Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012
Chief Justice of the Trial Court Robert A. Mulligan presents at the November 2012 MBA House of Delegates meeting.
Chief Justice Mulligan updates MBA delegates
The Massachusetts Bar Association House of Delegates convened
for the second time this association year at the MBA Boston offices
on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Featured guest speaker for the meeting
was Chief Justice of the Trial Court Robert A. Mulligan.
Mulligan provided a cautiously optimistic update on the fiscal
health and performance of the Massachusetts Trial Court to the MBA
delegation. He explained that positions are being filled at a
modest rate following the court's $561 million allocation in the
Fiscal Year 2013 state budget. Although the years-long hiring
freeze has been lifted, the current 6,266 current Trial Court
positions represent a nearly 18 percent drop from the court's 7,629
filled positions in 2007.
He also addressed the forecasted expenses associated with the
Department of Public Health Drug Lab scandal. According to
Mulligan, the aftermath of this alleged mishandling of evidence
will cost the courts $2.96 million for the remainder of FY13 and $5
million in Fiscal Year 2014.
In addition to personnel and other core expenses, Mulligan spoke
about the court's clearance rates. A 95.6 percent clearance rate
was realized in Calendar Year 2011, while a 95.3 percent rate was
seen in CY12 (through the second quarter). In addition, since
Fiscal Year 2008, case filings have decreased by 278,562 or 21.2
Mulligan also named Greenfield and Lowell as the communities next
up to benefit from capital expenditures. The Greenfield Trial Court
is budgeted at $60 million, while the Lowell Justice Center will
cost $100 million. He also noted that Middlesex County is in need
of a county-wide capital plan, but explained that he didn't foresee
that coming into play within 10 years.
Following Chief Justice Mulligan's presentation, action taken by
the delegates at the meeting included:
Full coverage of the Nov. 15 meeting will be included in the
January 2013 issue of Massachusetts Lawyers