Deval Patrick on Crime



Police & black people often don't understand each other

Q: What about the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson [who shot unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri]?

PATRICK: It's very important I think that DOJ is investigating whether there's been a violation of civil or constitutional rights.

Did you want to see an indictment?

PATRICK: Without knowing all the facts, of course I wanted to see an indictment. And mostly because I think a trial & the transparency of a trial would be good for the community. And because so many of us have the supposition that police officers are not going to be held accountable & not going to have to answer for the shooting of unarmed, young, black teenagers. But the facts & the process, as the president said, does have to be respected. That is separate and apart from the anxiety so many black people have about encounters with law enforcement. The anxiety that some in law enforcement have about their encounters with black people and the startling lack of understanding between the two.

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 30, 2014

Marathon bomber will die in prison, one way or another

Massachusetts Democrats, who also personally oppose the death penalty, straggled into line behind Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to seek the death penalty against the so-called Marathon bomber because of the targeting of an iconic event; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

"One way or another, based on the evidence, Tsarnaev will die in prison," declared Gov. Deval Patrick. "The best we can do is remind each other that we are a stronger Commonwealth than ever and that nothing can break that spirit."

There's a Democrat in the White House, and Massachusetts Democrats don't want to cross him or his AG. There's also the posturing aspect of Holder's decision: seeking the death penalty increases the government's leverage to get a guilty verdict in return for life without parole. And to Massachusetts politicians, "Boston Strong" has come to mean looking tough to the nation on terrorism, not "squishy on crime."

Source: Boston Globe OpEd on 2014 Massachusetts gubernatorial race , Jan 31, 2014

Reform mandatory sentencing law: longer time for 3rd felony

We have proposed reforms to both our Habitual Offender law and to our mandatory minimum sentencing laws to make the public safer. In the past ten years, 84 people have been convicted and sentenced under our existing Habitual Offender law for committing three felonies. I proposed to lengthen the time before a third-time violent felon would become eligible for parole, and will support a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole for anyone whose third felony is murder or a similarly heinous act of violence. These reforms are not about sweeping up the innocent or the unlucky. They rightly focus on the worst of those who repeatedly prey on our residents. We cannot and will not pursue a strategy that categorically rejects the proper pl
Source: MA 2012 State of the State Address , Jan 23, 2012

Comprehensive reentry program with job training & education

Alongside our reform of the Habitual Offender rules, we must have a comprehensive reentry program. We need more education and job training, and certainly more drug treatment, in prisons and we need mandatory supervision after release. And we must make non-violent drug offenders eligible for parole sooner. By permitting them to have supervised release after serving half their sentence, we can begin to re-integrate 400 to 500 non-violent offenders in the next year and save millions in prison costs every year.

We must be smarter about how we protect public safety. That means targeting the most dangerous and damaging for the strictest sentences, and better preparing the non-dangerous for eventual release and reintegration. We don't have to choose the one or the other, and emphasizing prison time without successful re-entry has failed.

Source: MA 2012 State of the State Address , Jan 23, 2012

Criticized for urging DNA tests in rape cases

Early in the primary race, my Republican opponent wanted to portray me as "soft on crime" because, while at the Legal Defense Fund, I had helped a man convicted of murdering a policeman appeal his death sentence. She ran an attack ad that asked, "While lawyers have a right to defend admitted cop-killers, do we really want one as our governor?" (I assume she meant, do we want "such a lawyer as our governor," not a cop-killer.)

In another matter, I had urged MA to conduct a DNA test on a convicted rapist whose guilt seemed in doubt. So another attack ad cast me as a friend of sexual predators and played into racist fears about black men and white women: The camera followed a woman walking through a dark garage, then viewers heard an interview with me in which I described the prisoner, with whom I had exchanged letters, as "thoughtful." The voiceover said, "Have you ever hear a woman compliment a rapist?" (For the record, the DNA test confirmed the man's guilt.)

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p.178-179 , Apr 12, 2011

As NAACP lawyer, freed wrongly convicted death row inmate

I joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. [In one case], the defendant had been convicted of 1st-degree murder, had lost all of his appeals, and was within days of electrocution.

The judge opened the hearing by asking me directly, "Now then, Mr. Patrick, don't you just think there are some people who ought to die?"

"Well, Your Honor, we all will someday," I said. "But this proceeding is about whether his trial was fair."

The judge granted a stay. Our client was within hours of the death chamber by then, having had his last meal and his head shaved (which avoids the unpleasant odor of burning hair at electrocution). In the prosecutor's files, we found a sworn statement from an eyewitness positively identifying another man as the killer. Either it had been withheld from the court-appointed defense counsel or it had been disclosed and never used. Either way, my client's constitutional rights had been violated. His conviction and sentence were vacated, and he was granted a new trial.

Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p.151-153 , Apr 12, 2011

Misuse of CORI system prevents getting back on their feet

Public safety cries out for a better approach. Sentencing in the Commonwealth has become about warehousing people; and we do little to prepare the 94% of those incarcerated who will one day re-enter civic life. Once released, the misuse of the CORI system makes it nearly impossible for some people to get work, a place to live, and back on their feet. Let's focus less on old rhetoric and more on preventing crime, and pass a meaningful, comprehensive Anti-Crime Bill.
Source: 2009 State of the State speech to Massachusetts Legislature , Jan 1, 2009

Supports criminal rehabilitation and alternative sentencing

Source: 2006 MA Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test , Nov 7, 2006

Focus on guns & gang violence, not immigration status

HEALEY: Our administration has already begun the process of training our state police officers in working with the INS so that they can, when they make a stop, determine whether somebody is in the country legally.

PATRICK: Well I think itís a matter of priorities is what it is. The idea of training the state police so that they can recognize and do their duties, who can argue with that. But with gun and gang violence as soaring as it is in urban communities all over the Commonwealth it seems to me that thereís a whole lot else that we ought to have the state police and all law enforcement concentrating on. What I will do as governor is get engaged in the Congress with a balanced and rational approach advocated now on a bipartisan basis by Senator McCain and Senator Kennedy to bring some reason and some real solutions to our immigration issues.

Source: 2006 MA Gubernatorial debate on Fox News with Chris Wallace , Sep 25, 2006

Opposes death penalty

Source: Greater Boston with Emily Rooney: Election2006 Coverage , Jun 7, 2006

Other governors on Crime: Deval Patrick on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Bill Weld
Bob Massie
Charlie Baker
Dan Wolf
Don Berwick
Jay Gonzalez
Jesse Gordon
Karyn Polito
Lawrence Lessig
Martha Coakley
Marty Walsh
Richard Tisei
Seth Moulton
Setti Warren
Steve Grossman
Tom Menino
Warren Tolman
MA Senatorial:
Allen Waters
Beth Lindstrom
Elizabeth Warren
Geoff Diehl
Heidi Wellman
Joe Kennedy III
John Kingston
Shannon Liss-Riordan
Shiva Ayyadurai

Gubernatorial Debates 2019:
Bevin(R) vs.Goforth(R,lost primary) vs.Adkins(D,lost primary) vs.Beshear(D) vs.Edelen(D,lost primary)
Edwards(D) vs.Rispone(R) vs.Abraham(R) vs.Kennedy(R,declined)
Bryant(R,retiring) vs.Foster(R) vs.Hood(D) vs.Reeves(R) vs.Waller(R)

Gubernatorial Debates 2021:
Murphy(D) vs.Ciattarelli(R)
Northam(D,term-limited) vs.Herring(D)

Gubernatorial Debates 2020:
DE: vs.Carney(incumbent) - no challengers yet
IN: vs.Holcomb(incumbent) vs.Melton(D) vs.Woody Myers(D)
MO: Parson(incumbent) vs.Nicole Galloway(D) vs.Jim Neely(R)
MT: Bullock(retiring) vs.Fox(R) vs.Perry(R) vs.Gianforte(R) vs.Stapleton(R) vs.Olszewski(R) vs.Neill(D) vs.Schreiner(D)
NC: Cooper(incumbent) vs.Forest(R) vs.Holly Grange(R)
ND: Burgum(incumbent) vs.Michael Coachman(R)
NH: Sununu(incumbent) vs.Volinksy(D) vs.Dan Feltes(D)
PR: Rossello(D) vs.Wanda Vazquez Garced(D)
UT: Herbert(retiring) vs.Huntsman(R) vs.Cox(R) vs.Jeff Burningham(R)
VT: Scott(incumbent) vs.Rebecca Holcombe(D)
WA: Inslee(incumbent) - no challengers yet
WV: Justice(incumbent) vs.Folk(R) vs.Thrasher(R) vs.Vanover(D) vs.Smith(D) vs.Ron Stollings(D)
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Page last updated: Nov 14, 2019