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Hampden County
Bar Association
P.O. Box 559 ยท 50 State Street
Springfield, MA 01102-0559

Telephone: (413) 732-4660
Facsimile: (413) 732-6882

SJC & Court Announcements

Belchertown District Court Standing Judicial Order Regarding Trial Status

Beginning in November of this year (2016), for the Jury of Six Session in the Belchertown District Court, tBelhe following rules of procedure shall be in effect:

1.    All matters scheduled for jury trial shall be automatically scheduled for a final status conference in the District Court at 10:00 a.m. on a preceding Wednesday approximately one week before trial.
2.    The purpose of this status conference is to determine which cases are ready for and expected to be jury trials. The goal is to allow attorneys to focus on trial matters and the Court to avoid needlessly bringing in witness and jurors.
3.    All attorneys with a matter scheduled for jury trial are required to attend this trial status session.
4.    All defendants are required to attend this trial  status session.
5.    All substantive pre-trial motions must be filed with the court one week in advance of the status date. Such motions include, but are not limited to, motions for the appointment of counsel to determine 5th Amendment rights, motions to admit  excited  utterances,  motions to admit prior or subsequent bad acts, and motions to admit or preclude the admission of  any proposed evidence. This does not include boiler-plate motions such as motions to sequester witnesses  or to  exclude the results  of the HGN test.
6.    The status date is the last opportunity to execute a jury waiver and request a bench trial. The Court will endeavor to honor the original trial date and schedule the bench trial on that same date, or, if requested, on a different date at the convenience of the parties.
7.    If the Defendant tenders a plea on the day of trial and it is not accepted by the Court, the case will proceed to trial that day. Defense counsel are encouraged to bring such cases forward to offer a plea prior to the trial date.

By Order of the  Court,
Thomas H. Estes
First  Justice of the Belchertown  District  Court

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Amendment to Rule 26 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure

The Supreme Judicial Court has approved an amendment to Rule 26 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, effective July 1, 2016.  See attached.  Click here for more details.   

The amendment to Rule 26 will not impact domestic relations cases unless and until a change is made to Rule 26 of the Massachusetts Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure.  The amendment will impact probate and equity actions.  See G. L. c. 215, s. 6 and Rules 1 and 27A of the Supplemental Rules of the Probate and Family Court.

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Probate Court Changes to MUPC Estate Administration Forms

The Probate and Family Court ("Court") announces the availability of fill-able versions of new and revised MUPC Estate forms. The forms and all instructions are now available on the Court's website
Effective April 15, 2016, the Court will require the use of the new and revised forms, including in cases initiated before April 15, 2016. The Court will accept for filing "pre-April 15, 2016" for a two week grace period.  Click here more information.

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Holyoke District Court Notice

Please be advised that effective immediately, the Holyoke District Court will ensure that District/Municipal Courts Rule 4(c) be followed.  This rule provides in relevant part: 

“Prior to submission to the court of a tender of plea or admission or a request for other disposition, and if the proposed dispositional terms involve any probationary terms or conditions, the parties shall consult with the probation department, so as to enable the probation department to be heard as may be required by the court at the time the court considers the tendered plea or admission.”

Prior to the submission of a plea that involves probationary terms or conditions, please make sure that in advance they have had an opportunity to be consulted.  The Court will not accept tender of pleas that have not consulted with the Probation Department.  

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.  

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