Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011
Top from left to right: MBA COO and Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy and MBA President Denise Squillante listen to Chief Justice Rapoza's report on the Massachusetts Appeals Court at the Jan. 20 House of Delegates meeting.
Bottom from left to right: MBA Vice President Jeffrey N. Catalano presents an MBA Centennial Award to Hon. Peter W. Agnes Jr. Shirley A. Doyle accepts an MBA Centennial Award from MBA Secretary Marsha V. Kazarosian. MBA Vice President Douglas K. Sheff presents an MBA Centennial Award to James G. Reardon Jr., who accepted the award on behalf of his father, James G. Reardon, who passed away in 1999.
Photos by Tricia Oliver.
Votes on alimony reform and cameras in the courtroom headline Jan. 20 HOD meeting
Chief Justice Rapoza provides encouraging report
Massachusetts Appeals Court Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza was
invited by MBA President Denise Squillante to address the members
of the MBA House of Delegates last week in Worcester. Rapoza's
remarks set the tone for a productive meeting that included votes
on key issues, including The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 and
amendments to SJC Rule 1.19 involving cameras in the
Rapoza provided an upbeat report on the state of the Massachusetts
Appeals Court peppered with encouraging statistics on case flow
improvements. Rapoza reported that 2,283 appeals were filed last
year, making it the third highest caseload in the history of the
Appeals Court, with the previous year being the second highest with
2,355 appeals. Despite the high volume, he offered statistics to
showcase court efficiencies. Specifically, from 2001 to 2009, the
time from full briefing of civil cases to oral argument decreased
from 22 months to five months and from 14 to four months for
criminal cases. In addition, 41 days were shed from the duration
between oral argument and decision rendered in criminal cases from
2001 to 2010, while 38 days were trimmed in civil cases from
2001 to 2010. He also spoke to the significant budget and staff
reductions experienced in the last few years, but also mentioned
technological innovations undertaken despite the reduction in human
"The Appeals Court is second to none in the quality of its
jurisprudence," said Rapoza, who blended his report of the Appeals
Court with timeless themes of justice. "Justice is not only a basic
human right. Justice is also a basic human need," he said.
Delegates then swiftly moved through the meeting agenda. The
delegation's key votes included:
- Vote to support The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 that more
clearly defines and sets limits of duration of alimony, provides
opportunity to end alimony at retirement, alters alimony when
ex-spouses cohabitate with new partners, adds factors to consider
in an alimony order and allows judicial discretion to deviate based
upon particular case law.
- Vote against the proposed amendments to Supreme Judicial Court
Rule 1:19, Cameras in the Courts, that would expand the definition
of media and allow media to operate an electronic device in the
courtroom and permit live blogging to take place from the
courtroom. The House called for further review and input on the
amendments set forth by the SJC's Judiciary-Media Committee.
- Vote to support a resolution on medical-legal partnerships by
encouraging lawyers, firms, legal services agencies, law schools
and bar associations to develop medial-legal partnership with
hospital, community-based health care providers and social service
organizations to help resolve legal matters affecting patients'
health and well being.
- Vote in support of legislation to end life sentences without
parole for juvenile offenders.
The business portion of the meeting was followed by the
presentation of three Centennial Awards to the late James G.
Reardon, Shirley A. Doyle and the Hon. Peter W. Agnes Jr. Click here to learn more about these
Worcester-based honorees and see the March issue of Lawyers
Journal for a full report on the Jan. 20 House of Delegates