Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Mar. 28, 2013
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News from the courts

Boudin to assume senior status; SJC releases new model jury instructions on homicide; SJC Pro Bono Honor Roll program materials now available

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Boudin to assume senior status

BoudinChief Judge Lynch of the First Circuit Court of Appeals has announced that the Hon. Michael Boudin intends to assume senior status on June 1, 2013.

Boudin was born in New York City in 1939 and graduated from Harvard University Law School in 1964. After working in private practice in Washington D.C., Boudin served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice for several years before being nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Boudin served as federal district judge and President Bush nominated him to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in 1992. Boudin was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 21, 1992 and served as chief circuit judge from 2001 to 2008.

"Judge Boudin is both an excellent jurist, exhibiting the highest standards of intellect and judgment, as well as an invaluable colleague and friend," Lynch said.

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SJC releases new model jury instructions on homicide

The Supreme Judicial Court has announced the release of new Model Jury Instructions on Homicide. The justices first approved and recommended the use of Model Jury Instructions on Homicide in 1999. In 2010, the justices created a new Committee on Model Jury Instructions on Homicide, chaired by SJC Justice Ralph Gants, and charged it with reviewing and updating the instructions.

The SJC approves and recommends the use of these Model Jury Instructions and additionally recommends that judges provide jurors with a "chalk" reflecting the requirements of proof for each homicide offense and lesser included offense as well as a recording of the judge's charge and a written copy of the charge where one is available. A chalk that summarizes the requirements of proof in cases of first degree murder, second degree murder, and manslaughter is included as an appendix to the Model Instructions.

This committee worked to create a set of instructions that would accurately reflect the current state of the law, and flow in a logical order so that jurors would better understand the instructions. Detailed citations have been provided to support each instruction. These instructions use words consistent with their ordinary meaning where the legal definition of a term differs from the ordinary meaning. For example, the committee no longer uses the term "malice" because its legal meaning differs from its lay meaning, and its legal meaning differed depending on the degree of murder charged.

The Model Jury Instructions on Homicide are not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law, but rather to provide guidance on those instructions that are frequently given in trials of homicide cases, except vehicular homicide cases.

The Model Instructions, Chalk, Statement of the Justices and Committee Report are available here.

The members of the committee will review and propose revisions to these instructions as the law develops or changes. Comments on these model Instructions may be sent to [e-mail modelhomicide], and will be considered in future revisions of these instructions.

Click here to learn more.

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SJC Pro Bono Honor Roll program materials now available

The Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Honor Roll acknowledges the commitment to pro bono legal work by law firms, solo practitioners, in-house corporate counsel offices, government attorneys' offices, non-profit organizations and law schools which certify they have met specific criteria jointly established by the SJC's Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services and the Access to Justice Commission. The Pro Bono Committee administers this recognition program on behalf of the court. Participation is entirely voluntary.

The certification form and program materials for calendar year 2012 are now available on the court's website.

Please forward information along to your colleagues, membership, faculty or anyone who may be interested in this program.

Questions? Contact Carol Lev, Esq., coordinator of Program and Policy Development for the SJC, at (617) 557-1074 or at [e-mail carol.lev].

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