Parole announced for Gerald Amirault
Copyright © 2003 by Hugo S. Cunningham and others
first posted 20031019
latest update 20040427
STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY JAMES L. SULTAN
RESPECTING THE DECISION OF THE PAROLE BOARD ON GERALD AMIRAULT
For Immediate Release
October 17, 2003
We are grateful to the Parole Board for deciding that Gerald
Amirault should go home to his family after serving more than 17 years in
prison for crimes he did not commit. By voting to release Gerald on parole, the
Board reaffirmed its unanimous recommendation of July 2001 that his sentence
be reduced to time served as a matter of "simple fundamental fairness."
That recommendation went unheeded by Acting Governor Jane Swift, condemning Gerald to spend several additional years behind bars.
This is not a triumphant day for Gerald and his family. He is
still in prison, and his wrongful conviction remains on the books. But it is a
good day, a day on which this family's long and courageous struggle for
justice has achieved an important goal.
Gerald is eagerly looking forward to coming home, and his family is tremendously excited about his upcoming return. I know Katie has been dreaming about having her Dad walk her down the aisle at her upcoming wedding next July. It seems that those dreams are about to come true.
The board voted 3-0 for parole. Participants were Joyce Hooley, John P. Kivlan, and Daniel M. Dewey. Kivlan and Dewey had earlier voted for release at the 2001 Board of Pardons hearing; Hooley was not on the Board at that time.
The Parole Board did not mention Amirault's guilt or innocence; instead they noted that he was a good parole risk, with a good prison record, and strong family and community support.
The release would not necessarily happen before April 2004. The prosecuting DA, Martha Coakley, has six months to decide whether to ask that Gerald Amirault be indefinitely committed as a "dangerous sex offender" to a prison psychiatric facility.
Some DAs automatically file "dangerous sex offender" requests when prisoners convicted of sex assaults are released, but DA Coakley's office has been more selective. She has no reason to love the Amirault defenders, but may wish to cut her losses. An attempt to keep Gerald Amirault locked up would require a court hearing; even if the judge did not believe Amirault was innocent (as many do), he might still decide there was no reason to believe Amirault would offend 17 years later, the legal standard for commitment. (In the 2001 Board of Pardons hearing, it was noted that Amirault did not commit any offenses while out on bail before his 1986 trial.)
On Tues 20 April 2004, Middlesex County DA Coakley announced that her office would not try to block Gerald Amirault's release, currently scheduled for Fri 30 April 2004.
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