Montigny Backs Baker, Quinn Dangerousness Reform Bill
BOSTON — Senate Assistant Majority Leader and Rules Committee Chairman Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford) is voicing his strong support for legislation filed by Governor Baker, and supported by District Attorney Thomas Quinn, to provide much-needed bail reforms.
The legislation, An Act to Protect the Commonwealth from Dangerous Persons, comes after numerous high profile cases highlighted severe weaknesses in current criminal justice laws and procedures. In April 2018 New Bedford native Sergeant Sean Gannon was shot and killed in the line of duty as he and fellow officers sought to detain Thomas Lantanowich, who had a violent criminal history including illegal firearm convictions.
In 2007, Montigny previously worked with then-District Attorney Sam Sutter to increase the length of detention under the Commonwealth’s dangerousness statute to 120 days and to include felony possession of illegal firearms in the statute. Earlier this session, Montigny also supported measures in the criminal justice reform bill to extend detention for up to 180 days by a Superior Court.
The legislation filed by Baker on Thursday will continue to require proof at a hearing before a judge that no conditions of release can ensure public safety before a person may be held as a danger to the community. The bill also expands the list of offenses which can provide grounds for a dangerousness hearing, and it also includes a defendant’s history of serious criminal convictions as grounds that may warrant a dangerousness hearing as opposed to only reviewing the current criminal charge. Any person determined to be a danger by the court or who violates conditions of release will be held until trial or other disposition of the case as opposed to a predetermined time limit under current law. Police may also detain people they observe violating court-ordered release conditions rather than waiting to obtain a warrant from the court.
“Too often innocent lives are harmed or even lost at the hands of dangerous individuals who our criminal justice system either failed to identify or detain,” said Senator Montigny. “The loss of just one innocent life is far too many. We have an affirmative duty in government to protect the public, and we owe it to the victims and their families to act. I strongly support this legislation and will work with Governor Baker and DA Quinn to move it forward.”
Office of Mark C. Montigny