Supplemental Rules of Civil Procedure change
The Supreme Judicial Court has approved the repeal of Rules 116,
140 and 150 of the District/Municipal Courts Supplemental Rules of
Civil Procedure effective Jan. 1, 2010.
Visit www.mass.gov/courts/sjc to view the rules.
SJC issues order regarding protection of personal
The Supreme Judicial Court has issued an order regarding
safeguarding certain nonpublic personal information collected and
maintained in the judicial branch. The order, issued under G.L.c.
93H, governs the security and confidentiality of personal
information as defined in that statute. The personal information
covered by the order does not include publicly available
The order requires the Trial Court, the Appellate Courts and
court affiliates to develop, implement and maintain written
information security programs applicable to records containing
personal information. The security programs are to ensure that
courts collect the minimum personal information needed to
accomplish the purpose for which the information is collected;
securely protect the information from unauthorized access and
disclosure; provide access to the information only as necessary;
and destroy the information when it is no longer needed. The
security programs will require notification to the appropriate
chief justice of any breach of security of personal
Additionally, the order requires courts to review the type of
personal information collected with the goal of identifying any
that need not be collected or maintained. Contractors will be
required to comply with the provisions of all information security
programs that apply to the work they will be performing.
Visit www.mass.gov/courts/sjc to view the order
requiring that the security programs be in place by Sept. 1.
CJAM order sets standard of 120 days to complete
In an effort to improve the timely disposition of cases, Chief
Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan
recently issued an administrative order on Time Standards for
Completion of Transcripts in Civil and Criminal Cases, which became
effective on Jan. 1, 2010.
The order establishes a standard of 120 days for the production
of transcripts in civil and criminal cases, as recommended by the
Supreme Judicial Court's Working Group on Trial Transcripts.
The SJC convened the working group in 2006 to review, and assist
in the implementation of, the recommendations of the SJC's Study
Committee on Trial Transcripts in its 2003 report. The working
group recommended measures that focused on shorter time standards
for transcript production.
Visit www.mass.gov/courts/sjc to view the
2010 edition of Massachusetts Guide to Evidence now
The 2010 edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence has been
released and is recommended by the Supreme Judicial Court and its
Executive Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law.
"The guide makes the law of evidence accessible and
understandable to the bench, bar, and the public," said SJC Chief
Justice Margaret H. Marshall.
This new edition of the guide is available on the Supreme
Judicial Court, Appeals Court and Trial Court Web sites at www.mass.gov/courts/sjc/guide-to-evidence.
The official print edition of the 479-page guide is available
for purchase from the Flaschner Judicial Institute, which is
providing a complimentary copy to every judge in the
The guide assembles existing Massachusetts evidence law in an
easy-to-use document organized similarly to the Federal Rules of
Evidence, and includes extensive explanatory notes and citations to
The contents of the 2010 edition were revised to reflect changes
to Massachusetts evidence law that occurred between Oct. 1, 2008,
and Dec. 31, 2009. These additions include discussion of more than
30 decisions issued during 2009 by the SJC, Appeals Court and the
federal courts that defined or clarified issues, including the U.S.
Supreme Court case of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts.
In addition, the 2010 edition includes four new sections:
Unemployment Hearing Privilege (Section 526), Inadequate Police
Investigation Evidence (Section 1107), Access to Third-Party
Records Prior to Trial in Criminal Cases Lampron-Dwyer
protocol) (Section 1108), and View (Section 1109). The 2010 edition
also includes notes on several new topics, including: Successive
Complaints to the First Complaint Witness; Impounding versus
Sealing; Use of Certain Prior Inconsistent Statements of Defendant
in Criminal Cases; Prior Statements that Qualify as Inconsistent;
and Confrontation in Criminal Cases.
In 2006, the SJC established a 17-member advisory committee to
prepare a Massachusetts Guide to Evidence at the request of the
Massachusetts Bar Association, the Boston Bar Association and the
Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys.
In 2008, the SJC appointed the Executive Committee of the
Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Evidence law. This committee
monitors and incorporates future legal developments and is
responsible for producing new editions of the guide, including the
2010 edition. Appeals Court Judge R. Marc Kantrowitz, who chaired
the advisory committee, chairs the executive committee and is the
editor-in-chief of the guide. The other members of the executive
committee are: Hon. Peter W. Agnes (editor), Hon. David A. Lowy
(editor), Appeals Court Clerk Joseph F. Stanton (reporter), SJC
Senior Attorney Barbara F. Berenson, New England Law-Boston
professor Philip K. Hamilton, attorney Elizabeth N. Mulvey and
Appeals Court law clerks Sean M. Toohey and Allison Carrinski.