State Rep. Marty Walz joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives in recently passing legislation that modifies current law governing cases of repeat criminal offenders. The legislation, which will bring habitual criminals to justice and ensure the security of the Commonwealth, passed with bi-partisan support.
“The murders of Melissa Gosule and last year’s murder of Woburn police officer John Maguire by habitual offenders who were out of jail on parole tragically proved that our laws must be changed,” Walz said. “This bill will keep habitual violent criminals in jail so they can’t cause more harm.”
Habitual offender status is realized when an offender, after being convicted of any two major crimes, is convicted of a third major crime. Major crimes include murder, manslaughter, rape, child enticement, kidnapping and others. The offender would be ineligible for parole upon conviction of a third offense and would be punished by imprisonment for the maximum term provided by law.
“We cannot allow habitual offenders to terrorize and victimize our friends, loved ones and public servants,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. “This legislation represents a powerful deterrent to those who would commit crime repeatedly.”
State Rep. Eugene L. O’Flaherty (D-Chelsea), the House chairman of the Joint Judiciary Committee, said, “With the passage of this legislation, the House has insured that repeat violent recidivists will remain in custody and won’t harm the public any further.”
The state Senate has approved a different version of the bill. A conference committee of six Senators and Representatives is working to reconcile the differences between the bills. When their work is completed, the legislature will vote on the final bill and submit it to Gov. Deval Patrick.