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Patrick pushes back repeat offender bill

Supporters frustrated by governor’s decision not to sign it.

It came so close, but a bill to deny habitual offenders parole will likely fail again.

Supporters of the bill, which would deny parole for those convicted of their third violent offense, expressed their outrage this weekend after Gov. Deval Patrick chose not to sign it.

Instead, Patrick sent the bill back to the legislature with amendments.

"Gov. Patrick has had a busy week defending the interests of those who break the law," said state Sen. Bruce Tarr, the minority leader. "(N)ow he is trying to provide violent repeat criminals with a 'safety valve'."

The bill was stuck in a conference committee for months until both the House and Senate passed it this month. It was put before Patrick who returned it on Saturday.

The bill has been submitted multiple times over the past decade without success.

One of Patrick's issues with the bill is that it did not allow for judges to assign parole in certain circumstances.

"None of us is wise or prescient enough to foresee each and every circumstance in which the new habitual offender provisions may apply," Patrick wrote in a letter to the legislature, according to the State House News Service.

Les Gosule, whose 27-year-old daughter Melissa was raped and murdered after her car broke down, has been a lead supporter of the bill for years. At an event earlier this month he pleaded with legislators to move the bill forward.

"I'm getting some great hugs, but I'm not getting the bill," he said at the time.

 
 
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