Mass. Lawmakers Reject Melissa's Bill Amendment - NECN

Mass. Lawmakers Reject Melissa's Bill Amendment



    Gov. Deval Patrick wanted an amendment that would give judges some discretion in sentencing (Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014)

    (NECN: Jennifer Eagan) - Les Gosule is urging Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to act on Massachusetts' Three Strikes Repeat Offender Bill.  The bill, known as Melissa's Bill, is named for Gosule's daughter, who was killed by a man with 27 prior convictions.  "This is so no other family has to live through a private Holocaust and stay up at night wondering what could have been done to protect this family," Mr. Gosule said Monday.

    The bill aims to crack down on the state's most violent career criminals.  It would bar parole for those convicted of three serious violent crimes.  "The first objective of any elected official is public safety and this is a public safety bill," said Rep. James Dwyer.

    Lawmakers rejected an amendment proposed by Gov. Patrick which would have given judges some discretion in the sentencing of repeat offenders. Speaking before that vote, Gov. Patrick would not say if he planned to veto the bill if it returned to him without his proposed amendment.  "I think there are circumstances we can't anticipate and I would like to see the judge have the authority to consider that, because the judge is in the best position to evaluate all of the facts," Gov. Patrick said Monday.

    The bill is now on the governor's desk without the amendment.  The legislative session ends Tuesday at midnight.  If the governor waits out the clock, the legislation would die.  That is something Les Gosule does not want to happen.  "If the governor wants to veto the bill, let him be man enough and veto the bill and let it go to the house and senate so they can override it," Mr. Gosule said.