Howard was one of three panelists speaking on the state erroneous conviction statute at the Boston Bar Association on November 19. The other panelists were a current and former lawyer from the Attorney General’s office, which defends these cases. Howard presented the perspective of a lawyer representing innocent people who were convicted of crimes.
Howard Friedman and David Milton were among the speakers at a continuing education program at Suffolk Law School on November 8. The seminar was titled: “Policing in Trying Times: Law, Policy and Practice in a Post 9/11 World.” Howard commented on the qualified immunity defense, which is often used in an effort to defeat claims of victims of police misconduct, and on stop-and-frisk cases. David presented on the First Amendment right to record the police. The program was attended by individuals from law enforcement and by attorneys who represent law enforcement, as well as by people who represent victims of police misconduct.
WCVB.com produced this news story, which includes video of the death of Alyssa Brame in the Lowell Police Station on January 13, 2013. We represented Alyssa’s mother, Alice Swiridowsky-Muckle, in a public records request to obtain the video. Ms. Swiridowsky-Muckle is interviewed in the news report.
The Lowell Sun also published this article about this preventable tragedy: Mother of woman who died in Lowell jail cell furious over video.
Law Offices of Howard Friedman P.C. has received a First Tier ranking in the Boston area in civil rights law by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® for 2014. We are pleased to have again received this recognition of our work representing victims of police brutality, false arrest, illegal searches other police misconduct as well as inhumane treatment of prisoners and other civil rights violations.
Super Lawyers, an attorney rating service, has announced its ratings for 2013. Both Howard Friedman and David Milton were named as Massachusetts Super Lawyers. This is the 10th year in a row that Howard Friedman has received this recognition. No more than 5% of Massachusetts attorneys are named Super Lawyers.
Boston Globe editorial regarding three of our cases: Did informants plant evidence? Police, DAs should say more
Check out this editorial in the Boston Globe: Did informants plant evidence? Police, DAs should say more. The editorial explains the recent allegations of civil rights violations in the Lowell Police Department. Our firm has filed three lawsuits against the City of Lowell and a Lowell police officer, alleging that the officer worked with police informants to plant evidence and frame innocent people for crimes they did not commit. In all three cases items were found in a car. In two of the cases drugs were inside the cover leading to the gas cap. The editorial notes a contradiction; the Middlesex and Essex DA’s offices determined the police did nothing wrong, yet the DAs dismissed or vacated 19 criminal cases as a result of their investigation into the allegations of police misconduct.
Listen to this radio story: Police Innovation Conference Explores New Frontiers In Policing. Howard is interviewed on the topic of how technology is changing traditional policing.
We filed civil rights suits for two more men, alleging a confidential informant in Lowell framed them by planting evidence
Yesterday we filed two more civil rights cases against the City of Lowell and Lowell police officer Thomas Lafferty. These two cases are related to a similar case we filed earlier this month. All three cases allege that officer Lafferty worked with police informants to plant evidence and frame the men for crimes they did not commit. The cases allege that the City of Lowell had a policy which led police officers in the Special Investigations Section to believe that the ends justify the means, so that their violations of people’s constitutional rights would be tolerated by the Lowell Police Department.
For more information, read this article in the Lowell Sun: 2 more sue city of Lowell over use of informants.
Boston Police 2.0: What does the public lose in information as the department upgrades its digital presence?
Howard Friedman is quoted in this article by Ed Mason on Bostonmagazine.com. The article describes how the Boston Police Department has not published an annual report since 2010, and now favors Twitter, Facebook, and websites to share information with the public. The annual reports were a great tool for accountability because they compiled data and statistics about many aspects of policing, including citizens’ complaints about police misconduct.
Our firm filed a lawsuit against a Lowell police officer and the City of Lowell after the police misused a confidential informant who planted drugs on our client and many others
Today we filed a federal civil lawsuit alleging that the City of Lowell failed to supervise the widespread misuse of confidential informants in the Lowell Police Department. Our client, Jonathan Santiago, was arrested on February 21, 2012, after a confidential informant planted drugs inside the gas cap compartment of Mr. Santiago’s car. The confidential informant had worked closely with Detective Thomas Lafferty, and Lafferty knew that the confidential informant had planted evidence. Our lawsuit alleges that for more than twenty years, the Lowell Police Department allowed police officers in the Special Investigations Section to use informants who were planting evidence on people.
Howard Friedman named the Best Lawyers’ 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Civil Rights Law in Boston
Today, Best Lawyers announced that Howard Friedman is the Best Lawyers’ 2014 Boston Civil Rights Law “Lawyer of the Year.” Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community is honored as a “Lawyer of the Year.” Howard was also selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Civil Rights Law. Our firm was rated as a first tier best law firm in Boston for the practice of Civil Rights Law when U.S. News & Best Lawyers released their 2013 “Best Law Firm” rankings, and our firm has been selected as a Tier 1 Best Law Firm by U.S. News and Best Lawyers for 2014.
Congratulations to Attorney David Milton for becoming a partner in the Law Offices of Howard Friedman!
The Law Offices of Howard Friedman is pleased to announce that David Milton recently became a partner in the firm.
David joined the firm as an associate attorney in 2007. Along with Howard Friedman and associate attorney Drew Glassroth, he represents people whose constitutional rights have been violated by police officers and other government officials. Cases David has worked on have resulted in positive changes in police and prison practices in addition to compensation for the firm’s clients.
On January 13, 2013, Alyssa Brame was arrested and booked at the Lowell Police Department. Officers observed that she was highly intoxicated. The officers placed her into a holding cell. Later that night, an officer found her unresponsive. She had died of alcohol poisoning, which is preventable if treated in a timely manner.
Federal Appeals Court Allows Our Class Action to Go Forward; Lawsuit Challenges Male Prison Guards’ Videotaping Strip Searches of Female Inmates
Yesterday, the federal Court of Appeals in Boston let stand a lower court’s opinion that our case alleging that male correctional officers at the women’s prison in Chicopee routinely videotaped female inmates’ naked bodies while the women were being strip searched could proceed as a class action. Our lawsuit alleges that since the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center (WCC) opened in 2007, the jail has had a policy of permitting male officers to videotape strip searches of female prisoners in non-emergency situations. Our lawsuit alleges that this policy is degrading and unconstitutional.
Officer we sued for using improper force fired by the Boston Police, but now reinstated by a labor arbitrator
Read this opinion piece in the Boston Globe about David Williams, a Boston police officer who was fired for using unreasonable force on our client Michael O’Brien, and for lying about his use of excessive force. He was recently given his job back, along with back pay, after he appealed the Department’s decision to an independent arbitrator.
Last week, the Boston Police Department announced a new policy that instructs officers how to properly interact with and respect transgender people. This policy is announced just a few months after our client Brenda Wernikoff agreed to accept $30,000 and a judgment against the City of Boston to resolve her claim that she was falsely arrested and subject to discrimination for using the women’s bathroom at a homeless shelter. The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition has been working with the Boston Police to draft this new policy.
In our case involving a man who died in police custody, New Bedford officers receive 4-day suspensions
Five New Bedford police officers involved in the death of Erik Aguilar each received a 4-day suspension despite an internal police investigation that recommended discipline ranging from six months’ suspension to termination. The internal investigation found that the incident was “an embarrassing disgrace to the New Bedford Police Department and a case of absolute negligence on the part of the ... police officers on scene.” This disciplinary decision was the result of a settlement agreement between the city, the officers and the police union.
Howard recently joined the board of the Human Rights Defense Center, the parent organization of Prison Legal News (PLN). PLN is an independent magazine published by and for prisoners. We represented PLN in 2008, when Massachusetts refused to permit PLN to distribute books to its prisoners. We brought a lawsuit to end the unlawful censorship by the Massachusetts Department of Correction. The case settled, and Massachusetts prisoners are now free to order PLN materials.
Last week, the NBC station in Providence featured a story on our lawsuit against the Foxborough Police Department for illegally taking people into protective custody just for being intoxicated at stadium events. We estimate that they’ve taken more than 2,500 people over the past three years, far more than is reported in this story.
Class Certified in Our Lawsuit Challenging Male Prison Guards’ Videotaping Strip Searches of Female Inmates
On May 23, 2013, a federal judge ruled that our case alleging that male correctional officers at the women’s prison in Chicopee routinely videotaped female inmates’ naked bodies while the women were being strip searched could proceed as a class action. The lawsuit alleges that since the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center (WCC) opened in 2007, the jail has had a policy of permitting male officers to videotape strip searches of female prisoners in non-emergency situations. Our lawsuit alleges that this policy is degrading and unconstitutional.
The Court’s ruling, by United States District Judge Michael A. Ponsor, certifies a class of approximately 178 women who have been videotaped by a male officer. Any woman who was held at the WCC and videotaped by a male officer during a strip search since September 15, 2008, is a member of the class.