Voir dire pilot to start
The Superior Court will implement the Panel Voir Dire
Pilot Project beginning Feb. 2, 2015. The project was designed as a
result of a joint effort by the Superior Court, under the
leadership of Chief Justice Judith Fabricant, and the Superior
Court Implementation Subcommittee of the Supreme Judicial Court
Committee on Juror Voir Dire.
The purpose of the project is to contribute significantly to the
ongoing evaluation by the judiciary and members of the bar as to
the efficacy of group or "panel" voir dire in jury
selections that will include questioning by attorneys or
self-represented parties pursuant to St. 2014, c. 254, § 2,
Superior Court Standing Order 1-15 ("Participation in Juror
Voir Dire by Attorneys and Self-Represented Parties"), and
any rules, protocols or guidelines the Supreme Judicial Court or
the Superior Court may hereafter adopt or approve relative to the
conduct of such questioning. The principal objective is to employ a
largely uniform "panel voir dire" method in selected civil
and criminal sessions during 2015, in order to obtain experience
and data from trial judges, attorneys, court officers, clerks,
court reporters, jurors, the Office of Jury Commissioner and other
identified stakeholders concerning the effectiveness and benefits
of a panel method as compared to individual questioning.
Over the next year, that experience and data will be the subject
of detailed consideration by the Supreme Judicial Court Committee
on Voir Dire, in an effort by the judiciary to identify
best practices, with due regard to the goals of permitting
attorneys and self-represented parties a fair and meaningful
opportunity to participate in voir dire, supporting all
stakeholders' efforts to identify inappropriate bias, and
conducting jury selection with reasonable expedition while always
respecting the dignity and privacy of each potential juror. Visit
the Trial Court's website to learn more about the project and its
procedures, including participating judges and sessions.
Advisory committee re-convened to consider Boston vacancy
U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey have
announced that the Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial
Nominations will re-convene to consider applications for a federal
judicial vacancy in Boston. Candidates interested in applying for a
U.S. District Court nomination must submit their applications to
the Advisory Committee by Feb. 23, 2015.
The Advisory Committee, first appointed in March 2013, solicits,
interviews and comments on applications for federal District Court
vacancies. The Advisory Committee is comprised of distinguished
members of the Massachusetts legal community, including prominent
academics and litigators and is chaired by former District Court
Judge Nancy Gertner.
Applications for Boston vacancies are reviewed by Massachusetts
attorneys Pamela Berman, Jack Corrigan, Marianne LeBlanc, Willard
P. Ogburn, Walter Prince, Sue Reid and Georgia Katsoulomitis. In
addition to these individuals, and Gertner, Dean Camille Nelson of
Suffolk University Law School, Professor Mary Sarah Bilder of
Boston College Law School, Professor Andrew Kaufman of Harvard Law
School and attorney Mike Mone, representing the Massachusetts Bar
Association, will review all applications.
Interested candidates may access an application at Warren's website.
Trial Court creates Twitter account for court closings
The Massachusetts Trial Court has created a Twitter account -
@macourtclosings - as an additional method to quickly share news of
a court closure. Twitter notifications will allow instantaneous
one-way communication to those who use Twitter and who follow or
check the @macourtclosings account.