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.
Mayor Sarno, District Attorney Anthony Gulluni and State Representatives Angelo Puppolo initially proposed the legislation in October of 2015. The pending legislation was introduced after an alarming trend of repeat violent criminal offenders returning to our neighborhoods and recommitting crimes after having to meet and comply with little or no bail after arraignment.
Mayor Sarno states, “I want to thank State Representative Angelo Puppolo for his continued efforts and leadership in refiling this much-needed common sense, public safety and quality of life legislation. The intent of this legislation is to give our Commonwealth and District Attorneys equal footing when addressing violent repeat criminal offenders as it relates to the ability of appealing bail set in District Court. Too often, we see these same individuals being released back into our neighborhoods, sometimes with a history of being previously arraigned on more than 100 charges. These repeat criminal offenders are committing violent crimes against my residents and businesses, often times involving guns and drugs. They have little to no regard to the conditions in which they are released – GPS ankle bracelet, probation; none of these conditions of their release seems to deter these repeat violent criminal offenders from committing more crimes in our neighborhoods and negatively impacting the public safety and quality of life for our residents and business community. It seems our courts care more for the rights of the criminal and not for the victim. Along with Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood and Sheriff Nick Cocchi, we will continue to fight for the residents and businesses of Springfield. I want to thank Representative Puppolo for his leadership and once again advocating for this commonsense legislation that takes no rights away from the defendant.”
State Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr. stated, “At the request of Mayor Sarno, I have refiled this legislation. My colleagues and I will continue to work diligently with the Mayor, Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood, District Attorney Anthony Gulluni and Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi on moving this bill through the legislative process.”
While the proposed legislation seeks to give the Commonwealth the right to appeal bail in District Court, it does not take away any current rights of defendants. It is to be one more tool for our District Attorneys to keep violent repeat criminal offenders off our streets and out of our neighborhoods, while keeping our residents and businesses safe.