Criminal Justice

State tracks pot plants with helicopters

State tracks pot plants with helicopters

Recent seizures raise questions about program’s legality

MASSACHUSETTS DECRIMINALIZED MARIJUANA in 2008, legalized medical marijuana in 2012, and is about to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana, but that hasn’t stopped the State Police and the National Guard from launching helicopter-led raids on homeowners growing pot in their backyards. What makes the raids unusual is that they are conducted without warrants and rarely(...)

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Gants launches study of racial disparities in incarceration

Gants launches study of racial disparities in incarceration

Chief justice also "encouraged" by progress on wider criminal justice policy review

THE STATE MUST confront racial disparities in imprisonment rates and move to “reimagine” a flawed criminal justice system to focus less on incarceration and more on lowering recidivism, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants said on Thursday. Delivering his third annual address on the state of the judiciary since becoming the Commonwealth’s top judge,(...)

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Crime and punishment

Crime and punishment

What’s the right thing to do with an 18-year-old caught with a gun?

Photographs by Mark Ostow DIANE MCMANUS SAYS her youngest child, Timothy, is “no street kid.” He was “raised in the church,” she says, a respectful son who minded the rules she set down, even as a teenager growing up in a rough patch of Dorchester off Blue Hill Avenue. But while Diane McManus was out(...)

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Judge says body camera pilot can move forward

Judge says body camera pilot can move forward

Wilkins denies Boston police union petition for injunction

A JUDGE HAS sided with Boston Police Commissioner William Evans and ruled that he has authority to assign officers to a body-worn camera pilot project over the objections of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association. In a decision handed down Friday morning, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins said Evans had the management authority to order(...)

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Boston police unions overstate case for “long guns”

Boston police unions overstate case for “long guns”

Claim of FBI recommendation disputed

BOSTON POLICE UNIONS got quite a bit of attention last month when the presidents of three unions cosigned a letter to Mayor Martin Walsh and Police Commissioner William Evans demanding more patrol officers, more vehicles, body armor, and controversially, “long guns” and “ample ammunition,” in order to face what they view to be the pending threat of(...)

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DeLeo pays Mintz another $100,000

DeLeo pays Mintz another $100,000

Campaign expenditure bit of a mystery

HOUSE SPEAKER ROBERT DELEO’S campaign committee paid $100,000 in legal fees at the end of March to the same Boston law firm that represented him previously in his legal battles with US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office. Campaign finance records indicate DeLeo paid $100,000 to Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo on March 30. The(...)

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Healey’s assault weapon directive on target

Healey’s assault weapon directive on target

AG's clarification is in keeping with the state's commonsense gun laws

ONE OF THE main rallying cries of the NRA and the gun lobby is that we don’t need any new gun laws to reduce gun violence. The gun lobbyists assert that we just need to enforce the laws already on the books. That’s why rather than objecting, these groups should be applauding efforts by Attorney(...)

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Do police body cameras work?

Do police body cameras work?

Evidence points toward benefits, but they’re costly and not a cure-all

THERE IS GROWING pressure across the country to equip police officers with body-worn cameras, driven by a belief that the technology will reduce unwarranted use of force by police and is also likely to lower the incidence of assaults on police. In her 2013 ruling against the New York City police department’s “stop and frisk”(...)

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Pot supporters say ballot question about fairness

Pot supporters say ballot question about fairness

Pols in favor say it's a matter of racial justice as well as new revenue

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE AS PROPONENTS GATHERED outside the State House Wednesday to urge support for marijuana legalization and condemn arguments against it as rooted in fear, opponents of a ballot question to allow the adult use of marijuana released a list of 119 members of the Legislature opposing legalization. Massachusetts voters will decide at(...)

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All kids deserve a second chance

All kids deserve a second chance

Juvenile record 'expungement' is key

“DO YOU BELIEVE in second chances?” That is the most commonly asked question I receive when I speak to students as part of judicial-school outreach. My answer is always the same: “Yes.” I believe anyone who works with adolescents or has ever been a parent would provide the same response. The concept of second chances(...)

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