House lays groundwork for Henriquez proceedings

Michael Norton, State House News Service
Jan. 16, 2014

A day after House Speaker Robert DeLeo said disciplinary proceedings against Rep Carlos Henriquez would commence if he did not resign, the House on Thursday voted to grant subpoena powers to its Ethics Committee.

The order authorizing subpoena powers was offered late Thursday by committee vice chairman Rep. David Nangle of Lowell and adopted by voice vote with less than a handful of House members present.

Henriquez was led to jail Wednesday from a Medford courtroom after a jury convicted him on two assault and battery charges stemming from a domestic violence incident last summer. He was acquitted on one count of assault and battery, witness intimidation and a charge relating to larceny of a SIM card.

After the six-person jury delivered their verdict at noon Wednesday, Judge Michele Hogan said she was "very concerned that you're not remorseful" and sentenced Henriquez to two and a half years in a house of correction, with six months of the sentence to be served and the rest to be suspended.

A Dorchester Democrat, Henriquez has not responded to calls from several of his colleagues to step down. His attorney said Wednesday she believed he was being taken to a house of correction in Billerica.

The House order does not mention Henriquez by name but references a complaint received by the Ethics Committee on Wednesday. Under the order, the committee is “granted the power to require the attendance of witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and compel the productions of books, papers, documents and other evidence in connection with the investigation and evaluation” of the complaint.

After Thursday’s session, Assistant Minority Leader Rep. George Peterson (R-Grafton) told the News Service the order lays the groundwork for committee proceedings involving Henriquez and enables the committee to subpoena court records and, if necessary, require Henriquez to appear before the committee.

“I still would ask that he consider strongly stepping down,” Peterson said Thursday. “I think he’s got an awful lot of things that he’s processing now.”

Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh were among those who called for Henriquez to resign on Wednesday.

Stephanie Soriano-Mills, who represented Henriquez during his criminal trial and has pledged to appeal the verdict, was not available for comment late Thursday.