PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Jennifer Donahue/Erika Gully-Santiago
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2023
Supreme Judicial Court Justice Elspeth B. Cypher to Retire
BOSTON, MA -- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Elspeth B. Cypher today advised Governor Maura Healey that she will retire from the Court on January 12, 2024. Appointed by Governor Charlie Baker, Justice Cypher was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court on March 31, 2017.
“I have been privileged to have served the Commonwealth as an appellate justice for over 23 years,” said Justice Cypher. “I have been humbled and honored by Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito for nominating me to the Supreme Judicial Court and by the Governor’s Council for approving the nomination. I am also deeply grateful to Governor Cellucci and Lt. Governor Swift for entrusting me with the position of associate justice on the Appeals Court.
“I have served with wonderful, collaborative colleagues, and an outstanding staff, all committed to excellence in furtherance of the mission of ensuring fair, impartial, and timely justice for everyone who appears before the courts. No judicial career is achieved alone. I have benefited from the enduring support of my family and friends, and I have learned from the many wonderful teachers, mentors, colleagues, law clerks, support staff, and students I have had the opportunity to work with. I am looking forward to pursuing my love of teaching as a Huber Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Boston College Law School in the spring semester of 2024.”
“Justice Cypher has brought her keen knowledge of the law and the constitution to the appellate courts for over two decades, serving on the Supreme Judicial Court for the past six years,” said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd. “She has been an exceptional friend and colleague and an active role model to the many people who count her as a mentor. We are deeply grateful for her service to the people of the Commonwealth.”
Justice Cypher was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1959. She received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Emerson College in 1980 and a J.D., cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School in 1986, where she served on the Suffolk University Law Review.
From 1986 to 1988, she was an associate at the Boston law firm of Grayer, Brown and Dilday. In 1988 she became an Assistant District Attorney in Bristol County, where she served for the next twelve years. From 1993 to 2000, she was chief of the Appellate Division of that office and argued many cases before the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court.
On December 27, 2000, Governor Paul Cellucci appointed her to the Massachusetts Appeals Court as an Associate Justice.
Justice Cypher has been an adjunct professor at Suffolk University Law School. Prior to that, she taught for many years at the University of Massachusetts School of Law. She received an honorary PhD from Emerson College in 2017, an honorary J.D. from UMass in 2018, and, most recently, the Marilyn Archer Trailblazer Award in 2022.
Over the years, Justice Cypher has written extensively about developments in criminal law in the Commonwealth. Active in the Massachusetts Bar Association, Justice Cypher has served as co-chair of its criminal law section. She was the recipient of the Green Bag's Exemplary Legal Writing award in 2018, and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly's Lawyer of the Year Award in 2000.
In 2012, Justice Kent B. Smith asked her to co-author a fourth edition of his books in the Massachusetts Practice Series, Criminal Practice and Procedure. Before his death, she assumed responsibility for the supplement in 2013 and for the fourth edition, which was published in 2014. Each year, she updates the annual supplement and plans to continue to do so.