News from the courts/agencies

Thursday, Sep. 7, 2017
SJC announces quorum change, sitting weeks for September, October
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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.


SJC announces quorum change

The Supreme Judicial Court has announced a change in the number of Justices who will hear and decide most Full Court cases during the next court term. Beginning with the September 2017 sitting, the quorum will consist of six Justices for most cases. The quorum for the final day of each month's sitting, traditionally reserved for argument in first degree murder appeals, will remain unchanged with five Justices participating.

The change to the composition of the quorum revives the court's past practice of limiting the Single Justice's participation in a Full Court sitting, to give the Single Justice more time to consider other matters that arise throughout the month. One of the Associate Justices sits as Single Justice each month on a rotating schedule and considers numerous and varied civil and criminal matters as well as bar discipline cases.

"The work of the Single Justice is of vital importance to the court's jurisprudence and this change will allow the Single Justice to devote more time and energy to the volume of petitions and complaints that are filed," said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants. "With a quorum of six Justices, the seventh Justice will be added to the quorum in the event of an equally divided court."

The Full Court renders approximately 200 written decisions each year; the Single Justices decide approximately 600 cases annually. Calendars of cases that will be heard by the Full Court and by the Single Justices are available online here.


SJC announces sitting weeks for September, October

The Supreme Judicial Court has posted its calendar of sitting weeks for September and October. The calendar of cases that are scheduled to be heard along with links to the briefs that have been filed in those cases is available here. The protocol governing access to the Seven Justice Courtroom is available here.