News from the Courts

Issue December 2013

Supreme Judicial Court justices appoint clerk for the commonwealth

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court have appointed Francis V. Kenneally as clerk for the commonwealth as provided in G. L. c. 221, s. 1., effective Nov. 6. The appointment fills a vacancy following the recent retirement of clerk Susan Mellen. Jane Kenworthy Lewis served as acting clerk for the commonwealth from Aug. 1 to Nov. 6.

The clerk for the commonwealth is the head of the public office that manages all aspects of bringing cases before the highest appellate court in the commonwealth. The office is responsible for the SJC's appellate caseload, attending sessions of the full court, maintaining the docket, processing all pertinent filings and serving as the court's liaison to the parties or their counsel, among other duties.

Kenneally was the first assistant clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County. Prior to his appointment to the court, he was principal and founder of the Kenneally Law Office, where his practice included representation of indigent criminal defendants in the Boston Municipal Court through Suffolk Lawyers for Justice Inc., civil litigation in construction cases, appeals, corporate law, probate and estate matters, real estate transactions and zoning and land use matters.

Worcester Trial Court Complex to be site of recidivism reduction pilot program

The Trial Court of Massachusetts has announced that the Worcester Trial Court Complex will be the site of a high-intensity pilot program designed to reduce recidivism among probationers at high risk to re-offend.

Based on a successful national model first started in Hawaii, (the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement, known as HOPE) the pilot program in Worcester will be the first state-funded program of its kind in Massachusetts, and will operate for two years.

This program will replicate the federally funded project known as Massachusetts Offender Recidivism Reduction or MORR, a demonstration project that has been in operation at the Ruane Judicial Center in Salem since 2012. Massachusetts is one of four such sites across the United States participating in a rigorous evaluation of the HOPE model.

Like the project in Salem, both the District and Superior courts will participate in the program in Worcester. Superior Court Chief Justice Barbara J. Rouse, District Court Chief Justice Paul C. Dawley and Probation Commissioner Edward J. Dolan will convene a steering committee composed of all stakeholders to guide the Worcester implementation of the program. Visit to learn more.

Land Court LAR training to come

In January 2013, the Land Court announced the issuance of Standing Order 1-12, Limited Assistance Representation (LAR). LAR is the unbundling of legal services and offers litigants the option of hiring an LAR qualified attorney for specific, limited case events as agreed between the attorney and client, instead of the standard full representation on an entire case. With LAR, litigants can engage an attorney for part of the case - a crucial event, like the case management conference or a motion to dismiss - and thereby receive the benefits of legal representation that otherwise may be cost prohibitive.

To appear as an LAR attorney, the attorney must be qualified by completing an approved and important training program. The court has been working with the Massachusetts Bar Association to create LAR training tailored to Land Court practice. Look for information about an upcoming training, featuring the Hon. Robert B. Foster, on

Amendments to Rule 43 of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure

The Supreme Judicial Court has approved amendments to Rule 43 of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Visit to view reporter's notes and notice of the change.