Keeping Money in the Mystic:Advocates Make a Successful Pitch for Oil Spill Dollars

Keeping Money in the Mystic:Advocates Make a Successful Pitch for Oil Spill Dollars

The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), and their partner GreenRoots successfully made the case in

MyRWA Director Patrick Herron and GreenRoots Director Roseann Bongiovanni celebrating their successful argument in Washington, D.C., to return funds to the area.

front of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Council to give Mystic communities a chance at $1.3 million in restoration funds.

“This is an opportunity to repair part of the Mystic River watershed by directing funds that resulted from the spill back to the area where the spill occurred,” said Patrick Herron, executive director. “We are excited that our Mystic communities have another shot at this funding.”

In January of 2006, approximately 15,200 gallons of petroleum product was spilled into the Lower Mystic River through an ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. terminal located in Everett. Accordingly, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) charged ExxonMobil with violating the Clean Water Act through negligence at the facility. ExxonMobil signed a plea agreement in 2009 that included a fine, the cost of cleanup, and a community service payment (CSP) that ultimately totaled $1 million to the Massachusetts Environmental Trust and $4.6 million to the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) fund. This plea agreement states that the funds should be used exclusively for qualified coastal wetland restoration projects in Massachusetts, with preference to projects within the Mystic River Watershed. During plea proceedings, the NAWCA Council and U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff assured the U.S. Attorney’s office and Judge Saris that a process would be put in place to ensure the CSP funds would be awarded in a manner consistent to the intent of the plea agreement.

All funds managed by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) were immediately put to work on stewardship and water quality improvements in the Mystic River Watershed.

In contrast, no NAWCA funds have come to the Mystic River Watershed. To date, $3 million of the ExxonMobil CSP given to NAWCA have been spent on other projects in the Commonwealth. The NAWCA Council was considering spending the remainder of the money ($1.36 million) on yet another project not in the Mystic. This would bring the amount spent on the Mystic to zero.

Herron and Roseann Bongiovanni, executive director of GreenRoots, made the trip to Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12, to argue that money should be given to the Mystic. Prior to the meeting, David Barlow, Gene Benson and friends at GreenRoots and Conservation Law Foundation developed and submitted formal comment letters to the Council that outlined the history of these funds and the context for preference for the Mystic.

“It was our communities and our waterbodies that were impacted by the spill on that cold January morning and now almost 10 years later, our communities are deserving of the penalty dollars to restore our ecological habitat and bring about environmental justice” said Bongiovanni.

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Police Briefs 10-18-2018

Police Briefs 10-18-2018

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL

On Oct. 10, at 12:10 a.m., a CPD officer responded  to 99 Maverick for a report of a male party “passed out behind a wheel of a blue mini-van.” Upon arrival, the officer observed a blue mini-van with its front right tire up on the sidewalk, and the suspect sleeping in the driver’s seat. The officer found the vehicle running. The subject was arrested for OUI after failing a sobriety test.

Ivan Ramirez, 38, of Somerville, was charged with OUI Liquor.

ACTING UP IN CLASS

On Oct. 12, at 4:42 p.m., a Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) Police Officer, while posted inside the building, heard multiple people yelling and screaming for the police. The officer entered room 401 where he observed many students and the professor fleeing the room. Chelsea police responded to assist and arrested a female student who was throwing chairs and hitting people. A second male individual was ordered trespassed off of BHCC properties.

Kayla Nicholson, 21, of Boston, was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and malicious destruction of property under $1,200.

MAINTENANCE MAN

On Oct. 12, at 10:15 p.m., officers were dispatched to 10 Forsyth St. for a report of a past breaking and entering. CPD officers had responded two other times that day for reports of B&E’s. A victim was able to identify the suspect as the buildings maintenance worker. CPD detectives assisted in placing the subject under arrest.

Ediberto Aviles, 38, of 10 Forsyth St., was charged with breaking and entering in the day for a felony, and larceny from a building.

18TH STREET GANG MEMBER, ILLEGALLY HERE, SENTENCED

A Salvadoran national was sentenced this month at federal court in Boston for being an alien in possession of a firearm.

Roberto Portillo, aka “Mysterio,” 24, a Salvadoran national previously residing in Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel to one year and one day in prison. Portillo will face deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence. In June 2018, Portillo pleaded guilty to one count of being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The case arose from an investigation into the criminal activities of 18th Street gang members. According to court documents, Portillo is a member of 18th Street, a violent gang that has engaged in a long-running feud with MS-13. On Jan. 13, 2018, law enforcement officers were investigating drug dealing in East Somerville when they saw three people inside a gray Honda Accord purchase drugs. After confirming the drug sale, law enforcement stopped the car and frisked the front passenger, later identified as Portillo, and found a silver semi-automatic pistol with an obliterated serial number loaded with five rounds of .25 caliber CBC ammunition in his pocket. A subsequent review of immigration databases revealed that Portillo had not legally entered the country, making him an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

STOLEN CAR

On Oct. 13, at 5:12 p.m., a CPD officer, while on patrol in the area of 60 Suffolk St., received notification that a particular was stolen. The officer observed the vehicle a short time later and arrested the individual inside the car.

Jorge Beltran, 19, of 39 Shawmut St., was charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle.

CHARLESTOWN MAN DEALING IN CHELSEA

A Charlestown man was arrested Oct. 5 for distributing fentanyl out of an apartment in Chelsea.

Cruz Villar, 31, was charged with one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl – aiding and abetting; and one count of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl – aiding and abetting.

The first charge provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million. The second charge provides for a sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian A. Pérez‑Daple of Lelling’s Criminal Division is prosecuting the case.

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Obituaries 10-11-2018

Faublas Etienne

Chef in USA and former Judge in Haiti

Faublas Etienne passed away at his Revere home on Saturday morning, Oct. 6 surrounded by his loving family.  He was 86 years old.

Born in Saint-Michel-de-l’ Attalaye Gonaives, Haiti, the beloved son of the late Gabelius Etienne and Elvira Pierre, Faublas was a former judge in Haiti but when he came to the United States he made his living as a chef.  He worked as a chef in New York for several years before moving to Massachusetts.  Faublas dedicated 28 years of service as a chef at the Sheraton Newton Hotel, retiring in 2013.

A Revere resident for the last 16 years, Faublas was a member of the Haitian Missionary Church in Somerville.  As a member of the men’s group, he participated in many church activities over the years.  He will be greatly missed by his large family and friends in the community.

The beloved husband of Marie J. (Norvil) Etienne, he was the devoted father of Virginie Etienne Bois, Fournel Etienne, Faubert Etienne, Yola Etienne, Jeff Etienne, Kennel Etienne, Kenny Etienne, Mirlande Cenat and the late Josette Etienne and Wesner Etienne, dear brother of Yolande Etienne of Florida and Marie Ange Etienne of Port au Prince, Haiti.  Faublas is also lovingly survived by 27 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Faublas’ visiting hours at the Haitian Missionary Church of Somerville, 100 Temple St., Somerville on Friday, Oct. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.  His funeral will be from the above named Church on Saturday at 10 a.m.  An hour of visitation will be held prior to the service, from 9 to 10 a.m. Interment will conclude the service at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett.  Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Carafa Family Funeral Home in Chelsea.

Susan Jean Pizzano

March 28, 1953 – September 24, 2018

Susan Jean (Perry)_Pizzano of East Boston passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 24. She was 65 years old.

The wife of 39 years to Henry Pizzano III of East Boston and formerly of Chelsea. Susan was born in Lynn and grew up in Saugus. She was a graduate of Saugus High School, Class of 1971. Susan worked in all aspects of the department store industry. Later in life, she was a school bus driver as well as a taxi driver and dispatcher with No. Shore Taxi Co. She retired in 2000. She was an animal lover at heart.

Susan was the daughter of the late Paul L. and Inez (Puffer) Perry and sister of the late Christine Collins. She is survived by her husband, Henry; sister, Barbara Maw of Nashua, NH, brothers, Paul Perry of Loudon, NH and Robert Perry of Pennsylvia and her brother in law, Cliff Collins of Hinesburg, Vt. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews as well as her beloved cat Lucy “Lulu.” Funeral services were private with arrangements by Anthony Memorial-Frank A. Welsh and Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea.
Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to Northeast Animal Shelter, 347 Highland Ave, Salem, MA 01970

Kathy Ann Dwyer

Of Chelsea

Kathy Ann Dwyer 68 of Chelsea passed away peacefully at the Everett Nursing Rehab and Nursing Center in Everett on September 27, 2018.  She was preceded in death by her parents, David L. Dwyer and Hazel G. Dwyer, and a brother David L. Dwyer, Jr.  She is survived by 7 brothers and sisters:  William and J. Barry, both of Chelsea, Robert of Pennysylvania, Richard of Boston, a sister Linda of Georgetown, Ma., a twin brother Michael of Penna., and her sister Jacqueline of Saugus, Ma. as well as many nieces and nephews.

Kathy worked for many years as a bookkeeper and for awhile owned and operated her own dance studio in Chelsea.  As a  lifelong resident of Chelsea, Kathy had many dear friends and acquaintances.  She had a very endearing personality and a big heart.  To know her was to love her.  She will be sadly missed.

In addition to the wonderful care that Kathy received at the Everett Nursing Facility for the past several years, she was also given tremendous love and affection from the Compassionate Care Hospice in her time of need.  The family is forever indebted to both outstanding agencies.  Through the benevolence of the Casper Funeral Home of Boston, arrangements were made.  Burial services will be private.

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Chelsea Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm Possession

Chelsea Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm Possession

A Chelsea man pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Boston to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Cesar Alicea, 22, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Nov. 7, 2018.

In December 2017, Alicea was indicted along with Andres Perez, of Chelsea, who was charged with possessing cocaine base and heroin with intent to distribute. It is alleged that Alicea and Perez are members of the East Side Money Gang.

On Oct. 31, 2017, Alicea was in a car that was stopped by law enforcement officers. As Alicea ran from the police, he was observed throwing an item. Shortly thereafter, Alicea was apprehended by police and arrested. The item was recovered and determined to be a .25 caliber Raven Arms pistol.

The charge of being felon in possession of a firearm provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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MS-13 Leader Sentenced to Life for Two Murders, One in Chelsea

MS-13 Leader Sentenced to Life for Two Murders, One in Chelsea

The leader of a violent MS-13 clique was sentenced on July 17 to life in prison.

He was convicted of being responsible for two murders, one in Chelsea.

Noe Salvador Perez Vasquez, a/k/a “Crazy,” 27, a Salvadoran national, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to life in prison and five years of supervised release. In April 2018, Perez was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy, and of committing or knowingly participating in two murders. Perez also was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute marijuana.

Co-defendants Luis Solis Vasquez, a/k/a “Brujo,” 27, a Salvadoran national, and Hector Enamorado, a/k/a “Vida Loca,” 39, a Honduran national, were also convicted of RICO conspiracy and of committing or knowingly participating in murder. Solis is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 11, 2018, and Enamorado is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 2, 2018.

At trial, Perez was identified as a leader of the Everett Locos Salvatrucha (ELS) clique, which was one of the largest, most active, and most violent MS-13 cliques in Massachusetts. Perez was furthermore considered to be a strict leader, demanding that clique members hunt down rival gang members and frequently subjecting younger clique members to harsh punishments.

On Dec. 14, 2014, Perez, Solis, and Enamorado worked together to murder a 29-year-old male victim at an apartment in Chelsea. According to testimony and exhibits introduced at trial, Solis was a full member, or homeboy, with the Eastside Locos Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique and Enamorado was a homeboy with the Chelsea Locos Salvatrucha (CHS) clique. Enamorado and the victim had engaged in a gang-related fight the night before the murder, and when Enamorado encountered the victim again, Enamorado called Perez to ask him for a gun. Perez delivered the murder weapon, a .380 caliber pistol, to Enamorado in Chelsea. Solis armed himself with a gun and went with Enamorado into the apartment to provide backup and necessary support for the attack. Enamorado used Perez’s gun to fatally shoot the victim three times. Enamorado also shot and wounded a second victim who was inside the apartment at the time of the murder. Following the murder, Perez arranged for Enamorado to flee to New Jersey. Federal agents, however, intercepted the car and arrested Enamorado before he could leave Massachusetts.

On July 5, 2015, a 16-year-old, mid-level member of the ELS clique was stabbed to death in a park in Lawrence by two members of his clique. Perez and other MS-13 members targeted the 16-year-old for murder because they believed, incorrectly, that he was cooperating with law enforcement. Perez planned and encouraged the murder. After the two ELS clique members stabbed the 16-year-old to death, Perez promised to promote them to homeboy status.

Perez was one of 49 defendants to be convicted as part of this case. All nine defendants who went to trial were convicted and 40 others pleaded guilty. In all, 16 defendants, including Perez, were found to have committed or knowingly participated in murders.

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Chelsea Man Pleads Guilty to Role in Methamphetamine Trafficking Ring

Chelsea Man Pleads Guilty to Role in Methamphetamine Trafficking Ring

A Chelsea man pleaded guilty June 19 at federal court in Boston to his role in a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking and money laundering ring operating between Massachusetts and California.

Steven Beadles, 60, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and one count of possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. U.S. Senior District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. scheduled sentencing for Sept. 24, 2018.

Beadles was one of 11 men from Massachusetts and California who were indicted in 2016 after a two-year investigation into methamphetamine trafficking. The indictment alleges that beginning in at least 2013, the defendants participated in a conspiracy to transport sizeable quantities of methamphetamine from San Diego, to Massachusetts, where it was distributed in the Greater Boston area. Proceeds from the sale of that methamphetamine were then transported and/or transferred back to California and laundered in various ways.

In his plea agreement, Beadles admitted that agents seized approximately 434 grams of methamphetamine that had been shipped from California to the house where Beadles was living in January 2016, that he knew that the package contained methamphetamine, and that he intended to distribute some of the drugs.

Each charge provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Police Briefs 06-21-2018

Police Briefs 06-21-2018

STOLE CELL PHONES

On June 4, Chelsea Detectives placed a juvenile under arrest for four counts of theft of cell phones from a city business on Broadway. The thefts occurred between the dates of Feb. 1 and March 24, and detectives were able to verify identity through video surveillance.

A 17-year-old juvenile from Everett was charged with four counts of larceny over $250.

ARRESTED TWICE IN ONE DAY

On June 5, at 9:30 a.m., officers located a male party at the corner of Chestnut and Fourth Streets that matched the description of a male party with active warrants. After further investigation, and confirmation, the male was placed under arrest for five Boston Police arrest warrants. At 4:45 p.m. the same day, officers re-arrested the same individual after he was observed shoplifting at the TJ Maxx store.

Xavier Gennis, 22, homeless of Chelsea, was arrested on warrants. Later, he was arrested shoplifting of more than $100.

THREW CIGARETTE IN CRUISER

On June 6, at 1:40 p.m., officers were in Bellingham Square when they observed a male approach two unoccupied police cruisers, which were parked on the median located between Bellingham and Fifth Streets. The male threw a lit cigarette on the front grill of the unmanned police car.

Officers observed smoke coming from the area. When they approached suspect, he became disorderly and was arrested.

Richard Norton, 57, of 129 Arlington St., was charged with wanton damage and disorderly conduct.

TRAFFICKING HEROIN

On June 7, members of the Massachusetts State Police and Chelsea Police attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Shurtleff Street.

The target of the arrest warrant had three active warrants issued from Chelsea District Court. After placing the male under arrest, officers located a significant amount of U.S. currency and drugs on his person, and he was additionally charged.

Jeffrey Valenzuela, 19, of 167 Shurtleff St., was charged with trafficking in heroin, possession to distribute a Class A drug and one warrant.

SALVADORAN MAN DEPORTED AGAIN

A Salvadoran national was charged last week at federal court in Boston with illegally reentering the United States after being deported.

Geraldo Reyes Menjivar-Menjivar, 33, was indicted on one count of illegal reentry of a deported alien.

According to court documents, on May 24, 2018, law enforcement in Chelsea encountered Menjivar-Menjivar and determined him to be unlawfully present in the United States. Menjivar-Menjivar was previously deported on Nov. 7, 2014.

Menjivar-Menjivar faces a sentence of no greater than two years in prison, one year of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, and will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Gerrish Street Gang Member Sentenced on Racketeering and Drug Trafficking

Gerrish Street Gang Member Sentenced on Racketeering and Drug Trafficking

An East Side Money Gang (ES$G) member was sentenced last week in federal court in Boston on racketeering and drug trafficking charges.

Henry Del Rio, a/k/a “Junior,” a/k/a “JR,” 21, of Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to five years in prison and four years of supervised release. In February 2018, Del Rio pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly known as RICO, one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin, and one count of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

Del Rio is a self-admitted member of the ES$G, a Chelsea-based street gang, which uses violence to further its criminal activities and enforce its internal rules. Specifically, ES$G uses violence to protect its members/associates, target rival gang members/associates and intimidate potential witnesses. The ES$G is also involved in drug trafficking, including cocaine, cocaine base (a/k/a crack) and heroin in Chelsea and surrounding communities.

Del Rio conspired with other gang members and associates to distribute heroin and other drugs in Chelsea. Additionally, Del Rio sold a confidential informant a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun with an obliterated serial number and a 30-round, high-capacity magazine from Del Rio’s residence on Gerrish Street in Chelsea.   Del Rio is one of 53 defendants indicted in June 2016 on federal firearms and drug charges following an investigation into a network of street gangs that had created alliances to traffic weapons and drugs throughout Massachusetts and to generate violence against rival gang members. According to court documents, the defendants, who are leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Street Gang, were responsible for fueling a gun and drug pipeline across a number of cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts.

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MS-13 Leader Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy, Attempted Murder

MS-13 Leader Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy, Attempted Murder

An MS-13 member pleaded guilty recently in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy.

Jose Vasquez, a/k/a “Little Crazy,” 24, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO or racketeering conspiracy. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Aug. 30, 2018.

Vasquez was a member and local leader of the Trece Locos Salvatrucha or TLS clique of MS-13. Vasquez personally participated in racketeering activity on behalf of MS-13. Among other things, on Sept. 8, 2014, Vasquez and another MS-13 member, Angel Pineda a/k/a “Bravo,” were involved in an attempted murder of a suspected gang rival in which the victim was stabbed multiple times.

Separately, Vasquez assisted other MS-13 members in burying evidence relating to a murder in East Boston in January 2016.  On Jan. 10, 2016, Edwin Diaz, a/k/a “Demente,” Rigoberto Mejia, a/k/a “Ninja,” and other MS-13 members murdered a 16-year-old boy who MS-13 members believed to belong to the rival 18th Street gang. The victim was shot and stabbed multiple times. A few days after the murder, Vasquez—who did not personally commit the murder—helped another MS-13 member hide evidence related to the murder.  Specifically, Vasquez helped bury the knife and machete used in the murder, as well as bloody clothes worn by those who committed the crime. This evidence was later recovered by law enforcement.

After a multi-year investigation, Vasquez was one of dozens of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 named in a superseding indictment unsealed in January 2016 that targeted MS-13’s criminal activities in Massachusetts. Vasquez is the 46th defendant to be convicted as part of that ongoing prosecution.

Pineda previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 93 months in prison. Diaz and Mejia previously pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy involving murder and are awaiting sentencing.

At today’s hearing, the Court accepted Vasquez’s guilty plea but deferred acceptance of the proposed plea agreement until the sentencing hearing. Under the terms of the proposed plea agreement, Vasquez will be sentenced to between 15 and 18 years in prison.

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Chelsea Delegation Announce Landmark Criminal Justice Reform Law

Chelsea Delegation Announce Landmark Criminal Justice Reform Law

Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) recently announced that the landmark criminal justice reform package crafted by the Massachusetts Legislature has been signed into law. The Senator had previously joined his legislative colleagues in overwhelmingly voting to pass this sweeping piece of legislation, and last week the Governor signed the bill into law. An Act relative to criminal justice reform will lead to a more equitable system by supporting our youngest and most vulnerable residents, reducing recidivism, increasing judicial discretion, and enhancing public safety.

The legislation contains provisions to provide better care for vulnerable populations in the criminal justice system, and implements policies to strengthen protections for public safety and witness protection. The Legislature also passed the accompanying Act implementing the joint recommendations of the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Review (H.4012), which is designed to complement the comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation. The CSG bill allows individuals to earn early release by participating in recidivism-reduction programs.

For the first time in the history of Massachusetts, this legislation establishes a process for expunging criminal records. Courts will now be able to expunge certain juvenile and young adult (18-21) records, and records in cases of fraud or where an offense is no longer a crime.

The Legislature has a longstanding legacy of supporting the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children, particularly those facing trauma and adversity. Accordingly, this bill raises the minimum age of criminal responsibility from seven to twelve and decriminalizes a first offense misdemeanor if the punishment is a fine or imprisonment for not more than six months. The legislation establishes a Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Commission, which will make the state eligible for additional federal funding, and a Childhood Trauma Task Force to study and recommend gender responsive and trauma-informed approaches to treatment of youths in the juvenile justice system. The bill also extends Good Samaritan protections to alcohol incapacitation for individuals under 21.

This legislation reflects a balanced, modern approach to sentencing. It eliminates mandatory and statutory minimum sentences for many low-level, non-violent drug offenses. Additionally, it creates the nation’s strongest law for Carfentanil trafficking and strengthens the existing Fentanyl trafficking law, bolstering the Legislature’s multi-tiered approach to the opioid epidemic. The legislation also strengthens penalties for repeat offenders convicted of operating under the influence (OUI).

 The new law requires district attorneys to create pre-arraignment diversion programs for military personnel, veterans, and individuals with addiction or mental health issues in order to combat the opioid epidemic and provide healthcare parity. It also expands diversion programs to the Juvenile Court and removes the existing age restriction on diversion in the District Court.

 Following reforms in 2010 and 2012, this legislation again updates the Commonwealth’s criminal offender record information (CORI) system to help individuals secure gainful employment and housing, enacting the following policies:

  • Reduces the wait time to seal a conviction from ten years to seven years for a felony, and from five years to three years for a misdemeanor.
  • Allows a conviction for resisting arrest to be sealed.
  • Expands the ability of an applicant with a sealed record to be able to answer “no record” on housing and professional license applications.
  • Establishes protections for businesses and landlords who shall be presumed to have no notice or ability to know about criminal records that have been sealed or expunged.

 This legislation updates the Commonwealth’s bail system and enhances judicial discretion by requiring a judge to take a person’s financial resources into account when determining bail. It also raises the threshold for larceny to qualify as a felony from $250 to $1,000. It also creates the crime of solicitation that is tied to the severity of the underlying crime.

Additional policy changes include: reduction of fees imposed on defendants; decriminalization of minor offenses; enhanced limits on solitary confinement; improvement of prison conditions; and release of prisoners who are permanently incapacitated and pose no safety risk.

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