In the wake of a number of violent incidents in the city over the past few months, Mayor Domenic Sarno is looking to bring the local courts into ongoing public safety discussions.
The mayor has invited Bill Boyle, first justice of Springfield District Court (and a former city councilor) and other District Court judges, as well as Laura Gentile, clerk of Hampden Superior Court, to attend the Sept. 17 meeting of a local crime-prevention group. That group’s members include Sarno, Police Commissioner William Fitchet, Hampden Sheriff Mike Ashe and Hampden District Attorney Mark Mastroianni, among others. The group meets twice a month.
According to a letter Sarno sent to Boyle and Gentile, the group would like to discuss with the judges “bail setting and sentencing”—an evergreen, and controversial topic, with some critics (former Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott the most vocal) charging that the courts are too lenient with criminals, who then return to the streets and commit more crimes.