In the News

Judge Releases Repeat Prolific Offender with Two Open Gun Cases on $5000 Bail

Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno continue call for state lawmakers to pass Governor Baker’s Dangerousness Bill after another head-scratching decision by a Judge. 

On Saturday February 19 Detectives assigned to the Springfield Police Department’s Firearms Investigation Unit seized a loaded large capacity firearm inside the home of a suspect who is currently on a GPS Ankle Bracelet and home confinement for a pending firearms case in Hampden Superior Court. 

After an investigation, Detectives seized the firearm Saturday and arrested 25 year old Joshua Pena and 20 year old Joerick Johnson inside Pena’s Parker Street home. 

Pena was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2012 shooting death of Antonio Gonzales.  During his time incarcerated he committed an assault and battery on a corrections officer and was convicted on those charges. 

After his release Springfield Police Detectives arrested Pena in July 2019 with a loaded large capacity firearm.  A grand jury indicted Pena and this case remains open in Hampden Superior Court.   Pena is on the Hampden District Attorney’s Prolific Offender List. 

Pena was released on those charges with the conditions he wear a GPS ankle bracelet, home confinement and to stay away from firearms. 

When Pena was arraigned on these new firearms charges Tuesday, Springfield District Court Judge Danielle Williams set a $5000 bail with the same conditions from his previous arrest.  The Hampden District Attorney’s Office requested $100,000 bail. 

“This is a perfect example of why Governor Baker’s Dangerousness Bill is so important to pass.  How many times do our officers have to put themselves in danger to arrest the same individuals over and over again with firearms before they are held?  This suspect clearly has no respect for the pre-trial conditions placed on him as he continues to violate both these conditions and his probation.  Now the Judge sets him free again with no repercussions which contributes to more brazen actions by these prolific offenders,” said Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood. 

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “Once again, our brave and dedicated officers’ solid police work is undermined by the district court. Decisions like this continue to jeopardize the safety of our residents, business community, and officers, allowing repeat violent offenders to roam our streets and neighborhoods, causing mayhem. It is crucial to pass Governor Baker’s Dangerousness Legislation. This is common sense legislation and would help the Commonwealth meet the fundamental government responsibility of keeping our residents and business community safe.  It would also provide better protections for victims of specific crimes so they can feel safe and secure and not feel threatened or harassed.  Additionally, Governor Baker’s legislation also takes language from my own bail reform legislation that was filed by State Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr. (H. 1839) to help even the playing field for our District Attorneys, in addition to defendants, so they can have the option to appeal the release decisions from district court to the state superior court.” 

Items the legislation aims to address include:

  • The right for the prosecution to request a dangerousness hearing for certain criminal acts, such as rape or indecent assault and battery on a child, where the prosecution believes there is substantial danger to the public where the defendant is likely to commit another crime while released or poses a threat to the community and victim(s).
  • Strengthen the consequences for those who are found in violation of their release on bail and/or of pretrial conditions. 
  • Create a new felony offense for a defendant that has cut off their court-ordered GPS device.
  • Improve the system for notifying victims of crimes of abuse and other dangerous crimes when a defendant is set to be released.
  • Empower police to detain people found violating their court-ordered release conditions.  The current law does not allow this.
  • Authorize judges to revoke a person’s release when the offender is found violating their court-ordered condition(s), such as to stay away from the victim or from a public playground. 
  • Allow bail commissioners and bail magistrates to consider dangerousness in deciding whether to release an arrestee from a police station when court is out of session. 
  • Create a task force to recommend adding information to criminal records so that prosecutors and judges can make more informed recommendations and decisions about conditions of release and possible detention on grounds of dangerousness.
  • Clarify the permissible sentences following conviction for certain serious crimes: that probation is not a permissible sentence for home invasion or commission of a felony after two prior significant felony convictions; and that the sentence imposed on a person convicted of committing a felony while in possession of a firearm is a minimum mandatory sentence.

We have provided the email address of all our local state lawmakers and urge you to write to them in support of Bill H.4290

Senator Eric Lesser -

Senator Adam Gomez -

Senator John Velis -

Senator Anne Gobi -

Senator Adam Hinds -

Representative Brian Ashe -

Representative Nicholas Boldyga -

Representative Michael Finn -

Representative Carlos Gonzalez -

Representative Jacob Oliveira -

Representative Angelo Puppolo -

Representative Kelly Pease -

Representative Orlando Ramos -

Representative Todd Smola -

Representative Joseph Wagner -

Representative Bud Williams -

Chairs of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary

Senator James Eldridge -

Representative Michael Day -

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm