Jean Trounstein, an advocate for prison reform, says about the nomination of Joshua Wall to go from head of the Board of Parole to superior court judge, “With this much controversy from the public over a nominee for superior court judge, how can the council possibly vote him a judgeship? This is not a contest, i.e. who can scream the loudest for or against, this is about allowing or not allowing someone to have enormous power over the lives of thousands of people.”
Judgeship are a powerful way to influence our criminal justice system. Neutrality is obviously essential. There is still time to contact your governor’s councilor, the advisory board to Gov. Patrick, which approves his nominations.
From Jean Trounstein, who sat through much of the hearings on Wall’s nomination: These are some of the comments that were made during the testimony about his temperament:
“I thought he was supposed to be neutral.” The Woodmans, whose son was killed when Josh Wall was an Assistant District Attorney for Suffolk County
“We were treated with disregard.” The Woodmans
“He is not fundamentally fair….He has a win at all cost attitude.” Willy Davis, attorney
“He has little compassion for people who are mentally ill.” Leslie Walker,PLS
“He is somebody who loses focus and wants to do anything he can do to achieve his objectives.” Dave Nathanson, attorney
“There is a pattern of punitiveness towards parolees.” Donald Perry, parolee
“’What a proud day for the family. Very fine people,’ Josh Wall said [at a parole hearing to a student attorney] about a man who had murdered someone.” Joel Thompson, attorney
“I have never opposed a judgeship in thirty years…” Patty Garin, attorney
TELL YOUR COUNCILOR THAT, BASED ON HIS PAST CONDUCT, JOSH WALL WILL NOT BE A FAIR JUDGE:
– A constant theme of the complaints about this Parole Board is that Wall does not show respect to prisoners or their families during parole hearings. He often behaves unnecessarily arrogant, confrontational, condescending, dismissive, and insulting towards prisoners and their families. He often is disrespectful to the law students and attorneys who represent the prisoners at parole hearings.
– Under Chairman Wall, there has been a significant increase in the number of prisoners who “waive” their parole hearings, i.e. decline the opportunity to appear before the Board. This is largely because many prisoners have decided not to attend a hearing when there is little prospect of being granted parole and a high likelihood that they or their loved ones will be treated with disrespect.
– Evidence of Wall’s disrespect for prisoners and their families is also shown in his failure to issue timely decisions. Under the Wall Board, lifers and their families have waited an average of 9 months for the Board to issue a decision in their cases. Prior Parole Boards issued their lifer decisions within 60 days.
These are not characteristics the public wishes to see in a judge who must act with impartiality, patience and professionalism. Josh Wall should not be rewarded for his poor conduct as the Chairman of the Parole Board.
As a judge, Wall would have even more power and more opportunity to disrespect the attorneys or defendants who come before him. Furthermore, he would be charged with ruling on motions that could limit defendants’ ability to present a defense and his conduct in the courtroom could negatively impact how juries view defendants during trial. Most concerning, he would be pronouncing sentences for criminal defendants – the very people for whom he has already shown no respect as the Parole Board Chair.
YOUR EFFORTS COULD REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
5. Eileen R. Duff – District 5
6. Terrence W. Kennedy – District 6
7. Jennie L. Caissie – District 7
8. Michael J. Albano – District 8
Joshua Wall has served as chairman of the parole board for three years, a post that is often a stepping stone to a judgeship. Gov. Patrick nominated him and he’s before the Governor’s Council for approval.
Having sat through a short part of the hearings, the “system” created a “dog and pony show” to prove that Josh Wall is an okay guy. One of the supporting witnesses, a tall black man, allegedly has a head injury and likes to please. I was surprised to see a black man in dreadlocks, an advocate for parolees, also testify in his defense. The brainwashing was affecting me.
Here’s a testimony from Donald Perry, who had direct experience as a parolee in front of Joshua Wall. Take the time to read it and find out why so many are speaking out against Wall. If you know him and he likes you, all is good. Otherwise, you may be treated very disrespectfully and without favor. This doesn’t sound like good judicial practice.
CONTACT YOUR GOVERNOR’S COUNCILLOR – who are up for re-election in November.
Here’s Don’s story.
My name is Donald Perry. I ask for the Council’s patience in fully hearing my story. I am a 2nd
Lifer and whether I want to or not, I represent the prisoners who are still locked up and can’t be here
today. I also represent the people on parole who are afraid to be here because of fear of retaliation by
Mr. Wall. In fact, I’ve written to all of you outlining my story and my concerns in opposition of Mr. Wall’s
nomination for a judgeship. For the record though, I’d like to restate my story and my concerns.
In 1983 I got a 2nd
a Plea Hearing for a 4 to 6 year sentence and wind-up with the maximum penalty for Armed Robbery?
Yes, that was crazy and admittedly, for the first 8 or 9 years of my incarceration I did just about
whatever I felt like doing despite the institutional rules of good conduct. I daily smoked marijuana,
regularly sold drugs and even had a few fights. The late 80’s I got lugged from NCCI Gardner to Old
Colony for being the leader of a “Drug Ring”. As it turned out… the transfer to Old Colony was one
of the best things that has ever happened to me. I say this because Old Colony had just opened and
had the most impressive rehabilitative programs that I’d seen. I had earlier college experience but
usually dropped out before the semester really got started. At this point I wanted to establish a solid
academic foundation so I started on a pre-college level. Who know’s, maybe it was my stage of human
development…the timing of these programs being offered to me …or, both. At any rate, I delved into
school, one on one counseling and generally, took advantage of everything the institution had to offer.
1992, I was transferred to Shirley-Medium. I enrolled in the Continuing Education Program at UMASS
Amherst and worked as a school clerk. The more I learned the more I wanted to know and certainly, the
better man I wanted to become. January 8 2001 after serving 18 years and 7 months in prison I was
released on parole from Gardner to a six months residential program in Florence, MA. I went into a
residential program to give myself a chance to independently get on my feet. Unknown to me, I was also
accepted into the program based on my rehabilitative history and promptly, I was put through a crash
course of learning everything about the program to fulfill the position of House/Office manager. I was
given a stipend for working since I was also a resident. After completing the program I was told that I’d
be put on full salary. I graduated in July. The program had some funding issues and other places that
wanted to hire me couldn’t do so because I have a CORI. The irony is at that time I couldn’t get a job
working with people but I was hired at a gun factory. Nevertheless, I stayed on track with my
rehabilitative endeavors. While incarcerated one of my dreams was to graduate on campus with the
whole cap & gown thing. So, September 2001, i.e. 9 months after my release I enrolled at UMASS
Amherst. That means I was working in a gun factory 10 hours a day and going to school. February 2002 I
had an accident on the job and lost the first joint of my left ring finger. Graduation was only a few
months away though and even the excruciating pain of my injury was not going to keep me away from
marching with my class. And, I did. Over the years, I’ve continued my rehabilitative endeavors by
participating in and completing an additional laundry list of programs. I’ve even enhanced programs to
help the less fortunate members of our communities. For example, in 2011 I ran the Single Room
Occupancy Outreach Program in Northampton and the Not Bread Alone Soup Kitchen in Amherst.
Degree Life sentence for Armed Robbery. I was devastated. I-mean, who goes into
It was in the capacity of my job as an Outreach worker that I gave someone a ride…was pulled over after
the person bailed out of my vehicle. In the process, stuff was left in my car that I assumed belonged to
my passenger. Later, I was informed that there had been some break-ins in the area and the bag left in
my car contained stolen merchandise. I proved that I was home when the break-ins occurred, finger
prints and foot prints at the crime scene further exonerated me. The District Attorney assigned to the
case ultimately charged me with receiving stolen property. There was a 4 day trial. I testified at my trial
as evidenced by the Trial Transcript. The jury deliberated for about 2 hours or so and I was unanimously
“acquitted”. I was found not guilty not because of a technicality, but because my testimony….my
witnesses…the forensics and the jury findings proved that I didn’t do anything wrong.
I was on parole though and on the day of the acquittal I was returned to Walpole. Once I returned to
Walpole, I was subjected to a variety of assumptions and mistreatment by parole personnel under the
supervision and leadership of Parole Chairman Josh Wall. It took about 8 months for me to go before
a full parole panel to petition to be re-paroled. Based on the parole warrant and repetitive statements
by parole personnel, publically people were lead to believe and I was prepared at my hearing to be
thoroughly interrogated about the events of August 3, 2011. Surprisingly though, my hearing lasted
for approx. 2 hours and a half. The majority of the time was spent questioning me about several past
romantic relationships, the fact that I had held several different jobs, etc. with about 5 minutes or
so discussing the events of August 3rd
decision. I was finally released 6 months later. That means I remained incarcerated for 1 year and 7
months. During this time my girlfriend and a few other community members did an online signature
petition to advocate for my release. This petition generated about 150,000 signatures. The unusual
ground-swell of support caught the attention of Film producer Joe Berlinger. Who, was in the process
of filming an 8-part justice documentary called “The System”. I am featured in episode #5 called “Parole
and High Stakes”.
Chairman Josh Wall was not at my Revocation Hearing or Parole Release Hearing. We have never talked
and he has never questioned me about any of the events of August 3rd
film-producer Joe Berlinger for his debut in documentary Mr. Wall states “ I’m not exactly sure what
his role was but in some way he/Mr. Perry was connected to breaking into his neighbor’s house and the
Parole Board can’t tolerate that.”
This is where things get really crazy for me. Today, Mr. Wall is exercising his constitutional rights to be
brought in front of an impartial tribunal and confront those opposing his nomination for a judgeship.
He has obviously denied me the same privilege. I say this because, Mr. Wall has never confronted
me or given me the chance to address any of his concerns. But obviously, he has been responsible
for the decision of my parole and the punitive conditions of my release. For me this doesn’t add up. I
proved that I didn’t do anything wrong…the Parole Board absent of Mr. Wall was fair and apparently,
understanding of the predicament that I found myself in when randomly picking up a hitch-hiker. In fact,
it has been said that no one on the Parole Board believes me. That’s not true. Usually, after a Parole
Hearing everyone remains seated until the Board members have left the room. My hearing was not
contentious and Board members walked out along with my supporters and assured family and friends
that I would be “okay”.
Mr. Wall doesn’t know this nor apparently, does he know too much about me. Again, referencing Mr.
Wall’s interview for the documentary, I asked one of the producers/ Marcello what did Mr. Wall have
to say? She said “He sounded like he was making bullet statements. I don’t think he know’s you at all.”
After the hearing it took another 7 months to get the panel’s
However, when interviewed by
The irony is during the course of this hearing I’ve repetitively heard it advised that “If you’re going to
talk about someone’s temperament, someone’s character and someone’s reputation, know the person”.
And again, I think I should be afforded the same consideration by Mr. Wall. As evidenced, I’ve worked
hard to turn my life around. I’ve jumped through every hoop you can think of over all the years I’ve been
on parole and on August 3, 2011 I didn’t do anything wrong. But, that doesn’t matter. Mr. Wall has his
own opinion as he said “I don’t know what he did but I know he did something”.
Degree Lifer on parole, I have no recourse for what has happened to me. Former First Justice
of Northampton District Court, Judge Michael Ryan has repeatedly talked about his experience with the
Parole Board, he say’s the more he has tried to advocate for me…. the more they’ve punished me. That
contradicts other advice I’ve heard in this room about if someone had a problem all they have to do is
call Mr. Wall to get it resolved. That’s not true…at least for prisoners and parolees. I say this because in
addition to Judge Ryan’s experience, the first of August my Attorney Luke Ryan and I wrote to Mr. Wall
explaining how the stipulation of my monitoring bracelet and 10 o’clock curfew has negatively affected
my ability to get jobs that I’m qualified for. As of today, we have not gotten a response from Mr. Wall or
the Parole Board. The problem is these conditions of my release place an un-necessary burden on me
And interfere with my ability to move forward. The 20th
Of me being re-paroled. However, I still haven’t been able to properly get back into the work force. I owe the IRS, I have some Student Loan and other bills that I need to catch up on. The crazy part is not only am I being denied the opportunity to work and re-establish a descent livelihood. But, since 2002 I’ve traveled and gone on out-of-state vacations without an incident. So again, the bracelet and curfew don’t make sense, i.e. aside from being a punishment I don’t deserve.
Now, in summation, like everyone else, I’ve sat here and I’ve heard people compliment Mr. Wall for
his professionalism, integrity and genuine sense of caring. I’ve also heard people talk about what I’ve
experienced of Mr. Wall’s arrogance, punitive, dismissive and insulting attitude toward prisoners, their
families and parolees. People have said what they genuinely feel and think toward Mr. Wall. In my
estimation I think all of what has been said by everyone is “TRUE”. Mr. Wall’s temperament, sense of
fairness and overall actions are clearly determined by his like or dislike of who he’s dealing with. For this reason I am opposing Mr. Josh Wall’s nomination for a judgeship.
For the record though, I believe in and I am an advocate for redemption not retribution. What I don’t
believe in is double-standards. I think Mr. Wall should be treated the same way he has largely treated
prisoners and parolees. That means, Mr. Wall should be denied his appointment at this time. In 5 years
if he has demonstrated his ability to treat “everyone” with dignity, respect, impartiality, patience and
professionalism, Mr. Wall should be re-nominated and appointed a judgeship.
of this month marked the first six months period