Massachusetts Parole Board Chairman Joshua Wall was a guest
speaker at the March 22 meeting of the House of Delegates, the
Massachusetts Bar Association's governing body. The meeting was
held at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Wall shared
perspective and insight gained in the 13 months since assuming his
leadership post following Gov. Deval Patrick's dismissal of all but
one member of the former board.
Prior to the controversy of granting parole to Dominic Cinelli,
a career criminal accused of murdering Woburn officer John McGuire
during a botched robbery, the Massachusetts Parole Board acted in
"near anonymity," Wall said. However, he was quick to point out
early in his remarks that "we are not, nor have we been, involved
in a 'crackdown' on parole" in the commonwealth.
As directed by the governor, Wall's goals have been building a
more productive, efficient parole system and paying more careful
attention to parolees who have committed murder and those with
lengthy, serious criminal records.
Wall explained that he has worked to change the culture at the
Parole Board. "We are going to do something better," he said.
Commending Patrick's choices for the other members comprising
the board, Wall pointed out that he is the first chair with
experience in managing a government agency. Wall, 52, is a veteran
Suffolk County prosecutor. He began working in the Suffolk District
Attorney's Office in 1993 and served as chief of the Child
Protection Unit, Major Felony Unit and Senior Trial Unit. When
District Attorney Daniel F. Conley took office in 2002, he promoted
Wall to the position of first assistant and supervisor of all
Superior Court prosecutions.
On the current Parole Board, Wall is joined by a forensic
psychologist and a corrections professional, among others with
highly relevant experience. He said that having this caliber of
expertise has been significantly beneficial to improving the board
and its practices.
He also stressed the amount and level of training undertaken by
the group. According to Wall, by June 1, the complete board will
have participated in 50 trainings. Said Wall, "We are not just
picking parolees, we are trying to make sure they succeed,"
following re-entry into society.
In addition to Wall's remarks, MBA delegates were greeted by
UMass Lowell Provost Ahmed Abdelal. Abdelal explained that UMass
Lowell has invested nearly $300 million in construction recently, a
sign that the campus is getting stronger. He said UMass Lowell is
"less expensive and better that many of the places that we think
The provost also spoke to the international focus of the
university. "We want our students to be globally knowledgeable and
prepared," he said.
Other items discussed at the March 22 meeting included an
informational report from chairs of the MBA Task Force on Law, the
Economy and Underemployment; approval of the proposed slate of 2012
Access to Justice Awardees; a vote in favor of the MBA submitting
an amicus brief relative to a case involving judicial privilege now
before the Supreme Judicial Court; and a vote against supporting in
principle the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.