I. Authority

This amended Standing Order 1-06 is promulgated by the Chief Justice of the Boston Municipal Court Department pursuant to the provisions of G. L. c. 211B, § 10 and G. L. c. 218, § 51A , and in compliance with the Trial Court Policy for Specialty Court Sessions issued by the Executive Office of the Trial Court on June 5, 2014 (“SC Policy”) and revised S.J.C. Rule 3:09 Code of Judicial Conduct effective on January 1, 2016 (“revised CJC”), which are incorporated herein by reference. 

II. Purpose and Applicability

The Boston Municipal Court Department has long recognized the benefits of providing specialized sessions to address specific public health and safety issues presented by individuals appearing in criminal or civil matters brought before our court divisions. In order to achieve consistency, accountability, and the efficient use of existing resources, Standing Order 1-06 originally promulgated uniform procedures for the establishment or continued operation of specialized sessions in this Department. With the issuance of a formal Trial Court Policy for Specialty Court Sessions and the revision of the Code of Judicial Conduct effective on January 1, 2016, Standing Order 1-06 is hereby amended to conform to the provisions of both the SC Policy and the revised CJC, and to formally adopt the Trial Court designation and definition of “specialty court sessions”. Using evidence-based practices, specialty court sessions target individuals with underlying medical, mental health, substance use disorders and other issues in an effort to reduce recidivism and improve public safety. A hallmark of a specialty court session is the integration of treatment and services with judicial case oversight and intensive court supervision. 

III. Written Plan Requirement

A. For Establishment of New Specialty Court Session 

Any court division of this Department seeking to establish a new specialty court session shall fully comply with all provisions of the SC Policy, including the submission of a written plan as described in Section I of the SC Policy. Said written plan shall be submitted for initial review to the Director of Specialty Courts prior to final approval by the Chief Justice of the Boston Municipal Court Department. 

B. For Continued Operation of Existing Specialty Court Session(s) 

Within forty-five (45) days of the effective date of this amended Standing Order 1-06, and then biannually, the First Justice of each court division of this Department with existing specialty court session(s) shall submit a written plan for its/their continued operation as described below in subsection C to the Director of Specialty Courts. 

C. Issues to be Addressed in Written Plan for Continued Operation of Existing Specialty Court Session(s) 

After consultation with the Clerk Magistrate, Chief Probation Officer and Chief Court Officer, the First Justice of each court division of this Department seeking to continue operating specialty court session(s) shall submit a written plan to the Director of Specialty Courts for each specialty court session addressing the following issues: (1) the continued need for and benefit(s) of the existing specialty court session; (2) the continued availability of resources in terms of court staff and workload, court security, and community treatment providers; (3) the protocol outlining the eligibility, operating procedures and frequency of the scheduled specialty court session; (4) the need for any additional training of court personnel; (5) the performance standards expected of individuals participating in the existing specialty court session; (6) the methodology being used to collect and report data; and (7) all foreseeable operational issues or concerns with proposed resolutions. 

IV. Additional Provisions

A. Ex Parte Communications in Court Proceedings 

Pursuant to the revised CJC, a judge may exercise his/her discretion to engage in ex parte communications in specialty courts as authorized by law. 

B. Statistical Data Requirements 

Each specialty court session shall maintain statistical data, including the number of referrals to each specialty court session, the status of each case, a description of all case activity, and the next scheduled event. Specialty court sessions must comply with all applicable time standards as provided by Boston Municipal/District Court Joint Standing Orders 2-04 and 3-04

C. Judicial Assignment 

All departmental judges are eligible for and subject to assignment to any specialty court session, and must familiarize themselves with all provisions and requirements contained in this amended Standing Order, the SC Policy and the revised CJC. 

V. Duration and Periodic Review of Each Specialty Court Session 

Unless otherwise ordered by the Chief Justice, authorization to establish a new specialty court session will expire two (2) years from the date of approval. A written plan as described in Section III. C. for the continued operation of an approved specialty court session must be submitted to the Director of Specialty Courts by the First Justice within sixty (60) days of expiration. The periodic review of all existing specialty court sessions as provided for in this Standing Order is independent of and shall not be replaced by the certification process described in the Adult Drug Court Manual issued by the Executive Office of the Trial Court.

Approved January 5, 2016, effective January 15, 2016.

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