Interested parties may file their briefs in the Office of the Clerk for the Commonwealth, John Adams Courthouse, Suite 1-400, One Pemberton Square, Boston MA 02108-1724. Phone: 617-557-1020

Parties filing amicus briefs are expected to comply with the requirements of Rules 17,19 and 20 of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure. Amicus briefs, to assist the court, should focus on the ramifications of a decision and not solely on the interests of the parties filing such briefs. Amicus submissions are due no later than two weeks before the first day of the sitting in which the case is scheduled for argument.

The Supreme Judicial Court is soliciting amicus briefs or memoranda from interested parties in the following matters pending before the court:

March 2017 Announcements

Care and Protection of Joseph C.

1.  Whether, at a "72-hour hearing," where the trial court is considering whether a child will remain in the custody of the Department of Children and Families pending a final hearing on the merits of a care and protection petition, the judge must comply with the certification and determination requirements of G. L. c. 119, § 29C (regarding the department's reasonable efforts to eliminate the need for removal of the child from the home); whether the certification and determination requirements apply only at the initial, ex parte hearing or also at the 72-hour hearing.

2.  Where G. L. c. 119, § 29C, delineates certain exceptions from the "reasonable efforts" requirement, none of which applies in the circumstances of the case, whether DCF may be excused on any other basis from making reasonable efforts to eliminate the need for removal of the child from his home.

Commonwealth vs. A Juvenile

Whether, under G. L. c. 119, § 54, an offense causing serious bodily injury to a nonhuman animal qualifies as an offense that "involves the infliction . . . of serious bodily harm" for purposes of supporting a youthful offender indictment.

John Doe No. 209081 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board

Whether the person appointed to conduct a final classification hearing, pursuant to G. L. c. 6, § 178L, must inquire of the sex offender as to whether the sex offender's purported waiver of the statutory right to counsel is knowing, intelligent and voluntary.

Omari Peterson vs. Commonwealth

Where a defendant's criminal conviction was vacated on direct appeal on the ground that certain evidence should have been suppressed, but the appellate court did not reach his alternative argument that the knife he was convicted of possessing was not unlawful under G. L. c. 269, § 10 (b), whether he may establish preliminary eligibility under the erroneous conviction statute, G. L. c. 258D, § 1 (B) (ii), by alleging that he was innocent of the underlying crime.

February 2017 Announcements

Timothy Deal & another vs. Commissioner of Correction

1.  Whether the Department of Correction in conducting classification hearings as part of an "individualized determination of a juvenile offender's suitability for placement in minimum security,"  Deal v. Commissioner of Correction, 475 Mass. 307, 318 (2016), must provide certain procedural protections, including, but not limited to, access to counsel, at the hearing.   
2.  Whether the department impermissibly applies discretionary classification override codes in making its classification decisions, specifically, the decision of whether a juvenile offender qualifies for placement in minimum security, in violation of G. L. c. 119, § 72B.

Sreynuon Lunn vs. Commonwealth

1.  Whether a State court in Massachusetts has the authority temporarily to hold an individual, or otherwise order or arrange for him to be held, solely on the basis of a so-called "ICE detainer," after the criminal charges against him have been dismissed (or after he has posted bail or been ordered released on personal recognizance).

2.  Whether the detention of an individual pursuant to an ICE detainer that was issued without a prior determination of probable cause by a neutral magistrate, and without there having been an opportunity for the individual to challenge the issuance of the detainer, violates the individual's Federal and State constitutional rights.

3.  Whether, as a matter of Federal law, a State court is required to comply with an ICE detainer; if not, in what circumstances can a court comply with the detainer voluntarily without violating the individual's Federal and State constitutional rights.  

(Amicus briefs on or before March 10, 2017).

Energy Express, Inc. vs. Department of Public Utilities

Where G. L. c. 164, § 94F, provides, in part, that "the [Department of Public Utilities] . . . may order [a] gas company to refund to its customers any sums refunded to said gas company . . . and may impose such restrictions, limitations, terms and conditions in such order as are considered necessary by it," whether the department permissibly ordered Bay State Gas Company, to return a portion of a refund that it received from an interstate pipeline, which was valued at approximately $30 million, to ratepayers, but not to natural gas marketers, including Energy Express, Inc., which purportedly paid excessive rates.

Beacon Residential Management, LP vs. Kaylem Pipkin & others

Pursuant to the Federal Violence Against Women Act, 42 U.S.C. § 14043e-11 (b) (1),  whether a person who is (1) the spouse of a tenant in a rent-subsidized apartment, but not herself a lawful occupant of the apartment, and (2) the mother of two minor children who are lawful occupants of the apartment, has a right to intervene in a summary process action against the tenant to assert either her own right to tenancy or the children's rights to tenancy; whether such a person may be disqualified from intervening in the action because of her alleged fraud or misconduct.

January 2017 Announcements