Friday, January 31, 2014

Statement on the DOC’s Decision to Appeal Latest Kosilek Ruling

Today I released the following statement following reports that the Department of Corrections will appeal a 2-1 decision made by a panel of First Circuit of Appeals judges that ruled to uphold U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf’s 2012 ruling that the Department of Corrections were in violation of Michelle Kosilek’s constitutional rights by denying her gender reassignment surgery:

“The recent decision made by a panel of First Circuit Court of Appeals judges to uphold an earlier decision ordering the Department of Corrections to provide a gender reassignment surgery for a convicted killer is not only outrageous, but injudicious.  Providing extraordinary surgery for someone who has committed 1st degree murder isn’t a wise decision for state tax payers and certainly doesn’t serve the interests of justice in Massachusetts or a precedent for the rest of the country.

I applaud Governor Patrick and the Department of Corrections’ decision to appeal this ruling. It sets a bad precedent that will result in serious ramifications that go beyond just the borders of the Commonwealth.”



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Media Alert: On the Air with Broadside

Once again I will be a guest on NECN’s Broadside with Jim Braude.  I will be discussing with Attorney Ed Ryan and Jim the Justice Department’s decision to seek the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused Boston Marathon Bomber.

Please tune in at 6:00pm to watch tonight’s discussion.  “Broadside” re-airs at 8:00pm and again at 3:30am.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Media Alert: Greater Boston with Emily Rooney

Tonight at 7:00pm I will be a featured guest on WGBH’s Greater Boston with host Emily Rooney.  I will be discussing with Emily and Defense Attorney Jack Cuhna, a bill that I filed that would provide parole for juveniles convicted of 1st degree murder.

Please tune in to watch tonight’s segment.  To learn more about the bill please click here to read a previous blog post.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Statement on the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address

Tonight I released the following statement regarding Governor Patrick’s State of the Commonwealth Address:

“Tonight Governor Patrick has spoken eloquently about the strengths of our Commonwealth, and the many attributes of the people of our state.  In doing so he has recounted our challenging path through a long and difficult recession, and expressed our prospects for recovery.

Yet the Fiscal Year 2015 budget he has delivered to the legislature creates serious concerns.  First, it increases state spending by nearly 5%, an ambitious amount in light of the fluctuating revenue patterns of the past several months, and it depends on revenue from gaming, though it’s proving difficult to get even one facility started in the state.

Unfortunately, the governor’s proposal also once again incorporates new taxes and stabilization fund withdrawals into the state spending plan, continuing a trend of dependence on these things even as we should be seeking to move away from them to build a solid foundation for future prosperity.

Hopefully as the legislative process unfolds we can chart a new course toward prosperity, and one which spends the dividends of robust economic growth rather than making tax increases and one-time revenue measures an integral part of every budget discussion.  There are many ways to accomplish that goal, and we must be bold enough to pursue them.”



Monday, January 27, 2014

Statement on an Independent Investigation of DCF

Today I released the following statement regarding an independent investigation of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families conducted by the Child Welfare League of America:

“A thorough and unbiased third-party investigation is necessary and important to correcting problems at DCF, and my hope is that the Child Welfare League of America can provide such an investigation.  At a minimum it must be as comprehensive as possible, be able to go where the facts take it, seek and use information from many sources, and be produced through a transparent, accountable process that is supported by sufficient resources to get the job done.

The facts surrounding the case of Jeremiah Oliver, and those that have surfaced as a result of that case, are deeply disturbing and they demand that we all work to address this situation in an effective manner.  I appreciate today’s update from Governor Patrick, and hope that he will continue to openly report on the progress of CWLA’s efforts.”



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Press Release Regarding Parole for Juveniles Convicted of 1st Degree Murder

Today I distributed the following press release regarding a bill I filed with a coalition of legislations that would set parole at 35 years for juveniles convicted of 1st degree murder:

Boston- Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and State Senator Barry Finegold (D-Andover) have joined with a coalition of legislators including Senators Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), Donald Humason (R-Westfield), James Timilty (D-Walpole), Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge), Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell) and Joan Lovely (D-Salem), and Representative Theodore Speliotis (D-Danvers) in filing legislation requiring juveniles convicted of first degree murder to serve a minimum of 35 years before becoming eligible for parole.

The legislative measure comes on the heels of a 2012 United States Supreme Court decision stating that it is cruel and unusual punishment for states to require all juveniles who commit the crime of murder to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and a decision made last year by the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that all juveniles convicted of first degree murder under the age of 18 must be eligible for parole.

“In the wake of court decisions eliminating life without parole for these offenders, we must act now to ensure that those murderers serve the sentences their crimes deserve, and that we protect public safety from their premature release,” said Senator Tarr.  “If we must consider parole in these cases, it must be done with respect to victims and their families and the security of our communities as much as to the rights conferred by the judiciary.”

The bipartisan, bicameral bill, which meets the recommendation of District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, was filed on Tuesday and currently has a total of 22 sponsors.  More legislators are expected to sign-on to the public safety bill before the deadline of Friday, January 31st at 5:00pm.

“The Supreme Court said that it is cruel and unusual punishment that a juvenile would have to spend their life behind bars without parole, but it is also cruel and unusual punishment that after only 15 years and every 5 years thereafter, a victim’s family would have to relive such a horrible tragedy,” said Senator Finegold.

Currently, due to the courts’ recent rulings, Massachusetts now requires parole eligibility of 15-25 years after a first degree murder conviction, which is the same period for a second degree murder conviction.  The new process will now allow families of victims to appear before the parole board to provide testimony and relive the tragic details concerning the death of a loved one, making it difficult to ever truly recover from such a horrific event.

The family of Beth Brodie said “Serving fifteen years of a life sentence does not seem like a reasonable punishment for a killer of any age.  Could we find a number of years that’s more reasonable?  No we don’t think we could, but this feels like a slap in the face.  Preparing for parole hearings forces us to re-live the worst days of our lives.  The pure and innocent are paying the price for the evil and twisted.  We seek justice, justice for Beth Brodie, justice for all families involved.”

“Lost in the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court is justice for victims and those that mourn such devastating losses. We are thankful for this effort to right a great injustice for victims and their families. It is our hope that Senator Finegold’s proposal will pass the legislature and be signed into law so that those convicted of first degree murder serve longer sentences before they are eligible for parole and therefore prevented from harming others,” said the Ritzer family.

Once the deadline has past, the bill will be assigned to a committee for further action.



Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

I will once again be a guest on the Fox 25 News to discuss a bill I recently filed that would set parole for juveniles convicted of first degree murder.  Please tune in at 6:15pm to watch tonight’s segment.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Statement on federal fisheries disaster aid, DMF public meeting on preserving groundfish industry

Yesterday I released the following statement, regarding the U.S. House’s passage of $75 million in fisheries disaster aid as part of the Fiscal Year 2014 federal appropriations bill, and the announcement by the Division of Marine Fisheries that it will be holding the first of at least three public meetings on protecting and preserving the groundfish industry at its Gloucester office on January 27th:

“Now that funding for the fishing industry is on the fast track in Washington, it’s critical that we lay the groundwork for its effective use in Massachusetts to keep the industry alive through this ongoing crisis.  The meetings being conducted by DMF will be a prime opportunity to get that process started by building the consensus that can only come from focused and candid conversations with the people, businesses and organizations that are at risk.

I am pleased that DMF is responding promptly to the request that I have made with Representative Ferrante to get this discussion underway.  We need to make sure that money is being spent to meet the needs of fishing families and ports and not any particular bureaucracy or collateral interest.”


Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

I will once again be a guest on the Fox25 Morning News where I will be discussing with political commentator VB the failures of the Department of Children and Families, an update on an independent investigation by the Child Welfare League of America, who will be reviewing the practices and procedures of the department, and possibly other subjects.

Please tune in at 7:45am to watch this morning’s discussion.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

This evening at approximately 5:00pm I will once again be a guest on the Fox 25 News.  The topics I will be discussing include Governor Patrick’s latest climate control plan, and the effects recent storms have had on coastal communities.

Please tune in to watch tonight’s discussion.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Media Alert: “Broadside” with Jim Braude

Tonight at 6:00pm I will be a featured guest on NECN’s “Broadside” with host Jim Braude.  We will be discussing the failures of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, and the need for an independent investigation to review the practices and procedures of the department.

“Broadside” re-airs at 8:00pm, and again at 3:30am.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

Tomorrow morning I will once again be a guest on the Fox 25 News, where I will be discussing a bill that I recently filed that would authorize the Division of Marine Fisheries to establish a Massachusetts Seafood Marketing Program.  Please tune in at approximately 8:45AM to watch tomorrow morning’s segment.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Emergency Preparedness Starts at Home

With a powerful winter storm providing extreme conditions to Massachusetts tonight and tomorrow, my office has gathered several documents and emergency contact numbers that may be of assistance.  During a storm with the potential of this magnitude, people may become stranded in their vehicles or unable to leave their homes with the loss of utilities and other services.  The best way to protect yourself, loved ones, and your property is to plan for an emergency before one strikes.  

All households should have a contact list of emergency numbers posted next to a working phone. In case of a power outage, most cordless phones may be unresponsive so it is advisable to keep a backup phone with a cord in a close and safe place. While emergency calls should be directed through 911 it is a good idea to keep other numbers in an accessible location. Some numbers to be placed on that list include your local non-emergency numbers for the police and fire departments, nearest hospital, town hall, and your electricity and gas provider’s area telephone number. National Grid’s emergency number is 1-800-465-1212. Comcast can be reached at 1-800-266-2278 and Verizon’s help service line is 1-888-553-1555.

Other important precautions to take before a storm include;

• Stocking your house and/or vehicle with supplies such as non-perishable food, bottled water, flashlights and extra batteries, first aid kit, extra blankets and sleeping bags, a fire extinguisher, and a radio.

• Installing storm windows or cover windows with plastic to provide additional insulation.

• Letting faucets drip to avoid water pipes from freezing.

• Locking all doors and windows to ensure that they are closed tight to help protect against strong winds and precipitation.

• Learning where gas pilots and water mains are located and how to safely shut off all utilities.

• Keeping an amount of money on hand just in case there is a power outage and ATM’s are unable to operate.

• Knowing your community’s emergency shelter locations if an evacuation becomes necessary.

• Having a plan for all family pets in case an emergency shelter does not allow their presence.

Below are several documents produced from several state and federal agencies that might assist you. The documents include a family communications plan, a winter emergency car kit checklist, and a family pet disaster preparedness plan. If my office can assist you in anyway, please do not hesitate to call at (617)722-1600.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox25

Tonight at 5:40pm and tomorrow morning at 8:50am I will be calling into the Fox 25 news broadcasts to discuss the current winter conditions, and the effects of the storm on coastal communities.  Please tune in to watch this evening’s and tomorrow morning’s live broadcasts.