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Policy Library

SJC Decision Commonwealth v. Rossetti Cites Two BBJ Articles

May 12, 2022

We were pleased to find not one but two citations to the Boston Bar Journal in last week’s SJC decision on Commonwealth v. Rossetti. In this important ruling Justice Cypher, writing for a majority, starts by stating, “[O]ver the years, our sentencing jurisprudence has become less than clear,” adding, in a footnote, “This lack of clarity was also recently observed in a Boston Bar Journal article on this court’s sentencing jurisprudence related to mandatory minimum sentences, with the author”—Massachusetts AAG Jared Cohen—”titling one section, ‘Confusing Cases, Confusing Law.'”

Justice Wendlandt filed a dissent to argue, in part, that the Court’s approach—in particular, its overturning a previous SJC decision, which limited the application of mandatory minimums—would set back the cause of reducing racial and ethnic disparities in sentencing. To help underscore the urgency of that effort, she cites another BBJ article, this one penned by former SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants and former Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey—“Creating Courts Where All Are Truly Equal”, describing it as “reiterating [their] call to ‘recommit ourselves to the systemic change needed to make equality under the law an enduring reality for all’.