Posts tagged "Trial"

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NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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

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

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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 […]

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

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Martin v. Superior Court Department of the Trial Court (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-137-17)

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-12288     JAMES MARTIN  vs.  SUPERIOR COURT DEPARTMENT OF THE TRIAL COURT.     August 18, 2017.     Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  Attorney at Law, Disqualification.  District Attorney.     The petitioner, James Martin, appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court denying his petition pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3.  We affirm.   Martin, an attorney with a practice in the Springfield area, has been indicted by a Hampden County grand jury on charges of rape, in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 22 (b), and indecent assault and battery, in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 13H.  He filed a motion to disqualify the Hampden County district attorney’s office from prosecuting the case on the basis that it would constitute a conflict of interest because he has worked closely with that office in resolving cases for a number of years.  After a judge in the Superior Court denied the motion, Martin filed his G. L. c. 211, § 3, petition in the county court.  A single justice denied the petition without a hearing.   The case is now before us pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 2:21, as amended, 434 Mass. 1301 (2001), which requires a showing that “review of the trial court decision cannot adequately be obtained on appeal from any final adverse judgment in the trial court or by other available means.”  S.J.C. Rule 2:21 (2).  Martin has not made, and cannot make, such a showing.  Although Martin argues that allowing the Hampden County district attorney’s office to prosecute the case will violate his constitutional rights to a fair and impartial trial, and that it will be “too late” if the disqualification issue is not addressed prior to his trial, the ruling on the disqualification issue is the very type of ruling that is routinely reviewed on appeal from a conviction.  See Luke v. Commonwealth, 460 Mass. 1002, 1002-1003 (2011), citing Commonwealth v. Colon, 408 Mass. 419, 429-432 (1990).  There is no reason why that is not also so here.  The single justice did not err or abuse his discretion in denying relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3.   Judgment affirmed.     The case was submitted on the papers filed, accompanied by a memorandum of law. Alan J. Black for the petitioner. Full-text Opinions

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 18, 2017 at 8:06 pm

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Essex Regional Retirement Board v. Justices of the Salem Division of the District Court Department of the Trial Court, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-086-17)

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   16-P-1158                                       Appeals Court   ESSEX REGIONAL RETIREMENT BOARD  vs.  JUSTICES OF THE SALEM DIVISION OF THE DISTRICT COURT DEPARTMENT OF THE TRIAL COURT[1] & another.[2]     No. 16-P-1158.   Essex.     March 8, 2017. – July 12, 2017.   Present:  Grainger, Blake, & Neyman, JJ.[3]     Public Employment, Retirement, Forfeiture of pension.  Police, Retirement.  Pension.  Constitutional Law, Public employment, Excessive fines clause.  County, Retirement board.  Practice, Civil, Action in nature of certiorari.  District Court, Appeal to Superior Court.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on July 14, 2015.   The case was heard by James F. Lang, J., on motions for judgment on the pleadings.     Michael Sacco for the plaintiff. Thomas C. Fallon for John Swallow.     GRAINGER, J.  The plaintiff, Essex Regional Retirement Board (board), appeals from a judgment allowing a motion for judgment on the pleadings in favor of defendant John Swallow.  The board determined that Swallow’s convictions of various criminal offenses committed in October, 2012, while on administrative leave, render him ineligible to receive a retirement allowance pursuant to G. L. c. 32, § 15(4).  We agree, and conclude that Swallow’s convictions fall within the purview of § 15(4).  We remand the case for consideration of the constitutionality of the assessed penalty under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Background.  We summarize the procedural history and the underlying relevant facts which are undisputed.  In June, 2012, Swallow was placed on administrative leave from his duties as a sergeant in the Manchester police department.  At that time he was also suspended from a second job he held as a paramedic with Northeast Regional Ambulance Service.  Although Swallow left his badge and his service handgun at the police station, his license to carry a firearm was not suspended at that point.  After being placed on administrative leave, Swallow experienced significant depression and began drinking heavily on a daily basis. On the afternoon of October 26, 2012, Swallow was at home with his wife, Lauren Noonan.  He was drinking heavily and the couple began arguing, initially because Noonan was concerned that Swallow might drive his car.  The quarrel escalated; Noonan went to her bedroom and sat on the bed with one of her dogs.  Swallow then entered the room with a .45 caliber handgun, and grabbed Noonan by the shirt.  He began screaming […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 12, 2017 at 8:47 pm

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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 […]

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

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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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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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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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Bombing Suspect Indicted at Bedside, will Face Trial in Federal Court

  A federal magistrate visited the bedside of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the surviving marathon bombing suspect was charged with the crime.  Tsarnaev is charged with unlawfully using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (namely, an improvised explosive device) against persons and property within the United States.  He is also charged with maliciously damaging and destroying, by means of explosive, real and personal property used in interstate and foreign commerce and actively affecting interstate and foreign commerce resulting in personal injury and death.  Tsarnaev remains in serious condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, according to the FBI. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said this afternoon that Tsarnaev will be tried in civilian court and not treated as an Enemy Combatant. Carney noted that Tsarnaev is a naturalized American citizen and thus cannot be tried in front of a military tribunal, as an enemy combatant would. South End Patch

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm

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