Posts tagged "Reade"

Reade v. Secretary of the Commonwealth, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-150-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11776   WILLIAM F. READE, JR.  vs.  SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH & others.[1] Barnstable.     May 4, 2015. – September 3, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Practice, Civil, Costs.  Indigent.  Veteran.  Statute, Construction.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on June 10, 2013.   A hearing on a request for indigency status and a waiver of fees and costs was had before Robert C. Rufo, J.   Leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal was allowed in the Appeals Court by James R. Milkey, J.  The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Emily B. Kanstroom (Meredith M. Leary & Robert M. Buchholz with her) for the plaintiff. Daniel P. Sullivan, Special Assistant Attorney General (Gwen A. Werner, Special Assistant Attorney General, with him) for the intervener. Georgia Katsoulomitis & Phillip Kassel, for Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Inc., & another, amici curiae, submitted a brief.     CORDY, J.  Since 1974, the Legislature has demonstrated a commitment to ensuring that the doors of the Commonwealth’s courts will not be closed to the poor.  This commitment is embodied in the so-called Indigent Court Costs Law, G. L. c. 261, §§ 27A-27G (§§ 27A-27G), which creates a mechanism for indigent persons to obtain waivers or reductions of court fees and other costs incurred during litigation.  The statutory scheme defines “[i]ndigent persons” to include those with income below the poverty line; those who demonstrate that the payment of fees and costs would create a hardship; and those who receive “public assistance” under certain programs, including “veterans’ benefits programs.”  G. L. c. 261, § 27A.  The question presented in this appeal is whether a litigant such as the plaintiff, who receives Federal veterans’ benefits and a Massachusetts property tax abatement that are not dependent on his economic circumstances, is considered indigent under § 27A and therefore entitled to a waiver despite having ample financial resources to pay court fees and costs.[2] We conclude that the statute was not intended to provide for a waiver under these circumstances.  The history of the statute reveals an unbroken chain of legislative intent to limit the definition of indigent to persons whose limited financial resources prevent them from obtaining meaningful access to the Commonwealth’s courts.  In light of the statute’s history and purpose, we interpret […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 3, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , ,

Commonwealth v. Reade (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-185-14)

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-11655 COMMONWEALTH  vs.  DEVIN R. READE.     November 17, 2014.     Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  Notice, Timeliness.  Practice, Criminal, Interlocutory appeal, Assistance of counsel.     The petitioner, Devin R. Reade, appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court denying, without a hearing, his petition for relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3.  In his petition, Reade sought relief from a District Court judge’s decision not to appoint counsel for him in an underlying criminal case in which he is charged with two misdemeanors.  See G. L. c. 211D, § 2B.   This appeal is governed by S.J.C. Rule 2:21, as amended, 434 Mass. 1301 (2001).  Rule 2:21 (1) requires that any notice of appeal be filed with the clerk of the county court within seven days of the entry of the single justice judgment, unless the court otherwise permits.  The judgment in this case was entered on December 23, 2013, but the notice of appeal was not filed until March 18, 2014, eighty-five days later.  Because the appeal is clearly untimely, we shall dismiss it.   Even if we were to consider his claims on the merits, Reade would not be entitled to relief.  The District Court judge’s decision not to appoint counsel was an interlocutory determination that can adequately be reviewed in a direct appeal in the event Reade is convicted.  “Our general superintendence power under G. L. c. 211, § 3, is extraordinary and to be exercised sparingly, not as a substitute for the normal appellate process . . . .”  Votta v. Police Dep’t of Billerica, 444 Mass. 1001, 1001 (2005).  The single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in concluding that extraordinary superintendence relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3, was not necessary.[1]   Appeal dismissed.     The case was submitted on the papers filed, accompanied by a memorandum of law. Devin R. Reade, pro se. Cynthia M. Von Flatern, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. [1] General Laws c. 211D, § 2B, provides that “[a] person charged with a misdemeanor . . . shall not be appointed counsel if the judge, at arraignment, informs such person on the record that, if the person is convicted of such offense, the person’s sentence shall not include any period of incarceration.”  Here, counsel was initially appointed for Devin R. Reade.  Counsel subsequently moved to […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,