Every section within every bureau in our office plays a vital role in the way MCAO functions within the Criminal Justice System. Each department evolves overtime to integrate the everchanging needs of our society. One of our most dynamic sections that demonstrates how imperative it is to adapt to these complexities is the Probation Violation (PV) Section of the Appeals and Post-Conviction Bureau. Their work is a delicate balance between holding offenders accountable, protecting the community, and providing opportunities for rehabilitation all while victim rights are preserved.
While we hope that convicted offenders are successfully reintegrated into society when they are released, the reality of the situation is that a significant portion of defendants will violate their probation at some point. Before this section was established, trial attorneys were the ones who were assigned to probation violation cases. Preparing for trial is a daunting responsibility that requires a lot of time and energy, which meant that probation violation was not given the priority that it needed. Once the PV Section was formed with prosecutors dedicated to reviewing PV cases, they were able to focus on giving better recommendations to each unique individual and their case. Unlike the other prosecutorial divisions that focus on a particular type of crime, or geographic region, PV sees cases and defendants from across the board. When we spoke to prosecutors Sarah Corcoran and Ann Logue, we were surprised to learn that they prepare for 70 to 100 cases prior to PV Court, which goes on all day long. In addition to that, the team typically receives the case calendar the day before court, meaning that they’re spending countless hours prepping for these cases. During the pandemic in 2020, these numbers were much higher with staff at times covering up to 130 cases per day. However, they don’t just cover cases in PV Court; they also started covering Mental Health Court, Drug Court, and Veterans Court, which were all created to concentrate on the specific needs of those defendants.
We are recognizing the hard work of the PV team because they are the quintessential example of what it means to function as a well-oiled machine. It is evident that this is no easy feat, but the PV Section is fortunate enough to have colleagues that value teamwork and strong communication, the key to any teams’ accomplishments especially in a workplace setting. They are open to input from coworkers, share educational moments, work together to answer questions, and when needed bounce ideas off each other. Most importantly, they offer a helping hand to attorneys who are overwhelmed and, as they say, “throw up a flare” when asking for help prepping for cases or covering cases in court. This is exactly why we wanted to take the time to applaud the PV Section for all the significant work they do and their exceptional collaborative efforts.