Archives and Special Collections
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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Collection
Title:Benjamin LaGuer papers
Dates:1984-2000 (bulk 1998-2000)
Call Number:M100

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes: correspondence (typewritten and handwritten letters, and notes with attached materials) from Benjamin LaGuer to José Masso from April 1998 through December 2000; legal documents relating to Parole Board and other hearings; and publicity about LaGuer and his ongoing quest for parole or a new trial.

The correspondence is either from LaGuer to Masso or from others to the Parole Board on LaGuer's behalf. In his letters and notes to Masso, LaGuer asks for support on his behalf for Parole Board hearings held in June 1998 (denied October 1998), November 1998 (denied May 1999), and April 2000 (denied August 2000), as well as for hearings regarding DNA testing in March 2000 and June 2000. The letters and notes include copies of letters to and from other supporters, as well as copies of legal documents and publicity. There is no correspondence from Masso to LaGuer, nor other correspondence to or from Masso regarding LaGuer.

The letters and notes from LaGuer to Masso fall into three types: (1) those asking Masso for his help getting political and community support for Parole Board and other hearings; (2) those expressing his fears and frustrations related to pre-hearing activities and post-hearing results; and (3) those sharing information/copies of letters of support from others, including Allen Fletcher (Worcester Publishing); Francisco Gonzalez-Palacio (formerly with Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights); Nelson Merced (Senior Associate, Community Training & Assistance Center); Sheila R. Decter (New England Director, American Jewish Congress); Deval Patrick (former U.S. Attorney General for Civil Rights; attorney with Day, Berry & Howard); Noam Chomsky (MIT); John Silber (Chancellor, Boston University); Don Muhammad (Nation of Islam); Lisamarie Cintron (Acting Regional Director, Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration); William Styron (author); Martin Espada (Professor, University of Massachusetts-Amherst); Bruce Young Candelaria (Executive Director, Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce).

Legal documents and information about Parole Board hearings include correspondence between LaGuer, his lawyers, and the Parole Board related to dates of Parole Board hearings and appeals, and motions and orders related to DNA testing and preservation of evidence. This folder also includes versions of LaGuer's printed testimony to the Parole Board. Key personalities involved in LaGuer's efforts include Worcester District Attorney John Conte, BU President John Silber, and Parole Board Chair, Sheila A. Hubbard. LaGuer's attorneys were McDermott, Will & Emery of Boston.

Publicity materials include articles, interviews and editorials about LaGuer in the Boston Globe, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Boston Magazine, Boston Phoenix; articles published by LaGuer; stories about DNA testing that mention LaGuer; and "References," listing the names and dates of stories and interviews in magazines, newspapers, radio broadcasts, and television broadcasts.