Home Nonviolent defense Athol Daily News – Allyn’s candidate in crowded Democratic primary for Governor’s Council

Athol Daily News – Allyn’s candidate in crowded Democratic primary for Governor’s Council

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Posted: 7/10/2022 4:28:56 PM

Modified: 07/10/2022 16:28:41

HOLYOKE — Holyoke attorney Shawn Allyn is one of four Democrats seeking his party’s Sept. 6 nomination to fill the 8th District Governor’s Council seat currently held by East Longmeadow’s Mary Hurley , who announced earlier this year that she would not run for re-election.

Allyn’s roots run deep in Holyoke, being born and raised in the city. He attended Blessed Sacrament, a Catholic elementary and middle school, before attending and graduating from Holyoke Catholic High School. He stayed in the city, where he went to Holyoke Community College, then went on to complete a bachelor’s degree at Westfield State College (now the university). He completed his legal education at what is known today as the Western New England University School of Law.

After graduating from Westfield State, Allyn went to work with the Key program. This, he explained, “is a program that provides outreach services to young people who are engaged with the Department of Youth Services and then the Department of Social Services, where we support parents, follow them and provide direct care services”.

It then moved to the Department of Social Services, which was renamed the Department of Children and Families. During his five years with the agency, he provided care and protection services to women and children, abused children, victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. While working with DCF, Allyn attended law school in the evenings.

After graduating from law school, he served as a clerk in juvenile court, then became an assistant attorney for the city of Holyoke before moving into private practice. He has been with the law firm of Allyn & Ball for just over two decades, serving as lead counsel in more than 2,000 criminal cases and acting as defense counsel in state and federal courts. He is also involved in civil cases, including employment discrimination cases.

Regarding his decision to run for Governor’s Council, Allyn told the Athol Daily News, “I think I’m the most qualified candidate given the vast experience I have practicing in just about every superior court in the state, in the Court of Appeals and in the district courts. Who better to control a judge than someone who has practiced before at least – without exaggeration – 50 different judges throughout my career – probably more that.

“I know the ins and outs of the system, I know the bail laws, I know the sentencing laws, and I think that’s very important.”

Another motivating factor for Allyn is, he said, “to remove politics from this position. This position is far too important for politics, and it has to be qualifications rather than political connections.

“We need to diversify our bench, and I mean the people we appoint to be judges. Judges should reflect the community in which we live. The portrait of retired Superior Court Justice (Springfield) Tina Page was unveiled a few weeks ago. No other black Superior Court justices have been appointed to those four counties in two decades. We have to ask ourselves: ‘Why is this happening?’

Page came off the bench in 2018.

“Our judges must reflect the community in which they are judging,” Allyn continued. “It’s very important to me, and the qualifications of the judges are very important to me. Selecting judges who will keep our communities safe will be the number one priority. »

The Holyoke attorney added, “It’s really important to make sure we have judges who believe in restorative justice for non-violent offenders. It is so important to divert people from our criminal justice system. People focus on why they’re committing the crime – let’s punish them – rather than assessing the big picture to say, “What’s going on here? How can we keep this person out of the criminal justice system? »

Allyn, 52, is single and lives in Feeding Hills, part of Agawam.

His opponents in the Democratic primary are North Adams school board member Tara Jacobs, Springfield attorney Michael Fenton and East Longmeadow attorney Jeffrey Morneau. Palmer resident and Air Force veteran John Comerford is the only Republican in the race.

The 8th District includes the counties of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire.

Greg Vine can be contacted at [email protected]