Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012
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News from the courts

Trial Court designates judges to manage drug lab cases; MBA leader to help lead search for probation commissioner

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Trial Court designates judges to manage drug lab cases

The trial court has established designated sessions for the purpose of assigning counsel and addressing the immediate liberty interests of the incarcerated defendants serving time in connection with a drug conviction stemming from a questionable drug analysis at the Hinton State Lab.

In each county the departmental chief justices have designated the these judges to oversee that department's cases and ensure expeditious processing. Approximately three-quarters of these initial cases are in the superior court and the remaining cases are split between the Boston Municipal Court and the district court.  The information available indicates that there are no juveniles presently committed to DYS on a drug offense.


Meetings continue with the district attorneys and defense bar in each county to establish court dates for these cases in the next several weeks. The dates will vary county to county. The trial court is ready and available to handle cases immediately. Suffolk Superior Court has scheduled cases for the weeks of Oct. 15 and Oct. 22. Court locations have been determined based on proximity to their county House of Correction to facilitate processing. Videoconferencing will be used wherever possible.

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MBA leader to help lead search for probation commissioner

GartenbergMassachusetts Bar Association Executive Management Board member Lee Gartenberg will sit on a recently formed committee to assist the trial court with the selection of a new Commissioner of Probation for Massachusetts. The committee was convened by Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan and Court Administrator Lewis H. "Harry" Spence. Acting commissioner Ronald P. Corbett Jr. will retire in January 2013.

Committee members include officials from within and external to the court system who are familiar with the role and services provided by probation, as a critical component of the criminal justice system. The committee will work with executive search firm Isaacson Miller, which was selected through an RFP process to assist with recruiting and screening candidates. The committee will conduct interviews and recommend finalists for consideration. The trial court's human resources staff will support the committee during the process.

Isaacson Miller has initiated a data collection process to enable preparation of a challenge document for dissemination to criminal justice professionals across the country. Those with information on potential candidates or sources for potential candidates are encouraged to forward recommendations to the Isaacson Miller search team at [e-mail 4661].

Committee members include:

  • Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan;
  • Court Administrator Lewis H. "Harry" Spence;
  • Mass. Sentencing Commission Executive Director Francis J. Carney, Ph.D.;
  • Acting Commissioner of Probation Ronald Corbett, Ed. D.;
  • Chief Probation Officer Sophia O'Brien (ret.);
  • Hon. Stacey Fortes-White, district court;
  • Hon. John Lu, superior court probation committee chair;
  • Hon. Edward Redd, Boston Municipal Court (ret.);
  • Secretary Mary E. Heffernan, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security;
  • Parole Board Chair Josh Wall;
  • Executive Director Christine Cole, Harvard JFK School Program in Criminal Justice; chair, Advisory Committee on Probation; and
  • Attorney Lee Gartenberg, director of Inmate Legal Services, Middlesex Sheriff's Office; Executive Management Board, Massachusetts Bar Association.

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