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Legislature Rejects Governor Patrick's 'Three-Strikes' Amendment

The governor on Saturday sent 'Melissa's Bill' back to the Legislature.

Gov. Deval Patrick set in motion a wave of criticism when he proposed an amendment to the "three strikes"/Melissa's Bill on the grounds it lacked sufficient provisions for judicial discretion. 

Warning of possible unintended "unjust consequences" that can arise from mandatory sentencing laws, Patrick wrote in a letter to the Legislature, "None of us is wise or prescient enough to foresee each and every circumstance in which the new habitual offender provisions may apply."

On Monday afternoon, the House rejected Patrick's amendment by a vote of 132-23, according to The Boston Globe. Later on Monday, the Senate also rejected the amendment, according to WCVB, Channel 5.

The bill's fate is up in the air, as the legislature's summer session will end Tuesday at midnight. The governor has not indicated whether he would veto a crime bill that doesn't have his proposed amendment. 

Critics accuse Patrick of vetoing a good anti-crime bill by asking for amendments that only protect offenders. 

"Governor Patrick has had a busy week defending the interests of those who break the law...," said Sen. Bruce Tarr, the state senate's minority leader. "His actions to jeopardize the passage of the crime bill are both ill-timed and ill-advised by trying to amend a good and balanced bill with an extraordinary measure to protect repeat violent criminals, with precious little time remaining in the legislative session."

The state's largest police union, the New England Police Benevolent Association, also had strong words for the governor: "The Governor's actions at the 11th hour are reprehensible and reckless.  It will be on his conscience 'when'—not if—the next innocent victim or public safety officer is killed in the line of duty by a career criminal, if he fails to sign this bill which is designed to protect the most vulnerable from serial predators." 

Dubbed "Melissa's Law," after Melissa Gosule, the 27-year-old Jamaica Plain schoolteacher who was raped and murdered in 1999 by a felon who had 27 previous convictions, the bill eliminates parole for someone convicted three times of one of 40 or so violent crimes, with at least one conviction having carried a minimum three-year prison term. It was was .

The bill has been discussed widely over the years, but was renewed after was killed by a violent felon during an armed robbery in 2010. Officer Maguire's family has backed the bill heartily, .  

Dennis Naughton August 01, 2012 at 02:24 AM
This bill may well be the single most ignorant measure enacted by the state legislature in a very long time. States that have implemented such laws are suffering massive financial dislocation trying to sustain them, yet Massachusetts is about to make the same mistake with full knowledge and with its eyes wide open. Blind emotion and political opportunism are the winners here. Where does Bruce Tarr get off favoring this bill? He is a members of the Republican Party of No/Party of War on Women. These are the people who slavishly take Grover Norquist's no-tax pledge. Yet anyone favoring this bill is voting for new taxes and fees to sustain an already overcrowded prison population that will now grow geometrically. Both parties are to blame for this mindless, one size fits all, cowardice in this election year. The voters can't see beyond the ends of their noses and the people who voted for this bill know it.
Janet Sroczynski August 01, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Well @Dennis Naughton, perhaps some of the voters on both sides of the aisle are busy reading. 1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/solyndra-bankruptcy-government-loan-n_1721043.html?utm_hp_ref=business Article entitled: "Solyndra Bankruptcy: Solar Panel Company Won't Pay Back Most Of It's $527 Million Government Loan." My comment in particular @Dennis Naughton, is in response to your comment above..."massive financial dislocation." You can see why people might be skeptical.
Trot Nixon August 01, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I have been pretty happy with the Gov's running of the state but this was a no brainer. If your a criminal and you've committed one violent crime ok I can see that you deserve another chance but doing it twice and then a third time...ok time to send the person to jail with no parole. Clearly the Gov is challenging the Legislature more since he is not running again but I just can't see how he could not sign this into law.
Janet Sroczynski August 03, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Perhaps @Trot Nixon, this will help you and other readers. 1) http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-09-12/politics/30155711_1_solyndra-obama-administration-million-federal-loan Article entitled: "Auditors (PwC-PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP) Raised Red Flags About Obama's Favorite Green Company." Solyndra Scandal Widens. Article by Zeke Miller on September 12, 2011. Business Insider/Politics article.

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