Trial Court Rules

Uniform Rules for Civil Commitment Proceedings for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders

Trial Court Rules Rule 9: Security of respondent

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Rule 9

The court shall take such action and issue such orders as maybe necessary to secure the presence of the respondent after the respondent's arrival at the court, prior to or during the hearing, and while awaiting transport following the issuance of a commitment order, as the circumstances may require.

Commentary

Rule 9 is intended to address those situations in which a respondent may present a risk of flight or harm, given the fact that the respondent may be before the court unwillingly and may be suffering from the effects of alcohol or drugs resulting in unpredictable, aggressive, or violent behavior. 

The law provides the court, as a matter of its inherent power, with broad discretion regarding security in the courtroom, including controlling the behavior of those before the court, when necessary. The Supreme Judicial Court has stated: 

Of necessity, a judge's inherent powers must encompass the authority to exercise "physical control over his courtroom." Chief Admin. Justice of the Trial Court v. Labor Relations Comm'n, 404 Mass. 53, 57 (1989). As we noted in Chief Admin, Justice of the Trial Court v. Labor Relations Comm'n, "[t]he power of the judiciary to control its own proceedings, the conduct of participants, the actions of officers of the court and the environment of the court is a power absolutely necessary for a court to function effectively and do its job of administering justice." Id. at 57, quoting State v. LaFrance, 124 N.H. 171, 179-180 (1983). 

Commonwealth v. O'Neil, 418 Mass. 760, 764 (1994).

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