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Rules of Appellate Procedure

Rules of Appellate Procedure Appellate Procedure Rule 15: Motions

Effective Date: 07/01/1979
Updates: Amended May 15, 1979, effective July 1, 1979

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(a) Content of motions; response; reply

Unless another form is elsewhere prescribed by these rules, an application for an order or other relief shall be made by filing a motion for such order or relief with proof of service on all other parties. The motion shall contain or be accompanied by any matter required by a specific provision of these rules governing such a motion, shall state with particularity the grounds on which it is based, and shall set forth the order or relief sought. If a motion is supported by briefs, affidavits, or other papers, they shall be served and filed with the motion. Any party may file a response in opposition to a motion other than one for a procedural order (for which see subdivision (b)) within 7 days after service of the motion, but motions authorized by Rule 6 may be acted upon after reasonable notice, and the appellate court or a single justice may shorten or extend the time for responding to any motion.

(b) Determination of motions for procedural orders

Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph as to motions generally, motions for procedural orders, including any motion under Rule 14(b), may be acted upon at any time, without awaiting a response thereto. Any party adversely affected by such action may request reconsideration, vacation, or modification of such action.

(c) Power of a single justice to entertain motions

In addition to the authority expressly conferred by these rules or by law, a single justice may entertain and may grant or deny any request for relief which under these rules may properly be sought by motion, except that a single justice may not dismiss or otherwise determine an appeal or other proceeding, and except that the appellate court may provide by order or rule that any motion or class of motions shall be acted upon by the appellate court. The action of a single justice may be reviewed by the appellate court.

(d) Motions for new trial in capital cases

After the docketing of an appeal in a criminal case in which the defendant was convicted of murder in the first degree and until the filing of a rescript by the appellate court, a motion for a new trial pursuant to Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure 30 shall be filed in the appellate court and may be remitted to the trial judge for hearing and determination at such time as the appellate court may direct.

Reporter's notes

(1979) Subdivision (d), drawn from G.L. c. 278, § 33E (as amended) merely recognizes that while after docketing, a motion for a new trial (Mass.R.Crim.P. 30) is required to be filed in the appellate court, it should ordinarily be heard and determined by the trial judge (unless disabled, see Mass.R.Crim.P. 38[c]), since he is in a better position to weigh its merits. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Grace, 370 Mass. 746 (1976). The need for familiarity with the trial proceedings may vary, however, as a function of the grounds asserted (e.g., newly-discovered evidence as opposed to a verdict allegedly against the weight of evidence).

(1973) Appellate Rule 15 governs motion practice. Appellate Rule 15(c) permits a single justice to dispose of any motion except a motion to dismiss an appeal (and, of course, except as otherwise provided by the Appellate Court). For the required number of copies see Appellate Rule 19(b); for the form of motions, see Appellate Rule 20(b).

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Updates: Amended May 15, 1979, effective July 1, 1979

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