For Immediate Release - July 26, 2017

Governor Baker Nominates Randy Chapman to Salem District Court

BOSTON—Today, Governor Charlie Baker nominated Randy S. Chapman to serve as an Associate Justice in the District Court. Chapman has over 31 years of experience having served as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District for five years after graduating from Suffolk Law School and then practicing for 26 years as a criminal defense attorney.

Chapman was nominated for the seat vacated by the death of The Honorable Michael C. Lauranzano in the fall of 2015. Lauranzano served for 16 years after being nominated by the late Governor A. Paul Cellucci in 1999.

“Attorney Chapman is a well-respected and talented member of the bar with strong criminal defense experience.” said Governor Baker. “I am pleased to submit his name for the Governor’s Council’s advice and consent, and believe he will be an asset to the quality of justice in the Commonwealth.”

“This nominee will bring a fair and balanced disposition of justice to all that appear before him in District Court, if confirmed by the Governor’s Council,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “The depth of Attorney Chapman’s experience and breadth of community involvement will bring a valuable perspective that will serve the citizens of the Commonwealth well.”

Judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) and recommended to the governor. Governor Baker established the JNC in February, 2015 pursuant to Executive Order 558, a non-partisan, non-political Commission composed of volunteers from a cross-section of the Commonwealth's diverse population to screen judicial applications. Twenty-one members were later appointed to the JNC in April, 2015.

The District Court hears a wide range of criminal, civil, housing, juvenile, mental health, and other types of cases. District Court criminal jurisdiction extends to all felonies punishable by a sentence up to five years, and many other specific felonies with greater potential penalties; all misdemeanors; and all violations of city and town ordinances and by-laws. In civil matters, District Court judges conduct both jury and jury-waived trials, and determine with finality any matter in which the likelihood of recovery does not exceed $25,000. The District Court also tries small claims involving up to $7,000 (initially tried to a magistrate, with a defense right of appeal either to a judge or to a jury). The District Court's civil jurisdiction also includes many specialized proceedings, including abuse prevention restraining orders and civil motor vehicle infractions (tried initially to a magistrate, with right of appeal to a judge).

For more information about the District Court, visit

About Randy S. Chapman

Since 1991, Randy Chapman has been a partner in the law firm of Chapman and Chapman, P.C. with offices in Chelsea and Salem.  He began his legal career in 1986 as an Essex County Assistant District Attorney, serving as a District Court and Superior Court prosecutor and Chief of the Motor Vehicle Homicide Unit. Chapman has been appointed to several committees by the Supreme Judicial Court, including the Court Management Advisory Board, the Task Force on Hiring and Promotions in the Judicial Branch and the Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure.  He is also a former chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association, president of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a member of the Board of Editors for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. He received his Juris Doctor in 1986,  graduating cum laude from Suffolk University Law School and earned cum laude honors upon receiving his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Massachusetts School of Management in Amherst in 1983. Chapman currently resides with his wife and two sons in Swampscott, MA.