At the pre-trial hearing, the judge shall confirm the case track designation assigned at arraignment or designate a different track in accordance with Section III. In the event the parties are unable to resolve the case and seek further dates, the judge shall thereafter establish dates for the filing of any disputed motions, hearing dates, a final pre-trial conference, and a firm trial date. In the event that such dates are scheduled in a session other than the first session, such dates shall be tentative until approved by the first session or room list judge.
In confirming the final case track designation applicable to the case, the judge may consider whether any special circumstances exist to warrant placing the case on an alternate track. Special circumstances may be raised orally by counsel at the pre-trial hearing or may be set forth in a written submission to the court. Special circumstances include, but are not limited to: unavailability of a victim or essential witness; information relating to the victim’s capacity to testify at trial within the time frame established by the case track; issues relating to a defendant’s competency to stand trial or criminal responsibility; the need for a change of venue based on pretrial publicity; existence of multiple defendants; anticipated delays occasioned by necessary forensic or scientific testing (e.g. DNA testing, drug analysis of multiple samples, etc.); necessity for extended pre-trial hearings such as Daubert/Lanigan, Dwyer/Lampron, Adjutant, Blaisdell-type hearings, or similar proceedings; but not including motions to dismiss or motions to suppress statements, evidence, search warrants, or identifications. Counsel shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard regarding the existence of any special circumstance.
After consideration of special circumstances, the judge shall confirm the final case track designation applicable to the case and shall so designate on the record. Cases designated on the “A” Track shall presumptively be tried within 180 days of arraignment. Cases designated on the “B” Track shall presumptively be tried within 270 days of arraignment. Cases designated on the “C” Track shall presumptively be tried within 360 days of arraignment.
Following the court’s determination of the final case track designation, the judge, in consultation with counsel, shall schedule a trial date, falling within the presumptive time periods set forth above. The judge shall also schedule dates for any contemplated pre-trial proceedings as reflected in the pre-trial conference report, and shall schedule a final pre-trial conference fourteen days prior to the assigned trial date. The selection of a trial date by trial counsel, either as reflected in the pre-trial conference report or following the pre-trial hearing, shall be deemed to be the equivalent of the district attorney placing the case on the trial list under G.L. c. 278, §1, and in accordance with Mass. R. Crim. P. 11 (a)(1)(C), shall not be changed without express permission of the court.