The Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure (SAC) solicits comments on proposed amendments to Mass. R. Crim. P. 19(a) and 19(b).
The proposed amendments to Rule 19(b), Less Than a Full Jury, implement Commonwealth v. Bennefield, 482 Mass. 250 (2019), by specifying the procedure through which a defendant may waive the right to a full jury after jeopardy has attached. The Court held in Bennefield that a colloquy on the record is essential to establish a valid waiver. The proposed amendment to Rule 19(b) was previously posted for public comment (no responses were received). It is being re-posted after the SAC made further amendments to clarify that the defendant has the right to waive the right to be tried by a full jury, assuming that the judge determines at a colloquy that such waiver is knowing and voluntary.
The proposed amendments to Rule 19(a) make stylistic edits to provide consistency with the amendments to 19(b). No substantive changes to Rule 19(a) are intended.
The proposed amendments and Reporter's Notes appear at the links below. Comments should be directed to Timothy E. Maguire, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108 on or before November 12, 2019. Comments may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments received will be made available to the public.