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Care and Protection of M.C. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-054-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12339   CARE AND PROTECTION OF M.C.       Suffolk.     October 3, 2017. – April 9, 2018.   Present (Sitting at Greenfield):  Gants, C.J., Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker, JJ.     Impoundment.  Minor, Care and protection.  Parent and Child, Care and protection of minor.  Constitutional Law, Waiver of constitutional rights, Impoundment order, Self-incrimination.  Witness, Self-incrimination.  Evidence, Communication between patient and psychotherapist.  Practice, Civil, Care and protection proceeding, Impoundment order, Waiver.  Waiver.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on December 28, 2016.   The case was reported by Lenk, J.     Jeanne M. Kaiser (Bonnie G. Allen also present) for the mother. Mark H. Bluver for the father. Steven Greenbaum, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Scott R. Chapman, Committee for Public Counsel Services (Jessica McArdle, Committee for Public Counsel Services, also present) for the child.     GAZIANO, J.  In this case, we consider the appropriate standards and procedures for requests by the parties and the Commonwealth for the release of impounded records in a care and protection proceeding in the Juvenile Court.  The mother and the father are the subjects of a care and protection proceeding commenced in the Juvenile Court by the Department of Children and Families (department), and are defendants in criminal child abuse cases pending in the Superior Court.  The records from the care and protection proceeding, including the transcripts and exhibits from a trial to terminate parental rights, are impounded, pursuant to G. L. c. 119, § 38, and Juvenile Court Standing Order 1-84, Mass. Ann. Laws Court Rules, Standing Orders of the Juvenile Court, at 1107 (LexisNexis 2016). The father sought access to impounded records from the care and protection proceeding in conjunction with his upcoming criminal trial.  The Commonwealth also sought access to the records for its use in preparation for both the father’s and the mother’s pending criminal trials.  The mother opposed portions of the father’s motion, and opposed the Commonwealth’s motion in its entirety.  The child opposed the release of any records on privacy grounds.  Concluding that both the father and the Commonwealth had met the burden of demonstrating that there was good cause to grant the requested relief from impoundment, a Juvenile Court judge allowed both motions.  After the mother’s application for relief in the Appeals Court was denied, she […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 9, 2018 at 5:36 pm

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