Sorokin named U.S. District Court chief magistrate
On Feb. 1, Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin succeeded Magistrate
Judge Judith Gail Dein as chief magistrate judge of U.S. District
Court for the District of Massachusetts. He will serve a three-year
term. Dein served as chief magistrate judge from Feb. 1, 2009,
through Jan. 31, 2012.
Sorokin, who was appointed to the court on April 11, 2005,
presides over the Court Assisted Recovery Effort for the District
of Massachusetts, which promotes the development and maintenance of
sober, employed and law-abiding felons under the supervision of the
court. It was one of the first federal courts to create such a
program and was a model for other districts.
He has served as a faculty member on numerous educational programs
sponsored by the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the First Circuit, the Federal Judicial Center, the Federal Bar
Association and the Boston Bar Association. In 2009, the Boston Bar
Association awarded him its Citation of Judicial Excellence.
Sorokin graduated cum laude from Yale College in 1983 and Columbia
Law School in 1991, where he was a Kent and Stone Scholar and the
articles editor of the Journal of Law and Social Problems. After
graduation, he clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel
He joined Mintz Levin (1992-94), then became an assistant attorney
general (1994-97), where he served in the Administrative Law
Division of the Government Bureau. During his last year in the
office, he became the attorney general's opinions coordinator. He
then became an assistant federal defender in the Federal Public
Defender's Office for the District of Massachusetts (1997-2005),
where he represented indigent defendants in federal criminal
prosecutions until his appointment.
2012 edition of Mass. Guide to Evidence now
The Supreme Judicial Court and its Executive Committee on
Massachusetts Evidence Law announced the release of the 2012
edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence on Feb. 10.
The SJC justices recommend use of the guide by the bench, bar and
SJC Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland stated: "I commend the
members of the executive committee for their continued commitment
to excellence by updating and expanding the Massachusetts Guide
to Evidence to reflect new legal developments. The guide is an
outstanding and practical research tool that has quickly become a
highly respected and well-used source of the current Massachusetts
evidence law. Attorneys, judges and self-represented litigants
daily use the guide in courts throughout the commonwealth."
The 2012 edition is available for free on the websites of the SJC,
Appeals Court and Trial Court at www.mass.gov/courts/sjc/guide-to-evidence. The
print edition is available for purchase from the Flaschner Judicial
Institute at (www.flaschner.org/publications.htm), which is
again providing a complimentary copy to every judge in the
The guide, which assembles existing Massachusetts evidence law in
an easy-to-use document organized similar to the Federal Rules
of Evidence, includes extensive explanatory notes and
citations to pertinent authorities.
The 2012 edition reflects developments in Massachusetts evidence
law that occurred between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2011. In
includes dozens of new opinions issued in 2011 by the SJC, Appeals
Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as new sections
addressing industry and safety standards, electronic or digital,
consciousness of guilt or liability, and missing witness.
In addition, the committee revised the introductory note to
Article VIII to address several opinions issued by the U.S. Supreme
Court and the SJC that discuss the confrontation clause and hearsay
in criminal cases.
The SJC established a 17-member advisory committee in 2006 to
prepare a Massachusetts Guide to Evidence at the request
of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Boston Bar Association and
Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys.
Appeals Court Judge Marc Kantrowitz is the editor-in-chief of the
guide and chairs the executive committee, which includes: Hon.
Peter W. Agnes (editor), Hon. David A. Lowy (editor), Appeals Court
Clerk Joseph F. Stanton (reporter), Hon. Mark S. Coven, SJC Senior
Attorney Barbara F. Berenson, New England Law | Boston professor
Philip K. Hamilton, attorney Elizabeth N. Mulvey, and Appeals Court
Law Clerks Emily Hamrock and Lydia Edwards.
SJC urges judicial evaluation responses
The Supreme Judicial Court is asking attorneys to evaluate the
performance of Trial Court judges. The evaluation forms, which were
sent in late February, will help the SJC's Judicial Performance
Evaluation program enhance the quality of the judicial branch.
Crucial to this effort is the full participation of the bar.
The SJC notes that a large response is more helpful in evaluating
performance, and its evaluation program is the best opportunity for
attorneys to offer their opinions of the members of the judiciary.
The deadline for responses is April 12.
Suffolk County judges in the Boston Municipal, District, Juvenile,
Housing and Probate and Family courts will be evaluated starting
Feb. 22 by attorneys, court employees and jurors.
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 asking them to log into the website to
complete the evaluation electronically. As required by statute, the
electronic system keeps the evaluations confidential and anonymous.
If an attorney's e-mail is not in the system, a paper questionnaire
The evaluation results will be transmitted to the judge, the chief
justice of each involved court department, the chief justice of the
Supreme Judicial Court, and the chief justice for administration