Rep. Livingstone filed a criminal justice reform bill entitled An Act Expanding Eligibility for Diversion to Treatment for Criminal Offenders, HD 1477.
Current Massachusetts law allows diversion of criminal defendants age 18-22 without a criminal record and facing District Court charges to drug treatment to avoid arraignment (and the accompanying criminal record). This means that eligible defendants, with judicial approval, can go to drug treatment instead of facing criminal charges. If the defendant successfully completes treatment, the defendant’s case can be dismissed prior to arraignment without the defendant receiving a criminal record.
The proposed bill expands eligibility for diversion to treatment to defendants of any age and regardless of the past criminal record. All other criteria would remain the same. This means that, if the bill was adopted, a defendant facing Superior Court charges, such as murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, would not be eligible for this program. In addition, the requirement for judicial approval of any diversion would not change.
The changes proposed, if adopted, will encourage more defendants to take advantage of drug treatment to avoid a criminal record or a greater one. He believes that fairness in sentencing is vitally important to ensure trust and confidence in our criminal justice system. When he served as a prosecutor in Middlesex County, he saw how unfair sentencing disrupted families and caused people, who could succeed unnecessarily to be sent to jail. “I am pleased that I can now address these issues as a State Representative,” said Livingstone.
In addition, to his diversion bill, Rep. Livingstone has also co-sponsored several other criminal justice reform bills, including the following:
1) An Act Reforming Pretrial Process (Pre-Trial and Bail Reform), HD3156, filed by Rep. Sannicandro.
2) An Act Eliminating Mandatory Minimum Sentences Related to Drug Offenses, HD1921, filed by Rep. Swan.
3) An Act to Increase Neighborhood Safety and Opportunity, HD3425, SD1874, filed by Rep. Keefe and Sen. Chang-Diaz.
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