Mass SJC Rules That Those Awaiting Trial Should be Released Unless Proven Otherwise

BOSTON – The state’s highest court ruled Friday that people in jail awaiting trial should be released due to the pandemic unless prosecutors prove they pose an unreasonable danger.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made the decision after receiving an emergency petition from by the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) and the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL), which sought to immediately release thousands of inmates from custody over concerns of COVID-19 in jail and prisons in the state.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe was one of seven district attorneys across the Commonwealth who filed a brief opposing the move. 

Instead, the district attorneys prefer that inmates be considered for release on a case-by-case basis in hearings before judges, who make individual decisions considering the totality of the circumstances.


About Justin Saunders

Justin Saunders has nearly 10 years of experience in radio, television, online and newspaper journalism across the US and Canada. Justin joined the NewsCenter in May 2014 and continues to help provide coverage of the Cape and Islands.
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