Massachusetts’ highest court to weigh release of jail inmates amid coronavirus pandemic

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts’ highest court will hear arguments over the telephone next Tuesday in a case seeking the release of inmates amid the coronavirus pandemic.

An emergency petition filed by public defenders and defense attorneys in the Supreme Judicial Court this week asks the justices to reduce the number of people entering jails and prisons, order the release of certain pretrial detainees, and free those serving sentences who are nearing the end of their term, who are vulnerable to COVID-19 or who don’t pose a threat to the public.

Several district attorneys in Massachusetts have already agreed to release certain inmates in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus behind bars.

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