MBA Resolutions on Mandatory Minimums, ICE Detentions Adopted by ABA

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017
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The American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates -- the policymaking body of the national bar association -- wrapped up its session Tuesday, Aug. 15, at the 2017 ABA Annual Meeting in New York City, where members from around the country debated and voted on a wide range of policy issues. During the meeting, the ABA's House of Delegates voted to adopt three Massachusetts Bar Association-submitted resolutions with national implications:

  1. Resolution 10B (Abolish mandatory minimums)
  2. Resolution 10C (Making courthouses part of the no arrest zone for ICE)
  3. Resolution 10D (Keeping the Office of Global Criminal Justice)

The resolutions, submitted by MBA President Jeffrey N. Catalano, were presented at the ABA meeting by MBA members Kevin Curtin, Middlesex County District Attorney's Office; Past MBA President Robert W. Harnais, Mahoney & Harnais, Quincy; Wendy Wayne, Committee for Public Counsel Services; and MBA Past President Michael Greco, K&L Gates, who is also a former ABA president. Past MBA President Alice Richmond, the ABA's Massachusetts state delegate, was also instrumental in developing and proposing the resolutions.

"Thank you to the MBA members who were involved in this effort at the ABA meeting in New York, as well as behind the scenes." said Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association. "We are grateful the ABA has adopted these important resolutions, which set policy on the national level for the legal community and provide the necessary resources for advocates throughout the states to pursue similar legislation with their own lawmakers. The Massachusetts Bar Association continues to embrace our role as a leader on these critical legal and policy issues, which we hope will modernize criminal justice policy throughout the country."

The ABA House of Delegates passed each resolution unanimously.

Additional details on the approved, MBA-sponsored resolutions are available here:

  • 10B: ABA opposes the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence in any criminal case.
  • 10C: ABA urges Congress to amend Section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to expand and codify Department of Homeland Security guidelines regarding immigration enforcement.
  • 10D: ABA urges Congress and State Department to ensure criminal accountability for mass atrocities resides in an office mandated to the pursuit of global criminal justice.

The full list of resolutions considered by the ABA House of Delegates on Aug. 14-15 can be found on the ABA's website.