What bothered me, personally, the most about the draft platform is that while it had plenty to say about “tough on crime” and law enforcement, the Draft Platform says nothing about access to justice, nothing about an independent judiciary, checks and balances, or that the Judicial Branch is an equal branch of government. In fact, the Draft Platform does nothing to affirm any commitment to justice at all. Here is my proposed substitute for discussion:
Proposed Amendment to the Draft Platform
In place of “Article VIII Public Safety and Crime Prevention” insert:
“Article VIII Open Courts, Access to Justice, and Public Safety
Democrats fully support Article XI of the Massachusetts Constitution, the “Open Courts Clause”, which states: Every subject of the commonwealth ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property, or character. He ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay; conformably to the laws.
Therefore, Democrats support for the Judicial Branch as a co-equal branch of government, fully funded to ensure access to justice across the entire Commonwealth; access to justice which includes all indigent legal defense mandated by G.L.c.211D, civil legal services, prison legal advisors, and Mental Health Legal Advisors. As Democrats, we affirm that an independent judiciary is essential to democracy and therefore commit to full support for the judicial branch of government.
As Democrats, we understand that crime originates from many causes, including but not limited to addiction, poverty, and mental illness. We therefore reaffirm our commitment to a sufficiency of treatment beds for addiction, the elimination of poverty in our lifetime, and a sufficiency and availability of treatment providers for mental illness to end the so-called “school to prison pipeline”.
As Democrats, we believe that public safety requires not only support for vigorous enforcement of laws, but the elimination of crime through social change.