Amendments to Rule 26 of the Massachusetts Rules of
Civil Procedure approved
The Supreme Judicial Court has approved amendments to Rule 26 of
the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, effective July 1.
Reporter's Notes are available at www.mass.gov/courts.
Rules Advisory Committee selected for the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the First Circuit
Chief Judge Jeffrey R. Howard of the United States Court of
Appeals for the First Circuit has announced that three new members
were appointed to the Court's Rules Advisory Committee: E. Abim
Thomas of Massachusetts, Gustavo Gelpi Sr. of Puerto Rico, and
Donald C. Lockhart of Rhode Island. Attorneys Thomas, Gelpi and
Lockhart will be replacing retiring members Heidi Nadel of
Massachusetts, Ricardo Casellas of Puerto Rico and Lynette Labinger
of Rhode Island. Lockhart will also serve as the new chairperson
for the committee, replacing outgoing chairperson Ricardo
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2077, the new members were selected to
the committee to make recommendations regarding the rules of
practice and internal operating procedures for the First Circuit
Court of Appeals and the First Circuit Judicial Council. Howard
thanked the retiring members for their commendable service and
welcomed the new members.
Trial Court announces opening of fifth Court Service
The Trial Court has announced that Court Service Centers are now
operating in five courthouses across the state. The Trial Court's
hope is to locate one Court Service Center in each of the state's
15 largest courthouses. The Court Service Centers are a key part of
the Trial Court's mission to help people who are representing
themselves in court to access the court system.
Court Service Centers provide resources to help members of the
public and self-represented litigants navigate the court system. It
is estimated that civil legal aid programs in Massachusetts turn
away more than 60 percent of indigent clients who are eligible for
civil legal aid and are seeking services due to a lack of adequate
funding. Court Service Centers are one way that the court system is
working to provide equal access to those who do not have attorneys.
Earlier this month, the National Center for Access to Justice
released its 2016 Justice Index, measuring how all 50 states, the
District of Columbia and Puerto Rico ensure equal justice for all.
The Massachusetts court system ranked second in the nation overall,
behind only the District of Columbia, and was ranked second in
services for people without lawyers, due to the expansion of Court
Service Centers across the state.
Three chief probation officers appointed by Probation
New chief probation officers have been appointed by Commissioner
of Probation Edward J. Dolan to serve in three separate district
courts across the state - the Nantucket and Edgartown, Hingham and
Clinton district courts.
Jennifer Pease, chief probation officer at the Nantucket and
Edgartown District Courts, began her new job mid-May. Hingham
District Court Chief Probation Officer Jennifer Brady has been on
the job since April, and Chief Patrick Ball of Clinton District
began in March. The three chiefs are among a group of 11 newly
appointed chief probation officers across the state.
Trial Court establishes best practice principles in
The Massachusetts Trial Court has announced that the four Trial
Court departments with criminal jurisdiction have issued
comprehensive criminal sentencing reports, including best practice
principles to assist judges in developing individualized,
evidence-based sentences that are intended to improve offenders'
chances of success upon release, reduce recidivism and better
secure public safety.
The Sentencing Best Practice Principles state that sentences
should be proportionate to the gravity of the offense, the harm
done to crime victims and the role of the offender. A sentence
should be no more severe than necessary to achieve its purposes,
and special conditions of probation should be narrowly tailored to
the needs of the defendant, the public and the victim, because an
excessive number of special conditions may increase rather than
decrease the likelihood of recidivism. The principles also
encourage judges to inform defendants at the time of sentencing
that the court will consider early termination of their probation
or lift some conditions if they fully comply. Visit
www.mass.gov/courts for more information.