Thursday, Apr. 2, 2009
Aaron J.K. Ostrow
From left to right: Edward W. McIntyre, president, Massachusetts Bar Association; Kathy B. Weinman, president, Boston Bar Association; Rep. Charles A. Murphy, chair, House Committee on Ways & Means; the Hon. Paula M. Carey, Chief Justice, Probate and Family Court; the Hon. Lynda M. Connolly, Chief Justice, District Court; the Hon. Steven D. Pierce, Chief Justice, Housing Court; and Martin W. Healy, general counsel and acting executive director, Massachusetts Bar Association.
More than 100 attended Court Advocacy Day at the Statehouse
The March 31 event was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts and the Boston bar associations
More than 100 attorneys and legal advocates attended the March 31 Court Advocacy Day at the Statehouse, which was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts and the Boston bar associations.
The featured speakers focused on the need for adequate funding for the Massachusetts Court System. Those speakers were: MBA President Edward W. McIntyre, BBA President Kathy B. Weinman, Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan and Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall.
"We ask the Legislature today to fund the Massachusetts judiciary at $622.7 million to ensure the courts' core functions are sustained," McIntyre told the gathering at the Grand Staircase.
Marshall said cutting the court budget further will delay justice for many, including those dealing with foreclosures, child support and domestic violence, among other legal matters. She and Mulligan met with legislative leaders before Court Advocacy Day to share the impacts of further fiscal reductions, which include up to 375 layoffs, relocations of courthouses, delaying of restraining orders and CINS petitions, as well as an increase in the number of pre-trial detainees.
"Justice is like oxygen," Marshall said. "While you are breathing it, you barely notice that you are. Cut off the supply, and you will notice it more quickly than you realize."
After the speaking program, attendees lobbied their legislators for adequate court funding: $601.2 million for the Trial Court and another $21.5 million for the Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court. Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed a FY 2010 budget for the judiciary of $579.4 million.
For more information, see the May issue of Lawyers Journal.