Posts tagged "court"

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NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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 […]

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

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Skandha v. Clerk of the Superior Court for Civil Business in Suffolk County (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-168-15)

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-11811   BODHISATTVA SKANDHA  vs.  CLERK OF THE SUPERIOR COURT FOR CIVIL BUSINESS IN SUFFOLK COUNTY. September 29, 2015. Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  Mandamus.  Practice, Civil, Action in nature of mandamus, Assembly of record.  Clerk of Court.   The petitioner, Bodhisattva Skandha, appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court denying his petitions pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3, and for relief in the nature of mandamus pursuant to G. L. c. 249, § 5.  We affirm.   Background.  The petitions stem from Skandha’s effort to appeal from the dismissal of a complaint in the Superior Court that he and two other plaintiffs filed, in August, 2010, against the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) and several associated attorneys.  The plaintiffs claimed that CPCS and the attorneys had violated the plaintiffs’ due process rights by, among other things, failing to screen their new trial motions to determine whether they had any claims that would entitle them to relief from their respective convictions.  A judge in the Superior Court dismissed the complaint, in May, 2013, and it appears that Skandha timely filed a notice of appeal.[1]  The appeal was dismissed, however, in January, 2014, apparently on the basis that Skandha had failed to take the necessary steps to perfect it.[2]   Skandha subsequently timely filed a notice of appeal from the dismissal of his appeal, as he was entitled to do (in which he again indicated that there were no transcripts in the matter, see note 2, supra).  He also filed, in March, 2014, a “motion for the court to order the clerk to provide the pleadings for the plaintiffs’ appeal,” and, in June, 2014, a motion in the Superior Court asking the court “to order the clerk to assemble the record.”  Both of these motions were stamped “rejected” on June 26, 2014, and never docketed.  After his efforts to appeal stalled in the Superior Court, Skandha filed his petitions in the county court for relief in the nature of mandamus and pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3, asking the single justice to direct the clerk of the Superior Court to assemble the record for purposes of his appeal.  The petitions were denied without a hearing.   Discussion.  Skandha has now filed what appears to have been intended as a memorandum and appendix pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 2:21, as amended, 434 Mass. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 29, 2015 at 7:35 pm

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Fitzgerald v. District Court Department of the Trial Court (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-044-15)

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-11648   STEVEN FITZGERALD  vs.  DISTRICT COURT DEPARTMENT OF THE TRIAL COURT.[1] March 13, 2015       Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  Practice, Criminal, Plea.       Steven Fitzgerald appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court denying his petition for relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3.  Because we agree with the single justice that Fitzgerald is not entitled to extraordinary relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3, we affirm.   Fitzgerald pleaded guilty to certain criminal offenses in the District Court in 2013.  In his petition before the single justice, he argued that he was forcibly medicated when he tendered his pleas.  He also complained that he has not been able to obtain a copy of the court file of the earlier, related proceedings conducted under G. L. c. 123, §§ 8B and 16 (b), which resulted in orders that he be involuntarily committed and treated with antipsychotic medications.   On appeal, Fitzgerald primarily presses his claim that he was improperly ordered to take antipsychotic medications before he pleaded guilty.[2]  It appears that at some point before the plea hearing, a District Court judge had granted a petition of the medical director of Bridgewater State Hospital to involuntarily commit Fitzgerald pursuant to G. L. c. 123, § 16 (b), and also granted the medical director’s separate petition seeking authority to treat him with antipsychotic medications pursuant to G. L. c. 123, § 8B.  Then, in March, 2013, a second judge held the plea hearing at which Fitzgerald was represented by counsel.  After finding him competent to stand trial,[3] and conducting a plea colloquy, the judge accepted his guilty pleas and sentenced him.  To the extent that Fitzgerald now seeks through his G. L. c. 211, § 3, petition to have his pleas vacated, on the ground that he was improperly forced to take antipsychotic medications, and was under the influence of those medications when he tendered his guilty pleas, his request is misplaced.  Such a request should be made in a motion for a new trial pursuant to Mass. R. Crim. P. 30, as appearing in 435 Mass. 1501 (2001), which, if denied, is subject to review in the normal appellate process.  A motion for a new trial filed in the trial court, and not a petition for general superintendence relief in this court, is the appropriate remedy.  See Commonwealth v. Colon, 439 Mass. 519, 524 (2003), quoting Commonwealth v. Huot, […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 13, 2015 at 6:12 pm

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Gallagher v. First Assistant Clerk-Magistrate of the Newburyport District Court, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-190-14)

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-11592   ROBERT GALLAGHER  vs.  FIRST ASSISTANT CLERK-MAGISTRATE OF THE NEWBURYPORT DISTRICT COURT & others.[1]     November 28, 2014     Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  Practice, Civil, Attorney’s fees, Small claims procedure.  District Court, Small claims procedure.     Robert Gallagher appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court dismissing his petition for relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3.  In his petition, he sought relief from final judgments entered in two cases in the District Court Department.  In one of the cases, after Gallagher prevailed on a complaint brought against him under the harassment prevention statute, G. L. c. 258E, the judge failed to act on his request for attorney’s fees.  In the other case, judgment was entered against him on a G. L. c. 93A claim that he brought in the small claims session.   As to the former case, Gallagher had, but did not pursue, adequate alternative remedies, both in the trial court and through the ordinary appellate process.[2]  “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 or merely to provide an additional layer of appellate review after the normal process has run its course.”  Votta v. Police Dep’t of Billerica, 444 Mass. 1001, 1001 (2005).  See Foley v. Lowell Div. of the Dist. Ct. Dep’t, 398 Mass. 800, 802 (1986), and cases cited (“Where a petitioner can raise his claim in the normal course of trial and appeal, relief will be denied”).   As to the latter case, it is well established that “a plaintiff who chooses to proceed in the small claims session waives the right to appeal from any adverse judgment, and likewise is not entitled to invoke this court’s extraordinary power of general superintendence in lieu of an appeal to compel review of the judgment.”  Zullo v. Culik Law P.C., 467 Mass. 1009, 1009 (2014), and cases cited.  The single justice properly declined to grant extraordinary relief.[3]   Judgment affirmed.   The case was submitted on briefs. Robert J. Gallagher, pro se. Bryan F. Bertram, Assistant Attorney General, for the Commonwealth.      [1] A Justice of the Lawrence District Court, the clerk-magistrate of the Lawrence District Court, Stephen D’Angelo, Mary McCauley-Manzi, and Catherine W. Wnek.        [2] For example, Gallagher could have moved […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - December 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm

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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, […]

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

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Police: Two Arrested on Trotter Court for Drugs, Trespassing, and Stolen Property

Two men who were believed to be dealing drugs in the area were also found with allegedly stolen property, say police. South End Patch News

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 29, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Categories: Arrests   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Marathon Bombing Suspect Tsarnaev Due in Court Wednesday

The lone suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing will appear in court Wednesday, nearly two weeks after a grand jury returned a 

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 10, 2013 at 7:45 am

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Supreme Court Kills DOMA, Dismisses Prop 8: Do You Agree with Decisions?

The Defense of Marriage Act is dead. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal act, which barred the federal government from recognizing the married status of gay couples (and thus denied those couples federal marriage benefits) was a violation of state rights and the fifth amendment rights of individuals. “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the five-Justice majority. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.” Justices Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer signed onto the majority opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito all dissented. The court also dismissed a case filed by supporters of California’s Proposition 8, which banned same sax marriage in California. The court ruled that the petitioners did not have proper standing to defend the law in court. That decision was also norrowly cast, 5-4. What do you think? Did the Supreme Court get this ruling right? Should the federal government respect the marriage laws of all states, regardless of who those states allow to marry? Or is this a case of federalism run amok? Should the federal government have a say in who gets federal benefits no matter what the states decide? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. South End Patch

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm

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Zaniboni v. Massachusetts Trial Court (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-115-13)

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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11219   CAROLE J. ZANIBONI  vs.  MASSACHUSETTS TRIAL COURT.     June 17, 2013.     Practice, Civil, Report, Judgment notwithstanding verdict, New trial.       The plaintiff, Carole J. Zaniboni, commenced this action in 2001, alleging that the defendant, the Massachusetts Trial Court (Trial Court), had not selected her for two different promotions in her department based on her age, in violation of G. L. c. 151B.  In November, 2006, after a Superior Court jury found in her favor with respect to one of the two positions, the trial judge denied the Trial Court’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (judgment n.o.v.) but granted its alternative motion for a new trial.  The parties filed cross appeals — Zaniboni from the allowance of the Trial Court’s motion for a new trial and the Trial Court from the denial of its motion for judgment n.o.v.  The record was assembled (after some delay), and the case was entered in the Appeals Court in June, 2010.  Because the judge had granted the motion for a new trial, the appeal was premature; the record should not have been assembled and the case should not have proceeded to an appellate court.  See, e.g., Okongwu v. Stephens, 396 Mass. 724, 728-729 & n.7 (1986).  See also J.W. Smith & H.B. Zobel, Rules Practice § 50.18, at 156-157 (2d. ed. 2006).     At oral argument in March, 2011, a panel of the Appeals Court questioned the parties about the propriety of the appeal.  Recognizing that the appeal was premature, the court issued an order after the argument stating, in relevant part, that “[t]he only remedy currently available to the parties for prosecution of an appeal of this interlocutory order is by means of a reported question.  Mass. R. Civ. P. 64 (a), 365 Mass. 831 (1974).”  The court also noted that it did “not suggest that the report of a question is or is not appropriate.  The decision to report any question is, of course, committed to the sound discretion of the judge.”[1]  The court stayed the appeal for thirty days “to permit the parties to proceed, as they may choose, in Superior Court to seek rule 64(a) relief.”   The parties returned to the Superior Court where they filed a “joint motion to report [the] case for determination to the Massachusetts Appeals Court.”  A Superior Court […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm

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McCants v. Clerk of Suffolk Superior Court for Criminal Business (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-082-13)

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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11263   OWEN McCANTS  vs.  CLERK OF SUFFOLK SUPERIOR COURT FOR CRIMINAL BUSINESS. May 14, 2013. Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  Moot Question.  Practice, Civil, Moot case.         Owen McCants appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court dismissing as moot his petition for a writ of mandamus and for a declaratory judgment.  We affirm.   A Superior Court jury convicted McCants of several crimes, and the Appeals Court affirmed the convictions.  See Commonwealth v. McCants, 65 Mass. App. Ct. 1121 (2006).  McCants thereafter filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied.  He then filed a notice of appeal, the record was assembled, and the appeal was entered in the Appeals Court, where it remains pending.  Then, in April, 2012, he filed a petition in the county court, asserting that the trial court clerk’s office had failed to docket several pleadings that he had filed in that court in connection with the motion for a new trial.  In response, the respondent submitted a letter to the county court indicating that the clerk’s office had updated the docket to include the pleadings in question and that the entire record, including those pleadings, had been assembled and forwarded to the Appeals Court.  On the basis that McCants had received the relief that he was seeking — the docketing of his pleadings in the trial court — the single justice dismissed the petition as moot.     In his appeal from the dismissal of his petition McCants argues that the matter is not moot because the respondent failed to file a timely response to his petition and that she therefore “waived” her right to respond.  Regardless whether the respondent’s letter was timely, it was within the court’s discretion to accept it for filing on the date that it was received.  As indicated in the letter and reflected in the trial court docket, the pleadings that McCants sought to have docketed had by that time been docketed, apparently in response to McCants’s petition in the county court.  Nowhere in the record or in McCants’s appeal to this court does McCants dispute that the pleadings in question have been docketed and included in the record assembled for his appeal from the denial of his motion for a new trial.   To the extent that McCants […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 15, 2013 at 1:24 am

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