News Releases
June 06, 2024

Policy and News from the Courts, Week of June 3


SJC Ruling on Waiver Colloquy Adopts Amicus Argument Joined by BBA

An SJC ruling this week clarifies that the required colloquy for waiver of the right to counsel by a criminal defendant applies at all stages of the proceedings and must include potential immigration consequences. An amicus brief drafted by CPCS and joined by the BBA and MACDL had urged such a result. The opinion—only the second by Justice Elizabeth Dewar—applies retroactively.

Read our statement on the decision.

BBA Concerned by New Biden Executive Order on Immigration

Guided, as always, by our Immigration Principles, the BBA expressed concern that a Presidential executive order announced this week will deny asylum-seekers a meaningful opportunity to have their claims adjudicated. Immigrants must have access to a fair legal process. For non-citizens, access to justice must include robust, meaningful access to the immigration system, including courts with independent judges. For those seeking an immigration remedy, the individual liberty interest is grave, so the accompanying protections must be potent.

Boston Globe Cites BBA Statement on Need for Judicial Diversity 

A Boston Globe article this week, about Governor Healey’s nominees to the state bench, focused on their historic diversity and included a reference to the BBA’s 2023 statement on the “urgent need” to “accelerate past efforts” in that regard. Our statement was released before the Governor had made any judicial nominations, but it pointed to the diversity of the Judicial Nominating Commission she’d appointed as a positive sign. Since then, the Globe reports, 69% of her nominees have been women and nearly 40% people of color.

Two New Judges Confirmed, Three Nominees Named, More Openings to Be Filled

Yesterday, the Governor’s Council confirmed Sarah Kennedy and Edward Krippendorf, Jr., to the District Court bench. Judge Kennedy is a graduate of Suffolk Law School who has worked as a Middlesex County ADA, as supervising trial attorney in Lawrence for CPCS, and most recently as assistant clerk magistrate in the BMC’s Dorchester Division. Judge Krippendorf was in private practice at a Westwood firm that he co-founded and was previously a prosecutor with the Suffolk County DA’s Office, after graduating from New England Law | Boston.

Also this week, Governor Maura Healey announced three new nominations to the District Court: Frederick DeCubellis, Gregory Teran and Amanda Ward. DeCubellis, an alumnus of Southern New England School of Law, is an assistant clerk-magistrate in New Bedford District Court who previously had a civil and criminal solo practice in New Bedford for 22 years. Teran is a Harvard Law graduate and a public defender with CPCS’s Mental Health Litigation Division. He worked for 15 years at WilmerHale, handling civil cases in federal court, and was also a Middlesex ADA and a law clerk in U.S. District Court. Ward is an assistant clerk-magistrate in the BMC, who previously worked as an assistant clerk-magistrate in Superior Court. She spent 10 years as a public defender with CPCS, and has also served as an adjunct professor at BC Law. She worked early in her career as a victim-witness advocate for the Suffolk County DA, after graduating from Northeastern School of Law.

The Judicial Nominating Commission is currently seeking to fill eight openings for judgeships across all departments (plus four clerk-magistrate positions). We continue to encourage all interested applicants to consider applying!

BBA Leadership Meets with BMC Chief Justice Lyons

Our leadership meetings with the state’s chief justices continued this week with a visit to the chambers of Chief Justice Tracy-Lee Lyons, who has led the Boston Municipal Court since January. Chief Lyons described the BMC as both a community court and a “court of innovation.” She discussed new programs to offer after-care for people released after a Section 35 commitment, to start a Lawyer for the Day pilot in consumer-debt cases, and to display works by local artists in courthouses. Additional projects in the works will address restorative justice and the specific needs of emerging adults.