State Capitol Briefs — Tuesday, June 24, 2014



COMMITTEE RELEASES VOTE ON IMMIGRANT LICENSING VOTE: A legislative panel on Tuesday released details of its vote to send to study a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. The Joint Committee on Transportation polled the bill (H 3285) on Monday, and nine members voted to send it to a study, effectively killing the legislation and drawing the ire of immigrant advocacy groups. The nine members were Sens. Michael Rush (D-West Roxbury) and Michael Moore (D-Millbury) and Reps. William Straus (D-Mattapoisett), Michael Finn (D-West Springfield), Christopher Markey (D-Dartmouth), Jerald Parisella (D-Beverly), Mark Cusack (D-Braintree), Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), and John Mahoney (D-Worcester). The release of the information came after Massachusetts Citizens for Jobs, a nonprofit that has been pushing committees to publicly release votes, on Tuesday demanded the details of the vote tally. Sens. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) and Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham) and Rep. Chris Walsh (D-Framingham) voted for the bill. Members who voted against the bill included Sens. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) and Reps. Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk), John Fernandes (D-Milford). Sen. Thomas Kennedy (D-Brockton) reserved his rights, and three lawmakers did not get their votes in by the committee’s polling deadline: Reps. Timothy Madden (D-Nantucket), Peter Durant (R-Spencer) and Gailanne Cariddi (D-North Adams). The News Service previously reported the votes of Sens. McGee and Pacheco and Reps. Straus and Howitt, though the committee initially declined to release the full tally on Monday. The committee is co-chaired by McGee and Straus. – G. Dumcius/SHNS

Most likely voters oppose moving the trial of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev out of Boston, according to results of a national poll released Tuesday. Rasmussen Reports polled 1,000 likely voters June 22-23 after attorneys for bombing suspect bid to move his trial to Washington D.C. Asked if they favor or oppose moving the trial out of Boston because defense lawyers feel the pool of potential jurors in Boston is too prejudiced, 22 percent of respondents said they favor moving the trial out of Boston. Fifty-six percent opposed moving the trial and 21 percent said they were not sure. – M. Norton/SHNS

Overseeing the ongoing probation trial in federal court, Judge William Young denied a defense motion for a mistrial based on conversations between prosecution witnesses during one witness’s testimony. The denial was entered onto the electronic docket sheet Tuesday, and noted that the issue of improper discussions among the witnesses can be addressed in Young’s instructions to the jury. Ellen Slaney, a former probation official who was the prosecution’s first witness, spoke during her multi-day testimony with Ed Dalton, a friend, witness and former probation official, according to Dalton. Dalton said the two discussed the “logistics” of the trial but not the substance of their testimony. Defense attorneys argued the conversations were in violation of Young’s order for witnesses not to speak to each other about the trial, and in a written motion asked Young to either declare a mistrial or hold a hearing to learn more about what was said. Former Probation Commissioner John O’Brien and two of his former deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke III, are facing federal charges of rigging hiring in the department in a conspiracy to curry favor with lawmakers. On the stand Monday after defense attorneys on Friday unspooled his conversations with Slaney, Dalton said that on Friday an FBI agent told him not to talk to other witnesses. Dalton said he also talked to Richard O’Neil, another friend and former probation official, and spoke on Friday with Ronald Corbett, another friend and former probation official. Slaney could be recalled to the stand. Dalton said he first learned what the term witness sequestration means when reading a newspaper article about his testimony. “I never talked about the case to anyone,” Dalton said. – A. Metzger/SHNS

Comments are closed.