Lawyers Journal

Lawyers Journal

In Memorium: Richard D. Packenham

The MBA is deeply saddened by the loss of Richard D. Packenham, a widely respected family law attorney, who passed away Monday, Oct. 3, 2005. Attorney Packenham, who was universally known as “Packy,” touched the lives of many in our profession and was known for his sense of humor, friendly disposition and love of the law.

MBA launches Committee for Judicial Independence

Former Massachusetts Bar Association President Edward P. Ryan Jr. unofficially launched the MBA’s newest initiative, the Committee for Judicial Independence, during a debate on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” in October.

Ryan, managing partner of O’Connor and Ryan PC in Fitchburg, was named to head the task force by MBA President Warren Fitzgerald.

“The mission of the committee is to advance judicial independence to explain judges’ actions, court procedures and the law to the public to protect the judiciary from unfair attacks in the media and in the public at large,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re seeking to protect the judiciary from unfair public and media pressures so they’re free to do their work.”

A year in, Connolly embraces change as District Court CJ

It's been a little more than a year since District Court Chief Justice Lynda M. Connolly replaced Chief Justice Samuel E. Zoll, who retired after spending 28 years in the post.

In that time, Connolly has helped implement court reforms called for by the Monan Report and overseen by Chief Justice for Administration & Management Robert A. Mulligan. She's visited every one of the 62 district courts at least once, and she's even presided in Edgartown and Quincy.

"Chief Justice Zoll left an extraordinary legacy," Connolly said. "I really saw the initial challenge as being one of honoring a legacy and building on it, but also taking a look at the areas that could be improved."


Photo by Tracy Powell

CUTLINE: Massachusetts District Court Chief Justice Lynda M. Connolly recently finished her first year in the position. She has been busy implementing court reform recommendations made in the Monan Report.

SJC revisits and revises the fresh complaint rule

In late September, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was able to turn a tragic event - the apparent rape and indecent assault and battery of a child - into a mechanism for change: a reevaluation of the validity of the fresh complaint doctrine.

New first complaint jury instructions

Under the first complaint doctrine adopted by the SupremeJudicial Court in Commonwealth v. King, a proper instruction to the jury will nowread:

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