Criminal Justice

Modest benefit found in Boston study of police body cameras

Modest benefit found in Boston study of police body cameras

Findings set the stage for debate over next steps

PRELIMINARY FINDINGS from Boston’s study of police-worn body cameras point to a small benefit in reducing citizen complaints filed against officers, but no impact on police use of force against civilians. The mixed results of the study carried out by researchers at Northeastern University could prompt a fresh round of debate between advocates for body(...)

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DAs differ on expense approaches

DAs differ on expense approaches

No pattern or guide on office spending

AS A GROUP, the 11 district attorneys in Massachusetts are not big spenders when it comes to dining out or traveling on the state’s dime. But within the group, there are some wide variations. Overall, the district attorneys spent $67,012 over the course of a year on trips, meals, and related expenses, according to records(...)

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US attorney threatens state’s pot industry

US attorney threatens state’s pot industry

New stance indicates no one is immune from prosecution

US ATTORNEY ANDREW LELLING has sent a chilling response to calls from pro-pot advocates to clarify his stance on marijuana prosecution in Massachusetts, a message sure to send potential investors and business people into a state of panic over whether they would be subject to arrest and prosecution under federal drug laws. “This is a(...)

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Confusion reigns in states with legal pot

Confusion reigns in states with legal pot

More questions, fewer answers on how US attorneys will enforce federal drug laws

THE ONE THING that is certain with the change in enforcement of federal marijuana laws is that there will be no uniform approach to enforcement by US attorneys in states that have legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. Public comments and statements from some of the 12 US attorneys in the eight states that have(...)

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Sessions turns back pot clock

Sessions turns back pot clock

AG rescinds Obama-era guidance allowing states to legalize marijuana

ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS has thrown the emerging legal marijuana industry into turmoil by rescinding an Obama-era memorandum that ordered the Justice Department to ignore enforcing federal drug laws in states that allowed adult use. Sessions, a longtime opponent of legalizing marijuana who often tied it to the opioid crisis, issued a new guidance that(...)

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US Atty: Joyce ran office as ‘criminal enterprise’

US Atty: Joyce ran office as ‘criminal enterprise’

Former lawmaker accused of peddling influence for cash

FORMER STATE SEN. BRIAN JOYCE was arrested Friday and indicted for engaging in multiple influence-peddling schemes which netted him up to $1 million in fees that he went to elaborate lengths to conceal. FBI officials, who have been investigating Joyce for two years, said they arrested the former lawmaker before dawn at his home in(...)

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A new social contract on public safety

A new social contract on public safety

Criminal justice reform can strike the right balance

THE MASSACHUSETTS SENATE recently passed a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill. It aims to improve public safety while reducing the size and cost of the prison system. More importantly, the bill is an opportunity for a new social contract related to public safety. In 2014, I started a program in Pittsfield working with youth at(...)

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Debating immigration policy on Beacon Hill

Debating immigration policy on Beacon Hill

Lawmakers should reverse course on Republican amendment to criminal justice bill

IMMIGRATION REFORM isn’t part of the criminal justice reform bill House members will begin debating today, but Republican lawmakers want it to be. Maybe they’re right and it should be — but the Legislature should instead move in the opposite direction of the harmful plan that Republican amendments are proposing. Last week, Siham Byah, a(...)

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A Rikers view of criminal justice reform

A Rikers view of criminal justice reform

Race, economics, and politics played key roles in incarceration policies

I LEFT MY HOMETOWN of Boston three years ago to find myself inside Rikers Island. What I witnessed inside that most infamous jail complex would become my education on the system of incarceration and the staining effects it has on people caught between crime and justice. In 2014, I was appointed a deputy commissioner at(...)

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House pushes narrower criminal justice legislation

House pushes narrower criminal justice legislation

Ex-SJC chief Ireland hails 'reform bill for real world'

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THE MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE plans to consider substantial changes to the way justice is delivered, with a powerful committee polling members Monday on legislation to repeal certain mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, grant people additional opportunities to clear their records, and crack down on chronic drunk drivers. The House plans to(...)

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