SJC Justice Judith A. Cowin to retire
Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Judith A. Cowin has
announced she will retire on April 5, 2011. Cowin has served on the
SJC for 11 years and previously served on the Superior Court for
almost eight years. She was the third woman to be appointed to the
"I have been privileged to serve the people of Massachusetts,"
said Cowin. "I will remember these years with a conviction that the
work is of great importance and with an abiding affection for the
colleagues with whom I shared it."
Cowin would reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges in
April 2012. A longtime member of the Court's Rules Committee, Cowin
is a member of the Wellesley Alumnae Association and takes an
active interest in advising young women about career paths and
Prior to her appointment to the bench, she served as assistant
legal counsel to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health,
legal counsel to the Office of the Chief Justice of the District
Court Department and an assistant district attorney in Norfolk
Moran named SJC executive director; Burak appointed
chief justice's legal counsel
The justices of the Supreme Judicial Court announced on Feb. 3
the appointments of Francis S. Moran Jr. as SJC executive director
and Christine P. Burak as legal counsel to the chief justice.
Moran takes over the duties of Ronald P. Corbett Jr., who was last
month named acting Commissioner of Probation for two years by Chief
Justice for Administration & Management Robert A.
Moran helps the court supervise, manage and coordinate its
day-to-day administrative responsibilities. He was previously legal
counsel to the chief justice and served for 20 years in the U.S.
Burak advises the chief justice and justices on legal questions
and manages the work of the Legal Department. She has been a lawyer
at the court since 1985. Burak is a graduate of Assumption College
and Boston College Law School.
Corbett named commissioner of probation
Chief Justice for Administration & Management Robert A.
Mulligan has appointed Ronald P. Corbett Jr., Ed.D., to serve as
the commissioner of probation on an acting basis for two
Corbett, appointed on an interim basis in May, has instituted a
range of management reforms to increase the accountability and
transparency of the probation service.
"Ron Corbett brings a depth of knowledge on probation best
practices, along with strong management experience and extensive
partnerships in the criminal justice community, to strengthen
probation at this challenging time," said Mulligan. "Probation is a
key public safety entity with a positive history in the judicial
branch until recently. We are very fortunate to have a leader of
this caliber who can work collaboratively with the executive branch
and provide direction to the many hardworking probation officers
across the state. Ron, who is widely respected, will issue regular
reports on the many initiatives underway in probation."
Mulligan highlighted the importance of establishing stability in
the department in the short term, given the recent turmoil. Under
recently enacted legislation, the position of commissioner of
probation carries a five-year term. Mulligan said he expects to
conduct a full search at a point that is appropriate for the
"I welcome the opportunity to restore Probation to administrative
excellence and credibility throughout the court system and in the
eyes of the public. Going forward, we will focus on further
strengthening several key areas," Corbett said. "These include the
need to establish a culture based on performance management with
new metrics and full accountability; finish introduction of a new,
validated risk/need classification instrument to form the
foundation of our key supervisory practices; insure comprehensive
and accurate data systems to enable accurate caseload reporting;
continue to enhance relationships with our allied state agencies in
the interests of an effective criminal justice system; and insure
that all future hires are based on best personnel practices and
reflect a commitment to a merit-based system."
Corbett served as deputy commissioner of probation from 1993 to
2000, when he was named executive director of the Supreme Judicial
Court. He teaches criminal justice at the University of
Massachusetts at Lowell.
Casper sworn in as U.S. District Court judge
On Jan. 17, Denise Jefferson Casper took the oath of office and
became a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of
Massachusetts. A public event to recognize Casper's appointment was
held at Faneuil Hall on Feb. 18.
Casper succeeds Judge Reginald Lindsay, who died in March 2009.
Prior to her appointment, Casper served for four years as the
deputy district attorney for Middlesex County. Casper also spent
six years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of
Massachusetts. Prior to becoming a prosecutor, she was a litigator
at what is now Bingham McCutchen LLP and a law clerk to two members
of the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
Maloney named chief probation officer
The judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of
Massachusetts have selected Massachusetts native Christopher
Maloney to serve as chief of the U.S. Probation Department for
Massachusetts. Maloney fills the vacancy created by the recent
retirement of Chief Probation Officer John M. Bocon.
Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf, who administered the oath to Maloney,
said: "Our Probation Office is recognized nationally for its
excellence. My colleagues and I look forward to Chris Maloney's
leadership in sustaining and enhancing that excellence."
Maloney served for six years as chief of the U.S. Probation Office
for the District of New Jersey. He also spent seven years working
with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington,
D.C. He was responsible for oversight of the federal probation
system's substance abuse, mental health and location monitoring
Maloney began his career with the federal judiciary in 1992, when
he was appointed as a U.S. probation officer in the District of
Massachusetts. He received the Salvation Army's Community Service
Award in 2010.
2011 Massachusetts Guide to Evidence
The 2011 edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence
was released on Feb. 10. It includes dozens of opinions issued by
the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court and other courts,
between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2010, in a format similar to the
Federal Rules of Evidence.
The guide includes: substantially revised and expanded sections on
topics including the first complaint doctrine; the relationship
between hearsay and the confrontation clause; expert testimony; the
authentication of public records; the fair report privilege; the
collateral source rule; the marital privilege; the discharge of
jurors; and the risk of inaccurate forensic analysis.
The third annual edition of the guide is available without charge
on the websites of the Supreme Judicial Court, Appeals Court and
Trial Court at www.mass.gov/courts/sjc/guide-to-evidence,
where it can be searched and downloaded. The print edition is
available for purchase from the Flaschner Judicial Institute.
The SJC established a 17-member advisory committee in 2006 to
prepare the guide at the request of the Massachusetts Bar
Association, Boston Bar Association and Massachusetts Academy of
Trial Attorneys. Appeals Court Judge R. Marc Kantrowitz is
editor-in-chief of the guide.
SJC seeks judge evaluations in four counties
As part of the continuing program to evaluate and enhance
judicial performance, the Supreme Judicial Court will be sending
questionnaires to attorneys in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and
Franklin Counties starting Monday, Feb. 14, to evaluate the
performance of Trial Court judges in Massachusetts.
The SJC's evaluation program is the best opportunity for attorneys
to voice their opinions of the members of the judiciary. Attorneys
who have appeared in these courts in the last two years will
receive questionnaires. The great majority of questionnaires will
be sent electronically, with attorneys receiving an e-mail linking
to the evaluation Web site.
As required by statute, the evaluations are confidential and
anonymous. The results of the evaluation will be transmitted to the
judge, the chief justice of the relevant court department, the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, and the Chief Justice
of Administration and Management.