CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Exterior of Hampden County Correctional Center in Ludlow, Mass.
File photo / The Republican

New legislation filed Tuesday by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker would allow those fined by a court a chance to work off the debt through community service, instead being thrown in jail.

In a statement, Baker said the hope is to keep more people from going behind bars just because of their inability to pay.

Richard Dohoney, president of the Berkshire County Bar Association, said the bill would have some positive impacts beyond that.

Graphic of an Amherst College baseball cap on the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, which is on display at the school's natural history museum.
Screen shot from mascot video / Amherst College

Our panel of journalists looks at the big stories in the news.

What made The Short List this week?

Herman Paul Cumby, one of the four men who say a group of off-duty Springfield police officers attacked them on April 8, 2015.
Dan Glaun / MassLive

New details were made public this week in a case in Springfield in an alleged fight between several city residents and a group of off-duty police officers outside a bar in 2015.

An internal investigation by the Springfield Police was obtained by MassLive reporter Dan Glaun. 

RELATED: Report reveals missing video, contradictory testimony in case of alleged Springfield police beating

File photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette

At least two communities in western Massachusetts could lose federal funding from the Department of Justice. That's if the department follows through on its pledge to cut grant money from cities that do not comply with federal immigration requests to detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.

Last week, both Amherst and Northampton landed on a federal list of so-called "sanctuary cities." 

The police station in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

The former head of the Pittsfield police union pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $200,000 from the organization.

The Berkshire County District Attorney's office said the thefts took place between 2008 and 2015 when Jeffrey Coco was the treasurer and later president of the police union in Pittsfield.

A police investigation concluded Coco wrote checks from a union account to either himself or his wife for personal use. He was fired from his job as a police officer in 2015. 

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