Rep. Henriquez expelled from House in 146-5 vote

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Feb. 6, 2014

Eleven members of State House’s Boston delegation voted on Thursday afternoon to expel Rep. Carlos Henriquez, a Dorchester Democrat convicted of two misdemeanor counts of assault. Two Boston lawmakers voted against the expulsion.

The move paves the way for a special election to replace Henriquez, who was first elected in 2010. Henriquez is likely to run for the seat again once he is released from jail, according to state Rep. Russell Holmes, a close friend and one of the two Boston Democrats who voted against his expulsion.

Pointing to the House Ethics Committee’s recommendation to remove Henriquez from his seat, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said, “The committee conducted an independent investigation, reviewing 11 police reports, 78 exhibits and nearly 1000 pages of trial testimony, and found that a representative could not serve as a member while incarcerated in jail after being convicted of two charges of a serious nature. With that vote completed, the House will now move forward to address the budget, gun safety, domestic violence and other important legislative matters.”

But Holmes argued that his colleagues should vote instead to censure Henriquez, who was convicted of domestic assault of 23-year-old woman in January. Holmes’s proposal for censure failed by a 143-10 vote.

Henriquez is serving six months of a 2.5-year sentence at the Middlesex County House of Correction. The incident occurred in July 2012 in Arlington; Henriquez coasted to reelection in the fall.

The full vote tally was 146 to 5 in favor of expulsion. Boston Democrats who joined the majority included state Reps. Byron Rushing of the South End, Ed Coppinger of West Roxbury, Dan Cullinane of Dorchester, Carlo Basile of East Boston, Nick Collins of South Boston, Kevin Honan of Brighton, Jay Livingstone of Back Bay, Elizabeth Malia of Jamaica Plain, Michael Moran of Brighton, Aaron Michlewitz of the North End, and Jeffrey Sanchez of Jamaica Plain.

Boston lawmakers who voted against expulsion: state Reps. Gloria Fox of Roxbury and Holmes of Mattapan. Angelo Scaccia of Hyde Park was recorded as “not voting,” or present.

The votes came after Henriquez addressed House members and maintained his innocence. Henriquez said he considers domestic violence a “cowardly and shameful act” and the jury’s verdict “does not change my truth.”

But state Rep. David Nangle, a Lowell Democrat and vice chair of the House Ethics Committee, said pictures of the victim’s bruises from that night in July were available for House members to see. “It was mortifying when I saw the pictures,” he told his colleagues.

Henriquez’s lawyer, Stephanie Soriano-Mills, lit into House lawmakers during the debate, while she was outside the House chamber. She said the House had made itself the “judge and jury of morality and ethics,” and their move “opens up anybody for expulsion.”

Henriquez was acquitted of three of the five charges, she added, and he did not violate any House rules as she interpreted them.

The expulsion proceedings, which included three House Ethics Committee meetings, provided a “welcoming distraction from the Probation Department” patronage scandal, she said.