DOJ Status Conference Today – What Did We Learn?

April 23, 2019

This conference allowed both the Commonwealth and the Department of Justice to articulate the perceived status of compliance on each of the items in the Settlement Agreement; the Commonwealth is in compliance on 66 items, and not in compliance on 54 items.  Of those, there is agreement that there is more work to be done on 39 items.  The 15 remaining items 5 are out of compliance because the Commonwealth has not demonstrated compliance for the required period of one year, 5 because no evidence has been reviewed by the Independent Reviewer, and compliance is in dispute on the final five. Judge Gibney was consistently complimentary of the efforts of both parties and the amount of work that has been done in the last seven years. He does seem anxious to resolve the remaining issues and pointed out that as “compliance” is defined as adequate performance documented for a period of one year.  In order to achieve compliance, therefore, all items must be resolved by June 30, 2020 to allow a full year of adequate performance prior to July 1, 2021.  This does accelerate the timeline for compliance by a full year! The Court also indicated today that meeting the terms of Consent Decree does not eliminate the Court’s Injunction which was entered at the beginning of the process and would allow the Court to continue to monitor.  It appeared that this might have been a surprise to all, but upon reflection, it might be a welcome turn of events! The consistent theme of the Court’s questions, “suggestions,” or direction was how the processes and protocols were documented.  Specifically, he was concerned about the authority for the materials, forms, systems, etc. to ensure that there would be a long term process in place.