Court and Community News

Thursday, April 7, 2022
Hon. David J. Barron becomes next chief judge of First Circuit Court of Appeals; Trial Court awarded grants to expand family treatment court program, reduce probationer recidivism; CARES Act Bankruptcy Code amendments expire; Updates to certain form and dollar amounts applicable to bankruptcy cases; Job openings: Administrative attorney at the Office of the Commissioner of Probation

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Hon. David J. Barron becomes next chief judge of First Circuit Court of Appeals 

On Friday, April 1, Hon. David J. Barron became the 11th chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, a position created by Congress in 1948. The chief judge of the circuit assumes the position based on seniority, as authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 45.

Barron succeeds Judge Jeffrey R. Howard, who has served with distinction as chief judge for his seven-year term. On March 31, Howard retired from regular, active service as a U.S. Circuit judge, but continues to render substantial service to the judiciary as a senior judge.

The chief judge is the executive officer of the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the chair of the Judicial Council of the First Circuit, which oversees the administration of the Court of Appeals, as well as the federal trial and bankruptcy courts in the Districts of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island. Barron is also responsible for representing the First Circuit in biannual meetings of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the judiciary's national policy-making body.

Barron has served on the First Circuit Court of Appeals for nearly eight years. He was nominated by President Barack Obama on Jan. 6, 2014, and received commission on May 23, 2014. Barron graduated from Harvard College in 1989 and thereafter worked as a newspaper reporter until 1991, when he began attending Harvard Law School.

After graduating from law school in 1994, Barron clerked for Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1994 to 1995, and for Justice John Paul Stevens of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1995 to 1996.

Following these clerkships, Barron worked as an attorney advisor for the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice until 1999, when he became an assistant professor at Harvard Law School. In 2004, Barron became a full professor at Harvard Law School, where he worked until he rejoined the Justice Department as acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel from 2009 to 2010.

Barron returned to the Harvard Law School faculty in 2010, where he was named the S. William Green Professor of Public Law in 2011, and worked until his appointment to the federal bench in 2014. Barron continues to teach at Harvard Law School as the Louis D. Brandeis Visiting Professor of Law.

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Trial Court awarded grants to expand family treatment court program, reduce probationer recidivism

Trial Court Chief Justice Jeffrey Locke and Trial Court Administrator John Bello announced this week that the Trial Court recently received two federal grants totaling $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to support family treatment courts and the court’s efforts to reduce rates of recidivism among high-risk probationers.

Family Treatment Court Program

The Juvenile Court received a $1.5 million three-year grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention within the Office of Justice Programs to implement the Prevention and Treatment for the Health and Stability of Children and Families (PATHS) Project.  

The PATHS Project will support the development of sustainable, judiciary-led, cross-system solutions that improve safety, permanency and well-being for children, parents and families impacted by substance use disorder. The Trial Court will use the grant to conduct a county-based, statewide needs assessment through a newly developed and cutting-edge child welfare mapping tool. This award will also fund the integration of Family Treatment Court best practices in all child welfare cases in Juvenile Court, and the expansion of Family Treatment Court sessions throughout the state.

Partners on this project include the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, Court Improvement Program, Department of Mental Health, Massachusetts Probation Service, National Center for State Courts, and Casey Family Programs. 

Priority considerations in this application include high-poverty areas, Qualified Opportunity Zones, communities with higher percentages of people of color, and rural regions.

High-Risk Probationer Recidivism Reduction Project

The Trial Court was awarded $1.1 million from the Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance to support its High-Risk Probationer Recidivism Reduction Project.

The Massachusetts Probation Service will use the four-and-a-half-year federal grant to expand its work with the commonwealth’s highest-risk young offenders, helping them to achieve long-term sustained behavior change and reduce rates of recidivism. The Trial Court issued a statewide procurement for a nonprofit direct service provider to participate in this project and ultimately selected Roca, Inc., headquartered in Chelsea. 

Through this project, Roca will engage 180 high-risk young people in Suffolk and Hampden counties using its proven Intervention Model. These young people will be enrolled in a four-year, cognitive behavioral therapy-based intervention focused on creating a safe space for young people, addressing their trauma, and helping them develop and practice the skills they need for long-term behavior change.

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CARES Act Bankruptcy Code amendments expire

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, and included certain temporary amendments to the Bankruptcy Code. See CARES Act, Div. A, Title I § 1113. On March 27, 2021, the COVID-19 Bankruptcy Relief Extension Act of 2021 was signed into law and extended the CARES Act’s bankruptcy-related amendments for an additional year. The CARES Act was not further extended and its provisions, including the bankruptcy-related amendments, sunset on March 27, 2022.

As a result of the expiration of the CARES Act, Official Forms 101, 122A-1, 122B-1, 122C-1 and 201 have reverted back to the pre-CARES Act versions. More information about the updated forms can be found here. These changes are in addition to the changes in forms resulting from upward dollar amount adjustments in certain Bankruptcy Code provisions (see below) that went into effect on April 1, 2022.

There remains a possibility that these CARES Act provisions could be renewed or extended retroactively at a later time, in which case the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts will notify practitioners.

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Updates to certain form and dollar amounts applicable to bankruptcy cases

Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 104, the dollar amounts reflected in multiple sections of the Bankruptcy Code and 28 U.S.C. § 1409(b) are adjusted every three years to reflect the change in the consumer price index published by the Department of Labor. The next adjustment to such dollar amounts took place on April 1, 2022, and applies to cases filed on or after that date. The adjustments will also result in corresponding updates to the following forms:

  • Official Form 106C, Schedule C: The Property You Claim as Exempt
  • Official Form 107, Statement of Financial Affairs for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy
  • Official Form 122A-2, Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation
  • Official Form 122C-2, Chapter 13 Calculation of Your Disposable Income
  • Official Form 201, Voluntary Petition for Non-Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy
  • Official Form 207, Statement of Financial Affairs for Non-Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy
  • Official Form 410, Proof of Claim
  • Director's Form 2000, Required Lists, Schedules, Statements, and Fees
  • Director's Form 2830, Chapter 13 Debtor's Certifications Regarding Domestic Support Obligations and Section 522(q)

For additional information regarding the updates to the forms, click here

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Job Openings

Administrative attorney at the Office of the Commissioner of Probation 

Working within the Office of the Commissioner of Probation (OCP), an administrative attorney provides specialized administrative and legal assistance within the OCP Legal Unit under the direction of the deputy commissioner/legal counsel for the Massachusetts Probation Services. 

Primary tasks include researching legal issues; making recommendations to the deputy commissioner/legal Counsel, OCP executive and senior staff, or probation field staff; assisting the Records Unit with legal issues; and assisting with OCP human resources issues.

Applicants must have a J.D. degree from an accredited law school and an active license in good standing to practice law in Massachusetts from the Board of Bar Overseers, along with two or more years as a practicing attorney or equivalent legal experience, preferably including work experience in criminal, civil or juvenile court litigation.

Click here for more information and to apply.