Pilot Sex Offense Initiative
The Boston Municipal Court Department has begun a pilot sex offense initiative. This initiative is in furtherance of the court department’s mission of devotion to “the rule of law through the conscientious and expeditious resolution of disputes, with a commitment to restoring the human spirit through correction, education, respect and compassion.”
The Boston Municipal Court Department recognizes the community’s concern about crimes of violence, particularly those involving sex offenses. The initiative will explore and develop ways to improve the just resolution of cases involving sex offenses within the jurisdiction of the Boston Municipal Court Department and seek to maximize the opportunity, where appropriate, for treatment and rehabilitation of convicted sex offenders. Among the first steps in the initiative will be an education program for judges, clerks and probation officers designed to promote a greater understanding of the legal and sentencing issues involved in sex offense cases with an emphasis on best sentencing practices and treatment modalities for individuals convicted of sex offenses.
To ensure the success of this initiative, the Boston Municipal Court Department will seek input from all court personnel, the public, the bar, both prosecution and defense, and organizations dedicated to the treatment, rehabilitation, and confinement of individuals convicted of sex offenses. The court department anticipates a range of court-mandated responses, possibly including priority disposition sessions and continuous judicial training on issues impacting sex offense crimes.
The Boston Municipal Court Department is reviewing the range, number and types of sex offenses prosecuted in the eight (8) divisions of the department. The department intends to collaborate with the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch of government as it considers and develops a model for trial and disposition of sex offense crimes within its jurisdiction, consistent at all times with its duty to impartially and fairly treat every person charged in a criminal complaint, and to exhibit sensitivity and compassion to victims and their families.
The impetus for this initiative grew from discussions facilitated by Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey with the Honorable Robert A. Mulligan, Chief Justice for Administration and Management; the Honorable Charles R. Johnson, Chief Justice of the Boston Municipal Court Department; and the Founder and Executive Director of the ALLY Foundation, Andrea M. Casanova. The ALLY Foundation is a charitable organization founded in memory of Ms. Casanova’s daughter, Alexandra Nicole Zapp, who was murdered by a repeat sex offender in July 2002. Chief Justice Johnson has designated the Honorable Sally A. Kelly and Cynthia Robinson-Markey, Legal Counsel to the Chief Justice, to develop and coordinate this important public health and safety initiative. Members of the Bar and the public are welcome to comment on this initiative. Comments can be submitted to the Boston Municipal Court Department by contacting Attorney Robinson-Markey at email@example.com.