The Massachusetts Juvenile Bar Association (MJBA) in March
presented its Chief Justice Francis J. Poitrast Award to
Massachusetts Bar Association Chief Legal Counsel and Chief
Operating Officer Martin W. Healy during the MJBA's Annual
Conference in Sturbridge.
Healy was honored for his advocacy on behalf of the juvenile
justice system, including his efforts to increase compensation for
attorneys who handle juvenile cases through the Committee for
Public Counsel Services (CPCS). The MJBA created the award in 1993
in honor of Chief Justice Francis J. Poitrast, the Juvenile Court's
first chief justice, who is considered the architect of the
statewide Juvenile Court system.
"[Healy], like Judge Poitrast, can be described as an astute
practitioner of law who is as comfortable in the halls of Beacon
Hill as in the halls of justice," said Suffolk County Juvenile
Court First Justice Terry Craven during her introduction of Healy
at the awards luncheon. "He is the perfect example of an
extraordinary individual who through his work has contributed to
the advancement of child welfare and juvenile justice."
Healy, who has also handled delinquency cases pro bono for many
years, said it was an honor to receive an award named for Chief
Justice Poitrast, whom he called "a giant in every way." He thanked
the MJBA, his MBA colleagues, his family and the several Juvenile
Court judges and officials in the room, calling the award one of
the highlights of his career.
In his acceptance remarks, Healy noted that both the House and
Senate had approved raising the hourly cap from 1,650 hours for
children in family law cases to 1,800 as part of a supplemental
budget piece pending on Beacon Hill. Healy urged the roughly 130
MJBA members and judges in attendance to contact their legislators
and join in the call for improved funding and lesser restrictions
on private attorneys handling juvenile cases.
Also at the awards luncheon, Nancy Hathaway, an attorney with
CPCS' Children and Family Law Division, was given the Judge Leo J.
Lydon Award for her representation of Justina Pelletier during the
teenager's highly publicized custody ordeal.