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Mass. State Senators Call For Parole Moratorium

A bipartisan group of Massachusetts state senators is calling for a moratorium on parole board hearings following the fatal shooting of a Woburn police officer.

The 14 senators say there should be no additional hearings until after the board has completed a report on the 2008 decision to parole the man investigators say shot and killed 60-year-old John Maguire during a botched jewelry heist Dec. 26.

Police said Maguire's killer was 57-year-old Dominic Cinelli, a career criminal who was paroled despite having been sentenced to three life terms in 1986. Cinelli was also killed in the exchange of gunfire.

"Right now, given what we've seen, given the flaws in this process, everything should stop," said Republican Sen. Bruce Tarr. "It can resume again soon enough, but we need to stop it and take our breath and make sure public safety is protected."

Senate President Therese Murray was among the 14 senators.

"You can be a liberal or you can be a conservative, but when you narrow down government's responsibilities, the public safety of its citizenry has to be the No. 1 issue that is out there," said Democratic Sen. Steve Brewer.

During a news conference in Woburn Thursday, Woburn Police Chief Philip Mahoney called on lawmakers to act on a parole reform bill in the next 60 days. Earlier this week, a number of lawmakers called for the passage of "Melissa's Bill."

"One of the two members of the parole board that voted to allow him out on parole said he hasn't killed anybody," Mahoney said. "I mean, is that what it takes to keep someone in jail? You have to kill someone? You can't do all these violent crimes?

"I would expect and I demand that in the next 60 days that this bill comes out for an up or down vote," Mahoney said. "It has to happen."

House Speaker Robert DeLeo has said his initial reaction would be to ban parole for anyone serving multiple life sentences. Gov. Deval Patrick has ordered an investigation and indicated to WBUR that he is asking whether some criminals should be kept locked up. It is not clear yet how either lawmaker feels about the proposed parole board suspension.

Earlier Coverage:

This program aired on January 6, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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