News from the courts/agencies

Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017
CAFL Trial Panel info. session set for Jan. 30 in Springfield; CPCS seeks nominations for nine awards
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CAFL Trial Panel info. session set for Jan. 30 in Springfield

The Children and Family Law Division (CAFL) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is looking for attorneys interested in representing parents and children in child welfare cases in western Massachusetts. In the past year, Hampden County alone has seen a 16 percent increase in care and protection filings; a process where the state removes children from their parents' custody and places them in foster care.

Parents and children are each entitled to an attorney in these proceedings to protect their constitutional and statutory rights. CPCS must increase the number of attorneys handling these cases in order to ensure that everyone is provided zealous and timely representation.

Members of the bar are invited to apply for admission to the CAFL Trial Panel by contacting Dawn M. Messier, CPCS. A seven-day training is scheduled for April 3-6, 12, 13 and a one day mock hearing either April 26, 27 or 28.

An information session will be held at the Hampden County Bar Association (50 State Street, Springfield - Commissioner's Room) on Monday, Jan. 30, from 1-2 p.m. Individuals attending the information session will be permitted to submit their application despite the passing of the Jan. 17 deadline.


CPCS seeks nominations for nine awards

The Committee for Public Counsel Services is seeking nominations for nine awards which will be presented at an awards ceremony on April 25 at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston.

All nominations should be submitted to Ms. Denise Simonini, Executive Assistant to the Chief Counsel, Committee for Public Counsel Services, 44 Bromfield Street, Boston, MA 02108, by fax to 617-988-8495.

Nominations must be submitted no later than Feb. 24. All nominations must include a written explanation of why the nominee should be honored.

For a list of past award recipients, please click here.


The Jane Addams Award for Outstanding Social Service Accomplishments honors a staff social worker or social service advocate who exemplifies a commitment to clients through his or her advocacy, support, and dedication.  The Addams Award recognizes the profound impact of social workers and social service advocates serving as members of a legal team.  It is named for Jane Addams, a pioneer in establishing the field of social work and the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace prize.

The Jay D. Blitzman Award for Youth Advocacy is presented to a person who has demonstrated a commitment to juvenile rights, which is the hallmark of Judge Blitzman's long career as an advocate.  The award honors an advocate who has exhibited both extraordinary dedication and excellent performance to assure that children accused of criminal conduct, or otherwise at risk, are treated fairly and with dignity in the courtroom, in the community, and in the custody of the state.

The Carol A. Donovan Award for Exceptional Advocacy is presented to the lawyer, public or private, whose representation of poor people facing the awesome power of the state is most reminiscent of Carol's fierce commitment to their vigorous and effective representation, and the cause of equal justice for all.

The Edward J. Duggan Award for Outstanding Service is given to both a Public Defender and Private Counsel attorney and is named for Edward J. Duggan, who served continuously from 1940 to 1997 as a member of the Voluntary Defenders Committee, the Massachusetts Defenders Committee and the Committee for Public Counsel Services.  The award is presented each year to the public defender and private attorney who best represent the zealous advocacy - the central principle governing the representation of indigents in Massachusetts.

The Paul J. Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award recognizes a public defender or private attorney whose legal advocacy on behalf of persons involved in civil and/or criminal mental health proceedings best exemplifies zealous advocacy in furtherance of all clients' legal interests.

The Thurgood Marshall Award honors a person or persons who champion the cause of zealous representation for the poor and the right to effective assistance of counsel for all.

The Maura Mellen Administrative Professional Award honors an administrative staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to the delivery of zealous and effective advocacy for CPCS clients.  The award recognizes that administrative staff members perform many critical roles in the provision of zealous representation to CPCS clients.

The Maria Souto-Armand Goyette Investigator Award honors a staff investigator for outstanding investigative work.  Maria Souto was an indefatigable CPCS investigator in the Boston office.  Armand Goyette, the first investigator at the Massachusetts Defenders Committee, was recognized as a consummate criminal defense investigator who provided outstanding service for over 25 years.

The Margaret Winchester Award for Child Welfare Advocacy honors a staff member or a private attorney who, through his or her zealous advocacy and extraordinary commitment to children and parents in care and protection and other Massachusetts child welfare cases is a model for other advocates seeking to protect the rights of children and parents.

The recent amendments to the Federal Rules of
Appellate Procedure, effective December 1, 2016, make significant changes to appellate practice
before the United States Court of Appeals. These changes include a reduction in word limits for
briefs; the conversion of page limits to word counts for motions, petitions for a writ of
mandamus, petitions for rehearing/rehearing en banc and various other filings; the addition of a
requirement that most documents prepared on a computer include a certificate of compliance
with type-volume limits; and the elimination of the three-day service period for documents
served electronically. A notice, including a detailed summary of major changes and a redline
version of the full text of the amendments, is available on the First Circuit Court of Appeals
website, at, under News and Notices, as well as on the Notice of Rule
Amendments page under Rules and Procedures.