LAW

Mary C. Serreze / The Republican

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will hear four cases in Greenfield on Tuesday. One of them involves a man named Anthony Ortiz, and it could impact state law on the search of a car during a traffic stop.

Authorities on Thursday charged a man from El Salvador who’s lived in Everett for allegedly organizing East Coast activities for a notorious Salvadoran gang.

Edwin Manica Flores, 35, was indicted on RICO conspiracy charges for allegedly coordinating racketeering activities for the East Coast branch of the gang MS-13, the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts announced.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended his boss's criticism of NFL players for kneeling in protest during the national anthem, saying Tuesday that President Trump has "free speech rights, too."

Sessions defended Trump's controversial remarks as he criticized college speech policies during an address at the Georgetown University Law Center. "Freedom of thought and speech on the American campus are under attack," he said.

"In this great land," Sessions also said, "the government does not get to tell you what to think or what to say."

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass.
Berkshire Museum / Creative Commons

Our panel of journalists looks at the big stories in the news. 

Not long after the state Supreme Court tossed his original felony convictions and ordered two new trials in 2016, former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez started getting a city pension worth $2,328.76 a month

About 100 people gathered in a park  in downtown Claremont Tuesday night for a vigil in response to an alleged attack of an eight year-old biracial boy in the city.

At the event, it didn’t take long before racial tensions were on full display. Organizer Rebecca MacKenzie was introducing the night's first speaker when she was interrupted by a white man, driving by and and yelling from his truck.


Jafet Robles (right), celebrates with City Councilor Adam Gomez.
File Photo / The Republican

Friends and fellow activists in the Springfield area are remembering Jafet Robles.

The 33-year-old organizer with the group Neighbor to Neighbor was found dead in Chicopee's Szot Park on Monday, and had been shot multiple times.

Springfield City Councilor Adam Gomez said Robles fought for a minimum wage hike, criminal justice reform and neighborhood issues in the city's North End. But Gomez also recalled a trip they took to Washington DC.

The Hampden County Hall of Justice in downtown Springfield, which houses the Superior Court
Don Treeger / The Republican

For years, court reporters have only been serving in Massachusetts Superior Court, which hears felony criminal cases and high-dollar civil cases.

But a test of a new digital recording system is now complete, and state plans to use it instead of the reporters. 

"There will be full-time court reporters on staff through June of 2018," said Jon Williams, administrator for the Massachusetts trial court. "For the most serious felony cases, we will use court reporters that we hire on a daily basis."

Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he accepted a bribe from one contractor and tried to extort another, ending a decade-long saga that forced him from office in 2010, changed this city’s political landscape, and forever linked his “local boy does good” story with the word corruption. 

Former state chemist Sonja Farak at her 2013 arraignment.
File Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette

Four years ago, a chemist with the state drug lab in Amherst, Massachusetts, was arrested for stealing drugs for herself and tampering with evidence.

Sonja Farak's case came on the heels of another scandal in eastern Massachusetts, in which state chemist Annie Dookhan was convicted of evidence tampering.

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