GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES ACTIONS FOLLOWING PAROLE BOARD REVIEW
Governor appoints former prosecutor, legislator with public safety, victim's rights expertise to strengthen sheriff's office operations
BOSTON - Thursday, January 13, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick today took several actions relative to the state Parole Board based on recommendations from the Department of Public Safety and Security and its review of the Parole Board and its findings in the case of Dominic Cinelli.
"I understand that the decision to parole an inmate is an important part of our judicial system and fully appreciate that there are no are guarantees in those decisions. However, the facts surrounding this decision and the consequences resulting from it demand action to maintain the public's faith in the Parole Board and to protect the integrity of parole itself," said Governor Patrick.
The Governor has accepted the resignation of the Parole Board Chairman and the remaining four board members who voted to parole Dominic Cinelli. Governor Patrick has named Cesar Archilla, a Parole Board member since 2009, as acting Chairman, effective immediately. The Governor has directed his staff to quickly and responsibly identify nominees for the remaining open positions.
This morning, the Governor also accepted the resignation of the Executive Director of the Parole Board during Mr. Cinelli's parole period. The Secretary of Public Safety has immediately suspended and begun the termination process for other staff members who held key positions during this period including the Chief of Field Services, the Field Office Supervisor and the Parole Officer in charge of field supervision for Mr. Cinelli at the time of his December 26th offense. The Chief of Transitional Services will be suspended and receive a written reprimand.
The Governor also named Josh Wall, the first assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, as the Interim Executive Director of the Parole Board and has nominated him as the permanent Chair of the Board, pending confirmation by the Governor's Council. Governor Patrick has tasked Wall and a new management team to thoroughly examine Parole Board practices and provide recommendations on the supervisions standards currently in place. The team will prioritize policies affecting the highest risk offenders and prisoners serving life terms, applying sophisticated risk analysis to all paroled lifers. Wall will also establish a High Risk Supervision Unit, based on the Intensive Parole for Sex Offenders Unit, to apply stringent supervision to parolees convicted of the most serious crimes.
The moratorium on executive sessions in lifer hearings will remain in place until the new management team completes its review of this process. While parole hearings, as required by statute, will continue, the Governor has instructed the Board not to release any prisoner on parole for a violent crime involving firearms or other dangerous weapons until the management team is confident that Field Services is capable of properly supervising these parolees.
Additionally, Governor Patrick will file legislation to strengthen the habitual offender law to require that violent felons with two prior serious convictions receive the maximum sentence for a third felony. This legislation will also require "truth-in-sentencing" for those serving life sentences, and will codify the use of risk assessment tools in all future parole decisions.
Josh Wall has been a prosecutor at the Suffolk Country District Attorney's Office since 1993, serving as First Assistant District Attorney since 2002. He previously served as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Rhode Island. Wall graduated from Harvard University and received his J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California.
Cesar Archilla was appointed to the Parole Board in 2009. Mr. Archilla has practiced as an attorney since 1999, including six years as Assistant District Attorney in the Essex County District Attorney's Office. He is a graduate of Atlantic Union College and Suffolk University School of Law.