Lawyers Journal

News from the Courts

SJC EXTENDS START DATE OF SJC RULE 1:19

The Supreme Judicial Court has announced the effective date of SJC Rule 1:19 governing "Electronic Access to the Courts" has been extended to Sept. 17, 2012, to allow the courts additional time to prepare for its implementation. The original effective date announced earlier this year was July 1, 2012.

Judges, clerks and security personnel in 101 courthouses throughout the state will receive information and training in the coming months and will develop protocols to comply with the rule's provisions.

In February, the justices issued an order amending the former Rule 1:19 governing cameras in the courts and replaced it with the new rule. After the new rule has been in operation for a year, the court will review it to determine whether further revisions are needed.

JNC SEEKS APPLICATIONS

The Judicial Nominating Commission seeks applications for three new District Court vacancies. The application deadline for Fall River, Stoughton and Uxbridge district courts is Thursday, July 12.

Click here for more information.

BMC STANDING ORDER 1-09 AMENDED AS A PERMANENT ORDER EFFECTIVE AS OF MAY 14

The Boston Municipal Court Department recognizes the hardships faced by individuals of limited economic resources with criminal records, and the burdens they face when seeking to seal their criminal records at the various court divisions. In an effort to alleviate these hardships and burdens, as well as to promote judicial economy, Standing Order 1-09 is amended as a permanent order to allow for the filing of a single petition to seal three of more dismissals and non-conviction criminal records.

TRIAL COURT CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES TASK FORCE SEEKING PUBLIC'S COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

The Massachusetts Trial Court is seeking public comment and suggestions concerning the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. Written comments may be submitted to the Child Support Guidelines Task Force at: The Administrative Office of the Trial Court; Suite 540, Two Center Plaza; Boston, MA 02108.

The task force will also hold five public forums where written statements may be delivered and brief oral statements may be made. Oral testimony is not necessary because oral and written comments will be considered equally. The public forums will be held during the month of September 2012 in locations across the state. Specific dates and locations will be announced when determined.

The deadline for submission of all comments is Sept. 30, 2012. If specific changes to the guidelines are suggested, specific sections to be changed should be referenced, new language proposed, and reasons for the proposed change included.

SJC SEEKS JUDGE EVALUATIONS IN SUPERIOR COURT IN SUFFOLK AND MIDDLESEX COUNTIES

As part of the continuing program to evaluate and enhance judicial performance, the Supreme Judicial Court will evaluate judges of the Superior Court in Suffolk and Middlesex counties beginning Monday, May 21.

Attorneys who receive a questionnaire should take the time to complete it, as the more responses received, the more helpful the judicial evaluations will be. The SJC's evaluation program is the best opportunity for attorneys to offer their opinions of the members of the judiciary. Attorneys who have appeared in these courts in the last two years, according to court records, will receive questionnaires. Attorneys will receive an e-mail requesting them to log into our website to complete the evaluation electronically. As required by statute, the electronic system keeps the evaluations confidential and anonymous. A paper questionnaire is mailed, if there is no attorney e-mail on record.

Inquiries concerning questionnaires and evaluations should be directed to Mona Hochberg, SJC judicial performance evaluation coordinator, at (617) 557-1156.

TRIAL COURT LAW LIBRARIES OFFER EBOOK ACCESSIBILITY TO COURT RULES AND MASSACHUSETTS GUIDE TO EVIDENCE

In a continuing effort to make legal materials more easily accessible to judges, lawyers and the general public, the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries are now offering free eBook access to court rules and the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence.

Instructions on how to download the free app and links to the downloadable files are available here.

In addition to the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence, the following rules are available for download:

  • Rules of Civil Procedure;
  • Rules of Criminal Procedure;
  • Rules of Appellate Procedure;
  • Rules of Land Court, with standing orders, Manual and Guidelines;
  • Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure;
  • Rules of Superior Court; and
  • Rules of Juvenile Court.

New editions of eBooks will be available when a rule is changed, and announcements that an updated edition is ready to download will be made on Twitter, on Massachusetts Law Updates and linked from the Trial Court Law Library's website.

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