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WHEREAS the Chief Justice and the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court recognize the necessity for reasonably expeditious disposition of appealed cases, and appreciate the Court's duty of public accountability in this matter; and
WHEREAS the Justices of the Appeals Court have expressed their agreement with those views by adopting today such portions of this order as relate to the Appeals Court,
Now therefore it is ORDERED:
The following standards are adopted as administrative goals establishing a time within which cases can be expected to be determined by the appellate courts of Massachusetts. Variation from the 130-day standard set out in paragraph 2 should be permitted by vote of the quorum when necessary to accommodate special problems in individual cases. Docket entries will be made as to any such action.
1. Oral argument, or the decision conference in cases not orally argued, should be held promptly after the appellee's brief is filed or should have been filed. Cases in which the appellee's brief is due on or before February 1 should be heard or made the subject of a decision conference during that court year. (Court year: September 1 through August 31.)
2. Cases should be decided within 130 days after argument or after submission without argument.
3. Paragraphs one and two shall be applicable in the Supreme Judicial Court forthwith, and paragraph two shall be applicable in the Appeals Court for all cases argued or submitted for decision after the date of this order. Paragraph one shall be applicable in the Appeals Court as soon as possible after the additional justices authorized by St. 1978, c. 478, § 104 , have assumed their duties, with a tentative goal of full applicability not later than the close of the 1979-1980 court year.