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Lawmakers backing Jupin's bill

Area legislators see need to reform state's insanity plea

December 01, 2009
Little more than two weeks after State Rep. Lew Evangelidis, R-Holden, filed legislation to toughen up sentencing options facing criminal defendants relying on an insanity plea, local law makers and law enforcement officials are voicing their opinions on what has become known as "Jupin's Law."

The legislation is named after Officer Larry Jupin of the Westminster Police Department. Jupin was shot three times on May 10, 1999 during a foot chase that followed a motor vehicle stop.

Jupin survived in a comatose state for more than two years before he finally succumbed to complications from his injuries.

The shooter in the incident, Jason Rivers of Fitchburg, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in September of this year. According to Massachusetts General Law, as it is currently written, Rivers will have to spend six months in a state mental hospital, after which he will be revaluated and possibly released.

Jupin's Law, if passed, would mandate a minimum of 10 years confinement before revaluation and possible release for anyone using an insanity plea — which under the proposed law would be guilty, but insane, rather than not guilty by reason of insanity.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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