Posts tagged "Justice"

Miranda v. A Justice of the Superior Court Department of the Trial Court (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-047-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12308   CHRISTIAN MIRANDA  vs.  A JUSTICE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT DEPARTMENT OF THE TRIAL COURT.       March 27, 2018.     Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  Practice, Civil, Action in nature of certiorari.  Practice, Criminal, Postconviction relief, Discovery.     Christian Miranda appeals from a judgment of the county court denying his petition for relief in the nature of certiorari pursuant to G. L. c. 249, § 4.  Miranda, who has been convicted in the Superior Court of certain drug-related offenses, filed a motion to intervene in a separate criminal case also pending in the Superior Court at that time, apparently seeking to participate in postconviction discovery that was proceeding in that case.  After a hearing, the motion was denied.  Miranda’s petition sought relief from that denial.  As there is no basis in the Rules of Criminal Procedure or other law for a defendant to intervene in another defendant’s unrelated criminal case, Miranda cannot show that relief in the nature of certiorari is necessary “to correct [a] substantial error of law apparent on the record.”  State Bd. of Retirement v. Woodward, 446 Mass. 698, 703 (2006).  See Republican Co. v. Appeals Court, 442 Mass. 218, 227 n.14 (2004) (intervention is “a concept foreign to criminal procedure”).  Moreover, Mass. R. Crim. P. 30, as appearing in 435 Mass. 1501 (2001), provides the mechanism for Miranda to seek postconviction discovery in his own case.  The single justice neither erred nor abused his discretion by denying relief.   Judgment affirmed.     Greg T. Schubert for the plaintiff. Thomas E. Bocian, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant. Full-text Opinions

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 27, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice v. Court Administrator of the Trial Court, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-176-17)

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-12379   LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE  vs.  court administrator of the Trial Court & others.[1]     November 6, 2017.     Moot Question.  Practice, Civil, Moot case.  Trial Court.  Public Records.     The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice (Lawyers’ Committee) appeals from a judgment of the county court dismissing as moot its petition seeking declaratory and injunctive relief requiring the respondents, who are the court administrator, office of court management, and executive office of the Trial Court, to produce certain records pursuant to the public records law.  G. L. c. 66, § 10.  We directed the parties to file memoranda addressing whether the single justice erred or abused his discretion in dismissing the case as moot.  After reviewing the parties’ submissions, we affirm the judgment.   The facts are not in dispute.  The Lawyers’ Committee requested that the respondents produce documents concerning the demographics of the security department of the Trial Court, by race and gender, and the department’s hiring and promotion practices.  The Lawyers’ Committee cited the public records law, G. L. c. 66, § 10, as the basis of its request.  In response, the respondents stated that “[a]s part of the [j]udicial branch of government, the Massachusetts Trial Court . . . is not subject to the [p]ublic [r]ecords [l]aw.[[2]] . . . Despite that exemption, we are considering your request and will respond appropriately in due course.”  The Lawyers’ Committee petitioned the supervisor of records for a determination that the requested records were public records under G. L. c. 66.  The supervisor of records responded that “[r]ecords in the custody of the [c]ourt are records of the judiciary and are outside the jurisdiction of the public records law.”  Some months later, having received no documents in response to its request, the Lawyers’ Committee filed its petition.  Thereafter, the court administrator wrote to the Lawyers’ Committee, stating that the Trial Court intended to collect responsive documents and produce them.[3]  The respondents did in fact voluntarily produce documents that were responsive to the Lawyers’ Committee’s request.   The respondents represent, as they did before the single justice, that they have produced all responsive documents in their possession, custody, or control that are not confidential or privileged.  The Lawyers’ Committee does not dispute this or claim that any documents are being wrongfully withheld.  There is nothing further that a court can order […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 6, 2017 at 9:21 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Deputy Chief Counsel for the Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, et al. v. Acting First Justice of the Lowell Division of the District Court Department (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-084-17)

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-12121   DEPUTY CHIEF COUNSEL FOR THE PUBLIC DEFENDER DIVISION OF THE COMMITTEE FOR PUBLIC COUNSEL SERVICES & another[1]  vs.  ACTING FIRST JUSTICE OF THE LOWELL DIVISION OF THE DISTRICT COURT DEPARTMENT.       Suffolk.     November 9, 2016. – May 24, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     Committee for Public Counsel Services.  District Court, Drug court session.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on February 23, 2016.   The case was reported by Duffly, J.     Paul R. Rudof, Committee for Public Counsel Services (Ryan M. Schiff, Committee for Public Counsel Services, also present) for the plaintiffs. Bethany L. Stevens for the defendant.     HINES, J.  This matter is before us on a reservation and report, by a single justice of this court, of a petition for relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3.  The petition, brought by the Deputy Chief Counsel for the Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services and the Deputy Chief Counsel for the Private Counsel Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (collectively CPCS), sought an order affirming CPCS’s independent authority under G. L. c. 211D to select and supervise attorneys for indigent defendants in the pilot program it had launched in the drug court session of the Lowell Division of the District Court Department (drug court).  The issue arose after the Acting First Justice of the Lowell District Court (Justice), citing the need for a “team” approach to cases in the drug Court, removed CPCS attorneys from drug court cases to which they had been assigned and excluded CPCS attorneys from assignment to any new case in the drug court. The single justice, in her reservation and report, observed that “the matter raises some important legal questions that ought to be decided by the full court, concerning specialty courts in general and adult drug courts in particular, and the respective roles and responsibilities of judges, [CPCS], and individual defense attorneys.”  The issue highlights the tension that may arise between an attorney’s duty to zealously advocate for the rights of the drug court defendant and a drug court model that favors a collaborative and nonadversarial approach to supervision of the drug court defendant.  We recognize that the success of drug court outcomes depends in large part […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 24, 2017 at 7:41 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oggiani v. Chief Justice of the Trial Court, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-007-17)

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-12120   JOAN E. OGGIANI  vs.  CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE TRIAL COURT & others.[1]       January 6, 2017.     Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts, Removal of register of probate.     Joan E. Oggiani appeals from a judgment of the county court denying her petition for relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3, from a decision of the register of the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court Department of the Trial Court, with the approval of the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court, removing her designation as deputy assistant register pursuant to G. L. c. 217, § 29D.[2]  We affirm the judgment.   Oggiani, who has been an employee of the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court since 1980, was designated as the deputy assistant register when that position was created in 1993.  As deputy assistant register, she had certain responsibilities in addition to those of her primary position as a judicial secretary, and she received additional compensation as required by the statute.  In 2015, the register requested the approval of the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court to remove Oggiani’s designation, stating that her performance as deputy assistant register did not meet his expectations.[3]  Oggiani objected and disagreed with the register’s characterization of her performance, but the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court approved the register’s request.  Oggiani then asked the Chief Justice of the Trial Court and the Court Administrator to review the decision.[4]  They responded that the decision was final.   The single justice did not abuse his discretion or commit an error of law by denying Oggiani’s petition for relief in these circumstances.[5]  Under the plain language of G. L. c. 217, § 29D, a register has the authority to designate and remove a deputy assistant register.  These appear to be discretionary decisions for the register to make, subject only to the approval of the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court.[6]  The statute does not state that a register must establish good cause — or indeed, any reason at all — for removal.  This is not a case where the employee alleges that her designation was removed on an improper basis such as race or gender discrimination under G. L. c. 151B, in violation of any public policy, or without good faith.  She only disagrees with […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 7, 2017 at 1:50 am

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Harvard Climate Justice Coalition, et al. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-142-16)

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   15-P-905                                        Appeals Court   HARVARD CLIMATE JUSTICE COALITION & others[1]  vs.  PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLEGE & others.[2]     No. 15-P-905.   Suffolk.     June 7, 2016. – October 6, 2016.   Present:  Cypher, Grainger, & Kinder, JJ.     Charity.  Corporation, Charitable corporation.  Practice, Civil, Motion to dismiss, Standing.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on November 19, 2014.   Motions to dismiss were heard by Paul D. Wilson, J.     Joseph E. Hamilton, pro se. Benjamin A. Franta, pro se. Brett Blank, Assistant Attorney General, for the Attorney General. Martin F. Murphy for President and Fellows of Harvard College & another. Jeffrey D. Pierce, of California, & Piper Hoffman, for Animal Legal Defense Fund, amicus curiae, submitted a brief. Daniel M. Galpern, of Oregon, & Joseph B. Simons, for James E. Hansen, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     CYPHER, J.  The plaintiffs, Harvard Climate Justice Coalition, an unincorporated association of students at Harvard University (university), and its members, appeal from a Superior Court judgment dismissing their action that sought a permanent injunction requiring the President and Fellows of Harvard College (the university’s formal name) and Harvard Management Company, Inc. (the company that manages the endowment funds) (collectively, Harvard), to divest the university’s endowment of investments in fossil fuel companies.  In a two-count complaint, the plaintiffs allege that those investments contribute to climate changes (commonly known as global warming), which adversely impact their education and in the future will adversely impact the university’s physical campus.  We affirm.[3] The students filed their complaint in November, 2014.  Almost two months later, the defendants, Harvard and the Attorney General,[4] filed motions to dismiss.  In count one of the complaint, the plaintiffs asserted that the harms of global warming resulting from investments in fossil fuel companies constitute mismanagement of the charitable funds in the university’s endowment.  In count two, the plaintiffs sought to assert the rights of “[f]uture [g]enerations” to be free of what the plaintiffs call the “[a]bnormally [d]angerous [a]ctivities” of those companies, and proposed a new tort of “[i]ntentional [i]nvestment in [a]bnormally [d]angerous [a]ctivities.” The judge allowed both motions to dismiss.  As to count one, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs failed to show that they had standing to maintain their claim of mismanagement of the endowment.  As to count two, the judge declined […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 6, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

L.B., et al. v. Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Department, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-060-16)

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-11892   L.B. & another[1]  vs.  CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE PROBATE AND FAMILY COURT DEPARTMENT & others.[2] Suffolk.     October 5, 2015. – May 4, 2016.   Present:  Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Probate Court, Guardian.  Due Process of Law, Assistance of counsel.  Constitutional Law, Assistance of counsel.  Practice, Civil, Assistance of counsel.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on May 6, 2015.   The case was reported by Botsford, J.     Laura Williams Gal (Christina L. Paradiso with her) for L.B. & another. Norah E. Kane for the minor children of L.B. Jo Ann Shotwell Kaplan, Assistant Attorney General, for Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Department. Deborah W. Kirchwey for the minor child of C.L. Jamie Ann Sabino, Susan R. Elsen, Mary K. Ryan, & Melanie V. Woodward, for Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Inc., & others, amici curiae, submitted a brief. Andrew L. Cohen, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for Committee for Public Counsel Services, amicus curiae, submitted a brief. Susan M. Finnegan, Sandra J. Badin, & Geoffrey A. Friedman, for S.D., amicus curiae, submitted a brief. Richard M. Page, Jr., for Boston Bar Association, amicus curiae, joined in a brief.     SPINA, J.  In Guardianship of V.V., 470 Mass. 590 (2015), we held that a parent whose minor child is the subject of a guardianship petition pursuant to G. L. c. 190B, § 5-206, and who cannot afford counsel has a right to have counsel appointed and to be so informed.  The issue in this case is whether a parent also has a right to counsel if and when the parent petitions to have the guardian removed or to have the terms of the guardianship modified.  We conclude that a parent does have a right to counsel for certain of those types of petitions.  We also offer some guidance to the Probate and Family Court, where these private guardianships occur, for the development of rules and policies to implement this right to counsel. Procedural history.  The plaintiffs, L.B. and C.L., are the mothers of minor children for whom guardians were appointed, in 2012 and 2013 respectively, pursuant to G. L. c. 190B, § 5-206.  They commenced this action in the county court in 2015, challenging a written policy of the Chief Justice of the Probate and […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 4, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Charbonneau v. Presiding Justice of the Holyoke Division of the District Court Department (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-009-16)

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-11908   JOSHUA CHARBONNEAU  vs.  PRESIDING JUSTICE OF THE HOLYOKE DIVISION OF THE DISTRICT COURT DEPARTMENT.       Suffolk.     October 8, 2015. – January 22, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  District Court.  Practice, Criminal, Plea.  Statute, Construction.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on May 13, 2015.   The case was reported by Botsford, J.     Paul R. Rudof, Committee for Public Counsel Services (Ryan M. Schiff, Committee for Public Counsel Services, with him) for the plaintiff. Susanne G. Reardon, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant. William C. Newman, Chauncey B. Wood, & Joseph N. Schneiderman, for American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts & another, amici curiae, submitted a brief.   HINES, J.  In this appeal, we determine whether a standing  order of the Holyoke Division of the District Court Department (Holyoke District Court), prohibiting the tender of a so-called “defendant-capped” plea on the day of trial, contravenes the guilty plea procedure mandated in G. L. c. 278, § 18, and Mass. R. Crim. P. 12, as appearing in 442 Mass. 1511 (2004).  Joshua Charbonneau, who stands charged in the Holyoke District Court with larceny over $ 250, challenges the standing order on statutory and constitutional grounds.  He contends that the standing order violates his right to tender a defendant-capped plea at any time prior to trial because neither G. L. c. 278, § 18, nor Mass. R. Crim. P. 12 imposes a time limit on such tenders.  He also asserts that the judicially imposed time limit unconstitutionally burdens his right to due process.  We conclude that the standing order conflicts with and impairs a  defendant’s right to tender a defendant-capped plea as provided in G. L. c. 278, § 18, and Mass. R. Crim. P. 12.  Consequently, we vacate the standing order on that ground and bypass Charbonneau’s constitutional claim.[1] 1.  Background.  On February 19, 2015, the presiding justice of the Holyoke District Court[2] (presiding justice) promulgated a standing order applicable to trials beginning with the June, 2015, jury-of-six session.  In accordance with the standing order, a defendant who intended to proffer a defendant-capped plea was required to do so at the final pretrial status conference which, in the Holyoke District Court, is scheduled for the Wednesday two weeks prior to […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 22, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Campatelli v. Chief Justice of the Trial Court, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-110-14)

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‑11654 PATRICIA CAMPATELLI  vs.  CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE TRIAL COURT  & others.[1] Suffolk.     May 8, 2014.  ‑  June 20, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  Register of Probate.  Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Department.  Chief Justice of the Trial Court.  Court Administrator.  Statute, Construction.  Practice, Civil, Waiver.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on March 14, 2014.   The case was reserved and reported by Duffly, J.     Philip R. Boncore (Jeffrey Rosario Turco with him) for the plaintiff. Peter Haley for Association of Magistrates and Assistant Clerks of the Trial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, amicus curiae. Daniel P. Sullivan, Special Assistant Attorney General, for the defendants.       BOTSFORD, J.  The Register of Probate and Insolvency for Suffolk County, Patricia Campatelli, was placed on paid administrative leave — suspended with pay — by the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Department, the Chief Justice of the Trial Court, and the Court Administrator, pending further investigation of allegations of inappropriate conduct and mismanagement in the performance of her duties.  Campatelli commenced this action in the county court to challenge her suspension by the three named court officials; her claim is that only the justices of this court possess the authority to suspend her, pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 4.  We do not interpret c. 211, § 4, to vest sole authority in this court or its justices to suspend with pay a register of probate, and conclude that the Chief Justice of the Trial Court, the Court Administrator, and the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Department possess the authority to do so pursuant to G. L. c. 211B, §§ 9, 9A, and 10, respectively. Background.  Campatelli disputes the allegations and findings contained in the record regarding her conduct in office, but the facts relating to the legal issues before us are undisputed.  In November, 2012, Campatelli was elected as the Register of Probate and Insolvency for Suffolk County (register of probate, or register); she took office on January 3, 2013.  See G. L. c. 217, § 4.  As register, Campatelli served in the Suffolk County Division of the Probate and Family Court Department of the Trial Court.  On December 22, […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 20, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , ,