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By adamg - 6/4/20 - 10:18 am

In an unusual statement yesterday, the seven justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court yesterday called on their fellow judges and lawyers to do something about "the inequity and injustice that is the legacy of slavery, of Jim Crow, and of the disproportionate incarceration of African-Americans."

Although they included themselves in that admonition, the justices, in fact, have been doing something about that, through their decisions in recent years, such as: Read more.

By adamg - 6/3/20 - 12:12 pm
Supreme Judicial Court justices

The Supreme Judicial Court.

The seven justices of the Supreme Judicial Court today sent a letter to the state's judges and lawyers on the current situation:

The events of the last few months have reminded us of what African-Americans know all too well: that too often, by too many, black lives are not treated with the dignity and respect accorded to white lives. As judges and as lawyers, we are both saddened and angry at the confluence of recent events that have revealed how much more we need to do to create a just, fair, and peaceful society.

Read more.

By adamg - 5/26/20 - 11:29 am

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that voters this fall will get to decide whether to give all food stores the right to get a license to sell beer and wine, through a ballot question proposed by convenience-store giant Cumberland Farms, which has the maximum seven licenses allowed by current state law. Read more.

By adamg - 5/15/20 - 9:23 am

In a letter to lawyers yesterday, leaders of the state trial and appeals courts announced their court buildings will likely remain shut through at least the end of June, but that trials probably won't restart until September, due to Covid-19 concerns. Read more.

By adamg - 4/27/20 - 3:00 pm

The Supreme Judicial Court today issued new rules that will continue to slow the wheels of trial justice in Massachusetts through summertime. Read more.

By adamg - 4/21/20 - 11:26 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today ordered a new trial for Anthony Mazza, who was convicted 47 years ago on charges he strangled a bank manager in a Bowdoin Street rooming house, after concluding his lawyer never got a police statement that might have implicated the tenant of the apartment where the dead man's body was found. Read more.

By adamg - 4/17/20 - 2:31 pm

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that the Covid-19 crisis is making it too hard for many candidates to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot for the September primary and so ordered that candidates need only collect half as many signatures - and that candidates for state legislative races have more time to do so. Also, candidates can submit signatures gathered electronically rather than on paper. Read more.

By adamg - 4/16/20 - 1:37 pm

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that prosecutors can use license-plate data from cameras mounted on both Cape bridges to make their case against an alleged heroin dealer who was nabbed in part because the data showed he was making frequent trips on and off the Cape - and alerted Barnstable police to the specific trip he made that led to his arrest. Read more.

By adamg - 4/3/20 - 2:20 pm

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that people not awaiting trial for the most serious charges have a right to seek immediate release on personal recognizance - and appointed a special master to start hearings on applications for immediate release - as a matter of public health. Read more.

By adamg - 4/1/20 - 3:38 pm

The Supreme Judicial Court today ordered judges to consider whether a person they're about to send away for probation violations might be at particular risk for Covid-19 complications, at least while the virus remains serious enough to warrant a state of emergency. Read more.

By adamg - 3/20/20 - 11:37 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld a man's conviction and 2 1/2-year jail sentence for illegal gun possession even though prosecutors failed to show that he knew the thing he grabbed from a friend and then fired into the air twice met the official state definition of a "gun." Read more.

By adamg - 3/17/20 - 11:18 am

In 2015, a man wearing a GPS device as a condition of bail on a Boston drug charge was arrested for an armed home invasion in Medford after police there asked the operators of a state GPS database if anybody in it had a GPS pinged from the location of the home invasion and his info showed up. Read more.

By adamg - 3/13/20 - 12:00 pm

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today ordered a delay of new civil and criminal jury trial for the next five weeks - and says district attorneys cannot ask for new grand juries in criminal cases during that period - due to Covid-19. Read more.

By adamg - 1/30/20 - 11:09 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld a man's conviction for sucker-punching another man in the face at a Roxbury community center, ruling he got a fair hearing from all his jurors, including one who was blind. Read more.

By adamg - 1/29/20 - 10:38 am

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that prosecutors in Springfield can't use a knife found on a guy during a traffic stop - and the gun then found in his car - as evidence against him because police didn't have enough proof he was "armed and dangerous" before they frisked him. Read more.

By adamg - 12/31/19 - 11:49 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today dismissed a libel suit against the news editor of the UMass Boston student newspaper because the paper accurately reported accounts by campus police that they were looking for a man for some "suspicious" activity on a shuttle bus - and that means she is covered by a legal principle that protects journalists reporting on "official" statements and actions. Read more.

By adamg - 12/23/19 - 10:17 pm

The case against Onaxis Barreto might seem like a good one: Police, acting on a tip a guy was driving around Roxbury with a large stash of cocaine in his green Volvo spotted Barreto driving a green Volvo stop and engage in what seemed like a drug transaction, so after watching him turn left without signaling, they stopped him and ordered him out of the car - in which a drug-sniffing dog found a box stuff with cocaine and cash.

But the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today prosecutors can't use the cocaine as evidence against him. Read more.

By adamg - 10/30/19 - 10:57 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today ordered the Boston Police Department to put Michael Gannon at the top of its next list for available slots for patrolman - a job he has been trying to get for ten years despite a positive result on a test for cocaine. Read more.

By adamg - 10/10/19 - 2:55 pm

A divided Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that crossing the "fog line" that separates a road from its shoulder, even if just for a couple seconds, is a marked-lane violation that a cop driving behind you can use as justification to pull you over. Read more.

By adamg - 9/11/19 - 11:05 am

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today the city of Boston was wrong to try tax Veolia Energy's network of steam pipes through Boston Proper, ruling that, collectively, they are parts of a "great integral machine," which have been exempt from taxation since an 1866 ruling. Read more.

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