Big issues are on the table for the members of the Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys at it’s annual meeting. Governor Patrick continues his attack on the private attorneys who defend the bulk of indigent defendants. In addition, the ongoing scandal and fallout from the Massachusetts drug lab evidence scandal will be a hot topic that affects many in the defense bar, and their clients.
The private defense lawyers of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, or CPCS, have delivered outstanding criminal representation for Massachusetts citizens for years at extremely reasonable cost to the Commonwealth, yet the Governor is continuing his efforts to kill the CPCS budget and move to an untested and questionable new system of public employees.
And in the wake of an evidence tampering scandal that broke in Massachusetts earlier this fall, the MACAA will address repercussions in dealing with thousands of criminal drug cases that must be reviewed after former chemist Annie Dookhan was accused with tampering evidence.
Dookhan is linked to the alleged tampering of 60,000 drug samples from 34,000 criminal cases, according to the Boston Globe. Dookhan is accused of tampering with evidence for three years, violating lab protocol, and forging signatures of her colleagues on drug evidence paperwork. She pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and is free on $10,000 cash bail. Most defendants from the 34,000 criminal cases will be represented by court-appointed attorneys.
Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys (MACAA) officers and board members invite interested parties to join their annual meeting Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. until noon, at the Sheraton in Framingham, MA. Refreshments will be served.
Members boasted a great attendance at last year’s annual meeting in Worcester and expect even more in attendance this year, with a general focus on how these cases will be handled.
During the meeting they also plan to hold elections for all officers and board members and audience involvement is encouraged.
Up for election are:
1. President Guy A. Larock, who has served on the MACAA Board this past year and is in his 12th year as a bar advocate.
“He understands MACAA’s critical role in preserving and defending the bar advocate program,” according to MACAA member Mark Hare. His primary courts are New Bedford, Fall River, and Bristol County Superior Courts. Guy brings fresh ideas and boundless energy to MACAA.”
2. A vice president who will be announced.
3. Treasurer Michele Rioux, who is a founding Board Member of MACAA. “She has tirelessly worked on behalf of indigent clients for over 20 years,” according to Hare. “Michele’s primary courts are New Bedford District Court, Juvenile Court, including Youthful Offender, as well as Bristol Superior Court.”
4. Clerk Marie Elena Saccoccio, who is a founding Board Member of MACAA with over 20 years invested in the defense of indigent clients in post-conviction and appellate matters. She has also served as our eyes and ears at various CPCS board meetings, providing up to the minute notes on matters crucial to private counsel.
The MACAA reminds attendees that the association is what they make of it, and the MACAA depends on active support and participation from members. They are acting for volunteerism or board nominations.
The Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys would like to hear opinions on how the state is handling scandal, and they ask that members of the association submit annual dues of $125 to retain the services of their lobbyists.
Payments may be sent to the Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys, care of Mark Hare, 1350 Main Street, Suite 1000 Springfield, MA 01103. PayPal payment is also available online.
The Sheraton Framingham is available by taking the Mass Pike Exit 12 To Route 9 West · 1657 Worcester Road · Framingham, MA 01701. For more information visit sheratonframingham.com.