Most of my time as a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney is spent on defending very serious charges, such as Massachusetts sexual assault charges, Massachusetts domestic violence charges, Massachusetts larceny charges, Massachusetts drug charges, and more. But life here in Massachusetts can be made miserable on a legal level in more ways than being arrested for a very serious criminal offense. To illustrate, I’ll open this post with this news excerpt: “Federal prosecutors say troopers from a troubled State Police unit had a quota system for issuing tickets to motorists, a practice that state courts have deemed unconstitutional and agency officials have repeatedly denied exists. Members of the now-disbanded Troop E were expected to issue at least eight citations during their shifts under a specialized overtime program, which dozens of troopers allegedly abused to collect fraudulent overtime, according to prosecutors.”
This excerpt, from a news story in the Boston Globe, pretty much sums up the background of this post: For many years, despite evidence to the contrary, the Massachusetts State Police has denied that they in any way had a quota system for motor vehicle citation that troopers were expected to meet. Sorry – that was a lie. In the wake of the state police overtime scandal last year, in which The Globe and other news media outlets revealed massive and shocking abuses in overtime pay for state troopers, it has now come to light that Massachusetts state troopers did, indeed, operate under a hidden quota system for Massachusetts motor vehicle violations. This means that thousands of drivers over the years were cited and fined for “violations” that they were not responsible for.
Making matters even worse? The troopers who regularly met these unwritten ‘quotas”, were rewarded for it. How? With the ultimate prize in the state police system: Generous overtime shifts, which paid enormous sums of money, and went routinely un-challenged by the state agency responsible for paying them. Some state troopers made as much as $300,000 in one year – most of it through very lucrative overtime shifts. And the state police department was not the only police department engaged in this practice – several local departments were, also. The Lowell Sun reported in 2015 that police officers in Dracut revealed that that department also had a quota system. Officers in the towns of Abington and Sutton even sued their employers after they were retaliated against for complaining about such a system.