Supreme Judicial Court hears oral arguments in four cases in
special sitting in Lawrence
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants
and the six associate justices heard oral arguments in four cases
in a special sitting at the Lawrence District Court on Dec. 6. The
special sitting provided an opportunity for students, residents of
the local community and the media to view the work of the highest
court of the commonwealth outside of the John Adams Courthouse in
Boston, where cases are normally heard.
As part of the special sitting, Essex County Superior Court Clerk
Thomas H. Driscoll, Jr., and Lawrence District Court Clerk Keith E.
McDonough, acted as clerks to the justices for the day. Students
from Lawrence High School, Greater Lawrence Technical High School
and Central Catholic High School attended the special sitting.
Following oral arguments, Chief Justice Gants and the associate
justices answered questions from students.
"It was a great pleasure for all the justices to 'take our court on
the road' and bring it to Lawrence," said SJC Chief Justice Ralph
Gants. "We thank all those who worked so hard to make our visit a
success--the judges, clerks, court officers, bar association
leaders, teachers, and students, and the court maintenance staff
who demonstrated extraordinary craftsmanship and ingenuity in
building a removable bench that could seat the seven justices and
can be used for future outside sittings."
The seven justices hear appeals on a broad range
of criminal and civil cases from September through May. The
associate justices sit as single justices each month on a rotation
schedule. Single justices consider certain petitions pertaining to
cases on trial or on appeal, bail reviews, bar discipline
proceedings, petitions for admission to the bar, and a variety of
other statutory proceedings. The full bench renders approximately
200 written decisions each year. The single justices decide
approximately 600 cases annually.
The justices heard oral arguments in the below cases:
SJC-12125 Commonwealth vs. Douglas Garcia
SJC-12114 Commonwealth vs. Joel D. Morgan
SJC-12186 Commonwealth vs. Heather Dragotta
SJC-12195 Guardianship of K.N.
Following oral arguments, SJC Chief Justice Gants delivered remarks
as guest speaker at a luncheon put together and hosted by the
Lawrence Bar Association, Haverhill Bar Association and the Essex
County Bar Association, where he addressed court leaders, bar
leaders and Essex County officials.
Elizabeth D. Katz selected for U.S. Bankruptcy Court in
Chief Judge Jeffrey R. Howard of the
United States Court
of Appeals for the First Circuit has announced that Elizabeth D.
Katz has been selected to
fill the vacancy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Massachusetts in Springfield,
created by Judge Henry J. Boroff's retirement. Attorney Katz will
be appointed to the
bankruptcy bench in early 2017, upon FBI clearance.
Attorney Katz has practiced law in the
Springfield and Northampton areas for more than two
decades. Attorney Katz received a Bachelor of Arts from the
University of Vermont, and in 1994,
graduated from Boston University School of Law with a Juris Doctor.
Currently a partner at
Rescia, Katz & Shear, LLP, Attorney Katz focuses her practice
on consumer and business bankruptcy
matters, as well as criminal defense. In addition to representing
debtors and creditors in
bankruptcy cases, attorney Katz serves as counsel to the Chapter 7
Trustee in adversary proceedings
in the Districts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Attorney Katz's
expansive legal career
began at the Office of the Attorney General in Boston upon her
graduation from law school.
In 1995, Attorney Katz became an assistant district attorney at the
Northwestern District Attorney's
Office in Northampton, where she worked until 2007. Upon her
departure, Attorney Katz
was the Chief of the Hampshire County and Franklin County District
Courts Divisions. In 2007,
she entered private practice and represented clients in a
wide-range of matters including bankruptcy
cases, criminal cases, civil litigation, family law matters and
Since 2008, Attorney Katz has concentrated her practice in all
aspects of bankruptcy law.
Attorney Katz served as president of the
Hampshire County Bar Association from 2012 to
2014 and is currently a member of its executive committee. Attorney
Katz is a member of the
Local Rules Committee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for
the District of Massachusetts
and since 2011, has served as co-chair of the M. Ellen Carpenter
Program for western Massachusetts, a financial literacy program for
high school students.
Judge Howard stated that "Attorney Katz's extensive legal
experience and talent will
greatly benefit the District of Massachusetts and the community of
Springfield." Chief Judge
Howard also thanked Judge Boroff for his many years of dedicated
and distinguished service.
Judge Howard expressed his gratitude to the members of the
Bankruptcy Merit Selection
Panel, which was chaired by First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge
David J. Barron.