Rep. Henriquez due back at State House on Tuesday

Colleen Quinn, State House News Service
Feb. 4, 2014

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Tuesday he does not know if Rep. Carlos Henriquez will leave his jail cell Thursday to address his House colleagues should they initiate proceedings to reprimand, censure or expel him from the Legislature.

Meanwhile, a Henriquez aide told the News Service that Henriquez is scheduled to visit the State House at 2 p.m. Tuesday to appear before the House Ethics Committee. Henriquez has already twice appeared before that panel, helmed by Lowell Democrat Rep. David Nangle, both times arriving at the State House in handcuffs.

Henriquez, a Democrat from Dorchester, has been jailed since his Jan. 15 conviction on assault and battery charges, and has asked for a leave of absence while he serves his six-month sentence. He has declined calls to resign and is appealing the jury’s verdict in his case.

The House plans to meet in a formal session Thursday but it’s not clear if the Henriquez matter will surface.

On Monday, the House approved an order laying out ground rules for the consideration of a House Ethics Committee report, including an allowance for “the accused” to address his or her colleagues before they vote.

DeLeo told the News Service he does not know if Henriquez will appear. “I don’t have any idea, actually. I really don’t have any idea, I’m sorry,” DeLeo said. “You know, those hearings are kept strictly confidential.”

DeLeo said when Henriquez was convicted on Jan. 15 he referred the matter to the House Ethics Committee.

The order (H 3893) specifies that a majority vote of House members present, after a quorum has been established, would be required to reprimand, censure or expel a member of the House, and those votes shall be binding with no right to reconsideration or appeal.

If Henriquez is expelled by a majority of his colleagues, his 5th Suffolk District seat would immediately be considered vacant.

Because the committee’s work is confidential, DeLeo said he does not know if the House will vote on Thursday or what the Ethics Committee recommendation will be.

“Just to reiterate what I have said before. I called on his resignation. I continue to call on his resignation, and quite frankly, as soon as the day of the conviction came I immediately referred to the Ethics Committee, and they’re doing their work,” DeLeo said.

The House on Tuesday held its session open, recessing at 11:15 a.m.