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Campaign for Fair Treatment Delivers 25,000 Signatures to Secretary of State to Put Fair Treatment Initiative On November Ballot.

Business Editors


Volume of Signatures Demonstrates Strong Grass-Roots Support

for Reform of Property Seizure Laws & Expansion of Drug Treatment

The Coalition for Fair Treatment today submitted to the Massachusetts Secretary of State the signatures of more than 25,000 voters who support placing the Fair Treatment Initiative on the November ballot. The Coalition is a broad-based group of criminal justice experts, health and social service providers, educators and concerned citizens.

"We are proud to have almost three times the number of voter signatures required to put the Fair Treatment Initiative on the ballot. Only 9,517 signatures are needed, and more than 25,000 voters signed their names in support of our cause," said Coalition Chair Deena Whitfield, Director of Admissions at the Lesley College Lesley College is the undergraduate section, and founding institution of, Lesley University.

The college was founded in 1909 by Edith Lesley as The Lesley School, a woman's college which focused on early childhood education as a part of the international kindergarten
 Adult Baccalaureate College and former President of the League of Women Voters League of Women Voters, voluntary public service organization of U.S. citizens. Organized in 1920 in Chicago as an outgrowth of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, it had as its original nucleus the leaders of the latter organization.  of Massachusetts.

"Voters from Boston to the Berkshires feel strongly about the need to restore justice to our property seizure laws -- laws that currently allow government to seize and dispose of private property before the owner has been convicted or even accused of any crime," Whitfield added. "Every citizen in the Commonwealth is threatened by the present system, which presumes an individual's guilt rather than innocence."

Whitfield said that voters strongly favor the Initiative's provision to use fines and properly forfeited property for expanded drug treatment. "Experts agree, treatment is the most effective long-term weapon that we have in the fight against drugs. The Fair Treatment Initiative will make drug dealers pay to help treat the people whose addiction they have encouraged," she noted.

Following today's signature turn-in, the Secretary of State will review and certify the signatures, a process expected to take approximately two weeks.

Former Attorneys General Scott Harshbarger Luther Scott Harshbarger (born December 1, 1941 in New Haven, Connecticut) is a lawyer and a Democratic politician from the U.S. state of Massachusetts.

Harshbarger was first elected as District Attorney of Middlesex County, Massachusetts in 1982, defeating incumbent DA John
, Frank Bellotti, and James Shannon James Michael Shannon (born April 4 1952), also known as Jim Shannon, is a Democratic politician from Massachusetts. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985, and later as the Massachusetts Attorney General.  and Congressman and former Norfolk County Norfolk County is the name of several counties:
  • Norfolk, a county in England
  • Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada
  • Norfolk County, Virginia, USA (extinct)
  • "Old" Norfolk County, Massachusetts Colony, USA (extinct)
 District Attorney William Delahunt are among the law enforcement experts who believe that the Fair Treatment Initiative will strengthen the Commonwealth's criminal justice system. Other supporters include:

--the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts,

--the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts,

--the American Civil Liberties Union American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), nonpartisan organization devoted to the preservation and extension of the basic rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution.  of Massachusetts,

--the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition,

--Dr. Robert F. Meenan, Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) is Boston University's graduate School of Public Health. It is located in the heart of Boston University's Medical Campus in the South End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. The Dean is Robert Meenan. ,

--the Rev. Wesley Roberts, President of the Black Ministerial Alliance,

--James Hunt Jr., Executive Director of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers,

--Eric Blumenson, Professor of Law at Suffolk Law School,

--Ralph Cooper of the Veterans' Benefits Clearinghouse,

--Eva Nilsen, Associate Clinical Professor at the Boston University School of Law Coordinates:  Boston University School of Law (BU Law) is the law school affiliated with Boston University. ,

--Richard Elrick, Barnstable Town Councilor coun·cil·or also coun·cil·lor  
A member of a council, as one convened to advise a governor. See Usage Note at council.


--Denise Jillson, former Chairperson of the Massachusetts Homeowners Coalition, and

--Michael Weekes, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Human Services Provider Council.

The signatures submitted today is in addition to the 100,000 signatures filed by the Coalition for Fair Treatment last fall.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 5, 2000
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