Committee Chair Superior Court Judge Peter Lauriat opened the session by describing the Committee’s charge as “deceptively simple and straightforward – to develop a uniform Trial Court policy relative to public access to records both in written and electronic form.”

Testimony included presentations and written comments from divergent views and perspectives. Those from the media and investigation services advocated for internet access to all court records and documents. Representatives from legal services, advocacy groups and family law attorneys asked the committee to use caution in making case information available on the internet that could jeopardize victim safety, disclose personal information, or create misunderstandings that could result in discriminatory practices or compromise the intent of CORI reform.   

The Committee, established by Chief Justice Carey and Court Administrator Spence, includes judges, clerks and others from the seven departments of the Trial Court and Judicial Information Services, and representatives from the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court. The members are working to develop and propose uniform Trial Court rules governing the public's access to view or copy court case records, including paper and electronic case records, in a courthouse and on the internet, consistent with current Massachusetts laws, court rules, and appellate court decisions. 

With the transition of the Superior Court to MassCourts scheduled for completion by the end of September, the Trial Court will have a single centralized system of electronic civil and criminal case management. Electronic access to case information is an issue that is being explored and debated across the country and practice varies greatly from state to state.  

Currently, there are three ways to electronically access Trial Court records: through the intranet, available at the public computers in courthouses; the internet at www.masscourts.org; or through the attorney portal available to Massachusetts-licensed attorneys. 

Once the Committee’s drafting process is completed, the proposed rules will be published to afford the public an opportunity to review and submit comments and suggestions. The Committee will reevaluate the proposed rules in light of all public comments received, and then present the proposed rules to the Trial Court and the Supreme Judicial Court for their consideration.        

Public Access to Court Records Committee

Trial Court

Chief Justice Paula M. Carey

Craig D. Burlingame, Chief Information Officer

Hon. Andre Gelinas, Special Advisor, Information Services

Kim Wright, Esq., Senior Assistant - Judicial Policy

Daniel Sullivan, Esq., General Counsel 

Elizabeth Barrett, Esq., Legal Department
 

Superior Court

Hon. Peter Lauriat, Chair

Michael Sullivan, Esq., Clerk-Magistrate


District Court

Hon. Roanne Sragow-Licht

Ellen Shapiro, Esq., Deputy Court Administrator 

Joseph Ditkoff, Esq., General Counsel


Boston Municipal Court

Christopher Connolly, Esq. Administrative Attorney 

Daniel Hogan, Esq., Clerk-Magistrate


Juvenile Court

Anne Marie Ritchie, Esq., Legal Counsel

Housing Court

Chief Justice Steven D. Pierce


Land Court

Deborah Patterson, Recorder


Probate and Family Court

Hon. Gregory V. Roach

Linda Medonis, Esq., Deputy Court Administrator 

Patrick McDermott, Esq., Registrar


Massachusetts Probation Service

Sarah Joss, Esq., Administrative Attorney


Supreme Judicial Court

Jennifer Donahue, Public Information Officer 

Thomas Ambrosino, Esq., Executive Director


Appeals Court

Joseph Stanton, Esq., Clerk