thursday, August 9, 4-5:15 p.m.
Elms College, Chicopee

Casemaker has had many new features added, including: CaseCheck, an enhanced case law search results function, database availability for all 50 states, nationwide collections of combined Supreme Court and ethics opinions and more. This training session will be held in a computer lab setting that will provide participants with the use of a computer and online access to Casemaker.

NOTE: Because space at Casemaker trainings is limited, online enrollment is not available. To register for a Casemaker training session, call Member Services at (617) 338-0530 or toll-free at (877) 676-6500.


Important notice about your MBA membership

The MBA membership year ends Aug. 31, so renew now and don't miss a minute of your MBA member benefits. Save time by renewing online. You may take care of your renewal quickly and securely using our automated form (credit card payment required).

Whether you renew online, by mail or phone, your continued involvement in the MBA is appreciated. Your participation allows the MBA to continue to provide a vital voice for the Massachusetts legal community.

If you have any questions, call MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530, in-state toll-free (877) 676-6500, TDD (617) 338-0587, or by e-mail.

©2017 Massachusetts Bar Association