SJC seeks responses to performance surveys
The Supreme Judicial Court's Judicial Performance Evaluation
Committee is asking attorneys to respond to questionnaires
evaluating the performance of judges in Norfolk County. The full
participation of the bar is crucial to enhancing the performance
and quality of the judicial branch.
The survey began Tuesday, Oct. 15. Judges of the District,
Superior, Probate and Family and Juvenile courts in Norfolk County
will be evaluated by attorneys, court employees and jurors.
Attorneys should take the time to complete the questionnaire, as
the more responses received, the more accurate the judicial
evaluations will be. The SJC's evaluation program is the best
opportunity for attorneys to voice their opinions of the members of
Attorneys who have appeared repeatedly in these courts in the last
two years, according to computerized court records, will receive
questionnaires. Attorneys will receive an e-mail requesting
evaluation completion electronically. As required by statute, the
electronic system keeps the evaluations confidential and anonymous.
If there is no attorney e-mail on record, a paper questionnaire
will be mailed.
Survey results will be transmitted to the chief justice of the
judge's court department, the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial
Court and the chief justice of the Trial Court.
Harrington announces inactive status
Judge Edward F. Harrington has announced he will assume inactive
status, effective Dec. 31. Harrington has served as a U.S. District
Court judge for more than 25 years, and before his judicial
appointment, as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in
Washington, D.C., and Boston.
He is one of only seven individuals who have served as both U.S.
District Court judge and U.S. Attorney for the District of
Massachusetts, since the district was established in 1789.
Harrington was appointed as U.S. District Court judge for the
District of Massachusetts in 1988 and assumed senior District Court
judge status on March 1, 2001.
Harrington was an early critic of the mandatory Sentencing
Commission Guidelines, criticizing them for their inflexibility and
severity. As a senior judge, he declined to hear criminal cases
based on his belief that the guidelines infringed upon the
sentencing judge's traditional discretion. After the U.S. Supreme
Court ultimately rendered the guidelines discretionary, rather than
mandatory, Harrington resumed trying criminal cases.
Court approves amendments to civil rules on e-discovery
The Supreme Judicial Court has announced amendments to the
Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure that address the discovery
of electronically stored information (ESI). Rules 16, 26, 34, 37
and 45 have been amended effective Jan. 1, 2014. The changes were
recommended by the Court's Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules
of Civil Procedure in response to the increasing growth of
information in electronic form. In drafting the amendments, the
committee drew on the 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure addressing ESI and the 2007 Uniform Rules relating to ESI
A major focus of the committee was to establish procedures to deal
with ESI early in the litigation, address how to handle ESI that
may be inaccessible, address how to handle inadvertently disclosed
privileged ESI, and provide protection when ESI is lost through the
good faith operation of electronic information systems. The new
rules will apply in all courts and proceedings governed by the
Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure. Visit www.mass.gov/courts/sjc to view the amendments
and reporter's notes.