Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jury Duty

The SJC yesterday issued an opinion about background checks for jurors. During jury deliberations for a murder trial, the District Attorney ran background checks on the jurors, and discovered that 5 have criminal histories that they did not disclose in the questionnaire. Although at that point, the jury had returned verdicts on some of the charges, they were hung on the rest. The judge declared a mistrial, and in this decision, the SJC upheld the findings and declared that "double jeopardy does not bar retrial." The Boston Globe has more on the story.
The original trial led to a revision of the jury questionnaire.
Jury duty can be difficult, and often inconvenient, but an essential element in our society of laws. The Postal Service recently released a new Jury Duty Stamp. The artist hails from Merrimac, according to the Boston Herald.
Check out the Jury System page, and if called to serve, "serve with pride."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ticket Scalping Law Violated

Quincy District Court Judge Mark S. Coven ruled Monday that Admit One Ticket Agency (doing business as RedSoxTix.com) violated the state's anti-scalping law by offering an $85 Red Sox ticket for sale for $500. According to the Boston Globe, "Coven ...ruled Admit One violated the "language and legislative intent of the existing law" by recouping the cost of acquiring the tickets it was reselling and by charging customers a membership fee equal to 15 percent of the sale price. The judge said Admit One paid $225 for the $85 Red Sox-Yankees tickets it was selling and illegally tried to recoup that cost in its $500 resale price. Coven said Admit One's 15 percent membership fee was illusory."

This may spur the legislature to action on pending bills that would amend, or even eliminate the state's anti-scalping law. According to TicketNews.com, Massachusetts is one of six states with such laws (the others: Arkansas, Rhode Island, Kentucky, North Carolina and Michigan). More information on ticket scalping is available at Mass. Law About Ticket Scalping.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mandatory Drivers' Ed for Parents

Beginning September 1, the parent or guardian of a teenager seeking a driver's license now must take a 2-hour drivers' education course along with their teen. According to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, "In their special two-hour course, parents will learn about the junior operator's law and their role in supporting the law, how to teach their child to drive safely, what skills their child needs to master to pass the road test, and how to identify family member driving behaviors which may negatively influence a new driver." This is just one of many changes brought about by last year's changes in the Junior Operator Law, St.2006, c.428. The Registry has a page that helps users locate a driver's education school by town.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

SJC Briefs Available Online!

The Supreme Judicial Court has started to add its case briefs to its public docket information beginning with cases scheduled to be argued at the September, 2007 sitting. The briefs will be linked from the docket sheet for each case. We are told they will be archived there and not removed.

To give you an idea of what the briefs links look like, use the search page to do a search for the docket sheet for Commonwealth Electric vs. Leslie H. MacCardell with Docket Number SJC-09851. Docket sheets are searchable by party name, attorney, docket number, lower court and lower court judge. When the docket sheet appears, scroll down to the section titled BRIEFS.

In this case, there are links to the Appellant's Brief, the Appellee's Brief, and an Amicus Brief.

Sadly, the Appeals Court will NOT be adding briefs to their website.

Access to Birth Certificates in Adoption

Last week, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a new law, St.2007, c.109 , which grants adoptees access to their original birth certificates after they turn 18. The law does not apply to all adopted people, however. You can get a copy of your original birth certificate only if you are an "adopted person 18 years of age or older who was born in the commonwealth on or before July 17, 1974 or on or after January 1, 2008 or ... an adoptive parent of an adopted person under 18 years of age and born in the commonwealth on or after January 1, 2008."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Plymouth is Now Open!

After a tumultuous two-week move, the Plymouth Law Library is now open for business in their new location at 52 Obery Street. Please stop in and say hello. And in the meantime, take a look at more pictures of the move.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Foreclosure Rescue Transactions Banned

A new regulation from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, 940 CMR 25, "prohibits predatory, for-profit foreclosure rescue transactions," according to a press release issued earlier this week. "The new regulation also makes it an unfair or deceptive act to market foreclosure-related services without a precise description of how the promoter will assist persons in avoiding or delaying foreclosure." For more information on foreclosure, see Mass. Law About Foreclosure. For more regulations, visit our CMR pages.

Botsford Joins SJC

The newest Supreme Judicial Court Justice, Margot Botsford, was sworn in this week in time for the Court's fall session. According to the Boston Globe, "At the swearing in, Superior Court Chief Justice Barbara J. Rouse, described Botsford as a 'judge's judge' with a relentless intellect and an enormous appetite for work. 'She thinks lunch is for sissies,' Rouse said. 'Work is her passion.' "