First of all, we express our sympathy, thoughts and prayers, and encouragement to the family of slain Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, and City Councilor Thomas Ashe, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, held a press conference today to continue to push legislation the puts the Commonwealth on equal footing with defendants as it relates to the ability of appealing bail set in District Court. Currently, when bail is levied in district court, offenders have the right to appeal to a judge in Superior Court and then to a single justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the Commonwealth cannot.
It is important to note under this proposed legislation an appeal by the Commonwealth must occur by the close of the following business day as to not draw out the process. These proposed changes were initiated after an alarming trend of repeat violent offenders returning to the streets after having to meet and comply with little or any bail after arraignment became apparent. It has been a common occurrence for offenders to be back out on the streets after being arrested multiple times by the Springfield Police Department and other police departments across Massachusetts.
While the proposed legislation seeks to even the playing field it does not take away any current rights of defendants. It is to be one more tool in keeping violent offenders off of our streets and away from terrorizing residents and protecting our police officers.
The legislation (House Bill 3830) proposed by Mayor Sarno, District Attorney Gulluni, and State Representatives Angelo Puppolo and Michael Finn back in October of 2015 is currently in the Judiciary Committee waiting to be reported out on.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “A hard line has to be taken on these repeat violent offenders; the gangbangers, gun offenders and drug dealers that continue to victimize Springfield residents, businesses and police officers. Our brave men and women in blue put their lives on the line day in and day out just to have these negative individuals released. It has to STOP!”
District Attorney Anthony Gulluni stated, “Aggressively prosecuting violent offenders is paramount to keep our streets safe and foster a positive quality of life for residents throughout our neighborhoods in Hampden County. The proposed legislation would provide recourse in circumstances where bail levied against violent offenders may not be sufficient.”
“My colleagues and I will continue to work diligently with Mayor Sarno and his administration and continue our discussions with the Judiciary Committee to move this important piece of bail legislation out of committee and onto the House floor for a vote,” Representative Angelo Puppolo stated.
Representative Michael Finn added, “Representative Puppolo and I strongly support this legislation that we filed on behalf of Mayor Sarno and his team last year. We were successful in moving the bail legislation out of the Committee on House Rules and will continue to work with our colleagues in moving this bill out of the Judiciary Committee.”
“It is critical that the courts get it right and hold those people who are a danger to their victims, the public or police. The courts must be provided with the ability to do this by enacting proper legislation that assists in keeping our citizens safe,” said Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri.
City Councilor Thomas Ashe stated, “I fully support this important legislation and I am happy to once again stand with and support Mayor Sarno and our local legislative delegation as we continue to work together to move this bail legislation forward. This is an important piece of legislation not just for our City of Springfield but for the Commonwealth.”
Please see the attached legislation and history of the issue: http://bit.ly/27SFVyA