News from the courts/agencies

Thursday, May. 4, 2017
Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. to become Senior Judge of U.S. District Court; Miriam Conrad reappointed Federal Public Defender for the Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island; Notice of vacancies on the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee; SJC approves amendments to Rule 55 (b) (4) of the Mass. Rules of Civil Procedure
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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.
WHERE:
Franklin County Justice Center
43 Hope Street, Greenfield, MA 01301
WHEN:
Friday, April 7, 2017
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. to become Senior Judge of U.S. District Court

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. of the United States District Court of the District of Massachusetts has advised President Trump that he will become a Senior Judge as of January 1, 2018. Judge O'Toole received his commission from President Clinton in 1995.

Chief Judge Patti B. Saris said: "When Judge O'Toole became a federal judge in 1995, he brought to our court a wealth of experience as a state judge, as well as a private litigator. Throughout his career, he has epitomized the learned, careful, fair-minded judge. He has presided over some of the District's most important cases, including most prominently the Boston Marathon bombing trial. Luckily for all of us, Judge O'Toole will continue to serve as a senior judge on the court."

Throughout his tenure on the court, Judge O'Toole has been active in judicial administration. At the local level, he has served at various times as the court's liaison judge to the magistrate judges, the pretrial services office, the pro se staff attorneys, and the media. He is currently a member of the court's internal committee on information technology. At the national level, he has served as a member of the Judicial Conference Committee on Security and Facilities (1999 to 2005) and Committee on Judicial Security (2005 to 2007). He is currently a member of the Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System.

Judge O'Toole has been a frequent participant and presenter at educational panels sponsored by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the Federal Judicial Center, law schools, bar associations, and similar organizations. He is a member of the Boston Intellectual Property American Inn of Court, currently serving as its vice president.

Prior to joining the federal bench, Judge O'Toole served as an associate justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court (1990 to 1995) and the Boston Municipal Court (1982 to 1990). Before that he was engaged in the private practice of law as a litigator with the Boston firm of Hale and Dorr, now WilmerHale. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School. He earned his baccalaureate degree from Boston College.

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Miriam Conrad reappointed Federal Public Defender for the Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island

Chief Judge Jeffrey R. Howard of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has announced that Miriam Conrad has been reappointed to a fourth term as Federal Public Defender for the Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Conrad has served as Federal Public Defender since 2005. Before her appointment to this role, she served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Massachusetts office from 1992 to 2005. Conrad received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1987.

First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David J. Barron, Chair of the Reappointment Committee, stated that "the First Circuit Court of Appeals is confident that Ms. Conrad will continue to serve expertly the Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island as Federal Public Defender." Chief Judge Howard expressed his gratitude to Judge Barron for serving as Chair of the Committee. The Chief Judge also sincerely thanked Professor Ronald Sullivan, Jr. of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Jaye Rancourt, Esq. of Manchester, New Hampshire; Kara Hoopis Manosh, Esq. of Warwick, Rhode Island; and Susan Goldberg, Circuit Executive, for their efforts as members of the Committee.

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Notice of vacancies on the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court invite applications for appointment to the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee (MHLAC) for terms ending in June 2021.

MHLAC provides legal and policy advocacy to people with mental health concerns throughout the commonwealth, with a focus on issues related to clients' ability to remain independent and to avoid abuse in community and institutional settings. Attorneys with experience in the delivery of legal services to indigent persons with mental health concerns; familiarity with clinical milieu; or background in mental health law and civil rights advocacy, are encouraged to apply.

Committee members attend quarterly meetings in Boston and serve on subcommittees. One page resumes with cover letters should be submitted by mail at Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, MA, 02108 by May 31. If you have questions about the application process or the position, please contact Mona or Phillip Kassel, executive director, MHLAC.

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SJC approves amendments to Rule 55 (b) (4) of the Mass. Rules of Civil Procedure

The Supreme Judicial Court has approved amendments to Rule 55 (b) (4) of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, effective May 1.

Amendments to Rule 55 (b)(4) of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure