Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011
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News from the courts

2011 Edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence now available; SJC assessing task force action plan on Probation Department reform; U.S. Court of Appeals provides notice of proposed amendments to Local Rule 46.0(f)

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2011 Edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence now available

The Supreme Judicial Court and its Executive Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law has announced the release of the 2011 edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence. The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court recommend use of the guide by the bench, bar and public.

The 2011 edition is the third annual edition of the guide. It is available without charge on the Supreme Judicial Court, Appeals Court and Trial Court Web sites. The official print edition of the 2011 edition is available for purchase from the Flaschner Judicial Institute, which is again providing a complimentary copy to every judge in the commonwealth.   

The Massachusetts Guide to Evidence assembles existing Massachusetts evidence law in an easy-to-use document organized similarly to the Federal Rules of Evidence. The guide includes extensive explanatory notes and citations to pertinent authorities. Click here to learn more.

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SJC assessing task force action plan on Probation Department reform

The Supreme Judicial Court is currently reviewing the recommendations in the "Action Plan for Reform and Renewal of Probation Department Hiring and Promotion Practices," which was delivered to the court on Feb. 10 by the SJC's Task Force chaired by former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.

The comprehensive report calls for immediate action by the court and Legislature to restore the integrity in the hiring and promotion practices in the Probation Department. The action plan outlines a detailed and substantive series of steps that the task force believes will transform the Probation Department's formerly corrupted hiring process into a national model.

The action steps include the following:

  • Adoption of seven nationally recognized and proven principles for recruiting, hiring and promoting high quality probation officers;
  • Implementation of a plan for recruiting, hiring and retaining chief probation officers of proven quality in positions that now are vacant or filled by acting chiefs;
  • Installation of an application tracking system that records all phases of the application process, all actions taken by those involved in hiring and promotion of an applicant and all recommendations and references any applicant receives;
  • Prompt restoration of managerial controls that were taken away from the Chief Justice for Administration and Management in 2002;
  • Prompt review of staffing levels in the Probation Department to insure that that the staff is appropriate for the number of cases the department is handling and that workloads are appropriately distributed; and
  • Oversight of probation hiring and promotion by an outside entity for the next two years with periodic public reports of the reforms being implemented in the department and the results of such reforms.

Click here to learn more.

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U.S. Court of Appeals provides notice of proposed amendments to Local Rule 46.0(f)


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has provided notice that it proposes amendments to Local Rule 46.0(f) (Standing Rule Governing Appearance and Argument by Eligible Law Students). Click here to view the amendments. Comments are due by Wednesday, March 16.

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