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In the Matter of Clerk-Magistrate Robert E. Powers (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-076-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;     SJC‑11292   IN THE MATTER OF CLERK-MAGISTRATE ROBERT E. POWERS. Suffolk.     January 8, 2013.  ‑  May 10, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Clerk of Court.  District Court, Clerk‑Magistrate.  Supreme Judicial Court, Removal of clerk of court.  Practice, Civil, Proceeding for removal of clerk of court.  Due Process of Law.       Formal charges filed in the Supreme Judicial Court on December 19, 2011.     Peter J. Haley for the respondent. Thomas O. Bean (Robert W. Langlois with him) for Committee on Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Court. Harry Spence, court administrator for the Trial Court, amicus curiae, submitted a letter.         GANTS, J.  The Committee on Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Courts (committee) has filed formal charges against the respondent, Robert E. Powers (Powers), clerk-magistrate of the Barnstable Division of the District Court Department (Barnstable District Court), alleging three counts.  In the first count, the committee alleges that Powers “typically arrived one to two hours late, and thus did not contribute to the work of the Clerk’s office or the leadership of his staff during the busiest hour of the office day,” in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Courts (code), S.J.C. Rule 3:12, Canon 3, first par., as appearing in 407 Mass. 1301 (1990).[1]  The second count alleges that “Powers has willfully, grossly, and continuously failed to maintain order and decorum in proceedings he presided over and to be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, lawyers, staff, judges and others in his official dealings,” thus creating “the perception in the community that the Barnstable District Court is not a place to go to be treated fairly and to receive orderly administration of justice,” in violation of Canons 3 (A) (2) and (A) (3).[2]  The third count alleges that Powers was “grossly delinquent in performing administrative duties” and “has willfully, grossly, and continuously failed to promptly issue decisions for matters that are heard by him,” in violation of Canons 3 (A) (5) and (B).[3]   After a six-day hearing, a hearing officer found by clear and convincing evidence that Powers had committed the alleged violations of these canons of the code, and concluded that “the public good justifies his removal from office under G. L. c. 211, § 4.”  The committee adopted the findings […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 11, 2013 at 12:45 am

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