February 21, 2023 -Springfield- Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni’s Emerging Adult Court of Hope (EACH) graduated its second participant, Sedale Collymore, 26, of Springfield, on Wednesday, February 16, 2023. Sedale had been facing several serious charges from an incident in August of 2019, and instead choose to participate in the EACH Court in order to turn his life around.
Sedale was originally charged with: breaking and entering a building during daytime, assault with a dangerous weapon, larceny over $1200. To participate in the court, he plead guilty to these offenses and began his participation in the court on August 27, 2020, after spending almost a year in jail while being held pre-trial. The lead charge, breaking and entering, has a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in state prison.
Since pleading into the EACH Court Sedale has successfully worked his way through the program over the last 24 months. Along with participating in the program’s behavioral health programing, he has maintained successful employment with Behavior Health Networks and will be continuing his career in facilities management.
After appearing before the court 85 times in the last two years as part of the program to check in with the court, Sedale made his final court appearance today. The Commonwealth presented the court with a motion for a new trial, which was adopted by the court. In a dramatic moment, the Commonwealth then presented the court with a motion to dismiss the charges, citing Sedale’s participation in EACH along with his two year record of successfully fulfilling the programs goals. The presiding EACH Judge, The Honorable Kevin V. Maltby, accepted the prosecution’s motion and dismissed all charges.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni stated, “We are so proud of Sedale, who decided to change his life by taking accountability and working towards his goals and dreams. His success is heartening and inspiring to his fellow participants, our team, and to me. What Sedale has done is exactly what we envisioned when EACH began in 2020; individuals investing in themselves, turning their lives around with careers, and staying out of the criminal justice system.”
The court began in February 2020 and was created by Hampden County District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni, ROCA, and the Massachusetts Trial Court. EACH’s mission is to change the trajectory of the lives of young people from 18 to 24 years old who are court involved and facing serious felonies. To do this, a team of experienced court and non-profit professionals support these young people in addressing the underlying issues contributing to their life circumstance. This may include addressing such issues as: behavioral and mental health, substance-use disorders, housing instability, and food insecurity. While simultaneously providing a path forward through education, career training, and job placement.
EACH offers high-risk adults ages 18 to 24 the opportunity to stay out of prison and upon completion have their case being dismissed and records expunged or sealed. In order to join the court, participants must plead guilty to the charges against them and work their way through a four-phase program that includes attending therapy, finding supportive housing, staying away from crime and maintain a full-time job. If they are unsuccessful and they are removed from the court they are then sentenced on their original charges.
In the first phase, participants begin EACH with the transitional employment program facilitated through Roca and a contractor. When they move on to phase two they are allowed to apply for outside jobs, or after 45 days in the transitional employment program if they show strong work ethic and responsibility. If the participant cannot maintain their employment they begin again with transitional employment. In the third phase, the participant gets a mentor. In the fourth, a case manager helps them form a life plan, which must include an educational or vocational program, or a stable job. The program is designed to take 18-24 months to complete. Participants are closely monitored by both ROCA and probation officers from the Massachusetts Probation service.
Sedale is the second graduate after Carlton Ford successfully completed the program in December of 2022, who obtained his commercial driver’s license and is now in a lucrative career in transportation.