[act-ma] Support Court Interpreters and Public Defenders

B Evans ben.c.evans at gmail.com
Sun Jun 12 13:13:48 PDT 2016


Dear Massachusetts Activists,

Court interpreters here in Massachusetts have formed the Massachusetts
Association of Court Interpreters (MACI) and filed a suit against the Trial
Courts claiming they are misclassified and that there have been wage and
hour violations. But the Attorney General has filed a motion to dismiss the
claims and so the lawsuit is at a crucial moment. On June 28 at 2pm in the
Suffolk Superior Court the interpreters will be in court to oppose the
motion to dismiss. They are asking for supporters to come to the hearing in
support.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 28 at 2pm
WHERE: Suffolk Superior Court, 3 Pemberton Square, Boston
WHY: Solidarity & Support for Massachusetts Court workers

Also, employees of the Massachusetts public defender agency (CPCS) are
trying to win the right to collectively bargain. All efforts to win in the
courts have all failed, and the only option left is winning in the
legislature.

Now Senator Karen Spilka, the powerful chair of the Senate Ways & Means
Committee, has blocked Senate Bill 1393 from going forward. This is the 3rd
time public defenders have had a bill like this pending on Beacon Hill.
They've waited long enough.

However, Senator Karen Spilka says that it would be "too expensive" to
extend collective bargaining rights to public defenders.

Really? Since when is fairness too expensive?

CPCS employees save the Commonwealth money by advocating for treatment
instead of incarceration for non-violent drug addicts. Staff public
defenders and staff social service advocates work every day to find
resolutions to criminal cases that do not involve incarceration. They work
to provide their clients with services and support that keeps them from
reoffending. Every time they negotiate a plea that does not involve jail
time, and connect clients to support services and treatment for addiction
and alcoholism, they save the Commonwealth money.

CPCS employees save the Commonwealth money by advocating for pretrial
release for poor people. They argue that poor people charged with crimes,
who are after all legally presumed to be innocent, should be released from
jail while their cases are pending, and that saves the Commonwealth money
because pretrial incarceration is expensive. It saves money because then
they can keep their jobs and pay their rent and keep custody of their
children and keep caring for their sick and elderly family members and the
government doesn't have to take up those burdens.

They prevent innocent people from being convicted, and that saves the
Commonwealth money. Without a quality lawyer representing the defendant,
the chances of falsely convicting an innocent person increase. How do we
even begin to measure the cost of convicting an innocent person?

How can you help?

Let Senator Spilka know you strongly support collective bargaining rights
for all CPCS employees:
https://karenspilka.com/contact/
Phone: 617-722-1640
Fax: 617-722-1077
Email:Karen.Spilka at masenate.gov

Sign the petition:
https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/extend-organizing-rights-to-massachusetts-public-defenders

Thank you for your continuing support for court interpreters and public
defenders.

yours in solidarity,

Benjamin Evans
NLG northeast co-rvp
https://www.nlg.org/benjamin-evans-0


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