Massachusetts Law Review
Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Part 1, Article 11.
Article 11 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is what many commentators have described as an "open courts" clause. Such clauses have been interpreted to provide a guarantee that the courts will be open and accessible to all citizens of the state.
As new residential development strains available municipal resources, Massachusetts communities have turned to impact fees to address the costs associated with this development. Impact fees are municipal assessments, typically imposed upon developers or builders at the time a town issues a building permit, to finance the capital improvements and expansion of capital facilities necessitated by new development, such as roads and water and sewer plants. In Massachusetts, cities and towns may assess fees in connection with the provision of municipal services pursuant to their Home Rule authority under the state constitution, and by state statute. Impact fees related to improvements such as expanded water or sewer connections have been held constitutionally valid.
In 1968, Peter Limone was convicted, along with three other men, of the 1965 murder of Boston gangster Edward "Teddy" Deegan. Limone and the other men had been identified by a former Mafia hitman turned FBI informant. Knowing that the charges were false, and believing that a case against him could not be proved, Limone turned himself in to the police. To his surprise, Limone was convicted by a jury, and sentenced to death. In 1972, however, the United States Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional, and Limone's sentence was automatically commuted to life in prison. During his prison term, Limone spent 23 1/2 hours a day in his cell, and he saw his four children only four times a year.