To continue to limit the number of persons entering courthouses, unless otherwise provided for in this Order, all matters within the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court, including but not limited to all filings and events in delinquency, youthful offender, care and protection, child requiring assistance, guardianship, adoption, harassment prevention orders, substance use disorder petitions pursuant to G.L. c 123, § 35, and mental health petitions pursuant to G.L. c. 123, §§ 7,8, shall be heard virtually unless the matter can be handled more effectively or efficiently in person or cannot be handled virtually because a virtual proceeding is not practicable or would be inconsistent with the protection of constitutional rights.
The determination as to whether a matter may be heard in person shall be made by the First Justice unless otherwise provided for in this Order.
A. Delinquency and Youthful Offender Bench Trials. Delinquency and youthful offender bench trials shall be held in person unless all parties and the trial judge agree to conduct the trial virtually. Priority shall be given to those matters where the youth is detained pending trial.
B. Care and Protection Bench Trials. Care and Protection bench trials may be held in-person or virtually in the discretion of the trial judge.
C. Jury Trials. In accordance with the SJC’s Fourth Updated Order and the Report and Recommendations to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court on the Resumption of Jury Trials in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic by the Jury Management Advisory Committee and subsequent memorandum, the Juvenile Court will begin to hold jury trials in limited locations and in limited case types on October 26, 2020. The location for the holding of such trials and the manner in which they will be conducted is set forth in Juvenile Court Standing Order 9-20.
D. G.L. c. 123, § 35 Hearings. If a petitioner contacts the court regarding the filing of a petition for commitment pursuant to G.L. c. 123, § 35, the court shall make every effort to provide the petitioner with the petition without requiring the petitioner to appear in person at the court. Once the petition is completed and filed with the court, the court shall schedule the hearing.
Any youth apprehended on a warrant of apprehension issued pursuant to a G.L. c. 123, § 35 petition shall be brought to court by the police and an in-person hearing shall take place at the court.
E. Recording and Docketing of Virtual Hearings. All virtual hearings shall be held, to the extent practicable, in a courtroom or other location that can be recorded by FTR. Clerk-Magistrates shall docket all cases in MassCourts consistent with normal procedures.