The Associated Press

Jailed Mass. Rep May Speak Before Discipline Vote

BOSTON — The state House of Representatives apparently plans to give jailed lawmaker Carlos Henriquez an opportunity to address the chamber before voting on whether to expel or otherwise punish the Boston Democrat.

An order filed by Rep. David Nangle, acting chair of the Ethics Committee, does not mention Henriquez by name but establishes a procedure for potential disciplinary action against a member “who stands accused of violating the ethical standards of the House.”

Henriquez is serving a six-month sentence after being convicted of assaulting a former girlfriend. He has so far resisted calls to resign.

The order says “the accused” will be allowed to address the House prior to and possibly during the debate, but would not be allowed to vote.

The House could move to reprimand, censure or expel Henriquez.

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  • CircusMcGurkus

    This is an elected official – elected by the people. The people can, and often do, err in their choice of candidate but that does not mean that he should be coerced into leaving office against his will, and by extension – the will of the people. The House – the entire General Court – can have an opinion and reprimand and do whatever they see fit short of forcing him to resign. But in the end, he is appealing his conviction and the people of his district will not have any kind of special election before he is released from the incarcerative portion of his sentence. So this humiliating action of bringing one of their own shackled into the Chamber by our other elected officials is an embarrassment to them more than it is to Henriquez. They are not helping the people of his district with representation. There is no prohibition for him to serve once he is out of jail and on probation.

    When Dianne Wilkerson pleaded guilty to federal charges years ago, no one called for her resignation and her electorate, like James Michael Curley’s, knowing she had criminal offenses in her background still reelected her. I am not saying they were right – I think history has proven that the voters were completely wrong (and this may be the case with Henriquez as well if he finishes his term and runs again for office) – but it is up to the people and not the legislature to decide upon their elected officials. See, MA Const Pt. 1 Art 4, 5, 7. 8, and 9 for starters.

    • X-Ray

      He cannot serve those who elected him from his jail cell.

      • CircusMcGurkus

        Right but he will be jailed for fewer than 6 months which is far less time than it takes to hold an election. Other members have been out far longer. Life happens. People get sick, people get incapacitated for one reason or another. That is NOT what this is about – this is about the offense for which he was convicted…which is none of the business of the rest of the General Court. His constituents can take that conviction (or if he is successful, its reversal) into consideration if he chooses to run again. The body of government deputized to create laws should implement them fairly and without regard to emotion.
        In a free and fair democracy, it’s disgraceful to expel him for this.

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