http://northwesternda.org/news/rss en Belchertown man pleads guilty to assault and battery on child http://northwesternda.org/news/belchertown-man-pleads-guilty-assault-and-battery-child <div class="field field-type-date field-field-news-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Date:&nbsp;</div> <span class="date-display-single">06.28.2016</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Keith Truehart, 31, of Belchertown, pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court today, June 28, to&nbsp; three counts of assault and battery on a child causing serious bodily injury and one count of&nbsp; misleading police.</p> <p>He was sentenced by Judge John Ferrara&nbsp; to 3 years in state prison on the assault and battery charges, followed by 5 years of supervised probation after his release from prison on the misleading the police charge.&nbsp; See below for special terms and conditions.</p> <p>Truehart, who admitted to beating an infant, was placed on the state&#39;s &quot;most wanted&quot; list after he fled authorities following the assault.&nbsp; He was later discovered by police hiding under the kitchen sink of the infant&#39;s mother, Melonie Cummings, in Belchertown.&nbsp; Cummings pleaded guilty in May to being an accessory to a crime after the fact and to misleading police and is currently serving an 18-month sentence in the House of Correction.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are pleased to have resolved this case in a manner that holds the defendant accountable for his conduct,&rdquo; said Assistant District Attorney Caleb Weiner, who prosecuted the case.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The defendant&#39;s reprehensible actions warranted a state prison sentence and a lengthy probationary period upon release.&nbsp; The Commonwealth is relieved that the victim recovered from her injuries and is in a safe environment now.&rdquo;</p> <p>Special conditions and terms:</p> <p><em>1.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Defendant shall actively participate in and shall successfully complete any and all evaluations, programs, and therapies recommended by the Department of Probation, including, but not limited to, anger management treatment.</em></p> <p><em>2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Defendant shall have no unsupervised direct or indirect contact with any child under the age of 18, other than incidentally, including physical contact, verbal contact, or contact by electronic means.&nbsp; Such supervision must be by an adult with an official legal obligation for the child&rsquo;s welfare that the Defendant has apprised of his convictions on this case.</em></p> <p><em>3.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Defendant shall not reside with any child under the age of 18.</em></p> <p><em>4.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Defendant shall not have over-nights with any child under the age of 18.</em></p> <p><em>5.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Defendant shall not be employed or participate in any volunteer activity where he would have contact, other than incidentally, with any child under the age of 18.</em></p> <p><em>6.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Defendant shall have no contact, direct or indirect, with the victim or witnesses in this case.</em></p> <p><em>7.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Defendant shall remain drug and alcohol free and be subjected to screens as determined by the Department of Probation.</em></p> <p><em>8.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Defendant shall submit to the wearing of a global positioning system device, and to the creation of defined geographic exclusion zones, as determined by the Department of Probation, in compliance with M.G.L. Ch. 265 &sect; 47.&nbsp; ***AMENDED BY JUDGE &ndash; FOR FIRST YEAR OF PROBATION ONLY***</em></p> <p><em>9.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Defendant shall sign all releases relative to therapy, counseling, and anger management treatment records so that they may be provided to the Department of Probation and the Northwestern District Attorney&rsquo;s Office.</em></p> Tue, 28 Jun 2016 20:46:26 +0000 mcarey 2009 at http://northwesternda.org Guns collected at Gun Buy Back to be destroyed http://northwesternda.org/event/guns-collected-gun-buy-back-be-destroyed <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-event-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Date:&nbsp;</div> <span class="date-display-single">06.29.2016 - <span class="date-display-start">10:00AM</span><span class="date-display-separator"> - </span><span class="date-display-end">11:00AM</span></span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-event-location"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Location:&nbsp;</div> WTE Recycling, 75 Southern Avenue, Greenfield </div> </div> </div> <p align="center"><strong>Guns returned to Gun Buy Back to be destroyed at WTE Recycling in Greenfield, June 29 at 10 a.m.</strong></p> <p>Representatives of the Northwestern District Attorney&rsquo;s Office, Greenfield and Northampton Police Department and others will be on hand at WTE Recycling, 75 Southern Ave., Greenfield, on Wednesday, June 29 at 10 a.m. to witness the destruction of 273 guns collected at the Valley Gun Buy Back on June 11.<img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/IMG_1231.jpg" style="width: 350px; height: 379px; float: right;" /></p> <p>Of the total 273 guns collected, 95 were returned in Greenfield and 178 in Northampton. &nbsp;Examples of guns traded in for $50 gift cards include a 9 millimeter semi-automatic, 38 Special, long guns, pistols, rifles and shotguns. &nbsp;A Japanese rifle was accepted by the Springfield Armory Museum for display due to its historic significance.</p> <p>&quot;Thank you to all who participated for helping to keep guns out of the wrong hands,&quot; Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan said.</p> <p>&quot;If we can prevent even one gun death, we have been tremendously successful.&quot;</p> <p>In addition to the Office of Northwestern District Attorney and Northampton and Greenfield police, sponsors include Baystate Health; Valley Medical Group; the sheriffs&rsquo; associations of Hampshire and Franklin counties; Convenient Cards; the Committee to Elect Stan Rosenberg; the Easthampton Police Association; the Greenfield Police Association; New England Environmental; Northampton Pediatrics; Northampton Police Association; Partners Healthcare; Sasson, Turnbull, Ryan &amp; Hoose; ServiceNet; Western Mass Chiefs of Police Association; WTE Recycling; Bruce and Ruth Hawkins; Greenfield Savings Bank; state Rep. Ellen Story; Claire L. Bateman Trust; Attorney Jeff Morneau; Clinical &amp; Support Options; and Freedom Credit&nbsp;Union.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:24:54 +0000 mcarey 2008 at http://northwesternda.org Ware Community Dinner http://northwesternda.org/event/ware-community-dinner <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-event-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Date:&nbsp;</div> <span class="date-display-single">06.27.2016 - <span class="date-display-start">6:00PM</span><span class="date-display-separator"> - </span><span class="date-display-end">8:00PM</span></span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-event-location"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Location:&nbsp;</div> United Church of Ware, 49 Church Street </div> </div> </div> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/f0ab9fcd-ad82-4e6c-aa2c-fa4da6ad648b.png" style="width: 600px; height: 848px;" /></p> Mon, 20 Jun 2016 16:51:56 +0000 mcarey 2005 at http://northwesternda.org Identifying, Investigating and Prosecuting Domestic Violence Non-Fatal Strangulation Cases http://northwesternda.org/event/identifying-investigating-and-prosecuting-domestic-violence-non-fatal-strangulation-cases <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-event-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Date:&nbsp;</div> <span class="date-display-single">09.22.2016 - <span class="date-display-start">8:22AM</span><span class="date-display-separator"> - </span><span class="date-display-end">4:00PM</span></span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-event-location"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Location:&nbsp;</div> Hadley Farms Meeting House, Route 9, Hadley </div> </div> </div> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/image001.png" style="width: 667px; height: 861px;" /></p> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 17:23:43 +0000 mcarey 2004 at http://northwesternda.org Amherst Community Shred Day http://northwesternda.org/event/amherst-community-shred-day <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-event-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Date:&nbsp;</div> <span class="date-display-single">06.18.2016 - <span class="date-display-start">9:00AM</span><span class="date-display-separator"> - </span><span class="date-display-end">12:00PM</span></span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-event-location"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Location:&nbsp;</div> Peoples Bank Parking Lot, Amity Street </div> </div> </div> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/Amhesr%20Shredding%20June%2018%202016.JPG" style="width: 548px; height: 715px;" /></p> <p>Identity theft is a burgeoning industry and personal information easily recovered from your garbage can is all that is needed to steal&nbsp;<em>your</em>&nbsp;identity. The &nbsp;Federal Trade Commission has ranked identity theft among its top consumer complaint&nbsp;for more than a dozen years. &nbsp;(Debt collection, identity theft, and imposter scams were the <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/consumer-complaints-ftc-increased-2015">top three complaints in 2015</a>.)</p> <p>Area consumers can help prevent their identities from being stolen by shredding their sensitive documents at the Community Shred Event, this <strong><em>Saturday, June 18, 9 a.m.- noon at the People&rsquo;s Bank parking lot, 56 Amity Street in Amherst. </em></strong>Amherst TRIAD/S.A.L.T. Council and Valley Green Shredding are sponsoring the event.</p> <p>Among the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure">four main ways the FTC recommends</a>&nbsp;consumers protect their information is storing and disposing of their personal information securely -- especially Social Security numbers. (The other three ways are&nbsp; &quot;know who you share information with; ask questions before deciding to share your personal information; and maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.&quot;)</p> <p>Documents the FTC recommends shredding include &quot;receipts, credit offers, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks, bank statements, expired charge cards, and similar documents when you don&rsquo;t need them&nbsp;any longer.&quot;</p> <p>For more information, contact Chris Geffin, program director for the NWDA&rsquo;s Elders and People with Disabilities Unit, at 413-437-5747</p> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 17:52:19 +0000 mcarey 2003 at http://northwesternda.org Franklin Family Drug Court Opening Celebration http://northwesternda.org/event/franklin-family-drug-court-opening-celebration <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-event-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Date:&nbsp;</div> <span class="date-display-single">06.17.2016 - <span class="date-display-start">9:30AM</span><span class="date-display-separator"> - </span><span class="date-display-end">11:30AM</span></span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-event-location"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Location:&nbsp;</div> Greenfield Community College </div> </div> </div> <table align="center" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="width: 701px;" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>DA Sullivan will speak at the opening celebration of the Franklin Family Court.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <table align="center" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="width:100%;" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td><a href="http://opioidtaskforce.us11.list-manage.com/track/click?u=43720a021b0b3cc68d7cac6aa&amp;id=67a8a630c6&amp;e=58767b7d61" style="color: rgb(127, 4, 4); text-align: -webkit-center;"><img align="none" border="0" height="905" id="_x0000_i1025" src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/43720a021b0b3cc68d7cac6aa/images/eb47e8fe-3cb8-4a91-9dcc-79ad189c1b59.jpg" style="border-width: 0in; height: 905px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-top: 0px; width: 700px;" width="700" /></a>The Franklin Probate and Family Court has been designated as Massachusetts&#39; first family drug court.&nbsp;&nbsp;This&nbsp;program&nbsp;is an exciting&nbsp;new way of addressing the increasing number of custody and parenting cases involving substance abuse.&nbsp; The goal of the Franklin Family Drug Court is to treat the entire family by assisting the parent in his or her recovery, addressing the needs of the children and caregiver, and removing the stigma of addiction.<br /> <table align="center" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="width:100%;" width="100%"> <tbody></tbody> </table> <div style="clear:both;">&nbsp;</div> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <div style="clear:both;">&nbsp;</div> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 15:26:08 +0000 mcarey 2002 at http://northwesternda.org Buckland man pleads guilty in October 2015 fatal Route 2 crash http://northwesternda.org/news/buckland-man-pleads-guilty-october-2015-fatal-route-2-crash <div class="field field-type-date field-field-news-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Date:&nbsp;</div> <span class="date-display-single">06.02.2016</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Wyatt Pease, 20, of &nbsp;Buckland pleaded guilty today in Franklin Superior Court to involuntary manslaughter, motor vehicle homicide, leaving the scene of death, leaving the scene of personal injury, and being a minor in possession of alcohol in connection with a fatal crash on Route 2 in Shelburne on October 2, 2015.&nbsp;</p> <p>Pease admitted he was driving under the influence of alcohol when he struck from behind a vehicle being driven by Sarah Sessions, 51 of Heath, sending Sessions&rsquo; vehicle spinning into the opposite lane, where it was struck by an oncoming vehicle.</p> <p>Pease pleaded guilty to the following crimes, with the following sentences imposed by Judge Mary-Lou Rup (agreed-upon recommendation by the parties):</p> <p>Count 1)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Leaving the Scene of Property Damage (G.L. c. 90, &sect; 24(2)(a)) &ndash; 2 years to the HOC, concurrent with sentence imposed on Count 4;</p> <p>Count 2)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Leaving the Scene of Property Damage (G.L. c. 90, &sect; 24(2)(a)) &ndash; dismissed by Commonwealth.;</p> <p>Count 3)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Leaving the Scene of Personal Injury (G.L. c. 90, &sect; 2(a &frac12;)(1)) &ndash; 2 years to the HOC, concurrent with sentence imposed on Count 4;</p> <p>Count 4)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Leaving the Scene of Personal Injury Resulting in Death (G.L. c. 90, &sect; 2(a&frac12;)(2)) &ndash; 2 &frac12; years to the HOC;</p> <p>Count 5) &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Felony Motor Vehicular Homicide (G.L. c. 90C, &sect; 24G(a)) &ndash; 2 &frac12; years to the HOC, from and after the sentence imposed on Count 4;</p> <p>Count 6)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Possession or Transportation of Alcohol by a Minor (G.L. c. 138, &sect; 34C) &ndash;fine of $50.00;</p> <p>Count 7)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Involuntary Manslaughter (G.L. c. 265, &sect; 13) &ndash; defendant placed on supervised probation upon his release from incarceration for five years.&nbsp; Special conditions to include: refrain from the use of alcohol and drugs; submit to random screens; attend two AA or NA meetings per week; no driving any type of motorized vehicle; and 100 hours of community service per year.</p> <p>The defendant&rsquo;s conviction on Count 5 carries with it a 15-year license loss.</p> <p>Assistant District Attorney Becky Michaels, who prosecuted the case, noted that no sentence could diminish the grief felt by the victim&rsquo;s husband, children, mother, and sisters.</p> <p>&ldquo;This was a devastating loss to a large, close family.&nbsp; We are grateful to them for sharing with us what a wonderful person Sarah was, Michaels said.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Mr. Pease is serving an appropriate sentence that punishes him for the horrendous choice he made last October to drink and drive.&nbsp; His years at the House of Correction will give him time to rehabilitate and reflect before re-entering our community,&rdquo; Michaels said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our greatest hope is that the defendant&rsquo;s admission and sentence will keep the dangers of drunk driving in the forefront of the minds of all people and prevent future tragedies.&rdquo;</p> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 17:38:13 +0000 mcarey 2001 at http://northwesternda.org Six New Permanent Drug Take Back Boxes at Area Police Stations http://northwesternda.org/news/six-new-permanent-drug-take-back-boxes-area-police-stations <div class="field field-type-date field-field-news-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Date:&nbsp;</div> <span class="date-display-single">06.01.2016</span> </div> </div> </div> <p align="center"><strong>Northwestern District Attorney&rsquo;s Office and Area Police Announce 6 New Drug Drop-Off Boxes<br /> in Police Stations</strong></p> <p>Ashfield, Bernardston, Cummington, Goshen, Hatfield and Leverett residents can now dispose of their unwanted and outdated prescription and non-prescription medications in the new permanent drug drop-off box at their local police stations.</p> <p>Residents should check for their department&rsquo;s open hours.<img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/IMG_1030.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;" /><br /><em>Pictured, left-to-right &nbsp;are Hatfield Sgt. Clinton Phillips, the NWDA&#39;s Chris Geffin, Goshen Police Chief Jeffery Hewes, Cummington Police Chief Mike Perkins, Ashfield Police Chief Diane Wilder, Leverett Police Chief Gary Billings and the NWDA&#39;s Dan Carey.</em></p> <p>The drop-off boxes allow &nbsp;residents to deposit drugs in a secure box for environmentally-sound disposal by Covanta Energy. Prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins and veterinary medications are accepted. Needles and sharps, liquids, IV equipment and chemotherapy drugs are not.</p> <p>&ldquo;Getting prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets and the wrong hands is key in combatting the problem of prescription drug abuse and opioids addiction,&rdquo; Sullivan said.</p> <p>One in seven teens reported abusing prescription drugs in the past year, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, with 70 percent of teens who abused prescription drugs saying they got them from a family or friend &ndash; with or without their knowledge.</p> <p>With the addition of the six new drop off boxes, there are now 25 in the Office Northwestern District Attorney&rsquo;s district of Hampshire and Franklin counties and the town of Athol.&nbsp; Boxes can be found in police stations in&nbsp;&nbsp;Amherst, Ashfield, Athol, Belchertown, Bernardston, Buckland, Cummington, Deerfield, &nbsp;Easthampton, Erving, Goshen, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Leverett, Montague, Northampton, Orange, South Hadley, Southampton, Sunderland<strong>,</strong>&nbsp;Ware and Williamsburg. Northampton has seen such high demand that there are now two drop boxes there.</p> <p>Combined with drugs collected in the Northwestern District during National Prescription Drug Take Back Days since 2011, 27,740 pounds have been collected.</p> <p>For more information, contact Chris Geffin at 586-9225 or <a href="mailto:Christy.A.Geffin@MassMail.State.MA.US">Christy.A.Geffin@MassMail.State.MA.US</a></p> <p>The NWDA and local police are excited to announce the addition of six new Drug Take Back boxes -- to be located in police stations in Hatfield, Goshen, Cummington, Ashfield, Bernardston, Cummington, Goshen, Hatfield and Leverett.</p> <p>Contact Chris Geffin at <a href="mailto:Christy.A.Geffin@state.ma.us">Christy.A.Geffin@state.ma.us</a> for more information.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 31 May 2016 20:23:01 +0000 mcarey 2000 at http://northwesternda.org Jury returns guilty verdict in indecent assault and battery case against state trooper http://northwesternda.org/news/jury-returns-guilty-verdict-indecent-assault-and-battery-case-against-state-trooper <div class="field field-type-date field-field-news-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Date:&nbsp;</div> <span class="date-display-single">05.27.2016</span> </div> </div> </div> <div style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">After deliberating for approximately an hour, a Hampshire Superior Court jury has found Christopher Kennedy, 32,&nbsp; of West Springfield, guilty of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 years of age, assault and battery, and indecent exposure.</div> <div style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"><font face="Calibri, sans-serif" size="2">&nbsp;</font></div> <div style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Kennedy, an active Massachusetts State Police trooper at the time of the crimes, and who has since been suspended without pay, exposed himself and sexually assaulted a Worthington woman in her home in July 2014, after meeting over an internet dating site.&nbsp;</div> <div style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"><font face="Calibri, sans-serif" size="2">&nbsp;</font></div> <div style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Suhl, who prosecuted the case, said: &ldquo;We are very thankful for the jury&rsquo;s attention to this matter and their swift verdict, which was only made possible by the strength of the victim who promptly reported this assault and testified at trial.&nbsp; We hope that other survivors of sexual violence can find strength from this verdict in knowing that perpetrators of these crimes can be held accountable in court.&rdquo;</div> <div style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Sentencing will be June 13 at 2 pm in front of Judge Daniel Ford in Franklin Superior Court.&nbsp;</div> Fri, 27 May 2016 19:28:53 +0000 mcarey 1999 at http://northwesternda.org ADA Jennifer Suhl wins Massachusetts District Atttorneys Association Spotlight Award for NWDA http://northwesternda.org/news/ada-jennifer-suhl-wins-massachusetts-district-atttorneys-association-spotlight-award-nwda <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/Jen%20Suhl%20wins%20DA%20Spotlight%20award%202016.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 385px;" /><br />ADA Jen Suhl, winner of this year&#39;s 2016 Spotlight Award and First ADA Steve Gagne</p> <p>On May 13, 2016, at the annual Massachusetts District Attorney&rsquo;s Association conference in Boston, the Northwestern District Attorney&rsquo;s Office recognized Assistant District Attorney Jennifer H. Suhl as this year&rsquo;s recipient of the &ldquo;Spotlight Award.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>The Spotlight Award is given annually to an assistant district attorney from each District Attorney&rsquo;s Office in recognition of their outstanding service, spirit, and professionalism.</p> <p>ADA Suhl began her career as a prosecutor in the Middlesex District Attorney&rsquo;s Office, where she gained valuable experience investigating and prosecuting cases at both the District Court and Superior Court levels.&nbsp; She joined the Northwestern District Attorney&rsquo;s Office in September 2011, as the Chief of the newly-formed Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit (&ldquo;DVSAU&rdquo;).&nbsp; In this role, she works with several highly-trained and experienced staff members who collectively oversee the prosecution of all domestic violence and adult sexual assault cases in the 47 cities and towns that comprise the Northwestern District. &nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to handling a robust caseload, ADA Suhl spearheads the DVSAU&rsquo;s collaboration with community and law enforcement partners to deliver coordinated, best-practice prosecution of all domestic and sexual violence cases.&nbsp; These collaborations, as well as effective training and consistent prosecution, have led to highly successful results in the prosecution of domestic violence and sexual assault in our district.&nbsp; For example, according to an August 2015 statewide report, the Northwestern District had the highest conviction rate for the newly-enacted crimes of strangulation/suffocation and assault and battery on a family or household member.&nbsp;</p> <p>As Unit Chief, ADA Suhl contributes on a daily basis to numerous prevention and intervention initiatives aimed at strengthening victim safety and offender accountability, including: the District Attorney&rsquo;s Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence; the Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP); the Domestic Violence High Risk Team Project; the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART); and many other community outreach and education efforts.</p> <p>But first and foremost, ADA Suhl has distinguished herself as an outstanding, dedicated, compassionate, tenacious, and tireless prosecutor and advocate for victims.&nbsp; Her skills in this regard were highlighted like never before in her recent handling of a four codefendant gang rape prosecution that spanned just over three years.&nbsp; It began one night in October 2012, when four men from Pittsfield visited the UMass-Amherst campus, where they jointly raped a highly-intoxicated freshman inside her dorm room, each of them taking turns penetrating her in various ways as she lay helpless on her bed.&nbsp; All four men&mdash;Emmanuel Bile, Justin King, Adam Liccardi, and Caleb Womack&mdash;were indicted on multiple charges of aggravated rape. &nbsp;</p> <p>After lengthy pretrial proceedings, the Commonwealth&rsquo;s motion to join the four cases was allowed, and ADA Suhl prepared to try the case in early 2015.&nbsp; However, on the eve of trial, a different judge decided that the cases should be severed and tried separately.&nbsp; This development, which would require the victim to potentially testify&mdash;and be subjected to cross-examination&mdash;four separate times, was almost too much for her to bear.&nbsp; But with the support and encouragement of Karyn Miller, the victim-witness advocate assigned to the case, as well as her close-knit family, the victim summonsed the strength and courage to see the cases through.&nbsp;</p> <p>Bile&rsquo;s case proceeded to trial in March 2015, during which ADA Suhl guided the victim through raw, emotional testimony that recounted the horrific assault.&nbsp; The jury convicted the defendant of two counts of aggravated rape, for which he was sentenced to serve 8-10 years in state prison, followed by five years of probation.</p> <p>King&rsquo;s case proceeded to trial in June 2015.&nbsp; Once again, the victim found the strength to take the stand and describe the nightmarish event that forever changed her life.&nbsp; The jury convicted the defendant of three counts of aggravated rape, for which he was sentenced to serve 8-12 years in state prison, followed by five years of probation.</p> <p>Liccardi&rsquo;s case proceeded to trial in August 2015, at the conclusion of which the jury convicted him of two counts of aggravated rape and one count of rape.&nbsp; The Court sentenced the defendant to serve 8-12 years in state prison, followed by five years of probation.</p> <p>The fourth and final codefendant, Caleb Womack, entered a plea agreement whereby he pleaded guilty to one count of rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery.&nbsp; He was sentenced to five years in the House of Correction, with no possibility of parole, followed by ten years of probation.&nbsp; And with that plea, the victim was finally able to put the legal chapter of this ordeal behind her, and continue her recovery as a <em>survivor</em> of sexual assault.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Trying this difficult case once to a successful verdict would have itself been a tremendous accomplishment; trying it three times over the span of six months, and capping it with a plea in the fourth case, was nothing short of herculean.&nbsp; And how did ADA Suhl go about basking in the glory of this feat?&nbsp; By doing what comes naturally to her: reaching for the next case scheduled for trial, and preparing to fight once again to bring justice to a victim-turned-survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault,&rdquo; Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Jennifer Suhl is a tremendous asset not just to the residents of Hampshire and Franklin Counties, and the town of Athol, but to the Commonwealth as a whole, and our collective crusade as prosecutors to achieve justice for victims.&rdquo;</p> Mon, 23 May 2016 19:03:17 +0000 mcarey 1991 at http://northwesternda.org