Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Sep. 23, 2010
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News from the courts

CJAM presents overview of Trial Court’s challenges; Massachusetts Appeals Court to hold sitting at UMass School of Law on Sept. 27

Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan provided a sobering overview of the state of the Trial Court Department to the Massachusetts Bar Association's House of Delegates meeting on Sept. 16.

One bright spot he noted is the nearing completion of three new courthouse complexes, as well as several new and recent initiatives that are improving service.

"We're in a very difficult situation" as the Trial Courts await their budget for fiscal 2011, Mulligan told the group. After absorbing $70 million reduction in funding over the last two years, the courts are anticipating another $10 million reduction for fiscal 2011 and could expect further reductions in fiscal 2012.

He thanked the MBA for its advocacy during the budget process, saying the budget is "not what we need, but it's better than what it would have been."

Mulligan noted that the courts have made a number of drastic cost-cutting measures, including: reducing staff through attrition, consolidating courthouses, moving some courts out of leased property and into state-owned buildings, reducing energy costs by millions of dollars through green initiatives, and asking judges to volunteer for five-day furloughs.

"We're trying to save money wherever we can," he said.

At the Sept. 16 meeting, Mulligan said he expected to reach a decision on which courthouses to close and relocate before the end of the month. Those savings would begin in fiscal 2011.

Look for more information about Mulligan's overview of the Trial Court Department in the October Lawyers Journal.


A panel of three justices of the Massachusetts Appeals Court will hear oral arguments in six appeals in a special session to be held at the UMass School of Law, 333 Faunce Corner Road, North Dartmouth, on Monday Sept. 27 at 9:30 a.m. The sitting, part of the Appeals Court's continuing outreach to communities outside Boston, is open to the public.

Oral arguments for each case take approximately thirty minutes. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. The SJC Rule for cameras in the courtroom will apply.  Interested media representatives should contact Tina LaFranchi in advance of the sitting.

Immediately following the session, members of the panel, Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza, Hon. Elspeth Cypher and Hon. Mark Green will conduct an informal question and answer period for the students on general topics related to the role of Massachusetts Appeals Court. (Pending matters will not be discussed.) Chief Justice Rapoza is a former justice of the Fall River District Court.



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