SJC chief sounds notes of caution on crime bill
Friday, July 27, 2012
The chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court raised two major concerns
about the pending crime bill: the lack of judicial discretion on sentencing and the automatic appeals that could flood the high court and hinder its ability to focus on “matters of great public concern.”
from Roderick Ireland
to Gov. Deval Patrick
was significant on two fronts. It underscored some of the perceived weaknesses in the bill and increased the likelihood that Patrick would seek to change it, either through amendment or through pledges from legislative leaders to address the problems at the start of the next session.
The bill as currently drafted reduces mandatory sentences for some drug offenses while sending offenders convicted of three violent crimes to prison for life without the eligibility of parole. The measure expands the list of violent crimes that would qualify for the three-strikes provision.
Patrick seems divided on the bill. He has said the bill is good but not great.
He has expressed concern about the lack of judicial discretion, but indicated he would probably sign the bill if he received assurances from legislative leaders that his concerns could be addressed at the start of the next session.
Politically, the letter was also significant. Ireland and Patrick have been at odds with each other since Ireland joined House Speaker Robert DeLeo at a press conference last summer
announcing his support for legislation that would keep probation in the judiciary rather than move it to the executive branch, as the governor wanted to do. Patrick’s request for Ireland’s input on the crime bill indicates the chief justice and the governor who appointed him to that post may have buried the hatchet. --BRUCE MOHL BEACON HILL
Voices piece analyzes
the House’s bottle bill tax delusion
. But in an editorial,
says it’s ironic Republican Sen. Robert Hedlund
is pushing an expanded bottle deposit law because the bill is a raid on taxpayers’ wallets.
The head of Attorney General Martha Coakley’s
criminal bureau is selected as the new inspector general by Gov. Deval Patrick, Auditor Suzanne Bump, and Coakley
, the Sun reports.
The Gateway Cities legislative caucus
is starting to flex its muscle on Beacon Hill, CommonWealth reports.MUNICIPAL MATTERS
The Legislature’s delay in granting road repair funding has caused towns to scramble to make fixes before the end of the season, the Patriot Ledger reports
. The House
and Senate blame each other
for holding up funds.
The Greater Boston Food Bank
is increasing deliveries to Taunton
, the Brockton Enterprise reports
.Mayor Tom Menino backs off
the line the in the chicken coop sand that he had drawn in his battle with Chick-fil-A. Greater Boston explores
whether Menino should really be taking on companies that don’t mesh with his views. The National Review Online argues
that Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
are abusing their power for opposing the expansion of Chick-fil-A into their respective cities. Rick Santorum
, Mike Huckabee,
and Bruins goalie Tim Thomas race to defend
culture-war chicken sandwiches. NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON
A New York Times
both presidential campaigns for running from a gun control debate. ELECTION 2012US Sen. Scott Brown receives the endorsement
of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
, while Elizabeth Warren gets the backing
of the Massachusetts Credit Union League in Worcester. Bloomberg, who cofounded a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns
, is backing Brown primarily because of his opposition to one pro-gun measure even though Brown’s overall record is more favorable to guns than Warren’s, the Globe reports.
The British press has a field day
with Mitt Romney’s
series of missteps during his London visit. Talking Points Memo’s roundup is here
. Romney’s trip was supposed
his foreign policy chops, but he’s managed
to draw public rebukes from the mayor of London
and the British prime minister, both of whom are conservatives. The guy is a shambles
! Meanwhile, others have a field day with his comments that he doesn’t know
when his wife’s horse will compete in Olympic dressage and doesn’t plan to watch.BUSINESS/ECONOMY
A fire destroys a warehouse at a mill complex in Charlton
, causing $2 million in damage, NECN reports.
The Globe reports
that the parent company of Brookline Bank
may be out more than $4 million in connection with loans made to Curt Schilling’s
failed 38 Studios gaming company.Google
a super-high speed internet and TV service in Kansas City
that will compete with cable companies. EDUCATION
The state received applications to open 21 new charter schools
, a level of interest that is putting several communities at or close to the state-imposed cap on charter students in a district. HEALTH CARE
WBUR’s CommonHealth blog examines Gov. Patrick’s 11th-hour bid
to rein in expensive hospitals. A Globe
editorial pours some cold water
on Patrick’s proposal.TRANSPORTATION
A stretch of I-93 is ranked the 15th worst Friday afternoon commute
in the country, Governing reports. ENERGY/ENVIRONMENTAttorney General Martha Coakley is asking state regulators to fine National Grid
$16.3 million for what she calls the utility’s inadequate response to last August’s Tropical Storm Irene and a rare October snowstorm. MEDIAWGBH
acquires Public Radio International,
a content producer based in Minneapolis, PRI reports.
Although the financial terms were not disclosed, the Globe reports
that PRI will not receive a capital infusion or other funding from WBGH.Circulation revenue
is now bigger than advertising revenue at the New York Times
, which owns the Boston Globe
, New York