Christopher B. Maselli, Esq., age 44, is an attorney specializing in criminal and civil litigation with the Providence, Rhode Island law firm of Thomas E. Badway & Associates, LLP. He also speaks from a personal perspective about the criminal justice and correctional systems to audiences at various venues, including colleges and universities.
Born in Providence, Chris graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. After completing his undergraduate studies, he worked for the late Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci in the Executive Office of The Mayor where he obtained a great practical education on politics from the longest serving Mayor of the City. After serving Mayor Cianci for 1 ½ years he entered Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, RI to fulfill his lifelong dream. He was admitted to the Rhode Island bar in 1999 and the Connecticut bar in 2000. Originally an associate in two different law firms, Chris’ entrepreneurial outlook led him to establish his own law firm in 2003.
In 2006, Chris decided to try his own hand at political office and was elected the State Senator from Johnston, Rhode Island. While a Senator he rose to the level of Deputy Majority Leader, Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and Secretary of the Judiciary Committee. Additionally, he served on the Senate Education Committee and was Co-Chair of the Joint Commission to Study the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification. Chris became a tenacious advocate for the residents of the Town of Johnston, Public Education, and the Environment.
As an attorney Chris has represented clients from all walks of life, from large Fortune 500 companies and Public Employee Unions to court-appointed criminal clients. He has been successful at both the appellate and trial courts levels. One of the cases he is most proud of is his advocacy and defense of a man charged with first degree murder, who was acquitted of all charges at trial. He has also served on the Town of Johnston Zoning Board and has been involved in numerous community organizations.
In December 2010, Chris suspended his law license after being indicted by the Federal Government on bank fraud charges. Importantly, Mr. Maselli’s conduct in no way involved the practice of law, any clients, or his service as a State Senator. In February 2011, Chris was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for violating banking laws pertaining to obtaining mortgages on his personal homes that he and his family lived in. Specially, he admitted to exaggerating his income to obtain the financing. Not being in default at the time of sentencing, the Federal court did not order Chris to pay restitution. He self-surrendered to Fort Dix Federal Prison on March 11, 2011.
While in prison, Chris tried to make the best of a bad situation. He went to work in the education department of the prison, spending his days teaching inmates GED and ESL classes. At night, he volunteered to teach classes on Government and Law to inmates. He could be seen trying to work with inmates teaching them to read or providing extra help to students to pass the GED exam. Due to this experience, Chris is a strong advocate for educating people while in prison and providing the necessary help and resources for them to re-enter society. Without that help, Chris believes our society cannot slow down the rate of recidivism. He firmly feels we need to do more than give people a pat on the back when they leave prison. Mr. Maselli states that one of the hardest punishments he faced was not the loss of law license or going through a divorce while in prison, but the separation from his children who are now ages 11 and 14.
Mr. Maselli is not proud of his conduct giving rise to his case. However, he is not ashamed of it. In fact, he believes his personal journey through the criminal justice and correctional system has made him a better attorney.
In June 2016, the Rhode Island Supreme Court reinstated Mr. Maselli’s law license upon recommendation of its Disciplinary Counsel. The high court said: “Disciplinary Counsel has not uncovered any information, other than the petitioner’s conviction, that reflects adversely on his current fitness to return to the practice of law. We do not believe that conviction constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to his resumption of the practice.”Since then he has worked hard to reestablish his law practice and reputation in the legal community.