Supreme Judicial Court (November 18, 2005)

When none of the charges against the defendant has been dismissed or has resulted in acquittal, and where no manifest injustice exists, a district court judge may not vacate a bail revocation order. Once a bail revocation order enters, it is valid for a period of 60 days.

The defendant was indicted for B&E and several related crimes, his bail was set at $1,000, and he received the bail warning under G.L. c. 276, §58, third paragraph. Thereafter, the defendant was arraigned in District Court on new charges. In connection with the new charges, bail was set at $500, and the judge revoked the defendant's bail on the Superior Court case. The docket reflected that the revocation was allowed to the specific date of the defendant's scheduled trial in Superior Court, which was well before the 60 days specified in §58. When the trial did not take place on that date due to the absence of defense counsel, a different judge of the district court vacated the order revoking the defendant's bail on the Superior Court case, reinstated the bail originally set, and reduced the bail on the district court case to the amount which had already been posted.

On the Commonwealth's appeal, the SJC concluded that when none of the cases against the defendant has been dismissed or has resulted in his acquittal, and where no manifest injustice exists, a district court judge may not, under G.L. c. 276, § 58, third paragraph, vacate a bail revocation order entered by another judge. Once a bail revocation order enters, it remains valid for 60 days.

Simultaneously with a revocation order, a mittimus shall enter, committing the defendant held without bail until the 60th day as designated in the order of revocation (the date in the mittimus specifying the defendant's next court appearance must mirror the 60th day as designated in the order of revocation). The mittimus shall specify that the defendant be returned for his next appearance to the court with jurisdiction over the charges to which the bail revocation order relates (the court where the original bail had been set on the original pending charges, in this case the Superior Court) for a new bail hearing on those charges.