Perhaps this is a love letter to my favorite coffee shop, a quaint store on Main Street where I often see the mayor getting a cup along with one or two former clients of mine.

But, really, this is a plea: to all of the stores that issue “no trespass” letters — Cumberland Farms, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, among others — please stop excluding my clients, our brothers and sisters.

As a proud public defender, I have defended people accused of doing terrible things. But the hardest cases are the most trivial, because they really test one’s faith in humanity: a homeless man taken away in handcuffs because McDonald’s didn’t want him to eat his McRib (which he bought) inside the restaurant during a cold December night; a helpless young girl arrested at Cumberland Farms for violating a trespass order after buying a sandwich (yes, they served her, took her money, then called the police on her).

These are two of the many. One client of mine spent more than four months in jail solely for trespass offenses like these. Yes, you can exclude people from your businesses. Yes, the police will respond and arrest that person (although, Chief Russo, they don’t have to).

Instead, consider not excluding the most dejected of our community. Welcome them. They are us.


74 Beech St.