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Brian A. Joyce
BAJ at DCR Podium.jpg
Member of the Massachusetts Senate from the Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth district
In office
January 1998 – January 2017
Succeeded by Walter Timilty
Personal details
Born (1962-09-05)September 5, 1962
Winchester, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died September 27, 2018(2018-09-27) (aged 56)
Westport, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Residence Milton, Massachusetts
Alma mater Boston College
Suffolk University
Occupation Politician, Lawyer

Brian Augustine Joyce (September 5, 1962 – September 27, 2018) was an American politician who was a Massachusetts State Senator for the Democratic Party. He served for nine terms, representing the Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth district, which includes Avon, Braintree Precincts 1A, 1B, 2A & 2B, Canton, East Bridgewater Precinct 4, Easton Precincts 3-6, Milton, Randolph, Sharon Precincts 2 & 3, Stoughton, and West Bridgewater.

Background and education

Joyce was born in Winchester, Massachusetts. He graduated from Milton High School in 1980. He received his bachelor's degree from Boston College School of Management in 1984, and he graduated magna cum laude from Suffolk University Law School in 1990. He practiced law in Milton, Massachusetts.

Senate career

During his tenure in the Senate, Joyce distinguished himself as a fierce advocate for the rights of disabled children and elderly citizens. He was credited with securing hundreds of millions of dollars for public schools in his district, and he was instrumental in the revitalization of the Neponset River and Blue Hills reservations.

In 2004, after Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage, Joyce preserved equal marriage rights by filibustering a bill that would have banned same-sex marriage. At the time, Joyce explained his decision by stating that "I believe in an America where no religious body seeks to impose its will, directly or indirectly. Tradition as a rationale for discrimination is not persuasive."

In May 2006, Joyce traveled to Pakistan in support of Bush Administration's efforts to court the allied nation in the war on terror, where he talked foreign policy on state-run PTV, joining then Republican Representative Mark Martin of Arkansas and New Mexico Attorney General Hector H. Balderas on a top Pakistani talk show.

Joyce strongly opposed the Judge Rotenberg Center during his tenure in office, and he tried repeatedly to ban the Center's use of electric shock treatment on disabled children.

Committee memberships

During his final term in office, Joyce served in the following roles:

  • Assistant Majority Leader
  • Chair, Senate Committee on Bills in the Third Reading
  • Chair, Special Senate Committee to Improve Government
  • Vice Chair, Senate Committee on Redistricting
  • Joint Committee on Health Care Financing

Federal indictment

In December 2017, Joyce was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges he collected over $1 million in bribes and kickbacks that he laundered through his law office and another personal business.

Legal experts have expressed doubt over the merit of the charges against Joyce, and many of the governments' allegations were later disproven. Prosecutors' attempt to disqualify Joyce's attorney was met with alarm by members of the Boston legal community, who viewed it as an unprecedented infringement on a defendant's Sixth Amendment rights. The ACLU, along with the Massachusetts Bar Association and dozens of individual Massachusetts attorneys, jointly filed an amici curiae brief defending Joyce's Constitutional right to counsel and rebuking the Government for its overreach. The conduct of federal prosecutors in the case has exacerbated ongoing concerns over the legal ethics of the Boston U.S. Attorney's Office.

Joyce pleaded not guilty in December 2017 to charges including racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud, conspiracy and scheming to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Joyce was released on a $250,000 bond.

The 102-page indictment accuses Joyce of turning his law office into a criminal enterprise, going so far as to accept hundreds of pounds of free coffee from a local Dunkin' Donuts owner.

In January 2018, Joyce's former accountant, John Nardozzi, was indicted on federal charges that he helped prepare and file false tax returns for Joyce, misclassifying over $2 million of personal expenses as business expenses, in order to reduce Joyce's tax burden. In October 2019, Nardozzi was convicted by a jury of helping Joyce cheat the IRS out of approximately $600,000 in tax payments, and in January 2020, Nardozzi was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.

On October 8, 2018, US Attorney Andrew Lelling announced that he had dismissed all criminal charges against Joyce, in light of his untimely death.

Death

On September 27, 2018, Joyce was found dead in his home in Westport, with no foul play suspected.

Personal life

Joyce was a lifelong resident of Milton, Massachusetts, where he lived with his wife, Mary. They had five children.

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