Here’s a breakdown of Charlie Baker’s proposed criminal justice reforms

The governor cited "recent tragedies" as the motivation for his list of changes.

Baker announces criminal justice reform during news conference.
Gov. Charlie Baker at Thursday's news conference. –Gov. Charlie Baker's Office via Twitter

Gov. Charlie Baker said “recent tragedies” sparked the need for the criminal justice reforms he announced on Thursday, and for the Yarmouth Police Department, it’s an answer to the call for change following Sgt. Sean Gannon’s death this spring.

The laws wouldn’t affect most people arrested in the state, but the changes proposed by Baker could make it easier to keep a suspect who could be potentially dangerous to the public behind bars during the court process.

Gannon, 32, was allegedly shot by a man with more than 100 criminal charges, according to The Boston Globe.

Since his death, more officers have been shot while dealing with suspects:

  • Sgt. Michael Chesna of the Weymouth Police Department was shot and killed by a suspect within a couple weeks of Gannon’s death.
  • Falmouth police officers Donald DeMirand and Ryan Moore were both shot in late July when responding to a disturbance, the Globe reported.

What the proposed changes would do:

  • The list of charges that could allow for a dangerousness hearing would expand. A dangerousness hearing can be called for if a prosecutor tells a judge that the accused person could be dangerous to the public if released to await their next court date, according to Baker’s office. If a person is found to be “dangerous,” they’re sent to jail until their next court appearance.
  • A person’s criminal history could be used to decide for or against a dangerousness hearing. As the law is now, only the charge or charges at hand can be used to determine if someone is a danger.
  • If an accused person breaks one of the conditions of their release, a judge could revoke it. Currently, that isn’t enough for a judge to revoke a release.
  • Cutting off a GPS monitoring device would become a felony.
  • A new text-message service would remind defendants of upcoming court dates. The idea is to increase the chances of the person showing up to court instead of an arrest warrant being issued after they don’t show up.
  • A dangerousness hearing could be called for at any time during court proceedings — a hearing can only be requested at the beginning as it stands now.
  • If someone is released in district, the proposed new law allows prosecutors, as well as defendants, to appeal to a superior court.
  • Bail commissioners and magistrates and probation departments would have to tell authorities “who can take remedial action” when someone is charged with a new crime during pre-trial release, whether that’s within state lines or outside.
  • A new task force would be formed that would decide on adding more information to criminal records to help prosecutors and judges have a clearer understanding when deciding if someone should be released or not.

In Yarmouth, the police department continues to honor Gannon and K-9 Nero, who was shot and injured when his partner was killed. Recently, the department launched an online story that sells K-9 Nero stuffed animals.

“It is encouraging to see that the call for action to keep dangerous and repeat criminals off the streets that began as a result of Sgt. Gannon’s murder is being taken seriously,” said Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson in a prepared statement.