Middlesex County Case Data
District Attorney Marian Ryan is committed to increasing transparency by tracking and analyzing our data related to prosecutions in Middlesex County. Middlesex is the largest county in Massachusetts with 54 cities and towns and a population of 1.6 million. The first step in this process is to make data available and easily accessible to the public.
In January of 2018 we began focusing on improving our practices in District Court regarding bail. In doing so, we balance our core mission to protect public safety with a recognition that even a short period of incarceration can cause tremendous upheaval in a person's life, including the potential loss of custody of children, the loss of employment or the loss of housing. This is an evolving process and to ensure transparency, we will be reporting our case data here on a quarterly basis.
While this data is helpful, we understand that looking at this information without the inclusion of racial and socioeconomic factors does not present a complete picture. District Attorney Ryan has therefore given Northeastern University access to the raw data regarding our cases including demographic information. This will identify any disparate treatment of individuals charged with a crime based upon race, gender, ethnicity or the city or town in which the offense was committed. Their reports, as well as the underlying data, will also be made public on this site. By releasing this information we are holding ourselves accountable and also allowing the public to have a greater understanding of the work we do every day.
Calendar Year 2019, Fourth Quarter
Between October 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019, we managed 15,796 active cases. This included 4,994 new cases that were arraigned in Middlesex County courts, in addition to cases that were ongoing prior to 2019.
Middlesex County Bail Data
The decision not to request cash bail in many District Court cases was informed by District Attorney Ryan's work on criminal justice reform with the Middlesex Chiefs of Police, the Massachusetts Legislature, members of the defense bar, community leaders and the public. It also reflects our larger focus on understanding the full impact that the criminal justice system has on people’s lives.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, 4,771 cases were arraigned in the District Courts of Middlesex County, of which 1367 were disposed at arraignment so bail was not an issue.
Of the remaining 3,404 cases, the Commonwealth did not request bail in 2,491 or 73.2% of the cases. Of the remaining 913 cases, the Commonwealth requested that 154 individuals be held without bail. These cases involve instances where the defendant was charged with murder, charged with being a fugitive from justice or held pending a chapter 58A dangerousness determination. In the remaining 759 cases, which include a wide variety of misdemeanor and serious felony charges, the Commonwealth requested cash bail.
One Hundred and Four (104) cases were arraigned in the Juvenile Courts of Middlesex County. Of those cases, 9 were disposed at arraignment so bail was not an issue.
Of the remaining 97 juvenile cases, the Commonwealth did not request bail in 82 or 86.3% of the cases. Cash bail was requested in 10 cases, including serious felonies such as home invasion or sexual assault. In the remaining 3 cases juveniles were held without bail pending a 58A dangerousness hearing.