Sunday

Melissa's Law took effect on Aug 2, 2012.
The new Massachusetts habitual offender law is Chapter 192 of the Acts of 2012.
Les Gosule statement here
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> Summary, details & text of the
Habitual Offender Law here.
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> List of violent crimes which eliminate
parole after three or more convictions here
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> Study finds bill will imprison few,
cost little; proves opponents wrong here
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> News articles & Editorials here
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"Government's responsibility for the public safety is absolute.” - Churchill
more Quotes on crime, justice & public safety here

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To violent criminals and their apologists who complain that Melissa's Law is too harsh, I say:
"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime!"
If you don't want to go to prison under this law, then take responsibility for your actions and refrain from committing multiple acts of violence. It's that simple." - Les Gosule: 8/2/12
Read Les Gosule's full statement  here.
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A brief history of Melissa's Law:
July 11, 1999: Melissa Gosule was raped and murdered by a 27-time convicted career criminal.
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2000- 2010: Melissa's Bill was introduced in each legislative session. The earliest lead sponsors were Governor Paul Cellucci, Rep. Brad Hill, Middlesex DA Gerry Leone, Plymouth DA Michael Sullivan, and state Sen Scott Brown.  Hearings were held, but the bill stayed locked up in Judiciary committee chaired by Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty.
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Dec. 26, 2010: Woburn police officer John Maguire was murdered by Dominic Cinelli, a 74-time convicted violent felon under three life sentences.  Cinelli was free on parole.
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Jan. 2011: House and Senate versions of Melissa's Bill reintroduced with 86 legislative co-sponsors. 2011-12 chief sponsors were Rep. Brad Hill, Rep. Jim Dwyer, Sen Bruce Tarr, and Sen. Steven Baddour.  Both bills remained locked up by O'Flaherty in the Judiciary Committee, despite overwhelming legislative and public support.
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November, 2011: Senate Ways & Means bypassed O'Flaherty and reported out its own bill which was approved unanimously by the full Senate. The full House then approved a narrower version of Melissa's Bill (see how your State Rep voted).
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Nov 2011- July 2012: House-Senate conference committee negotiated final compromise version of Melissa's Bill.
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July 18, 2012: The full House voted 139-14 in favor of the bill (how your State Rep. voted)
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July 19, 2012: the full Senate voted 31-7 in favor of the bill. (These Senators voted against the Bill: Brownsberger, Chang-Diaz, Creem, Eldridge, Fargo, Jehlen, Wolf.  All others voted for the Bill).
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July 28, 2012: Governor Deval Patrick sent the bill back seeking an amendment to weaken the bill, which both houses rejected on July 30.
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August 2, 2012: The Governor signed the bill into law. Melissa's Law became effective immediately upon signing.
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Whoever has been convicted three or more times of an enumerated violent offense shall be considered a habitual offender and shall be punished by incarceration at a state prison for the maximum term provided by law. No sentence thus imposed shall be reduced or suspended, nor shall such person be eligible for probation, parole, work release or furlough.”
-- Melissa’s Law: Chapter 192 of the Acts of 2012

Friday

What is Melissa’s Law ?
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Melissa’s Law, the Massachusetts habitual offender law, aims to protect public safety by keeping more of the most dangerous, repeat violent felons off the streets for longer.
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Officially Chapter 192 of the Acts of 2012, An Act relative to sentencing and improving law enforcement tools, it is a comprehensive crime law which addresses several aspects of crime and sentencing. It became effective Aug. 2, 2012.
(see summary;  see full text). 
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The following are the key habitual offender provisions of the law. Melissa’s Law:

> establishes a list of specified violent felonies;
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> requires anyone convicted a second time of a specified violent felony to serve at least two-thirds of his sentence (up from half) before eligibility for parole;
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> requires anyone convicted three or more times of a specified violent felony (who has also served 3 or more years for his prior violent felonies) to serve the full, maximum sentence for his third or subsequent violent felony without eligibility for parole;
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> requires anyone convicted three or more times of a specified violent felony to serve his latest prison sentence consecutive to completion of any previous unserved sentence (rather than concurrently with a previous sentence);
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> allows judges to impose 15 to 25 years minimum which must be served on a single life sentence before parole eligibility (up from the current 15 years minimum);
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> requires a two-thirds vote by parole board to release anyone serving a life sentence (except first degree murderers who remain ineligible for parole);

> eliminates any parole eligibility for multiple life sentences; and
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> reduces minimum mandatory sentences for non-violent drug crimes by about 20%; also reduces school drug zones from 1000 to 300 feet (parts of the compromise).
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Melissa’s Law does not target misdemeanors or non-violent felonies. It is aimed solely at criminals convicted three or more times of physically violent felonies against persons, including certain sex crimes against children. These violent felonies are specified in the law. It still allows judicial discretion in sentencing for the first two such offenses.

Why was Melissa’s Law enacted?

Melissa’s Bill was introduced every year since 2000, but languished for 11 years in the legislature’s Judiciary Committee which is dominated by powerful criminal defense interests.
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Public demand for Melissa’s Bill was renewed following the Christmas 2010 murder of Woburn police officer John Maguire by Dominic Cinelli, a career criminal who was free on parole despite his 74 prior violent feloniesincluding, three life sentences.

The Bill was named after Melissa Gosule who was kidnapped, and brutally raped and murdered in 1999 by Michael Gentile, another violent career criminal who was released after serving only two years for his 27 prior felonies.

But the Bill wasn't just about these two cases.
40% of violent felons recidivate --  40% of violent criminals released under the state’s liberal parole laws go on to commit more murders, rapes, armed assaults, robberies, home invasions, and other crimes.  Melissa's Law addresses this systemic failure of the state's parole laws to protect the public safety from serial predators.
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Serial predators like Frank Benjamin of Brockton. First he murdered his wife, served 16 years, and was released on parole. Then he raped children, was convicted on 20 separate counts, served time, and was released again on parole.  Then he severely beat and raped a woman, breaking numerous bones.

Habitually violent offenders predictably pose the greatest risk of reoffending.  Yet their repeated crimes are entirely preventable.
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Public safety, public opinion, and common sense demand that the worst of the worst be kept locked up for longer periods.  The state's first duty is to protect public safety at any cost, period.

Following a 13 year effort to win passage, the legislature gave final approval to the bill in July, 2012 by overwhelming margins. Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law on August 2, 2012.
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The four main sponsors of Melissa's Bill in the 2011-2012 session were:
Rep. Brad Hill (R-Ipswich),
Rep. James Dwyer (D-Woburn),
Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester),
Sen. Steven Baddour (D-Methuen).
A total of 86 legislators were co-sponsors.
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Before 2010, the main sponsors included former state senator, now US Senator Scott Brown.

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Violent Felonies which eliminate Parole eligibility after three or more  convictions
under Melissa's Law, "An Act relative to sentencing and improving law enforcement tools," Chapter 192 of the Acts of 2012.
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(enlarge size through your View/ Zoom options)





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March 29, 2012 (updated July 2012):
Study: habitual offender bill 
will imprison few, cost little;
Facts prove opponents wrong
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The state's overall prison population will grow by just 9 to 14 inmates per year ("net widening") under the proposed habitual offender legislation, according to a March, 2012 study by the Mass. Sentencing Commission.

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The Commission projected that between 28 and 113 felons will lose parole eligibility under the original House and Senate bills, respectively. Fewer than one percent of the state's 11,500 inmates will be ineligible for parole on a "third strike" conviction.
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July 2012 update: Based on the above MSC figures, the number of habitual felons who will lose parole eligibility under the final bill (H.4286) will be fewer than 28 annually.
This is because the final bill's prior-sentence prerequisites are narrower than the original House bill. Plus the original list of 60 targeted crimes has been cut to 40.
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Add to that the bill's early releases on drug sentences (which were not factored into the MSC study), and H.4286 will likely cause a net decrease of state incarcerations.  Senate Ways & Means estimates this will actually save the state $5 million annually.
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"We always said our bills target a small handful of the worst, repeat violent offenders," said Les Gosule, initiator of the anti-crime legislation. "These findings prove we are right, and that hysterical claims against the bills are absolutely false."
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Criminal advocate groups have charged that the legislation will add 2,500 inmates annually, will lead to massive prison overcrowding, and will cost the state an additional $125 million a year.
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"These Commission findings point to less than $1 million in new costs -- a small price to pay to protect our public safety from the worst serial predators," said Gosule.
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"We need no more study; we've got all the facts. The sooner the legislature gets this bill on the Governor's desk, the sooner lives will be saved."

Thursday

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Statement by Les Gosule
on final approval of Melissa's Law
(8/2/12):


After a thirteen year struggle to achieve this new public safety law, I want to first dedicate this victory to my daughter, Melissa. Melissa, this one's for you. In your life, you always cared and did good things for others. May your death also bring some good to others through this new law.

Winston Churchill said that government's first duty is to protect the physical safety of its citizens. Melissa's Law will begin to save lives, and save innocent people from injury, as soon as it's signed.

To violent criminals and their apologists who complain that Melissa's Law is too harsh, I say:

"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime!"
If you don't want to go to prison under this law, then take responsibility for your actions and refrain from committing multiple acts of violence. It's that simple.


There are so many people to thank for the achievement of Melissa's Law.

First, thank you to Governor Deval Patrick. He kept his promise to me that he would sign a fair and balanced bill. We have disagreed at times about some aspects of this legislation, but there is no doubt that the Governor is a man of personal integrity.

Thank you also to Speaker Robert DeLeo and President Therese Murray, without whose leadership this day would not be possible. Thanks to Rep. Brad Hill and DA Gerry Leone, the original sponsors of this legislation who stood with me when few others did. Thanks to Sen. Scott Brown who was the main sponsor in the state Senate before 2010.
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Thanks to the chief sponsors, Sen. Bruce Tarr, Rep. Jim Dwyer, and former Sen. Steve Baddour who did incredible work to craft and pass this law. And thanks to members of the conference committee who worked diligently for months to produce a compromise bill.
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Thank you also to WBZ's Dan Rea who always had faith that informed citizens can accomplish good. Most of the media reported objectively on our story; thanks especially to Fox News, NECN, and the Boston Herald for their high levels of coverage. And thanks to Mike Scully whose sharp organizing and communications skills were invaluable to this victory.
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Thanks to the state's law enforcement community and organizations for their support, especially members of the Woburn PD and Chuck Maguire, brother of Officer Jack Maguire.
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Thanks to the thousands of ordinary citizens who demanded passage of this common sense legislation, and all the legislators who listened to their constituents and put the needs of public safety above the interests of the criminal defense industry.
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This victory just goes to show that it's still possible for the good guys to win, and that good things can still come out of Beacon Hill!

Thanks to everyone who helped in any way. I'm sorry if I've left out any names. So many helped, and I hope to thank everyone personally in the days and weeks ahead.
Les Gosule


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Office of Governor Deval L. Patrick
Press Release
Contact: Kim Haberlin, Bonnie McGilpin, Chelsie Ouellette – 617-725-4025
STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR PATRICK ON CRIME BILL
BOSTON – Tuesday, July 31, 2012 – The following is a statement from Governor Deval Patrick:

I asked for a balanced bill and, after many twists and turns, the Legislature has given me one. Because of the balance between strict sentences for the worst offenders and more common sense approaches for those who pose little threat to public safety, I have said that this is a good bill. I will sign this bill.
The bill contains important parole reforms for those convicted of the worst crimes; but just as important are the parts of this bill that reform the sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders. Those changes start to move us away from the expensive and ineffective policy of warehousing non-violent drug offenders towards a more reasonable, smarter supervision and substance abuse program. Preliminary estimates are that nearly 600 non-violent drug offenders would be immediately eligible for supervised parole, setting them on a path to recovery and stability and saving the state millions of dollars.
But our work is not complete. I still believe there is a necessary role for judicial discretion when it comes to sentencing and many of the advocates of this bill have pledged to support that next year.
We must also get serious about reforming mandatory minimum sentences. Like I said, the warehousing of non-violent drug offenders has proven to be a costly failure. It does nothing to improve public safety and it doesn’t deal with the substance abuse that is the source of the problem. States across the country are moving away from it and we must, too.
The Senate President and the Speaker have pledged to return to the subject of mandatory minimum sentencing early in the next session. I take them at their word. When we do, I trust the decisions we make will be based on data about the costs and trade-offs inherent in the choices we make. I have asked the Special Commission to Study the Commonwealth’s Criminal Justice System to give us a thorough analysis by year-end. I have also asked the Parole Board to give priority review to the supervised release of non-violent drug offenders, consistent with the terms of this bill.
This bill is an emotional issue for people on all sides. I understand the concerns of those who worry we have taken judgment out of the justice system and the pain and frustration of the families of victims of violent crime. For all those interests, and those of the public at large, this bill is a good start. I look forward to finishing this work together in the next session.
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Melissa's Bill overdue;
refuting misinformation
by Les Gosule

Thousands of jaywalkers face life in prison without parole under a habitual offender bill soon to be approved by the Massachusetts legislature -- or so you’d think, listening to hysterical claims of criminal rights groups who have launched a last ditch misinformation campaign against the legislation named Melissa's Bill in memory of my late my daughter.

My daughter, Melissa Gosule, was brutally raped and murdered by a 27– time convicted violent criminal who spent less than two years in prison before the state released him to terrorize the public. My daughter would still be alive today had this law been in effect.

Melissa's Bill requires anyone convicted three or more times of specified violent felonies to serve their full sentence without parole. This legislation protects our public safety by keeping more of the worst, repeat violent predators off the streets.

Criminal advocates charge that the bill will lead to incarceration of thousands of nonviolent, smalltime offenders, some for life. They charge that the bill replicates California’s “three strikes” law, that it increases prison overcrowding and costs, and that it is “racist”-- all patently false charges.*

In fact, the Massachusetts bill will have nominal effect on overcrowding as it targets only a small handful of the most dangerous criminals who repeatedly do physical harm to others.  [The Mass. Sentencing Commission has since completed a study which found that this legislation will add 9 to 14 new inmates per year to the state's prison population, costing less than $1 million: see here].

Unlike California’s law, Melissa's Bill does not cover misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies. It does not expand drug penalties, nor does it mandate automatic life without parole for the third offense. Our bill mandates that anyone convicted of their third violent felony must serve the full sentence for that third violent felony. The Senate version also bans parole for anyone given more than one life sentence for a violent felony.

Some ‘indirect’ violent crimes, like illegal possession of assault weapons, are included in the Senate bill. Such crimes by repeat offenders pose an extreme threat of physical violence. And someone must have been previously convicted twice of violent felonies to lose parole eligibility under this bill.

Criminal advocates claim that the bill’s new parole restrictions will cost $150 million per year -- an unsubstantiated guesstimate based on their erroneous assumption that our bill replicates California’s law. Some biased media, most notably the Globe, have parroted this figure without questioning its validity.*

However, the Senate Ways and Means committee, in consultation with the Department of Corrections, firmly estimates a cost of $200,000 to $400,000 per year, a nominal cost to keep us all safer.

Regardless of cost, the state’s first duty is to protect our lives and safety. What price tag can be placed on the lives of my daughter, Woburn police officer Jack Maguire, and other innocent victims of serial predators?

Criminal advocates charge that this legislation is “racist” because it will impact high crime minority neighborhoods.

But the law applies to everyone equally, regardless of race. If someone doesn't want to serve time under this bill, he should simply refrain from committing multiple acts of murder, armed assault, home invasion, child rape, and other violent crimes. Frankly, I’m tired of scurrilous charges of “racism” used to milk liberal guilt.

Some 40% of released violent offenders commit recidivist crimes under Massachusetts’ currently lenient parole laws. Melissa's Bill is smart on crime; it rationally addresses this systemic problem by keeping more of the most dangerous habitually violent offenders, the worst of the worst, off the streets.

Public safety, public opinion, and common sense demand that the legislature and governor approve this legislation.
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Les Gosule is the father of Melissa Gosule who was murdered in 1999 by a habitual offender. He has been working for passage of Melissa's Bill for twelve years.


* Editor's note:
A prisoners rights group fabricated these false claims, then other activist groups and their allies at the Globe and Phoenix parroted them as "fact", never questioning or independently investigating them.

The Globe continues to run editorials, op-eds, and articles against Melissa's Bill while rebuffing numerous requests by supporters of the bill to present their side of the story.

Between their pushing only one side of the story and publishing hysterical, unsubstantiated claims as "facts", the Boston Globe has demonstrated a blatant lack of editorial and journalistic integrity in pursuit of a biased agenda.
HOME

Melissa's Bill overdue;
response to misinformation
Criminal activists are spreading false claims in a last ditch effort to kill or weaken the habitual offender bill. Click above for our response.


Baby rape case shows why more mandatory sentencing, less judicial discretion needed - too many soft Mass judges...
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Serial child rapist a 'poster boy' for Melissa's Bill
Frank Benjamin murdered his wife, went to prison in 1974, and was paroled. Then in the 1990's, he raped children, went to prison again, and was  paroled again in 2011. Then he raped and beat a woman so severely, he broke her bones.

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Boston Herald editorial (3/2/12)
blasts "demagoguery" of criminal advocates on Boston City Council who oppose habitual offender bill.

Worcester Telegram editorial (Dec.'11)
"Melissa's Bill should have been enacted in this state long ago... The Legislature needs to pass meaningful reform that puts the rights of law-abiding citizens of Massachusetts ahead of the bad guys."
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Video: Les Gosule & Sen. Bruce Tarr
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Boston Globe editorial 10/19/11:
"More than a third of the most serious offenders paroled in Mass... went back to prison for committing new crimes... Senate leaders wisely want to prohibit parole eligibility for criminals convicted of three violent felonies as well as those sentenced to more than one life term..."
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> Response from Les Gosule:  "The state's first duty must be to protect the public from violent predators who most endanger our physical safety. I'm pleased that liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, are supporting our efforts to limit the release of habitually violent criminals."

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Patriot Ledger: 7/13/11: 
Les Gosule speaks: iron doors, not revolving doors, for habitually violent offenders
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Video of March 16 hearing at the State House, beginning with testimony of the Gosule family.

MassLive.com 3/17/11:
March 16 State House hearing
Of the hundreds of media stories on the hearing, this one was perhaps the best summary.
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Thanks to the four main sponsors of Melissa's Bill who are working hard to protect our public safety:
Rep. Jim Dwyer testimony
Rep. Brad Hill interview
Sen. Steven Baddour testimony
Sen. Bruce Tarr & Les Gosule interview
"The number one responsibility of government is public safety.  When you don't have public safety... nothing else matters.  They should be accountable for public safety.  They have children, daughters, wives.  Don't they care about their own families' safety?"
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State House News Service: 3/14/11
Lawmakers hopeful about repeat offender law
“We have talked about this, and talked about it, and talked about it. And we have another tragic reminder that follows on so many tragic incidents. And yet we have refused in this building to act until now,” Sen. Bruce Tarr said. “The clock continues to tick, and every moment it continues to tick until we enact reform means that public safety is less strong than it should be.”
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Boston Herald Editorial: 1/25/11:
"The question now is whether the press releases and outrage that followed Maguire’s death will lead to reforms that truly consider the public’s safety over an inmate’s desire to go free. Reform is by no means assured."
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Boston Globe: Joan Vennochi: 1/6/11:
A parole bill that deserves a vote
Middlesex DA Gerald Leone, another Democrat, supports Melissa’s Bill. “In this state, defendants’ rights trump victims’ and community rights... the playing field should be leveled.’’
Defense lawyers and criminal justice advocates argue that Melissa’s Bill replaces flexibility with a strict, unyielding formula: Three felony convictions, no parole. Lock the jail cell, throw away the key and the world supposedly becomes a safer place.
> In other words, criminal advocates and defense lawyers want to retain the “flexibility” to unleash 20, 50, 70-time repeat violent felons onto the streets.  They see nothing wrong with the present system. (Editor)
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Boston Business Journal: Pat Lawlor: 1/7/11
Melissa’s Bill, sitting on complacent Hill
Melissa’s Bill has sat in the (Mass. legislative) Judiciary Committee for 10 years… so someone must oppose it.  I ask that those who oppose this bill please show yourselves and educate us. Someone must think the bill to be mean spirited or politically motivated. The bill sat largely ignored until someone else was killed by another career criminal. The silence from the opposition is deafening…

Melissa’s Bill is a simple matter of right versus wrong, and when you shine a light on those who are wrong - like those responsible for the Cinelli parole - they have no recourse but to issue insulting statements calling for calm and reason, basically hoping the whole thing blows over.
> Why has Melissa’s Bill been bottled up in the legislature’s Judiciary Committee for ten years?  Consider that 14 of its 17 members are lawyers (compared with 25% of legislators overall).
Click here for names of committee members.
This dominance by lawyers often skews their views, going against public opinion, common sense, and the needs of public safety. (Editor)
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Martha Coakley and Scott Brown agree on this!
(Brown previously sponsored Melissa’s Bill as a Mass. state senator)
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Patriot Ledger: 1/14/11:
Patrick’s parole plan weak, victim advocates say,"does more to protect criminals than victims"
Legislation being filed by Gov. Deval Patrick to change the state’s sentencing laws would not have kept the man accused of killing a Woburn police officer last month behind bars for good…
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The governor’s loudest critics called his plan a watered-down version of Melissa’s Bill, named for South Shore murder victim Melissa Gosule…

The governor’s bill would require an offender convicted of three felonies to serve at least two-thirds of the third sentence before being eligible for parole…

But under Melissa’s bill, backed by House Republicans and a growing number of Democratic lawmakers, criminals would not be eligible for parole after a third felony conviction.

Les Gosule of Quincy, whose daughter Melissa was murdered in 1999, said he was “disappointed” the governor hasn’t adopted a stricter approach to parole eligibility.

“We can’t say to someone who is a habitual offender, ‘We really mean it this time, but we’re only going to hold you to two-thirds of your sentence,” he said.  The governor’s plan, Gosule added, does more to protect criminals than victims.
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Boston Globe: 1/25/11:
A bill filed by Sen. Bruce Tarr (R) and Sen. Steven Baddour (D), like Melissa’s Bill, would make violent three-time repeat criminals ineligible for parole, and would require them to serve multiple sentences consecutively, not concurrently.  The senators’ bill would also raise from 15 to 25 years the minimum time which must be served on a single life sentence, and would make those serving multiple life sentences completely ineligible for parole.
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Boston Herald: 1/5/11:
Boston Globe: 1/5/11:
GOP wants action on violent repeat offenders

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Boston Globe: 1/4/11:
Eagle Tribune Editorial: 1/9/11
Massachusetts, sadly, has a national reputation as a place where criminals are handled with kid gloves and the public ... well, the public just has to take its chances.

"Melissa's Law" has been mired in legislative committees for a decade. It would impose the maximum sentence allowable on those convicted of their third felony and make these repeat offenders ineligible for parole. Legislators should pass this law.

This law is not about Melissa Gosule or any other individual. It's about all of us. It's about shoring up one of the pillars of civilization. It's about reestablishing the premise that the rights of those who live by civilization's laws have a higher precedence than the rights of the barbarians who break them.
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Sentinel & Enterprise: 1/16/2011:
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Cape Cod Times editorial (on Middlesex D.A. Gerry Leone’e website):
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Boston Herald: 1/3/11:
two-time murderer released by parole board commits armed robbery

Boston Herald: 12/30/10:

Lifers gain parole at a higher rate
The rate at which the state parole board doled out “get out of jail free” passes to lifers skyrocketed by 50 percent last year — a shocking spike that enraged state legislators who proposed tough new laws after the tragic shooting death of a Woburn cop.

Boston Herald: Michael Graham: 1/6/11:
Since Patrick took office, the number of lifers getting paroles has soared. As WBUR reports, “back in 1999, under Republican appointees, 13 percent of prisoners serving life sentences won parole on their first petition. Ten years later, under the Patrick administration, 32 percent of lifers won early release on the first try.”

Boston Globe: 1/16/11:
Governor Deval Patrick’s… proposed crackdown on habitual, violent criminals will probably aggravate overcrowding in a prison system that is nearly 40 percent over capacity, according to criminologists and advocates for inmates.

At a time when other financially strapped states are under federal court orders to free inmates to relieve overcrowding or trying alternatives to incarceration, criminologists and advocates say, the Patrick administration’s overhaul of the parole system seems likely to make prisons even more cramped.
> Public safety is the state’s first duty to its citizens, no matter the cost.  The state has the options of releasing non-violent offenders, and/or building more prisons (which most taxpayers would gladly pay for).  But public safety must be the bottom line of all corrections and parole policy, period. (Editor)

Fox News Video: 1/7/11 (sound up):
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Legislative co-sponsors of Melissa's Bill:
co-sponsors of the original versions of the Bill
filed for 2011-2012: H.434 and S.891:

(use zoom options to enlarge)


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Quotes:

At a State House rally March 15 protesting the habitual offender bill, the mother of an incarcerated felon offered these excuses:
“I speak on behalf of mothers that have their sons locked up ... they’re hanging out with the wrong crowd and it’s not their fault, they’re just with the wrong people, and they get caught, and they’re not doing anything, and they get smacked with that three strikes (law) because they just happen to have that in their record.” (TV 22)
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In contrast, Donald Walters wrote: "You will find peace not in denial of your problems, but by confronting them courageously."
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HL Mencken: "The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor."
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Tim Reid (black American actor): "How did we suddenly become entranced with gangster culture? When did the black community say we should all look like criminals?"
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Barry Farber: “Crime expands because of our willingness to put up with it."
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Benjamin Disraeli: "Justice is truth in action."
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Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr: "The moral arc of the universe bends toward justice."
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Churchill: "Government's responsibility for the public safety is absolute.”
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Conn. Gov. Jodi Rell (on suspending parole following the massacre of the Petit family):
"At the end of the day, our goals are public safety and security."
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Josefina Vázquez Mota: "A politician who makes deals with criminals is no longer a politician but just another 'capo'."
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Seneca: "He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it."