Hundreds of people rallied on Boston Common yesterday calling for reforms of criminal background checks, says the Boston Globe. Organizers of the event were criticized for one of the public faces of their cause — a man who was an accomplice in a robbery 43 years ago that led to the shooting death of a city police officer. Bobby Dellelo, now 64, was charged with first-degree murder after his partner in a 1963 jewelry store heist shot and killed a detective. Dellelo served 40 years before being released in 2003. Robert Kenney, president of the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society, said Dellelo is in no position to advocate for reform.
Rally organizers saw Dellelo, who is struggling to find work, as an ideal representative for their movement, and offered his story as an example of why the Criminal Offender Record Information system should be overhauled. Reform advocates contend that some information on criminal backgrounds should be shielded to prevent discrimination against former offenders. ”Think about all the wrong and shameful things you’ve done over the course of 40 years,” said Jackie Lageson of the Massachusetts Alliance to Reform CORI. ”Now imagine that every time you go for a job, you have to disclose it to everyone no matter how ashamed and sorry you feel. Opponents of changing CORI, such as the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association argue that employers have the right to know applicants’ backgrounds to determine whether a potential worker poses a threat.