Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden recently announced the formation of a Community Advisory Committee to assist in the evaluation of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office (SCDAO), its bureaus, units and supervisory functions, and examination of the impact of key SCDAO policies.
“Community engagement will be the cornerstone of everything my administration does. I am delighted to have such a sterling group help review procedures and policies and make recommendations so that the Office will continue to be a guiding force in legal strategy and reform,” Hayden said. “Community input is critical to building trust in this office. This process is focused on structures, functions, and results. I believe the staff here is filled with professional, talented individuals dedicated to serving the people of Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop. It will be important to have outside leaders and specialists who live, work and worship in Suffolk County provide their point of view as we move forward.”
The 18-member volunteer committee will be co-chaired by Robert Gittens and Reverend Dr. Ray Hammond and will begin its work immediately.
Gittens is passionate about the welfare of children and families and has spent his career serving the public, including as Commissioner of the Department of Youth Services, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Vice President for Public Affairs at Northeastern University and SCDAO First Assistant District Attorney. He previously played a distinguished role in the community as Chairman of the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. Currently he serves on the boards of the Children’s League of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network and Commonwealth Care Alliance, and he is the executive director for Cambridge Family and Children’s Service.
Rev. Hammond cofounded Bethel A.M.E. Church with his wife, Gloria, and is the cofounder and chairman of the TenPoint Coalition, an ecumenical group of Christian clergy and lay leaders mobilizing the Greater Boston community around issues affecting Black and Latino youths, and he is an Executive Committee member of the Black Ministerial Alliance. He also serves as a trustee for many institutions, including the Yawkey Foundation, BMC Health System, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and the Match Charter Public School. He is an Emeriti Director of The Boston Foundation. Rev. Hammond is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the recipient of numerous honors and honorary doctorates.
Other Community Advisory Committee members are as follows:
- True-see Allah is the Director of Reentry at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and brings the lived experience of a returning citizen to the committee.
- Daniel Bennett is a CEO of companies in the private sector, including Liberty Forensics, and a former Secretary of the Executive of Public Safety and Security who oversaw significant reforms at Bridgewater State Hospital and was First Assistant of the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office.
- James Borghesani is a communications executive who oversaw communications strategy for the successful 2016 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana; he has held several top communication positions in state government.
- Andrea Cabral is a former Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, was twice elected Sheriff of Suffolk County and was Chief of the District Courts at SCDAO; she is currently CEO of a multi-state cannabis company.
- J.W. Carney, Jr., is a renowned criminal defense attorney who began his career as a public defender and is a contributing author to treatises on Massachusetts Criminal Practice and has been listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” since 1998. Carney has been a member of the Massachusetts Judicial Nominating Commission for 20 years.
- George Hardiman is an attorney with more than 25 years of experience; he was a prosecutor for SCDAO and also litigated securities fraud cases for the Secretary of State’s office. He has been in private practice for almost 18 years.
- Lisa Howard is the Superintendent of Winthrop Public Schools and a past board member of the Massachusetts Administrators for Special Education; she is a lifelong resident of Winthrop.
- Nancy Hurley is an attorney focused on criminal defense and a member of the board of Suffolk Lawyers for Justice.
- Byron Knight is a former Suffolk Assistant District Attorney (ADA) who joined the Patrick Administration as special counsel to assist in providing discovery with all parties affected by the Hinton Lab drug scandal and later served a Deputy Legal Counsel for Governor Deval Patrick; he is a lawyer with a focus on criminal defense.
- Sandra McCroom is president and CEO of Children’s Services of Roxbury, which provides comprehensive childcare services to poor families, and previously served in the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.
- Kristen Palma is a former victim witness advocate at SCDAO who became public affairs director of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance.
- Kourou Pich is executive director of HarborCOV, which provides services and opportunities that promote long-term stability for people affected by violence and abuse; she began work there in 1998 as the Cambodian advocate. Pich has served as a consultant for the Women of Color Network since 2011.
- Paul Popeo is co-chair of Choate’s litigation department and has served as a special assistant attorney general and special Suffolk ADA.
- Pastor B. Christopher Sumner is chief of operations executive at The Salvation Army’s Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of Boston and associate Pastor at Jubilee Christian Church. Previously he’s served as Executive Director of the Boston TenPoint Coalition and the Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club of Boston.
- Marjorie Pauléon Tynes, an attorney and former Suffolk ADA and victim witness advocate, is a member of the teaching team at Harvard’s Trial Advocacy Workshop.
- Gladys Vega is executive director of Chelsea’s La Colaborativa and has played leadership roles in organizing for immigrants’ rights, welfare rights, tenants’ rights, open space and the environment, multicultural and anti-racism programs and in numerous grassroots campaigns.