Thursday, Mar. 22, 2012
News from the courts
Courthouse signs on camera use; SJC Committee on Model Jury Instructions on Homicide invites comments on proposed revised model jury instructions on homicide
Courthouse signs on camera use
A sign detailing the trial court
policy regarding the use of cameras in courthouses by the general
public has been developed and was posted by security on March
The trial court decided to post the
policy as a result of the proliferation of electronic devices with
camera capability and a number of court proceedings impacted by
inappropriate camera use.
The sign specifies that the use of any camera, including those in
cell phones, tablets, or other electronic devices, is prohibited
inside a courthouse. It also indicates that cell phones must be
turned off inside a courtroom.
Court officers working in concert with the presiding judge may
determine a need to confiscate a device that is used in violation
of this policy and to require removal of the party from the
courtroom or courthouse.
The Supreme Judicial Court recently updated Rule 1:19 to address
the issue of electronic access to the courts for the news media.
The new rule, which becomes effective on July 1, 2012, will allow
news media to register with the Public Information Office in order
to use electronic devices in the courtroom.
SJC Committee on Model Jury
Instructions on Homicide invites comments on proposed revised model
jury instructions on homicide
In 1999, Supreme Judicial Court justices approved and
recommended the use of Model Jury Instructions on Homicide (1999
Model Instructions). In 2010, the justices created a new committee
on Model Jury Instructions on Homicide (committee), and charged it
with reviewing and updating the 1999 Model Jury Instructions on
Because of the many relevant legal developments since 1999 and the
committee's decision to reorder some of the instructions, the
justices have authorized the committee to post the Proposed Revised Model Jury Instructions on
Homicide for public comment.
These revised instructions do not include instructions for motor
vehicle homicide; the revision of those instructions has not yet
been completed. The committee welcomes all comments pertaining to
the issues raised by this proposal and will make recommendations to
the SJC after reviewing the comments submitted. When submitting
comments, please clearly identify the page number, specific
instruction, and the specific language in the instruction that you
are commenting on; suggest alternative language, if appropriate;
and provide any applicable authority for your position.
Comments should be directed to The Committee on Model Jury
Instructions on Homicide, c/o Attorney Barbara Berenson, Supreme
Judicial Court, second floor, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton
Square, Boston MA 02108 on or before May 31; comments may also be
sent to [e-mail barbara.berenson]