Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins joins us to reflect on the death of High Court President Ralph Gants, and what she would like to see from Baker’s nominee for a justice to replace him.
She also discusses a recent study by the Criminal Justice Program at Harvard Law School that has exposed major racial inequalities in the Massachusetts criminal justice system and outlines her plan to release a list of BPD officers with behavioral data. bad.
The main points of the interview
With the passing of Chief Justice of the High Court Ralph Gants
We lost a giant. He was just such a brilliant and good man. He was moving so fast, before many of us did four years ago he demanded that this Harvard Law School study take place, before many individuals talk about racial inequalities, before I had even considered running for DA. He was merely a champion of these issues. I think that speaks to how important cultural competence is in relation to the judiciary, and we will have some too big shoes to fill, if they could be filled, now that it is gone.
On what you want to see from the appointments of Gov. Bakers in the Supreme Court
There have been 10 women in court since its inception; 3 Americans or black individuals have been in that court; exactly 0 Latinx individuals have been appointed to court We do not have much racial and ethnic diversity. We also do not have many criminal defense attorneys. We do not have many who have protected the poor think 5 out of 7 [of the justices] are former prosecutors.
The governor has many options here. He, I know, is taking this incredibly seriously and I have every confidence in the fact that he will try to fill these great shoes well.
In need of more data transparency by police departments
Our legislature has actually done an tremendous job in determining what we are supposed to do about data collection. And so there are specific sections that clearly tell us what we are supposed to look at. So, for example, regardless of whether there is one, you know, we will track individuals using a single shared identifier. So if Rachael Rollins is going through the criminal justice system, I have a number, if used by Boston police when they arrest me, the DA and CPCS office when they defend me or prosecute me, the evidence, the trial court, you know, the all these different players in the system. And after all, when I am charged or acquitted, or whatever the outcome, when I am charged, when I log into the Correctional Department system or the Correctional Facility, depending on what I am charged with, is there a single identifier , standardized, common, so we can find Rachael when we need him? And we have seen that this is not happening.
We are not Massachusetts. We are leading the world in terms of technology and innovation and data and transparency and many other rounds. But we are failing, and I involve myself in this we are failing when it comes to data and transparency regarding the criminal justice system.
“We are leading the world in technology and innovation and data and transparency in many other areas. But we are failing … when it comes to data and transparency in the criminal justice system.”
Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins
On racial inequalities for criminal convictions in Boston
This is not just the police. And so these are the initial fees, depending on how much we charge you and the type of things we charge you. Studies have shown that black and Latin X individuals are typically charged with superior court-level charges where there is exclusive jurisdiction and superior court, as opposed to a district court where there may be simultaneous jurisdiction between a district or municipal court and a superior court. or set offenses of drugs and weapons or even the mandatory minimum. Therefore, what I need to do is teach my district attorneys as well as my counterparts. But what are the implicit prejudices we have? Inside. Right That we are looking at this defendant and thinking that they should be accused of something more significant than someone in the same situation. And what is fascinating is even with a regression analysis, you are right, we saw 31 in 25 days more. You know, about Black and Lant the other individual. So I think we need to start talking more about the race.
Why we should have unpleasant discussions about race
What you have to admit is that there are a lot of people who are too uncomfortable to discuss race because they think while discussing race, we are calling you racist. And in fact it is not so. But we are beyond the place where people feelings to be hurt because we are talking about race, this in no way will harm the real and documented harm that Black and Latinx individuals and poor people are experiencing every day in law our criminal system
In its plan to release a list of BPD officers with misconduct data on 25 September
We have said out loud that we will go to CPCS and MACTL, so Anthony Benedetti, the chief advisor there; as well as the Massive Association of Criminal Defense Advocates, ACLU and Civil Rights Advocates. We know that there are extraordinary law enforcement members who do an honorable and noble work every day with dignity, compassion, and cultural competence. Unfortunately, the media is not showing us those images every day. We are seeing individuals who are dishonoring the badge, the Derek Chauvins of the world, are the ones who have risen, unfortunately, or who we are seeing in the media. When we see nine unsuspecting Boston police officers, this makes us lose our credibility in the system. And I mean I’m a law enforcement member now as a DA. So we are holding these individuals accountable. Of course, it was the American lawyer and the special agent in charge of the FBI who did it because there were federal charges. But we feel compelled to tell the criminal defense about it. Now, of course, they have certainly seen the news, but in my letter, saying if you have concerns about any of these nine individuals, if they have been involved in criminal matters, we will consider any prayers you submit to us that calls to question their potential prejudice or ability to be honest.
“When we see nine Boston police officers indicted, it makes us lose our credibility in the system.”
Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins
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