Thursday, January 17, 2019

open warrants... across the country


This was in the local rag on the 13th. Reporters from the area did a good look at the problem in our court system that encourages defendants to skip court appearances. It's a nationwide problem and the piece does do justice to places around the country. But IMO, they missed the bigger story by not sounding the alarm over the fact that when asked by this group of reporters, Massachusetts failed to give these reporters any usable information. From the reporters charts and number crunching, there are 390 thousand open warrants in Massachusetts. And you can bet your last dollar, one or more of that number, are violent offenders waiting to make the news. It might be time to gps every person who is required to come back to court and remove only when the case is done. The paper devoted a page and half to this subject which is relevant to our community.

Daphne Chen

By Doug Caruso

By Eli Sherman
Wicked Local

By John Futty

By Mike Wagner 

Posted Jan 14, 2019 at 1:09 PM Updated Jan 14, 2019 at 3:45 PM
(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series.)
Millions of Americans are wanted on criminal arrest warrants, including hundreds of thousands accused of murder, rape, robbery or assault, while victims wait for justice.
In Massachusetts, there are more than 390,000 open warrants.
Many cases stay open for years, even decades, often forgotten as law enforcers and judges struggle to keep up with new warrants filed in courthouses across the nation each day.
An investigation by Wicked Local, GateHouse Media, and The Columbus Dispatch found more than 5.7 million cases in 27 states with open arrest warrants — enough to lock up 83.1 percent of all Massachusetts residents. Reporters sought records from all 50 states, but 23 did not provide usable data. Among those warrants, reporters identified nearly 240,000 cases involving violence, a weapon or sexual misconduct, enough to fill every state prison cell in Texas, Michigan and Virginia.
“Most jurisdictions around the nation are doing nothing with warrants like this. Nothing,” said David Kennedy, professor of criminal justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and director of the college’s National Network for Safe Communities.
Warrants pile up.
As of Aug. 20, 2018 open warrants in Massachusetts accumulated to 390,383, dating back to 1970, according to data compiled by the Massachusetts Executive Office of the Trial Court.
The data was provided in response to a public records request by Wicked Local.
“As warrants are issued, the majority are closed, but a number remain open for various reasons, such as individuals are in jail, have not been apprehended, have been deported, have moved out of state, or are currently incarcerated out of state,” wrote Court Administrator Jonathan S. Williams in a response to the records request.
Citing undue burden or expense, Massachusetts would not break down the warrants by original offense, or provide any biographic information about the accused. Without the charges, it’s impossible to separate which Massachusetts warrants are related to violent charges.
Interviews with judges, attorneys and law enforcement officials from across Massachusetts, show a large portion of the unserved warrants stem from minor offenses, such as not paying a parking ticket. Warrants cross socioeconomic levels, but disproportionately affect poorer communities and racial and ethnic minorities.
“Open warrants have been a problem in the Massachusetts court system for decades,” explained retired Judge Raymond G. Dougan, who served as an associate justice at Boston Municipal Court from 1991 to 2014.

Parents should register for free or reduced meals

Others have railed on this subject before, but there's an unexpected twist worthy of a revisit. I would have never guessed the amount of our kids who receive help with meals would ever go down. I can't wait for the consensus in 2020. But the reasons why seem apparent. Tough call all around collecting money from poor people, all of witch seem to have enough money for a 200 a month cell phone bill.  I'm glad they stopped the "no meal if you were behind in payment" policy. I do think more could be done to verify poverty level. Feeding your child at school is no different in feeding your child at home, if you can afford to do so.

By Zane Razzaq
Daily News staff

Posted Jan 15, 2019 at 8:16 PM Updated Jan 16, 2019 at 11:00 AM
School officials suspect that a dip in free and reduced meals applications, as well as the rising negative balance in the Food Services Department, is tied to a new meal policy that ensures no child is denied a meal.
FRAMINGHAM – School officials are urging eligible families to apply for free and reduced meals after an unexpected drop that is likely driving up a negative balance in the Food Services Department.
For the first time in at least eight years, the number of children on free and reduced meals in Framingham schools has decreased, from 52 percent in fiscal 2018 to 48 percent in the current school year. That decline amounts to several hundred fewer applications, primarily at the middle and high school levels. Finance Director Lincoln Lynch IV said the district will be proactive in getting families to apply for the program.
“We want to encourage as many people as possible to apply,” said Lynch. “As the year goes on, we’ll just be pushing out those applications to everyone.”
The School Committee implemented a new meal policy over the summer after reports that students with negative account balances were being denied meals in the lunch line. Under the new policy, no student is denied a lunch or breakfast meal. Meals are still charged to student accounts, but it falls on parents or guardians to settle the debt.
Under past practice, students at Framingham High School and Cameron, Fuller and Walsh middle schools were allowed to run up a maximum deficit of $10 in their meal accounts. Once they hit that cap, students were denied meals when they reached the end of the lunch line.
School officials suspect that both the dip in applications, as well as the rising negative balance in the Food Services Department, is tied to the new policy. In an interview, Schools Superintendent Robert Tremblay said families may feel less incentive to fill out the paperwork for free and reduced meals.
“There’s always been a social stigma about returning a free and reduced lunch application, but now we have a policy in place that says, ‘If you don’t have the means to pay, your child won’t be denied a meal anyway,’” said Tremblay. “What’s the drive for a family to sit down and fill out an application, when the outcome may very well be the same

State Rep. McMurty accused of ‘inappropriate behavior,’ i.e. grabbing lawmaker’s backside

From the Globe’s Andrea Estes and Matt Stout “A member of House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo’s leadership team walked up behind an incoming legislator and grabbed her backside last month during an orientation cocktail hour for newly elected lawmakers, according to several officials who either witnessed or were told of the alleged incident. The allegations against Representative Paul McMurtry, a Dedham Democrat and, at the time, chairman of the House personnel committee, have roiled several new members of the Legislature, who gave voice to fears that the climate of harassment House leaders vowed to address last year hasn’t abated.” McMurty has “forcefully denied” the allegations, the Globe reports.

I hope this isn't the start of a new round of bad behavior by the almost all boys club. As the details emerge, it'll be worth watching to see if DeLeo opens up ... or shuts everyone out. With the increased amount of women in the legislature I can see potential bad behavior being covered up by the same people who want everyone to sign non disclosure agreements.  I'm not convicting the rep yet... but Beacon Hill has a history of questionable behavior in the past and I expect honesty from those who were there and had front row seats. Not a good start to 2019.