Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011
Top: Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland (left) speaks with MBA President Richard P. Campbell.
Middle (from left to right) Jury Commissioner Pamela J. Wood accepts the Munsterman Award from Robert Baldwin, executive vice president and general counsel of the National Center for State Courts, with SJC Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland, Paula L. Hannaford-Agor, director of the Center for Jury Studies, National Center for State Courts and MBA President Richard P. Campbell.
Bottom (from left to right): SJC Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland, MBA Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and MBA President Richard P. Campbell.
Photos by Mike Ritter/Ritterbin.com.
At Bench–Bar Symposium, Ireland is hopeful, undaunted
In his first address to the legal community since his
confirmation as the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court
last year, Roderick L. Ireland spoke of his hopes for the judicial
branch -- including adequate funding -- and reaffirmed his
commitment to the priorities he established in December.
"The judicial branch is at a turning point," Ireland said during
his address at the Massachusetts Bar Association's annual Bench-Bar
Symposium on Oct. 13. "How we in the judiciary handle these changes
will affect the quality of justice in the Commonwealth for years to
come. We cannot be paralyzed by unfolding events, but must embrace
them as new opportunities."
The judiciary's budget woes were the first topic Ireland addressed
in his speech. He shared the positive news that the House of
Representatives proposed and the state Senate agreed to a
supplemental appropriation for the Trial Court. Ireland thanked
House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray
for their support of the bill, and expressed his hope that Gov.
Deval Patrick would approve the appropriation.
Ireland spent the rest of his speech revisiting the three
priorities he established for the judiciary at his swearing-in
ceremony last December: building bridges to the courts'
constituencies; making the courts more accessible to the public;
and educating the public, particularly the youth of the
commonwealth, about the role of the courts.
"We find ourselves at a time when few people can correctly
identify the three branches of government," said Ireland, who said
the MBA's Tiered Mentoring Program is an example of a program that
helps young people better understand the court system. "There is
widespread public misunderstanding about the role of judges and the
importance of an independent judiciary. I want to make the judicial
branch a force in civic education, particularly about the role of
the courts and the rule of law, and especially for young
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