Bay State high court ruling affirms existing bail process

Massachusetts’ highest court says special magistrates dealing with drug cases tainted by a crime lab scandal can’t release convicts on bail before they’re granted new trials.

But the ruling said Superior Court judges can decide to do that after special magistrates make recommendations.

Monday’s ruling relates to special “drug lab” court sessions that started after authorities shut down a state lab and arrested former chemist Annie Dookhan.

The 35-year-old pleaded not guilty after an indictment alleged she faked test results and tampered with evidence. The American Civil Liberties Union said the ruling affirms the process already in place.

Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett had challenged special magistrates’ roles and whether defendants could be freed while new trial motions were pending.


Capitol’s face-lift includes installation of lightning rods

A $20 million exterior makeover of the Massachusetts Statehouse includes the installation of lightning rods for the first time in the building’s 215-year history.

One of those lightning rods is being placed inside the decorative pine cone that adorns the top of the cupola on the building’s golden dome.

There are no memories of lightning ever damaging the building since it opened in 1798, but engineers say the rods are vital to ensuring the safety of the historic building for years to come.

The Boston Globe reported that the pine cone’s wooden cap is being replaced with metal, and a copper cable threaded through the middle to the ground to protect it from electrical strikes.

LYNN, Mass.

Van fatally strikes woman pushing her granddaughter

Authorities and witnesses say a van backing out of a parking spot repeatedly struck a 60-year-old woman pushing her baby granddaughter in a carriage, killing the woman.

Lynn police said the baby was taken to a hospital but did not appear to be seriously hurt.

The woman was struck Sunday after two teens asked her for directions so they could call for a ride. Eighteen-year-old Moises Baez and 17-year-old Amanda Arsenault told The Daily Item that they watched the van run over the woman several times and helped pull the baby to safety.

The Essex district attorney’s office identified the woman as Kathleen Partland, the baby’s grandmother. The driver is from Revere, but his name was not released pending the investigation.


Truck transporting prisoner hits, kills bear on Route 109

Authorities say a bear was struck and killed by a prison truck on a Vermont road.

WCAX-TV reported that police said the truck was transporting a prisoner at about 10:45 p.m. Sunday on Route 109 when the vehicle hit the bear in Belvidere.

No one in the truck was injured, but the vehicle had to be towed


Shaheen discusses fighting sexual assaults in military

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says using the expertise of the University of New Hampshire’s National Criminal Justice Center to train military officers and first responders will help the fight against sexual assaults in the military.

Shaheen joined law enforcement officials and military personnel Monday at UNH for a roundtable discussion on efforts to improve sexual assault prevention. She outlined provisions she included in the National Defense Authorization Act to address sexual abuse prevention, including a measure to use resources at law centers like UNH’s training center.

The provision introduced by Shaheen, a member of the Armed Services Committee, requests a comprehensive review from the Department of Defense for the coordination and incorporation of civilian law enforcement best practices in sexual assault prevention and response.


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