By Matt Murphy
State House News Service
---- — BOSTON – Immediately following the conviction yesterday of Rep. Carlos Henriquez, D-Dorchester, on charges of assault and battery against a woman he had been dating, state Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, D-Methuen, called for his resignation from the House.
“The conviction of assault and battery; that speaks for itself. He should resign,” said Campbell, who is the House vice chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Election Laws. “If not, I will call on the Speaker to put the matter before the House,” Campbell said.
Despite calls for Henriquez to resign immediately, House Speaker Robert DeLeo chose his words carefully when discussing how the House would proceed. Asked whether he would prefer to see Henriquez resign, DeLeo said, “I think only he can decide that, but I think that would be an option that he should weigh very, very heavily.”
“I consider domestic assault to be very, very serious. The House considers that to be very, very serious. Having said that, based upon what has happened today in terms of a jury convicting Rep. Henriquez, I think it’s incumbent upon him to weigh the possibility of resigning immediately. If not, it’s incumbent upon me as speaker of the House to immediately refer this matter to the Ethics Committee to take action,” DeLeo said.
DeLeo and top House Democrats were huddled in a downtown hotel conference room discussing strategy for the upcoming election cycle when the conviction and sentence were handed down by a jury and Cambridge District Court Judge Michele Hogan. Henriquez, 37, was sentenced to 21/2 years in jail, with six months to be served.
As Democrats left the Omni Parker House to make their way back up Beacon Hill for a formal session at the State House, many were reluctant to discuss the conviction of their colleague knowing that DeLeo himself planned to make a statement.
House rules do not require lawmakers convicted of crimes to be removed from the chamber.
According a staff person, the speaker’s lawyers are looking into whether House rules allow DeLeo to unilaterally strip Henriquez of his official committee assignments. House rules permit the speaker to remove a member from his committee assignments if that member has been criminally indicted by a court. There is some question as to whether DeLeo can act because Henriquez was not formally indicted by a grand jury, the staff person said.
If the Dorchester representative does not resign, House rules include provisions that enable members to move forward with degrees of disciplinary action, including reprimand, censure, removal from a chairmanship or position of authority, or expulsion.