News from the courts/agencies

Thursday, Jul. 27, 2017
Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants to succeed retiring Justice Geraldine Hines as co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission
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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.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants will succeed retiring Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Geraldine Hines as co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission, the court announced this week.  Chief Justice Gants had previously co-chaired the Commission from 2010 to 2015.

"We look forward to welcoming back Chief Justice Gants as co-chair of the Commission," said Commission co-chair Susan M. Finegan, of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. "He has been a national leader on access to justice issues for many years, and we are honored to have him serve in this role again."

The Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission was established by order of the Supreme Judicial Court to provide leadership, vision and coordination in the search for equal justice for all persons in the Commonwealth. The Commission's membership includes representatives from the court system, legal aid organizations, bar associations, social service agencies, the private bar, law schools, businesses, and clients, working together to promote equal access to justice.

Supreme Judicial Court Justice Hines is stepping down this summer after having served on the bench for 16 years, first on the Superior Court and then on the Appeals Court before she was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court in 2014 by Governor Deval Patrick. Before becoming a judge, Justice Hines practiced as an attorney for three decades, during which she litigated many civil rights cases.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Gants said of Justice Hines that she "has devoted her entire life to speaking truth to power on behalf of people who have not been heard, and we have been very fortunate to benefit from her wisdom, experience, and leadership at the helm of the Access to Justice Commission."

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Gants will assume Justice Hines' duties as Commission Co-Chair later this month.

After an 11-year tenure on the Superior Court, Chief Justice Gants was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court as an Associate Justice in 2009 and was sworn in as Chief Justice by Governor Patrick in 2014.