Lawyers Journal

News from the Courts

CHIEF JUSTICE PHILLIP RAPOZA INVITED TO SERVE AS ELECTION OBSERVER IN TIMOR-LESTE

At the invitation of the U.S. Department of State, Hon. Phillip Rapoza, chief justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, recently served as one of two American delegates on an international election observer mission in Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor. Timorese authorities requested that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, in which the United States participates, facilitate a team of observers to monitor the July 7 election of the country's 65-member parliament. Timor-Leste recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of the restoration of its independence and the United Nations is scheduled to withdraw its peacekeeping mission from the country by the end of 2012.

Over the last decade, Rapoza has played a prominent role in Timor-Leste, a former Portuguese colony. From 2003 to 2005, he took an unpaid leave of absence from the Appeals Court and lived in the Timorese capital of Dili, where he served as an international judge on an UN-established war crimes tribunal. Since then he has returned to Timor-Leste at the invitation of the UN on virtually an annual basis to assist in ongoing efforts to improve the country's justice system.

A Dartmouth native, Chief Justice Rapoza served as a trial judge on the District and Superior Courts before his appointment to the appellate bench in 1998. In 2006, Gov. Mitt Romney appointed him chief justice of the Appeals Court.

CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES TASK FORCE SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT
The Massachusetts Trial Court Child Support Guidelines Task Force is seeking public comment and suggestions concerning the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. Written comments may 
be submitted to the task force at 
[e-mail childsupport] or:

Administrative Office of the Trial Court
Child Support Guidelines Task Force
Two Center Plaza
Boston, MA 02108

The task force will also hold five statewide public forums, from Sept 11-19, at which written statements may be delivered and brief oral comments may be made. For times and locations, visit 
www.mass.gov/courts.

The deadline for comments is Sept. 30, 2012.

SJC APPOINTS NEW REPORTER OF DECISIONS
The Supreme Judicial Court has announced the appointment of Brian H. Redmond as the new reporter of decisions for the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court, effective July 1. Redmond succeeds C. Clifford Allen, who retired as reporter of decisions in June.

The reporter provides editorial support for the SJC and Appeals Court justices, publishes slip opinions daily in printed and electronic formats and administers a contract for the publication of printed advance sheets and permanent bound volumes of the official reports of the two courts.

COMMENTS SOUGHT ON MASS. CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT AMENDMENTS

In December 2011, SJC Justices established a Committee on the Code of Judicial Conduct, and charged it with recommending amendments to the Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct regarding judges' ability to speak to the public on matters related to the administration of justice.

The committee is seeking comment for proposed revisions to Canons 4A and 4B of the Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct by Aug. 31. For more information, go to www.mass.gov/courts/sjc. Comments should be directed to attorney Barbara Berenson at [e-mail barbara.berenson] or:

Supreme Judicial Court
John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square
Boston, MA 02108

ADDITIONAL COURT LOCATIONS TO ADJUST PUBLIC OFFICE HOURS

On July 2, the five permanent clerks' offices that comprise the Southeast Division of the Housing Court -- Fall River, New Bedford, Brockton, Plymouth and Taunton -- began operating under a staggered schedule that closes each office for two days a week. Court users may go to any of the five locations to conduct business. At least two of the five locations will be open for business on any given day.

Last year, the Housing Court's Southeast Division opened a fifth session at the new courthouse in Taunton after many years of holding sessions in four locations to cover Bristol and Plymouth counties. Staff of the division travel among the locations on a regular basis and the new schedule will better balance the coverage throughout the region.

The five Housing Court locations will be open as follows:

  • Mondays: Fall River, New Bedford, Brockton, Plymouth
  • Tuesdays: Fall River, Brockton, Taunton
  • Wednesdays: Brockton, Taunton
  • Thursdays: Fall River, New Bedford, Plymouth
  • Fridays: New Bedford, Plymouth, Taunton

In addition, Lawrence District Court extended its restricted counter and phone coverage from three days to five days between the hours of 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. The Newburyport/Ipswich district courts also expanded from three days to five days its restricted telephone coverage between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

The scheduling of court sessions is not affected by the changes in office hours and access is available for emergency matters. This reduction in counter and telephone hours provides uninterrupted time for staff to prepare cases for court sessions and execute court orders, as well as to complete filing, docketing, scanning and other case processing.

PROBATE AND FAMILY COURT ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO STANDING ORDER 2-99

The Probate and Family Court has announced the approval of Amended Standing Order 2-99, governing the "Procedure for Submission and Disposition of Certain Post-Hearing Motions." The changes reflect recommendations made by the Probate and Family Court Bench/Bar Committee on Rules. Hon. Paula M. Carey, chief justice of the Probate and Family Court Department, and Hon. Robert A. Mulligan, chief justice for Administration and Management, approved the changes effective July 2.

The amended standing order identifies the post-hearing relief available in the Probate and Family Court and clarifies the specific Rules of Civil Procedure and Domestic Relations Procedure that are applicable to motions for post-hearing relief.

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