News from the courts/agencies

Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017
Judicial Performance Evaluations begin for judges in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden Counties; Law Day celebrations planned in courthouses across the state
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On Friday, April 7, Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey will host the opening ceremony of the Franklin County Justice Center. In addition to Chief Justice Carey, speakers will include Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, Trial Court Administrator Harry Spence, Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Carol Gladstone, Representative Stephen Kulik of the 1st Franklin District, Representative Paul Mark of the 2nd Berkshire District, Representative Susannah Whipps of the 2nd Franklin District, Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan, Franklin County Bar Association Chair John Stobierski, and Greenfield District Court First Justice William F. Mazanec. Franklin County Register of Probate John F. Merrigan will deliver welcoming remarks.
The renovation of the Franklin County Justice Center began in 2014. The new courthouse incorporates the historic 1932 façade of the original building with a 104,000 square foot, three-story addition. The Justice Center's six courtrooms include updated technological capabilities to allow for hearings to be conducted by video conference and newly installed recording equipment for court proceedings. The courthouse will also offer WiFi for visitors. The expanded building houses five court departments: Juvenile, Superior, District, Housing, and Probate and Family Courts, as well as the Law Library, Court Service Center, and Registry of Deeds.
Franklin County Justice Center
43 Hope Street, Greenfield, MA 01301
Friday, April 7, 2017
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Judicial Performance Evaluations begin for judges in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden Counties

Judges in the District Court, Superior Court, Juvenile Court, Probate and Family Court, and Housing Court in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden Counties will be evaluated from the beginning of May through June. Members of the bar should receive an email asking for participation in the Judicial Performance Evaluation. Full participation of the bar in judicial evaluation is crucial to maintaining a high-quality judicial branch.

This evaluation system is the best way for members of the bar to tell the judge and court leadership about their experiences before the judge. Responding attorneys will remain anonymous.

For more information please contact Mona Hochberg, coordinator of Judicial Performance Evaluation.


Law Day celebrations planned in courthouses across the state

In recognition of Law Day 2017, students across the commonwealth will participate in educational activities about the Rule of Law and the judicial branch of government. Students will have an opportunity to interact with judges, lawyers, law clerks and other court officials.

This year's Law Day theme, the Fourteenth Amendment, reshaped American law and society, in particular its impact on civil rights, due process, and equal protection under the law for all Americans.

Law Day was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 as a day to recognize the principles of government under the law, and the nation's heritage of liberty and justice.

The following courts will have activities on Friday, April 28:

  • John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Approximately 80 students from Fenway High School and Boston Latin School will watch a performance of Theatre Espresso's play The Nine Who Dared followed by discussions with Supreme Judicial Court Justices. The SJC Law Clerk Society will lead discussions in the Holmes Courtroom, followed by tours of the John Adams Courthouse exhibit rooms and Great Hall.
  • Middlesex County Juvenile Court at the Lowell District Court, 41 Hurd Street, 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Middlesex Juvenile Court First Justice Jay Blitzman will preside over festivities with Middlesex Juvenile Court Judge Patricia Flynn. The Lowell High School Air Force Junior ROTC Honor Guard will start the ceremony, under the direction of Technical Sargeant (Ret) David Smith. The Lowell High School Choir will perform, directed by Peter Carney. Lowell District Court Judge Barbara Pearson will offer the welcoming address. Attorney Erich Bryant, Board Member of the Lowell Bar Association, and Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Barnes will attend. There will be an essay contest, and winners of Joe Hogan Scholarship announced.

The following courts will have activities on Monday, May 1:

  • Springfield District Court, Hall of Justice, 50 State Street, Courtroom 2, 9:00 a.m. Sponsored by the Hampden County Bar Association, Holyoke District Court Judge Matthew Shea will serve as Master of Ceremonies, which will include the presentation of the Honorable John M. Greaney Award to Attorney Jeffrey S. Morneau and Jaime E. Morrow, Program Coordinator for the Hampden County Legal Clinic. Bar Association President-elect William Travaun Bailey and the mock trial team from the Pioneer Valley School of Performing Arts will also participate.
  • Bristol County Juvenile Court-Taunton, 40 Broadway, 3:00 p.m., Bristol Juvenile Court First Justice John Spinale will host the court's Law Day celebration.
  • Salem District Court, 56 Federal Street, 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Approximately 30 area high school students will participate in Law Day Activities. Salem Mayor Kimberley L. Driscoll; Representative Paul F. Tucker of the 7th Essex District; Senator Joan B. Lovely of the 2nd Essex District; and members of the bar are expected to attend. Students will learn about the jury system, will watch the juror welcome video, and will observe a courtroom in session. At 11:00 a.m., there will be a formal Law Day ceremony in Session E, which will include the formal cry, pledge of allegiance, welcome remarks from Salem First Justice Robert Brennan, the National Anthem, a mock trial with students serving as jurors, self-introduction of various attendees including Salem District Court Clerk-Magistrate Brian K. Lawlor, Salem District Court Chief Probation Officer Dolores R. Gormley, and participating attorneys, followed by lunch at 12:30.

The following courts will have activities on Tuesday, May 2:

  • Quincy District Court, One Dennis Ryan Parkway, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Governor Charlie Baker will deliver the keynote Law Day address. Quincy District Court First Justice Mark S. Coven will preside over the day. Those in attendance will include Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey, District Court Chief Justice Paul C. Dawley, and recently appointed Trial Court Administrator Jon Williams.

The following will have activities on Wednesday, May 3:

  • Boston Municipal Court-East Boston, 37 Meridian Street, from 5:30 p.m. Boston Municipal Court First Justice John M. McDonald will preside over an oratory competition for middle school students from East Boston and Winthrop, an essay competition for all grades, a poster content for elementary school students and a coloring book contest for early elementary school children. The Law Day Awards Ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the First Session Courtroom, with awarded prizes provided by the Friends of the East Boston Court and sponsored by the East Boston Savings Bank.

The following will have activities on Thursday, May 4:

  • Lawrence District Court, 2 Appleton Street, 8:30 a.m. The Lawrence Bar Association (LBA) will sponsor a speech contest for local high school students. Students will come to court and read their essays. A panel of three judges will pick the winner, who will receive a scholarship from the Lawrence Bar Association. There will be a second reception at 4:00 p.m. at the courthouse. The reception will feature an artwork presentation and display in the jury pool room and judges lobby by Lawrence 8, 9, and 10th grade students, followed by a reception, courtesy of the LBA, to honor the student artists, parents and teachers, who will see where their art work will be displayed.

The following will have activities on Friday, May 5:

  • Fall River District Court, 186 South Main Street, 8:30 a.m. The Fall River Bar Association, in conjunction with the Fall River District Court, will conduct Law Day activities at the Fall River Justice Center.  Students from the Fall River School system and the Atlantis Charter School will participate.
  • Boston Municipal Court-Brighton, 52 Academy Hill Road, 10:30 a.m., Essay and poster contest, special scholarship and awards presentations, including the 12th Annual Honorable Albert H. Burns scholarship award. Outdoor BBQ with teachers and students from Brighton/Allston public schools.