Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Mar. 22, 2012
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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 19.

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 Homicide.

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]



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