April 25, 2012
The Supreme Judicial Court and Trial Court leaders yesterday hosted 50 leaders of statewide, county and local bar associations to provide updates on funding and the long range strategic planning process. Bar leaders also had an opportunity to hear from new Court Administrator for the Trial Court Harry Spence whose appointment became effective last week.
Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland welcomed the bar leaders and thanked them for their continued support of the Judiciary’s efforts to obtain needed resources and enhance the delivery of justice. He recognized the SJC Justices, departmental Chief Justices and other court leaders who attended. He highlighted the leadership of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association on the issue of court funding. Robert L. Holloway, Jr., President-Elect of the MBA and Lisa C. Goodheart, President of the Boston Bar Association, shared personal experiences on ways court understaffing has affected them. They urged their colleagues to take action this week as the House budget is debated.
Chief Justice for Administration & Management Robert A. Mulligan provided an overview of the status of Trial Court funding for Fiscal Year 2013. He outlined operational challenges in providing security and full public access at many court divisions as a result of staffing shortages. He thanked bar leaders for their assistance through the fiscal crisis and asked them to advocate on behalf of the courts as the FY13 budget process continues in the Legislature.
Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Robert J. Cordy updated bar leaders on the court strategic planning process recently launched. He indicated that input from the bar will be important in assessing the current state of the courts and identifying a realistic future vision. He encouraged them to engage their members in providing input throughout the process.
Court Administrator Harry Spence recounted the impact of understaffing at the courts he visited in Springfield earlier in the day. He highlighted the importance of courts in a functioning democracy and encouraged bar leaders to help ensure that the court’s constituency is heard.
At the conclusion of the meeting bar leaders completed contact information cards to ensure that they continue to receive updates from the court.