- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
- Executive Office of the Trial Court
- Massachusetts Court System
Media Contact for Supreme Judicial Court Appoints Hon. Jeffrey A. Locke as Chief Justice of the Trial Court
Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago
BOSTON, MA — The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court today announced the appointment of the Honorable Jeffrey A. Locke as the new Chief Justice of the Trial Court pursuant to G.L. 211B, § 6, effective January 19, 2022.
Judge Locke has been a Superior Court Judge since 2001. He succeeds Chief Justice Paula M. Carey, who is retiring on January 18, 2022 after serving in the position since 2013.
“The Justices are pleased to announce the appointment of Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke, who has served with distinction in the Superior Court for the past 20 years,” said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd. “He is the right person for these times, and we are grateful that he is willing to lend his talents to this role. Judge Locke’s experience, skills and dedication to the mission of the Trial Court will allow him, working with the Court Administrator, to effectively lead the Trial Court in this challenging period.”
“We are profoundly grateful to Chief Justice Paula Carey for her passion and unflagging energy as Chief Justice of the Trial Court over the past eight years,” said Chief Justice Budd. “She worked tirelessly to improve access to justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion for all who work in and use our courts and to shepherd the Trial Court through the pandemic with perseverance and determination."
The Chief Justice of the Trial Court is the policy and judicial head of the Trial Court, which includes the Boston Municipal, District, Housing, Juvenile, Land, Probate and Family, and Superior Courts, the Office of the Commissioner of Probation, and the Office of Jury Commissioner. The Chief Justice of the Trial Court has authority over all matters of judicial policy and appoints the departmental chief justices, oversees case flow management and the establishment of programs and procedures to continuously improve access to justice by all segments of the Commonwealth's population. The Chief Justice partners with the Court Administrator to oversee the administration of the Trial Court, with its 385 judges, 6,300 staff, and 95 courthouses.
“I am honored to be appointed to the position of Chief Justice of the Trial Court,” said Judge Locke. “Working with the many talented trial court managers, starting with Court Administrator John Bello and the dedicated Trial Court departmental chief justices, I will strive to address immediate challenges resulting from the pandemic and also build on improvements put in place by Chief Justice Carey.”
Judge Locke has served as chair of the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission since 2018. He was the regional administrative justice for criminal cases in Suffolk County from 2012 to 2015, and for all cases in Plymouth County from 2007 to 2011. He has served on several court committees, including the SJC Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure; the Superior Court Committee on Sentencing Best Practices; and the Trial Court Fiscal Task Force.
Prior to Judge Locke’s appointment to the bench, he served as Commissioner of the Department of Social Services from April 1999 to October 2001, initially in an interim capacity. He was District Attorney in Norfolk County from 1997 to 1999, following eight years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, where he was the Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force from 1994 to 1997. Prior to that he worked in the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, including three years as chief of the Public Protection Bureau.
Judge Locke has taught Trial Practice at Boston College Law School since 2018, and previously taught at Northeastern School of Law. He received his law degree from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.