PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Jennifer Donahue/Erika Gully-Santiago
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2016
Supreme Judicial Court Hears Oral Arguments in Four Cases in Special Sitting in Lawrence
LAWRENCE, MA - Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants and the six Associate Justices today heard oral arguments in four cases in a special sitting at the Lawrence District Court. The special sitting provided an opportunity for students, residents of the local community and the media to view the work of the highest court of the Commonwealth outside of the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, where cases are normally heard.
As part of the special sitting, Essex County Superior Court Clerk Thomas H. Driscoll, Jr., and Lawrence District Court Clerk Keith E. McDonough, acted as clerks to the Justices for the day. Students from Lawrence High School, Greater Lawrence Technical High School and Central Catholic High School attended the special sitting. Following oral arguments, Chief Justice Gants and the Associate Justices answered questions from students.
"It was a great pleasure for all the Justices to 'take our court on the road' and bring it to Lawrence," said SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants. "We thank all those who worked so hard to make our visit a success -- the judges, clerks, court officers, bar association leaders, teachers, and students, and the court maintenance staff who demonstrated extraordinary craftsmanship and ingenuity in building a removable bench that could seat the seven Justices and can be used for future outside sittings."
The seven Justices hear appeals on a broad range of criminal and civil cases from September through May. The Associate Justices sit as Single Justices each month on a rotation schedule. Single Justices consider certain petitions pertaining to cases on trial or on appeal, bail reviews, bar discipline proceedings, petitions for admission to the bar, and a variety of other statutory proceedings. The full bench renders approximately 200 written decisions each year; the Single Justices decide approximately 600 cases annually.
The Justices heard oral arguments in the below cases:
Commonwealth vs. Douglas Garcia
Commonwealth vs. Joel D. Morgan
Commonwealth vs. Heather Dragotta
Guardianship of K.N.
Following oral arguments, SJC Chief Justice Gants delivered remarks as guest speaker at a luncheon put together and hosted by the Lawrence Bar Association, Haverhill Bar Association and the Essex County Bar Association, where he addressed court leaders, bar leaders and Essex County officials.
Caption: The Supreme Judicial Court today heard oral arguments in four cases in a special sitting at the Lawrence District Court attended by high school students from Lawrence High School, Greater Lawrence Technical High School and Central Catholic High School. The Justices are pictured here in the back row from L-R: Justice David A. Lowy; Justice Geraldine S. Hines; Justice Margot Botsford; Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants; Justice Barbara A. Lenk; Justice Frank M. Gaziano; and Justice Kimberly S. Budd. Photo credit: Matt Stone / Boston Herald / Pool photographer